The ENTP tends to be sociable, energetic and open-minded – hence their nickname “The Debater” (or sometimes “The Visionary”).
In this article, we will explore the ENTP in detail. We hope that if you have tested as an ENTP, this article will help you to understand yourself a little better!
The ENTP, or the Debater, is one of the of the “16 personality types” that we see in several different models based on the work of Carl Jung. These models include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Keirsey Temperament Sorter, among others.
The ENTP represents Extroversion, iNtuition, Thinking, and Perceiving. This indicates that they are a person who is energized by spending time with others, who focus on ideas and concepts, who makes decisions based on logic and reason, and who prefers to be spontaneous and flexible.
The ENTP is energetic, passionate and an ever-creative idea generator. Their extraverted nature means they enjoy spending time with others, and as a result they tend to form friendships with all sorts of people.
Debaters are on a conquest for knowledge and new ideas. They love to brainstorm, think big and create original ideas. However, ENTPs prefer to then step back and let the more logical types implement these great visions – ENTPs are too energetic to deal with the day-to-day mechanics of implementing their suggestions.
The ENTP receives the nickname “The Debater” because they are the ultimate devils advocate and thrive on the process of shredding arguments and beliefs. They will argue tirelessly for something they believe in and have no problem raising hairs. Debaters are also profusely honest. In many ways, this benefits them well. However, it can mean that they don’t mince words or care about being sensitive!
ENTP Strengths and Weaknesses
Those who are classified as ENTPs are usually great at intuitively understanding people and situations and are able to quickly absorb and process information about the different situations they are in. Sizing up their environment is easy for ENTPs, and they can take the information they absorb and use their strong perceptive abilities to see the big picture. However, while ENTPs can quickly see possibilities and inspire others, developing a concrete plan of action and taking steps to actually implement goals can prove to be more difficult for ENTPs.
ENTPs who combine their strongly intuitive nature with their extroverted thinking often make good decisions that lead to positive outcomes, but not all ENTPs are able to successfully incorporate an understanding of the human personal element in their decision-making process. Some ENTPs may become isolated from others and from their own internal feelings, and ENTPs may also struggle with taking care of small details.
ENTP Cognitive Functions (Functional Stack)
Each of the 16 personality types has four cognitive functions, as introduced by Carl Jung. These functions are the two scales of Sensing-Intuition (used to process information) and Thinking-Feeling (used to make decisions), each of which can be expressed both in an extraverted manner (e.g., displayed outwardly/externally) or an introverted manner (e.g., displayed inwardly or internally). The ENTP has a ‘Ne, Ti, Fe, Si” cognitive stack. However, the Debater personality type is classified as “NeTi” due to their top two functions. This cognitive stacks means that:
- Dominant: Ne (external iNtuition) is an ENTPs core function. It means that they use it to find patterns and underlying principles, to see future possibilities, to construct theories and frameworks, and to form connections. This function can make ENTPs seem like they have their head in the clouds of like they’re a little crazy!
- Auxiliary: Ti (internal Thinking) is what fuels the ENTPs drive for knowledge and general focus on intellectual pursuits. It helps the ENTP by doing the analysis on the ideas that their Ne stack appears to pluck out of thin air!
- Tertiary: Fe (external Feeling) allows ENTPs to have a humanitarian size. It makes them more expressive and skilled conversationalists and aids them in their ability to use their intelligence to solve creative problems.
- Inferior: Si (internal Sensing) is the ENTPs last function, which means it is not as strong as the others. This function allows ENTPs to store interesting facts and knowledge in their brain so that they can use it for future reference!
ENTPs and Work/Career
The ENTP personality type is sometimes called the ‘lawyer’ personality type. Work as an attorney is an ideal job for Debaters, who love to argue what is right. Work in human resources, in public relations, as an executive can also be rewarding for ENTPs. ENTPs generally tend to do worse in highly-detail oriented positions that don’t involve a lot of room for intuition, including work as factory supervisor or in the medical field, such as a dentist or nurse aid.
Check out our comprehensive page on ENTP careers to see more job titles specific to ENTPs.
The Debater personality type is one of the rarer types, making up only 3% of the population. Some famous ENTPs include:
- Lewis Carroll
- Alfred Hitchcock
- Steve Jobs
- Benjamin Franklin
- Tom Hanks
- Barack Obama
- Walt Disney
- Nikola Tesla
- Leonardo Da Vinci
- John Adams
- Stand-up comedy
- Having fun with improv acting
- Some sort of trolling on the Internet
- Networking for fun and for the sake of it
- Looking for new inspiration for their many projects
“People of accomplishment rarely sit back and let things happen to them. They go out in the world and happen to things.”
– Leonardo da Vinci
“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”
– Bertrand Russell
“[For me] freedom of speech reigns just below the right to sustain life itself.”
– Rowan Atkinson
“It’s hard to put me in a box…I am so many things.”
– Salma Hayek
“[I have an urge] to explore, to create movement, to go faster and faster, and maybe find some kind of peace at the heart of it, a state of pure being.”
– Martin Scorsese
ENTP-A Versus ENTP-T
Those who score as an ENTP will sit somewhere on the identity scale, ranging from assertive (A) to turbulent (T). The ENTP-A tends to highlight the absolute best strengths from this type. They are a confident “go getter” who is keen to tackle new challenges and take calculated risks.
On the other end of the scale, the ENTP-T can have a hard time managing stress. Unlike their assertive cousins, they are more reactive to criticism and when the going gets tough, their lack of self-confidence may mean they don’t push on.
ENTP vs. Similar Personality Types
The INTP sifts through incoming information and analyzes it before accepting it, rather than accepting all information readily and then analyzing it, as ENTPs would. ENTPs lead with Extraverted Intuition (Ne), which can appear frenzied and almost crazy to onlookers—but they are masters of synthesizing seemingly unrelated subjects.
The ESTP focuses on how progress can be made in the physical world: perfecting their body, stamina, power, and resistance, as they lead with Extraverted Sensing (Se). ENTPs focus more on how progress can be made to influence people through their tertiary Extraverted Feeling (Fe), in combination with their secondary Introverted Thinking (Ti).
The ENFP wants to ideate to understand their personal feelings through connecting with other people, rather than to ideate to understand the underlying principles of the world, as ENTPs do.
The ENTJ pushes their mental capabilities and values hard work in itself to reach greater heights. ENTPs are far more chaotic and search for loopholes or shortcuts to get to the same destination if possible (which can cause tensions between the two personality types!).
The Career Project can help you find rewarding work that is well suited to your interests, talents and skills. Browse our career guides t0 learn about different career options. Or, check out our job profiles, which are informational interviews with real-world professionals sharing their “inside scoop” on what their job is really like.
To learn more about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, read our first post in this series.