The analyst Carl Jung believed that personality type is determined by how people feel and sense the world around them. According to Jungian theory, people with authoritative tendencies belong to the ISTJ, or Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging, personality type, as defined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. ISTJ personalities are driven by a deep need for security. They are conventional, respect tradition and tend to take a black-and-white view of the world. People with this personality type sometimes have a negative reputation because they are perceived as being too rigid and as lacking empathy toward others but, on the plus side, they are hardworking and trustworthy, and care deeply about those they love.

Observe people's workplace habits and behavior toward those who work for them. Authoritarian personalities work tirelessly to achieve deadlines, have an unquestioning respect for company policies and objectives and expect the same level of hard work and discipline from others. Authoritarian personalities in management positions tend to reward workers who follow the rules and can become so focused on meeting deadlines that they fail to take account of the needs and problems of those beneath them. They take a practical approach toward tasks because they have difficulty understanding abstract or creative concepts and may be suspicious of people who think unconventionally.

Study how someone interacts with friends and family. Authoritarian personalities are not naturally attuned to their own feelings or those of others. They have difficulty expressing affection, although they care deeply about those close to them and are extremely loyal toward friends and family. An authoritarian father, for example, may lay down strict rules and regulations for his children, while being a good provider and a responsible, caring parent. Friends and family members who have this personality type tend to express their affection through actions rather than words.

Engage someone you suspect has authoritarian personality in conversation. You can pick up a lot about someone's personality by what they say in everyday conversation. Look for clues that reveal respect for authority, a need for routine and a practical, logical worldview. Someone who says, for example, that he takes his clothes to the dry cleaner every Friday night and expresses suspicion of outlandish, fanciful theories might well have an authoritarian personality.