The Commander Personality

The Commander Personality

The commander personality: Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Judging, characterized by a high level of drive, rationality, determination

In their vocations, Commanders are concerned with efficiency, command, and getting things done. They are confident, articulate and their extraversion makes them good team players. They are usually creative visionaries who often stop at nothing until they accomplish a certain goal. And more importantly, they have an innate need to lead others. Hence they are known as Commanders.

The Commander personality or ENTJ was developed by Myers and her mother, Katherine Briggs. And according to psychologist David Keisey, who writes a lot about personality assessment in his book, Please Understand Me, it accounts for just two percent of the population. Though this may be a tiny fraction of the general population, Commanders are always standouts wherever they are. Their assertiveness and ability to focus intensely on their goals tend to inspire action with those they work with.

A notable example of a Commander is Steve Jobs. In his detailed study about Jobs’ life, the psychologist Roelf Van Niekerk found that the most prevalent qualities that made Jobs stand out as an entrepreneur are his high need for achievement, propensity for risk-taking, innovativeness, autonomy, internal locus of control, and self-efficacy. Commanders are analytical and objective.

For a person with the Commander personality, the mere opportunity to bring order and discover solutions to problems is what makes them thick. They want to take charge. Their need for achievement makes them driving forces of change to the world around them.  

Notable Traits of a Commander Personality

Though at first glance, being a commander seems very appealing. We all love to work with and be led by charismatic and goal-oriented people. It is instinctive to want to be led by a person who appears to know where they are headed.

However, The Commander’s personality is not all great. It’s no news that when you look into the lives of notable Commanders, the likes of Steve Jobs, it becomes obvious that there are dark sides to their personality that many found unappealing. Like many other great things in life, the ENTJ personality, often characterized by boldness, assertiveness, and goal-orientedness, comes with its downsides. Commanders have to always keep themselves in check to curb the downsides to their personality.

Here are the key characteristics of Commanders divided into strengths and weaknesses:

Strengths of the Commander Personality


  • One of the strengths of a Commander is their strong will. They can make up their minds about certain important issues even in the face of criticism. More interestingly is that they don’t mind holding an outside opinion. They tend to be blunt and decisive, putting their view of things above everyone else’s.
  • In a world where so many people are afraid to fail, stand up for themselves, pursue their idea, and stick their heads up for what they believe, the strong will that Commanders possess is a rare trait that inspires us all. This is one of the reasons why they make good leaders.

2. High Rationality

  • The goal orientedness of Commanders always makes them have a bigger picture in mind. This is a remarkable strength because we tend to have an emotional reaction to what’s most apparent.
  • Most of us tend to have a high emotional reaction to whatever seems to be before us. When the going gets tough, it becomes difficult to imagine things going right again. On the other hand, when things are going well, we also easily get carried away by how easy things are. We might let our guard down for our competitors.
  • Therefore, Commanders’ ability to keep their heads towards a particular goal makes them strategic thinkers and very effective leaders. They can keep their team focused on the bigger picture, both in good and bad times. They prefer to think about the future in the abstract rather than putting all their attention on the here and now.

3. They Are Efficient

  • Efficiency depends on your willingness to make plans and have enough discipline to see those plans through. And since Commanders are goal-oriented, this is perhaps one of the most prominent strengths of Commanders. Their strong, willful nature makes them get things done faster and better than the average person. The thing is, Commanders, love a sense of control over their schedule (and their life in general). This need for predictability makes them plan things out beforehand. And with their cause of action always in mind, they usually deliver.

4. They Love to Interact With Others

  • Commanders are extroverts. Meaning that they love to spend time with and also interact with others. Their tendency to seek out the company of others makes them natural team players. They are energized by being around others, and as such, they tend to appear enthusiastic and goal-oriented, thereby inspiring action in others.
  • Extraverts love to get attention to themselves, and one of the best ways to do this by being articulate. They know how to use words to draw attention to themselves, engage people, and inspire action. This is a priceless skill because a leader must frequently engage with his/her subordinates when there is a need.

5. They Have Strong Leadership Skills

  • Commanders make charismatic leaders. With all the natural traits that ENTJs are born with, it is no news that they will make good leaders. The ability to focus on a goal, make rational decisions, and inspire action through their assertiveness and verbal skills, makes them perfect fits for leadership. This is why most famous Commanders like the Italian French general Napoleon Bonaparte, Steve Jobs, Julius Caesar, Richard Nixon, etc., were all great leaders who made astonishing impacts during their rule. Their determination and rationality often led them to great success.

Weaknesses of the Commander Personality


  • As narrated by Samuel Isaacson in his account of the life of Steve Jobs, when Jobs’ parents dropped him off in college, he never said goodbye. He later looked back on the moment, saying, “It’s one of the things in life I feel ashamed about. I was not very sensitive, and I hurt their feelings… They had done so much to make sure I could go there, but I just didn’t want them around.”
  • Though Commanders are bold and highly assertive, they are very low on empathy. Jobs, for instance, also denied paternity for his daughter, Lisa, for years before finally accepting her as his child. For Commanders, everything is done based on logic. If an employee isn’t doing well, the obvious thing to do is lay such a person off, sometimes without notice. Commanders are blunt, and they have no regard for the feeling of others. 

2. Arrogance

  • A commander feels entitled to crush whoever isn’t up to their own standard. They see such people as lazy, as though they are beneath them. Understand that for Commanders. Everything is about achievement. They see the world and the people around them in terms of accomplishment. They evaluate their importance based on how much they can get done.
  • Also, Commanders tend to set high expectations for themselves and others. Anyone who isn’t as accomplished, hard-working, or assertive as they are, are seen as weak, lazy, and timid. For instance, when Jobs and his team went to check out the Xerox Star computer in 1981, Jobs was unimpressed. A few weeks after the inspection, Jobs called one of the computer designers, Bob Belleville, and told him, “Everything you’ve ever done in your life is shit, so why don’t you come work for me?”

3. Aggressiveness

  • Commanders handle emotions poorly. They don’t like being challenged or subdued. Napoleon Bonaparte, a famous Commander, regarded as one of the greatest military commanders in human history, is famously known for his anger issues. He dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of the coalition. But despite the strength of the ambition that took Napoleon from an obscure village to command most of Europe, he was a very aggressive person. 
  • Whenever there was a little threat to his ego, he became touchy. This part of him was so prevalent that a condition characterized by overt aggressiveness (Napoleon Complex) was named after him. Commanders place a lot of importance on reputation. They fear being perceived as weak. And as a result, if they sense any threat, they become highly defensive.

4. Intolerance/Impatience

  • One of the downsides to the Commander personality is the inability to give people space to level up. Commanders are impatient, and they can easily write you off if they believe you are not up to their — usually incredibly high — standards. They want everyone to be on their toes, getting things done just like them.
  • Because Commanders are low on empathy, they are less interested in how you feel about anything at any point in time. All that matters is that you give your best to whatever you have at hand.

Tips For Having Better Interactions With Commanders

  • Though Commanders make up just two percent of the world’s population, most of their weaknesses are flaws we are all too familiar with. We’ve all come across that co-worker who easily becomes touchy once their ideas are challenged. Or that overbearing boss who seems to never get satisfied with what we do.
  • Whether you are dealing with a person with ENTJ or not, understanding how to handle these common flaws of human nature will help you avoid unnecessary emotional turmoil in your relationships and your workplace.
That said, here are ways you can better handle ENTJs in friendships and relationships:

1. In Friendships

  • The first step to having a good interaction with Commanders is understanding and accepting them for who they are. It is a basic instinct in human behavior that we don’t like. When we encounter aspects of people, we try to change them. This backfires with Commanders.
  • Though Commanders are social, they don’t like being subdued. And as a result, they are usually more confrontational and argumentative than the average person. What you want to do with them isn’t to try to win arguments or always try to look for loopholes in their values and ideas. Find common grounds instead. As the psychiatrist Mark Goulston wrote in his book about human interactions Just Listen, “To strengthen interpersonal influence, don’t win arguments, win hearts and minds.”
  • Focus on similarities, not differences. ENTJs tend to have better relationships with people who share their ideas and views of life. If you’re an introverted or sensitive person, you will most likely have problems with the frequent touch of coldness they have to their personality. And in such cases, consider changing your circle, rather than taking their attitude personally.

2. In Relationships

  • Making a relationship work with a Commander relies on the understanding and acceptance of who they are. This is because Commanders are low on empathy and may appear not committed to the relationship. As the author and educational consultant, Kendra Cherry, wrote in Verywell Mind, “Because dealing with emotions does not come naturally to them, they may seem insensitive to their partner’s feelings… This does not mean they don’t have feelings.”
  • Commanders may be dominating, but they are still very committed to making a relationship work. They just need more assurance that their emotional investment in you is safe before they completely open up to you.


The Commander personality has no doubt led a lot of people to achieve remarkable things. But like many great things in life, it comes with its downsides, and it requires a lot of self-control to put the downsides in check. A hard-working boss or spouse with a bad attitude will only earn the distaste of his/her employees or partner in the long run.

Balancing your ambition with the right attitude as a Commander is key. As the Canadian American motivational speaker and author Brian Tracy once put it, “You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you are mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.”

References/Further Reading

Verywell Mind — ENTJ: The Commander (Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging)

Wikipedia — Myers-Briggs Type Indicator 

Researchgate — A psychological Analysis of the Personality Traits of Steve Jobs’s Entrepreneurial Life

The Commander Personality

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