There are some among us that desire to inspire. They peer into the inner being of another and see the light in every soul. They act as catalysts for growth everywhere they go.
These are the Protagonists. In The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) system, they are the ENFJs. Unfortunately, not all environments are suitable to develop their Intuitive and Feeling preferences.
By neglecting their natural strengths, they may not be able to reach their full potential. Thus, this article will take a closer look at the ENFJ personality type, also known as the Protagonist
ENFJ Meaning and What Does ENFJ Stand For
The acronym ENFJ stands for Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging.
These are preferences of the individual’s cognitive processes. In other words, ENFJs are inspirational and motivational.
Their life mission is to understand humanity and bring them to its highest potential. They often focus on improving the lives of their loved ones, drawing out the best in them. They are the catalyst for growth.
They value harmony in the world around them. They do so by building consensus among people, even when the group is diverse in motives and interests.
By building harmony among people, they make inspiring leaders that unite people together. The Protagonists also have a natural ability to be highly attuned with others.
The Protagonists are able to innately understand the emotions and moods of others. By reading the hearts of others, they are able to understand and inspire everyone they meet.
Interesting Facts About the ENFJs
- Among types highest in job satisfaction, but also among most likely to report plans to leave their jobs
- In a national sample, ENFJs ranked highest in “Belief in a higher spiritual power”.
- ENFJs are one of four types in college reporting the highest levels of assertiveness.
- ENFJs are rated by psychologists among two types least likely to have trouble in school.
- Personal values include Friendships, Education and Learning, Creativity, and Community Service
- Commonly found in careers in religion, teaching, and the arts
ENFJ Personality Traits and Key Characteristics
ENFJ personality traits and characteristics that describe them are:
Supportive and Affectionate
ENFJs are often described as an understanding and supportive force. They can easily create an environment that is warm and supportive.
ENFJs feel joy in encouraging and helping others. They are able to intuitively see the potential in others, and often encourage them to develop their innate abilities.
Being natural-born leaders, ENFJs are able to sell water to fish. Many people are naturally drawn to the ENFJ’s magnetic charm and charisma. They can easily persuade others with their ideas.
ENFJs are often the most loyal followers. Once involved in a relationship, they would always put a lot of effort in maintaining the relationship.
Strengths and Advantages of the ENFJ
Protagonists are constantly working for the sake of others. This makes letting others down one of the biggest fears of the ENFJ personality type.
ENFJs would often go the extra mile to complete tasks that have been assigned to them in order to not let others down. In that way, the Protagonist can usually be counted on.
ENFJs innately have the charm and persuasiveness to get others to do what they want. However, ENFJs usually use their persuasiveness without the intent of manipulation or personal gain.
Their persuasiveness and charisma come from their innate ability to feel the mood of the crowd in order to communicate with the appropriate emotion, passion, and enthusiasm based on the situation.
Behind the actions of the ENFJ lies an intent to serve others. Always promoting harmony and unity, ENFJs work to deflect potential conflicts by motivating everyone to be united against a single cause.
They are natural at encouraging others, and often devote their time to helping others, without worrying about their own needs.
Naturally, others often look to ENFJs as leaders. Mentoring and encouraging comes naturally to them, making them excellent coaches and leaders.
Constantly leading, training, and educating, they are able to bring out the best in their followers by mapping out the best path for their development.
ENFJs are also able to bring everyone to a consensus no matter how diverse the group. This makes them both inspirational and a force to be reckoned with.
ENFJs are organized in the arena of social emotions and future goals. They often dislike ambiguity and seek clear and thought-out conclusions which are usually based on social values.
They are inclined to make conclusions about people and their motives and dislike ambiguity when it comes to interpersonal issues.
Weaknesses and Disadvantages of the ENFJ Personality
ENFJs often prioritize the needs of others over their own. They may feel suffocated by their own promises to others, and find it hard to help everyone with their problems.
Because they don’t want to let anyone down, they will still try their best to help others even when they are the ones who need help.
Eventually, they spread themselves too thin to the point that they can’t help anyone, not even themselves.
ENFJs are often social chameleons that fit into their surroundings. So much so that they may not even know exactly who they are.
If they fail to develop a strong identity, they may fail to be authentic in their relationship, becoming what others want them to be. Thinking that nobody truly knows them, not even themselves, the sense of loneliness may soon follow.
With Feeling as their dominant function, ENFJs struggle with decisions that have consequences that may hurt others.
If caught in a moral dilemma, ENFJs tend to feel paralyzed, unable to weigh the hard facts and logic to come up with a better decision.
ENFJs are highly receptive to criticism and often see it as a tool for self-development. However, some ENFJs tend to personalize criticism, seeing it as a form of disapproval.
They may then feel frustrated because they feel that their contributions are not appreciated.
Although ENFJs are compassionate and forgiving towards others, the same could not be said for themselves. They often put themselves up to an unrealistically high standard.
Of course, the Protagonist may not always reach the bar that they have set so high, leading them to feel like a failure.
However, even when things go right, they may also downplay their successes. All this combined, the ENFJ may fall into a downward spiral of self-doubt.
Cognitive Functions of the ENFP
By combining two different orientations to the world (Extrovert/Introvert) with four mental processes (Thinking/Feeling/Sensing/Intuition), Jung describes eight fundamental cognitive functions.
Jung believed that everyone has a natural preference for a particular function. By using a particular cognitive function often, the individual consequently develops behaviour patterns that are characteristic of that function.
Each personality type consists of four main functions. Individuals predominantly use their dominant function supported by their auxiliary function.
The tertiary function becomes apparent under pressure, while the inferior function is often seen as a weakness.
By knowing the cognitive functions of the Protagonist’s personality type, they will be able to develop their strengths and balance their weaknesses.
Dominant: Extraverted Feeling
The dominant function of an ENFJ is Extraverted Feeling. They utilize their dominant function when engaging in social relationships.
With Extraverted Feeling as their dominant function, they are also innately attuned to the feelings of others. However, this means they might forgo their own personal feelings to please others.
When making decisions, a strong emphasis is placed on how the decision might impact others emotionally.
Decisions that unite people have a higher weightage compared to a decision that is the most logical.
Auxiliary: Introverted Intuition
The ENFJ uses Introverted Intuition to support their dominant function. They often think about future and bigger goals regarding the growth of humanity.
However, they sometimes stay too focused on the larger goal and lose sight of the immediate present.
The Protagonist often takes in objective data about the world, and instinctually processes all the data to create singular impressions, ideas, and thoughts.
This allows them to spot insightful patterns and make sense of complex data. This function is predominantly used to provide insights about nurturing others.
Tertiary: Extraverted Sensing
Their Extraverted Sensing is used to gather and manage details from their immediate environment.
ENFJs that are using their Extraverted Sensing are able to take in the present moment and are highly aware of what’s around them.
However, their sensory information may have a flexible quality if their Extraverted Sensing is not fully matured or developed. They also have a great appreciation of aesthetics.
Often seeking out novel interesting experiences and sensations, they also desire to create a space that is aesthetically pleasing. However, they may sometimes act impulsively and get distracted at times as this is their vulnerable area.
Inferior: Introverted Thinking
Introverted Thinking is the least developed and least apparent of this type. It usually only appears to add logic that supports the conclusion reached by the Extraverted Feeling.
By developing the Introverted Thinking function, an ENFJ may feel more in control and confident in their decision-making.
However, by neglecting Introverted Thinking, ENFJs may make decisions based solely on group values and emotions.
By developing Introverted Thinking, ENFJs are able to add more logic into their decisions.
They will also be able to form personal frameworks to live their life, instead of always following the values and emotions of those around them.
How Does the ENFJ Interact and Behave in Different Roles?
ENFJs highly value connections and friendships. They are viewed as substantial and important to their lives. Unlike most people, ENFJs often put active effort in upkeeping friendships, especially those close to them.
ENFJs are always more than happy to help their friends out, as nothing makes them happier than seeing their loved ones do well. Being well-liked and appreciated for their concern and care, the ENFJ enjoys spending time with other people.
People often see the Protagonist as supportive and joyful to be around. They can get along with almost anyone and everyone.
However, if given a choice, ENFJs are likely to avoid those who do not hold the same value system as them. ENFJs often push those around them forward to excel.
However, although well-intended, some people may resist the push and may even grow frustrated with the ENFJ. This is likely to offend the well-meaning ENFJ.
However, the ENFJ should not personalize this and instead be more flexible and live more in the moment in certain situations.
Because the Protagonists are always helping those around them, they may feel hurt when help is not reciprocated.
However, it should be worth noting that not everyone has the same level of enthusiasm and energy to help others as with the ENFJs.
As parents, ENFJs have high expectations of themselves. Naturally nurturing and warm, they are usually highly involved in the lives of their children.
They enjoy actively guiding and mentoring their children. However, their hands-on parenting style may be seen as “helicopter parenting” and their children may feel a lack of freedom to freely explore the world.
The ENFJ often take an active role in the development of their child. They find joy in guiding their children about the world around them.
Protagonist parents also envision bright futures for their children, instilling strong values and a strong sense of responsibility in them.
However, with the high expectation towards their children, Protagonists may become disappointed when they don’t live up to their expectations.
As ENFJs, they have an aversion to conflict, this makes it hard for parents to criticize and discipline their children. Sometimes, ENFJs may be sensitive and feel hurt by their children during their rebellious phase.
They may even be more upset if the child criticizes and says negative things about the ENFJ. Fortunately, their understanding and warm nature often prevents this from happening.
As a parent, the Protagonist imprints a long lasting sense of warmth, care, love and encouragement in their child.
ENFJs in a relationship are sensitive and loving partners that are eager to establish a loving commitment with their romantic partner.
They take dating seriously, often wanting a long and committed relationship. They are motivational romantic partners that cheer their partners on to develop and explore their own potential.
For the Protagonist, there is simply no greater joy than to help their loved ones achieve their goals.
In order to maintain a harmonious and loving relationship, ENFJs often check in on their partner’s mutual feelings towards each other.
They may also proactively ask for criticism and suggestions to improve in their relationship. Although they mean well, this may seem overbearing or needy for some, leading to more conflicts and resentment.
The only true happiness for the ENFJ is the mutual happiness between both partners in the relationship. Ideal romantic partners should be able to appreciate these qualities, instead of tolerating them.
The romantic partners of ENFJs should also remind them to take care of their own needs in order for them to enjoy a compassionate, supportive and loving long-term relationship.
As colleagues, ENFJs often desire to assist and cooperate together to implement ideas. ENFJ team members often thrive in environments that have a supportive environment.
An atmosphere where everyone can openly express their opinions and emotions with one another. Naturally enthusiastic, ENFJs often engage with their team to come up with win-win solutions.
However, because of their inclination to assist others, they may find themselves overburdened with the problems and tasks of their colleagues.
As managers, ENFJs prioritize people over the task. The growth and development of their team members often triumphs the actual work at hand.
ENFJs in a leadership position is where they shine. By being able to recognize each individual’s mood, motivations, and innate talent, Protagonists are able to push their team to excel.
However, being conflict-avoidant, the ENFJs may often resort to emotional manipulation to get others to do what they want.
Ultimately, ENFJs are naturally empathetic leaders that can unite a team together toward a singular goal.
Jobs and Career Paths for the ENFJ Type
The ENFJ protagonist personality wants nothing else but a career that allows them to help others. Fortunately, their strong interest in helping and interacting with others is appreciated by society.
From jobs like social work, teaching, and counseling, ENFJs have many career opportunities that bring changes in the lives of others. Protagonists also work best in harmonious environments.
Using their strong intuition about people, careers that allow them to resolve interpersonal conflict will bring them deep satisfaction.
ENFJs will thrive and flourish in environments that are harmonious, where everyone can support the growth of one another.
They can also be the one that brings harmony to a diverse environment A dream workplace for Protagonists is an organization that is forward-thinking with a clear people-centered humanitarian mission.
They would naturally be inclined to develop and implement ideas that are able to improve the wellbeing of others. The ENFJs may also naturally find themselves in a leadership position.
Even when they are not in a leadership position, ENFJs may just find themselves naturally mentoring others to develop their unique talents.
However, ENFJs will not be able to thrive in an environment that involves systems and spreadsheets without a strong humanitarian mission.
Protagonists may also shun away from cutthroat corporate environments that prioritize profit over values.
In short, Protagonists need to feel and experience the positive change and gratitude of the people they have helped.
They feel fulfilled when the people they helped feel fulfilled.
10 Best Jobs & Careers for ENFJs
Here are some of the most common work occupations for ENFJ:
- Human Resources Manager
- Sales Representative
- Social Worker
- Art Director
- Child Care Worker
Subtypes of the ENFJ Personality Type (ENFJ-A & ENFJ-T)
While the ENFJ personality type is able to be distinguished from other types, ENFJs can be split into two subgroups based on how they respond to stressors, people, and circumstances.
One subgroup is called Assertive or ENFJ-A, while the other subgroup is called Turbulent or ENFJ-T. Below we will look at the ENFJ-A and ENFJ-T compared with one another.
ENFJ-A Personality Type
One of the stark differences between the Assertive ENFJs and the Turbulent ENFJs is their confidence. Compared to Turbulent ENFJs, Assertive ENFJs are more confident overall and do well in leadership roles.
They experience less self-doubt and tend to not take things too personally. This allows them to be bold and independent. Assertive ENFJs are also more comfortable in their own skin.
They have less self-doubt, enabling them to handle negative emotions and stress with a calm mind.
Although emotions are the main guiding force in decision-making for both Assertive and Turbulent ENFJs, Assertive ENFJs tend to be better at dealing with emotions.
However, this comes with a price of reduced ability to relate to others and be empathetic. Assertive ENFJs also tend to be more independent.
They have more self-confidence in their ability to make decisions and manage pain. This, however, makes the Assertive ENFJs less inclined to seek advice or help from others.
ENFJ-T Personality Type
The Turbulent ENFJs often experience self-doubt. They tend to personalize more things compared to the Assertive ENFJs.
Because they value the opinions and appreciation of others, they tend to be conscious of how others perceive them.
Although the lack of confidence may seem like a flaw, because they are less confident, their humility makes the Turbulent ENFJs humble leaders.
Turbulent ENFJs also tend to be more susceptible to stress. Although both Assertive and Turbulent ENFJs can handle stress, Turbulent ENFJs may sometimes be overwhelmed by negative emotions and stress.
This allows them to empathize more deeply with others in similar situations. Turbulent ENFJs are not the best decision-makers as they tend to act based on their emotions.
However, this lack of good decision-making is balanced out by them being more likely to ask for the opinions of others. By seeking advice and opinions, they are able to have a sense of security and feel more reassured.
Famous ENFJ You Might Know
ENFJs are compassionate individuals and empathetic leaders. Their charisma and passion is often inspirational, motivating others to develop themselves and to do good in the world.
- Oprah Winfrey
- Malala Yousafzai
- Maya Angelou
- Nelson Mandela
- Jennifer Lawrence
Famous ENFJ Quotes
Here are a few interesting quotes from people with ENFJ personalities to consider.
“ Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“Human beings are more alike than we are unalike. Let us see that and…cherish…the differences. Because the differences are superficial … they should delight us.” – Maya Angelo
“Let it never be said by future generations that indifference, cynicism or selfishness made us fail to live up to [our] ideals.” – Nelson Mandela
“Teachers expect the very best of those around them, and their enthusiasm inspires action in others and the desire to live up to their expectations.” – David Keirsey
Is ENFJ a rare personality?
Yes, ENFJ is one of the rarest personality types among the 16 MBTI personalities. In particular, ENFJs make up 3% of the general US population, which means that it’s the fourth-least common personality type after INFJ, INTJ, and ENTJ.
Interestingly, male ENFJs are even less common than females. To be more precise, ENFJ is the second-least common personality type among men, making up only 2% of them. On the other hand, the percentage of female ENFJs is a bit higher, making up 3%.
In conclusion, if you are seeking an individual who is compassionate, charismatic, and altruistic, what you are looking for is the ENFJ personality type.
They are catalysts for good, often bringing positive change in the lives of those around them.
They also have the natural gift to be attuned with the emotions and motivations of others.
If you know an ENFJ or are one, self-care is of utmost importance for them. They place the needs of others above their own. Often leading them to completely ignore their own needs.
With a single clear goal in mind, they often unite a diverse group of people around their humanitarian goal.
With a harmonious team working together towards bringing positive change in the lives of others, there is nothing else the ENFJ would wish for.