Did you know that in the early 20th century, two American writers, Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, proposed the Myers Briggs test? What’s interesting is that they were a mother-daughter duo who were so fascinated by the work of Carl Jung, the famous psychologist, that they expanded on his personality theory. Today, the test has come to be known as Myers Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI. It’s an introspective questionnaire that indicates different psychological preferences and how people make decisions. MBTI has become one of the most popular tools of self-knowledge and several organizations use it to gauge potential employees’ behavior and attitudes as well.
Let’s dive into the development of the MBTI and how self-introspection can help navigate our daily life. You’ll also learn about ENFJ, one of the 16 personality types identified by Myers and Briggs. Let’s begin!
The Importance Of MBTI
It was Carl Jung who identified two personality attitudes—introversion and extroversion. He also emphasized the importance of the conscious and unconscious aspects of the mind that added to personality attitudes. He went ahead to combine these two attitudes with four different functions—thinking, sensation, intuition and feeling—and proposed eight variations. Myers and Briggs expanded on this theory and identified 16 personality types. The scale they used was:
1. Extraversion (E) – Introversion (I)
It describes how an individual interacts and engages with the world around them. Extraverts (also called extroverts) enjoy frequent social interactions and feel good in social settings. Introverts enjoy deep and meaningful relationships and like to spend time alone.
2. Sensing (S) – Intuition (I)
It refers to how people gather information around them. People who prefer ‘sensing’ like to focus on facts and enjoy hands-on or real-time experiences. People who prefer ‘intuition’ like to engage in abstract theories and pay attention to patterns and impressions.
3. Thinking (T) – Feeling (F)
This scale refers to how people make decisions based on information they have gathered through sensing or intuition. People placing greater emphasis on objective data when making decisions prefer ‘thinking’. People who are considerate of others and emotions prefer ‘feeling’ when arriving at a conclusion.
4. Judging (J) – Perceiving (P)
This scale shows how people deal with the outside world. People leaning toward ‘judging’ prioritize structure and firm decisions. People leaning toward ‘perceiving’ are more flexible and adaptable.
The goal of MBTI is to help people understand various interrelated factors driving their personality. Myers and Briggs suggested that each scale interacts with others that inform various personality types. ENFJ is one among them.
Exploring The Meaning Of ENFJ
The ENFJ personality type is an acronym that stands for Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Judging. Also known as protagonist personality, such individuals are often described as loyal, warm, sensitive and outgoing. In fact, they’re considered the strongest ‘people person’ among all personality types. They can spark friendships even with the more introverted individuals. They have strong influencing powers and can affect how people behave. At the same time, they can sense what others feel and have the desire to help others.
ENFJ is known to be the opposite of ISTP personality type, which stands for Introverted, Observant, Thinking, and Prospecting. ISTPs are fiercely independent and like to spend time alone. ENFJ is one of the less common personality types and constitutes only 3% of the total population. Here are the common characteristics of the ENFJ personality type:
- They like to be in the presence of others and thrive in social settings as they are strong extraverts
- They have good interpersonal and social skills and are often known to be warm and affectionate
- They derive satisfaction from helping others and are effective at encouraging others
- They are good at negotiating and bringing harmony or consensus among diverse groups of individuals
- They might be so consumed with helping others out that they can neglect personal needs
In short, ENFJ or the protagonist personality type is mostly sociable and loves to extend help as much as possible. At the same time, they also enjoy some alone time to gather their thoughts.
Strengths And Weaknesses Of ENFJ Personality
Like any other personality type, ENFJ personality is complex. They can be thoughtful and idealistic but also put a lot of pressure on themselves. Here are the strong and weak points of this personality type:
1. Strengths Of ENFJ
- The protagonist personality is reliable. They see their responsibilities through and you can count on them.
- While they have strong opinions and values, they know how to be open-minded. They allow others to express themselves freely and are receptive to diverse opinions and perspectives.
- They are passionate beings who often find themselves in the middle of doing something interesting. Whether it’s pursuing their hobbies or goals, they take pleasure in checking them off their to-do lists.
- Being a people person, the ENFJ personality excels at helping others. Their altruistic nature not only helps them be sensitive toward others but also be present in times of need.
- Strong social and interpersonal skills help ENFJs to exert influence on others as a leader would do. They are charismatic and know how to leave positive impressions on others.
2. Weaknesses Of ENFJ
- They tend to have unrealistic expectations and often put a lot of pressure on themselves to meet those standards.
- They know how to differentiate between what’s right and what’s wrong but tend to expect everyone else to share the same clarity of thought. They can be overly idealistic and aren’t comfortable when someone differs from their values and beliefs.
- They are known to help others but may come off as condescending or patronizing. Their attempt to help others may not always be seen in a positive and empowering light.
- They have high expectations from others because of their own achievements. When it comes to self-improvement, ENFJs are often doing their best. But when it comes to others, ENFJs can push them too hard.
- As a people person, ENFJ personality types have strong compassion but it tends to take over them. In other words, they make others’ problems their own and often overlook their own needs and expectations.
If you’re an ENFJ, learning about the strengths and weaknesses can help you understand yourself better and effectively navigate relationships—at work or in your personal life. If you’re not ENFJ, understanding the strong and weak points can help you interact with those who have a protagonist personality.
How ENFJs Can Navigate Their Professional Lives
ENFJs have strong leadership qualities. They know how to exert influence and have strong persuasion skills. Coupled with effective communication and interpersonal skills, they can motivate people to push their boundaries. Their charisma allows them to flourish in social circles and workplace environments. They see potential in others and encourage them to take the leap; therefore, having a positive impact on people around them. In short, they tend to take charge of situations and guide others to tap into their strengths.
Here are some common characteristics of an ENFJ personality type in the professional world:
- They are enthusiastic problem-solvers who can put their strong intuitive powers to good use.
- They enjoy being in control of situations and organizing others to implement positive change.
- They work best in cooperative environments and strive for harmony where people support and encourage each other.
- They have innate leadership tendencies and encourage others to maximize their potential and step outside their comfort zone.
- They enjoy being creative and developing innovative initiatives. They have clarity in how they want to proceed with their work.
- In addition to being people-centered, they are also forward-thinking. They place great emphasis on constructive action.
- They enjoy providing guidance and extending support to others because of their compassionate nature. They see themselves as mentors.
An ideal job for the ENFJ personality would allow them to be creative, develop and implement ideas and work in collaborative roles. They are best suited for careers that serve and empower others. Some possible career options can include teachers, human resources professionals and counselors, among others.
Understanding Others With ENFJ Personality Type
In any workplace, you’ll come across various kinds of people with unique personality types. Whether you’re an ENFJ or not and want to interact with other ENFJs, it’s essential to understand how this personality type works. This level of knowledge and awareness can help you navigate interpersonal relationships better and come together for effective collaboration and cooperation. One of the best ways to encourage healthy bonding with ENFJs is to accept the care and support they automatically tend to offer. Simultaneously, it’s also important to offer support in return. Keep an open mind when sharing opinions and be respectful of their perspectives.
If you want to understand others around you better for improved communication and collaboration, try Harappa’s Decoding Others course. It’s designed to help you understand other people’s sensibilities, strengths and working styles to enable better collaboration. Powerful frameworks such as the Decoding Triad will help you interpret and understand other people’s abilities. Relationships Strategies framework will help induce desirable responses in other people. Start your free trial today!
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