So much has been written about whether opposites attract or difference is the key but in real life it is all about understanding the differences, accommodating and managing them. This section will help you see where the potential for conflict exists between personality types and help you manage it.
The ENTJ is the master of change, the big picture conceptualist who loves the new and the challenging who devise the long range plan then relentlessly drive it towards conclusion. Confident and authoritative the ENTJ will take the lead rarely hesitating and with a directness that can often leave others reeling in their wake having no time for anything seen as woolly or obstructive.
ISFJs are quiet, and often understated people-centric doers. Conscientious and hardworking, they are loyal and dedicated to people and organisations, and they take their responsibilities very seriously. They have an incredible store of knowledge and superb memory used to support people and solve problems. Shunning the limelight the ISFJ is often the one who quietly make it all happen.
There is no perfect type and in the same way there are no perfect matches. We can all learn to adapt and modify our behaviour if we choose and this section is therefore not designed to suggest particular specific matches but to demonstrate areas of similarity and difference so that a true understanding can happen and thus reduce the risk of misunderstandings.
Being around them
The ENTJ will be assertive, energetic and will love a robust debate, as this is their method of conversation. Because they are so confident and outspoken they may inadvertently upset people with their directness.
ISFJs are deep and caring with strong values and these will be held privately until the ISFJ allows people in. What others will perceive is a helpful, supportive, patient and detailed individual who is under the radar. The ISFJ is sociable but doesn’t like the spontaneity of crowds.
Dealing with emotions
The ENTJ doesn’t really understand emotions, preferring to deal with issues as problems, or concepts and certainly trying to appeal to their emotional side will not be the best way to resolve issues.
The ISFJ is an emotional type, but may struggle at times to deal with these, as they are so private and reflective. It may be possible to deeply offend an ISFJ and not realise it, so private are they.
Openness and sharing feelings
The ENTJ shares their thoughts easily but is not really an emotional person. They are open and assertive and everyone will be clear where they stand but this will probably remain at a cerebral level.
Once allowed close the ISFJ will open up but it will take time and they are not naturally forthcoming. This may mean it emerges in small chunks, often off the back of other conversations.
Drivers and values
As an ENTJ is primarily concerned with making things happen they may not realise that other people may take a little longer to understand or may not be as forthcoming or direct and assume silence is agreement.
ISFJs have a strong sense of what is right and wrong and will tend to do what they believe is right, even at the expense of themselves. They really do want to support, care and are generous with their time.
Some people seek harmony, some see conflict as simply robust discussions, some people are emotional, some more factual. So there is no right or wrong about this and what we are trying to do is help two different people each understand how the other might deal with conflict and what it will mean for the relationship.
Initial response to conflict situations
The ENTJ likes conflict as a means to discuss and inform and get things done. They enjoy a good argument and will be robust and strident in their views and will forget conflict as quickly as they enter into it.
The ISFJ will initially close down on conflict as they prefer harmony and indeed will work hard at creating that. Indeed the ISFJ will be a superb diffuser of conflict but they themselves do not enjoy it.
Issues they'll fight on
The ENTJ does not like anything preventing progress and they will make their views known on that directly and clearly. Their whole purpose is to make change happen and they do not like a slow pace.
ISFJs are often called ‘the defender’ and this is because they will stand up for what is right and the rights of others. So whilst they may shun conflict personally, they will fight for other people.
Conflict style / communication
The ENTJ is extremely direct, at times bone-jarringly so and they may therefore not pick up on sensitivities, especially around the fact that other people may not enjoy conflict and some may even fear it.
Naturally more quiet and low key, the ISFJ will be conciliatory and seek consensus preferring to see good in people and they will look to get to a resolution that makes everyone happy.
How they feel after
The ENTJ will often think they have had a gentle discussion whilst the other person feels they have been in battle. Arguments are the way of getting clarity to the ENTJ and once it’s over, it is completely forgotten.
Altercations and over interaction in general sucks the energy of the ISFJ and so they will need some private ‘me’ time to recharge their batteries and build up their energy levels.
We all bring something different to the team and we all agree that difference and balance are good things. However when someone is different from us we might not understand them so well so in this section we allow you to compare the differences at work, how these might manifest themselves and how best to manage them.
Contribution to the team
The ENTJ is the leader: impatient, driven and with a strong desire to agree the strategy then drive relentlessly for closure. They will be superb at preventing complacency and giving pace to the team.
The ISFJ will bring order, clarity, organisation and planning. Although not the most vocal member of the team, the ISFJ will make sure the team moves towards a 'known' conclusion in a planned way.
If the ENTJ is not the elected leader they will still assume leadership, as their nature is to change things and make it happen now. At the centre of what’s happening and will relentlessly ensure a focus on goals.
ISFJs are more of the behind the scenes operators rather than being a charismatic leader. Yet their incredible memory, their caring and practical nature and planning ability make them good team leaders.
Managing an ENTJ is about providing the right conditions to let them lead, whether people or a project or a task, to allow them the authority to do and occasionally pull them back to ensure people are with them.
Ironically, because they prove over and over that they can be relied on for their loyalty, attention to detail and high-quality work they can be taken for granted. Give them clarity and trust, they will deliver.
Attention to detail / focus
The ENTJ loves a goal, something to run at and they will excel at making sure other people are just as enthused and understand the need to get on and drive for closure. They will focus the team clearly and often.
The ISFJ is painstaking, orderly, conscientious and anxious with a superb capacity for follow-through although they have a tendency to worry about the smaller things and a reluctance to ‘let go.’
The ENTJ loves the complex and the big picture. They strategise and consider but once they are clear it is all about getting to the end as quickly as possible and when the plan is agreed - no more thinking.
ISFJs have a great memory for facts and superb attention to detail. They will be more factual and practical than overtly creative, motivated by an internal anxiety to ensure the team doesn’t fail.