In the sweeping story of Naruto, the protagonist Naruto Uzumaki meets dozens of colorful characters, with some being friends and others foes. While ninjas are meant to suppress their emotions and individuality for the sake of a mission, these characters are anything but interchangeable tools of war. They have totally unique personalities that can be expressed with the MBTI system.
One particular example is the lazy but brilliant Shikamaru Nara, the core of Team 10 in the Hidden Leaf Village. Shikamaru’s humble personality is often at odds with the rigorous demands of his ninja career, and at times, he must act against his own interests. He’s gotten used to it though, and he has blended his true nature with his duty to create a cohesive personality that can only be described as the Commander type.
Shikamaru Nara’s Personality Type: ENTJ, The Commander
ENTJ, or the Commander, is one of the rarest but also one of the most impressive of the 16 personality types found within the Myers-Briggs system. This personality type’s code is Extroverted Intuitive Thinking Judging — all the right ingredients to create a bold, visionary leader who can unite a team to accomplish any mission, no matter the odds. With the ENTJ letters, this personality type has traits in common with INTJ and ESTJ, although ENTJ offers unique strengths that those other types lack.
Like the INTJ Architect type, the ENTJ Commander type is all about careful planning, creative strategizing, strong organizational skills and a resourceful mindset, though ENTJs are much better at leadership roles than the reclusive INTJ type. The ENTJ Commander type also shares the ESTJ Executive type’s natural affinity for discipline and leadership, except that the Commander is more flexible and better at spotting patterns in their surroundings, figuring out complex theories with that information. In short, Commanders can dream up a complex plan, break it down into simple steps for the team, then lead that team to victory at any cost. Commanders can also inspire the team with their ruthless determination, practical planning skills and ability to capitalize on their allies’ strengths.
ENTJs have many advantages, ranging from their boundless self-confidence to their enthusiasm, radiant charisma and talent for advanced strategizing. Alone, a Commander can analyze any situation and brainstorm the perfect plan of action, then boldly lead a team of trusted allies to get the job done. On the downside, they are stubbornly persistent on doing things their own way and may resist the influence of others. They can also be annoyingly arrogant or smug, especially when things do go their way, which other personality types may find unappealing. Some Commanders might also fail to take other people’s emotional states into account, which can destabilize a team under the surface or cost the ENTJ potential allies.
Shikamaru Nara As A Commander In Naruto
What’s so peculiar about Shikamaru is that while he embodies the ENTJ type as a whole, it’s not his only personality. In a way, his Commander nature is more like a mode that he can switch on and off, expressing his ENTJ side in battle while acting more like other personality types outside of combat. On his days off, Shikamaru is actually somewhat introverted and lazy, which runs counter to the ENTJ’s expressive and efficient nature. This was especially the case at first, but over time, Shikamaru learned to embrace his duty and allow his ENTJ side to finally shine through. He wasn’t born a natural Commander — he had to build himself up as one.
Shikamaru’s Commander side showed itself in countless games of shogi with Asuma Sarutobi, with Shikamaru displaying ENTJ-style brilliance in that board game, similar to the INTJ type. Both types excel at strategies and patterns, and unlike an INTJ, the ENTJ Shikamaru can lead a whole team with these strategies and put all of his trusted allies to good use. One early example was when Shikamaru accepted a mission from Tsunade the Hokage to lead a team to retrieve Sasuke, with Shikamaru being free to improvise his own strategies in the mission with minimal oversight. Shikamaru quickly put his teammates and their unique talents to good use as a true Commander, and he did the same in Naruto Shippuden when he led the counterattack against the immortal cultist Hidan and his bizarre teammate Kakuzu.
Time and again, Shikamaru has carefully analyzed his opponents’ jutsu and even their personalities to formulated the perfect plan for success, all while sharing these plans with teammates and coordinating their efforts in battle as a true ENTJ. As a naturally lazy and carefree person, Shikamaru doesn’t always identify strongly with his Commander side, but he has gotten used to it, and as a true Commander, he is practical enough to understand his duty and take it seriously for the sake of a mission. And of course, Shikamaru strongly believes in the power of friendship and the Leaf Village’s patented Will of Fire, mirroring the confident enthusiasm and group-oriented nature of the ENTJ type.