Today marks the continuation of our Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® Celebrity blog series. Previously we had featured Muhammad Ali and his MBTI® INFJ personality type preference. This week we focus on the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, and his personality type.
Unlike our previous blogs, there has been serious discussion pertaining to the perceived MBTI personality type of Barack Obama. The most popular belief is that Barack Obama has an ENFJ personality type. A less popular, but credible case can also be made for Barack Obama having an MBTI ENTP personality type. Today we will discuss the two most likely preferences.
It is important to remember that when discussing celebrities and type you must take into consideration two important factors. First, the MBTI test measures an individual’s inherent preferred method of being. Politicians are the highest levels tend to develop their tertiary and inferior functions in order to appeal to a broad demographic of voters. For example, an individual that tends to extravert Thinking might work hard on developing his Feeling function so that he can come off as more compassionate when dealing with the public. The second thing to consider is that politicians are often pressured to strictly follow the viewpoints of their political party which may potentially go against what their natural way of being tells them to do. It is completely realistic to expect for us, as outsiders, to misread the true natural preference of an individual like President Barack Obama and have disagreements on his MBTI personality type.
Examining available information on President Obama we can narrow his most likely MBTI personality types to the ENFJ and ENTP types. The ENFJ personality type can be described as a decisive extravert that is an action-oriented innovator who focuses on value based decision making and is often labeled an “idealist.” The ENTP personality type can be described as an adaptive extravert that is an action-oriented innovator who focuses on adaptable problem solving and is often labeled as a “rationalist.”
Barack Obama comes off as extremely charismatic. His message of helping the middle class and those in need comes off matching the warm, compassionate, and supportive nature of the ENFJ. It would also make sense that it is easy to label Barack Obama as an ENFJ as descriptors of the type include a preference for being inspiring leaders who are socially adept, but it is important to not have tunnel vision when it comes to identifying type. ENFJ’s are also known to be sensitive facilitators that are especially sensitive to criticism or tension. A natural ENFJ would have trouble dealing with the uphill battle of coming up in a political world dominated by Caucasians where the idea of the Leader of the United States being of African American descent was not universally accepted at the time of his rise to power. ENFJs also tend to make decisions based primarily on personal values. Barack Obama showed his ability to prioritize logic over personal values when he admitted that in 2004 he opposed same-sex marriage for “strategic” reasons, only to make his personal values clear in 2012 with his support for legalization of same-sex marriage. Whether this is a sign of a versatile ENFJ or a natural ENTP is open to interpretation.
Comparing Barack Obama to the less popular identification of ENTP brings up very interesting points that should not be overlooked. ENTPs extravert their Intuitive preference and introvert their Thinking preference as their auxiliary function. They are known as being extremely adaptable and enjoy exercising ingenuity in the world. While some individuals point to the ENFJs charisma, others can point to an ENTPs mental quickness and verbal sparring competency as strong matches for Barack Obama style. His ability to dominate opponents during debates on a grand scale is a better fit for an ENTP then an ENFJ. Another big difference between ENFJs and ENTPs is that ENTPs like to think big and like to approach challenging problems with global and large scale solutions. Barack Obama’s entire campaign message was based around “hope” and “change”. What many now call “Obamacare” is a perfect example of a large scale vision for the future of healthcare. An individual with an FJ preference would have a much harder time being effective in the brutal world of political debate, and the broad and overarching ideals of “Obamacare” would be harder for them to embrace.
One final thing to consider is the fact that it is very possible that President Obama has had plenty of opportunity during his life to develop his less preferred MBTI modes. It is completely possible that even if he is a natural ENTP, he might have forced himself to develop his less preferred Feeling mode in order to come off more personable to the public. It is also possible that if he is a natural ENFJ then his educational experience through Harvard Law could have helped him develop his Thinking mode.
Based on observations it seems more likely like President Barack Obama has a natural preference for ENTP who developed his Feeling mode to levels that could potentially appear to be dominant. It is plausible that an individual with the Intellectual and personal development of President Obama to have developed their less preferred modes to uncanny levels.
It’s difficult to be 100% sure of the MBTI personality type of President Barack Obama. The ENTP personality type seems like the better fit after prolonged evaluation, but individuals that believe that he is an ENFJ have a strong case as well. Now if only we could get President Obama to sit down and take the Myers-Briggs® test online to put the discussion to rest.
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Introduction to Type (Isabel Briggs Myers, 1998, CPP Inc.)