ENFJ Development
The Unique Growth Path of the ENFJ

This section ENFJ Development is about the unique developmental path of the ENFJ personality from birth to midlife. While an individual’s personality development is unique, personality type provides a good general framework for you.

To understand the ENFJ’s development, we have to understand the hierarchy of mental functions for the ENFJ. The hierarchy of mental functions for the ENFJ is about which mental function (Sensing, Intuiting, Thinking or Feeling) the ENFJ is most comfortable with using and which they are least comfortable in using.

Without going too much into Type dynamics, let’s look at the ENFJ’s hierarchy of mental functions:

The ENFJ is most comfortable with the Dominant Function Extraverted Feeling and least comfortable with the Inferior Function Introverted Thinking.  

From Childhood to Puberty:
Development of Extraverted Feeling

As children, the ENFJ will develop the Extraverted Feeling function. They deeply seek harmony and approval from their parents and will go all out of the way to please them.

They are highly sensitive to the social climate wherever they are, and will be deeply affected if there is rejection or disapproval. They are caring and compassionate children who have a heart for those around them.

If they have not properly developed this function in their youth, they may grow up to make erratic decisions or accept the judgments of others too easily.

From Puberty to about Age 30:
Development of Introverted Intuition

During puberty, the ENFJ will start developing the auxiliary function, Introverted Intuition. They will start developing a capacity for imagination and projecting future events.

They will likely display great creativity in their work as well and show quickness of understanding. They may develop ‘crushes’ in their relationships, finding someone to invest themselves emotionally in.

If they have not been allowed to develop this function, they may grow up to become judgmental; not seeing possibilities but making stubborn decisions without sufficient information.

Areas for ENFJ Development

Assuming an environment is supportive to their development, most ENFJs would have developed Extraverted Feeling and Introverted Intuition by 20 years old or so.

Their areas of improvement will most likely come from the underdeveloped sides of Extraverted Sensing and Introverted Thinking. Below are some suggestions for improvement:

  • Ask for more information before coming to a conclusion
  • Resist the urge to micromanage
  • Learn to be patient with policies and procedures
  • Break your big ideas down to specific tangible steps
  • Learn to give negative feedback constructively

From Age 30 to Midlife:
Development of Extraverted Sensing

If those functions are not developed by the age of 30, the ENFJ will feel the tension to continue growing, firstly to start developing the tertiary function Extraverted Sensing.

ENFJs may start noticing details that they’ve not noticed before; they will start having an appreciation of details of the natural world: the rustling of leaves on the trees, the gentle trickle of a drizzle and the soft caress of a breeze. They may start observing details about people’s dressing and mannerisms that they’ve never noticed before as well.

The ENFJ can further develop the Extraverted Sensing function through these simple exercises:

  • Pick up a new skill or sport which requires full total present focus and attention.

  • Eat a food leisurely, fully appreciating its texture, its flavour, its smell. There is no need to describe it, but pay attention to it.

  • Purchase something you like (not too expensive!) without thinking about what you need it for or where will you place it. Let yourself enjoy having it before keeping it or giving it away.

From Midlife onward:
Development of Introverted Thinking

From midlife onward, the ENFJ’s focus turns toward the inferior function, Introverted Thinking. The underdeveloped Introverted Thinking of ESFJs comes out in a childish way when under stress, leading them to be critical of themselves or even sarcastic in their language.

But in midlife, there is an unconscious shift and desire to develop that inferior function in order to achieve wholeness and continual growth. It is an uncomfortable but necessary transition.

Here are some simple exercises to consciously develop the Introverted Thinking function:

  • Pick up a game that requires strategic thinking like chess, card games or computer games. Learn to make better decisions as you progress in the game.

  • Use cost-benefit analysis to make decisions. Consider pros and cons of each using a list. What are the consequences of each decision?

  • Study a controversial subject. Study notes, read up for more information while suspending any judgment. Look at both sides of the argument and notice its merits.

Conclusion

The developmental paths of individuals are unique depending on the environment, culture and social norms they were brought up in.

Some cultures value certain personality traits more than others, affecting the personality development of an individual.  Lastly, it is good to remember that no two people need to develop the same way, and hence only some of the above may apply to you.

This page only serves as a general guide for anyone using it as a reference. If you like to learn more about your unique developmental path, please contact me.



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