Thomas Shelby Personality Profile

Thomas Shelby From The Peaky Blinders TV Show

Today we are going to demonstrate the result of profiling someone. We will be using scientific principles, studies, and more to get inside his head. Pay attention to how we do this so you can use the same steps to profile people in your own life.

If you are curious about becoming better at profiling, read our article about people’s values and how to figure out what people want.

You might also check out the Big 5 personality system. It is the most scientifically supported way to profile people’s personalities.

Understanding these two pieces of science will get you 80% of the way there to personality profiling people for strategic, persuasive, influence, or manipulative purposes.


Tommy Shelby is characterized most strongly by his disagreeableness and conscientiousness. This drives the things he values and the actions he takes. He wants power and achievement and self direction.

He also is heavily effected by the environment he finds himself in which is fairly cutthroat and brutal. The quote by Hobbes comes to mind that “life is Solitary, poor, nasty brutish and short.”

Keep in mind that this is a fictional character so our analysis will only be as good as the actor and script’s ability to constantly depict a real life person’s personality and behavior. We are also limited by the fact that we are analyzing what we see, not analyzing a scientific test or psychological therapy conversation.

What Personality Type Is Thomas Shelby?

Myers Briggs:

INTJ vs ENTJ. Tommy Shelby is a strong INTJ. He shows very few of the extroversion markers. As you will see in more detail in the big 5 extroversion analysis below, the only marker he shows that would make him extroverted at all is his assertiveness.

Big 5 Personality:

Openness: 55% (open) Openness is the most difficult trait to nail down for Tommy Shelby. He doesn’t seem high on imagination, artistic appreciation, or attentiveness to inner feelings.

Arguably his life does give him a higher level of stimulation and variety. He is very intelligent and likes to think and strategize. This raises his openness score a bit.

It is tough to know for sure how deep or philosophical he is which is a large facet of openness.

Conscientiousness: 80% (conscientious) Tommy shows almost all of the markers of conscientiousness. He is efficient, organized, dutiful, careful and thorough, and is achievement oriented. However, he does engage in antisocial/criminal behavior which lowers his conscientiousness score.

Extroversion: 35% (introvert) Tommy is not talkative or gregarious or enthusiastic. This is the main reason he is low in introversion. He is definitely assertive which raises his extroversion score up a little.

Agreeableness: 10% (disagreeable) He is regularly selfish, non compliant or cooperative, aggressive, and manipulative. This makes him low on agreeableness. While he is generally modest, it is the only agreeable trait you could argue that he has.

Neuroticism: 35% (low neurotic) Tommy has wartime PTSD style flashbacks. Some say he appears slightly depressed. But neither of these things allow us to conclusively conclude that he is neurotic. We do know he seems to keep his calm in tense situations though which means he is lower in neuroticism.

While neuroticism does predispose people to PTSD, the fact that Tommy has PTSD doesn’t mean we can conclude that he is neurotic. That would be a false inference.

Additionally he doesn’t display high levels of the typical neurotic traits like jealousy, anxiety, stressful, or large amounts of guilt prone behavior.

Tommy Shelby Schwartz Value Analysis:

Mr Shelby’s values are strongly on one side of the value graph. He tends to value Achievement, Power, Self Direction, and Stimulation. This means he is likely to value many of the following things.

Self Direction: freedom, independent, curious, creative, own goals, privacy, self respect.

Stimulation: daring, varied life, excitement.

Hedonism: enjoying life, pleasure, self indulgent (he doesn’t clearly match as many of these markers)

Achievement: intelligence, influence, success, ambition, capability.

Power: social recognition, wealth, authority, social power, public image.

Because of the way these values work in our brains/personality, he will tend to be lower on things like a need for security, conformity, tradition benevolence (helpful and forgiving), and universalism (peaceful, harmony, equality).

Thomas Shelby Personality Analysis:

Character Analysis:

While this character did grow up in a environment where manipulation, strategy, and aggression were emphasized over love, cooperation, and empathy, we can’t help but to think Tommy would have followed a similar life pattern regardless of where he grew up. While he probably wouldn’t have become a criminal with a different upbringing, he would have still been likely to manipulate and seek power through things like business and social dominance.

Thomas Shelby Psychoanalysis:

Social Behavior:

Tommy tends to be an introvert, so his behavior in social situations is often focused and intent driven. He isn’t just going to talk for the fun of it. He does display a vulnerability when it comes to some women.

Stress/Anxiety/Sadness Behaviors:

He is prone to angry behavior though he often strategizes the aggression before using it.

Does he have depression?

It is unlikely that Tommy Shelby has depression in any extreme amount. People who have serious depression have a difficult time doing simple things like getting out of bed and often struggle with severe suicidal tendencies. In some cases you can hear their markers of their depression as they speak. None of this is prevalent in Mr Shelby.

Does he have PTSD?

If he does have an issue it would be PTSD and ASPD. PTSD is a disorder that happens when people experience traumatic events like war. It stands for post traumatic stress disorder. We see many shots of him experiencing war traumas. Just think of the flashbacks where he is digging and is attacked by enemy soldiers.

Does he have ASPD?

He also shows signs of ASPD or anti social personality disorder. He doesn’t seem to put much stock in right and wrong, and generally has a callous and cynical demeanor. He does frequently manipulate everyone around him and show low empathy or lack of remorse about harming other people.

That being said he isn’t very impulsive or irritable or unnecessarily risky. He is very responsible. These things weigh against an ASPD diagnosis. I would however, rate him right on the edge, though a true diagnosis is impossible given our circumstances.

So How Would You Go About Getting A Personality Type Like Thomas Shelby?

The sad truth is that personality is something you are born with and it doesn’t change much over the course of your adult life. If you are past your mid 20’s it is likely that your personality isn’t going to change significantly.

That being said, people tend to have higher levels of conscientiousness higher levels of agreeableness, and lower neuroticism as they age.

You can however find ways to emphasize certain traits and deemphasize others. The best way to do this is to deeply understand yourself. By doing this you can understand your automatic tendencies and you can strategize ways to bring out the traits you want to see in yourself.

For example, if you are more introverted and have some social anxiety, try using exposure therapy to lessen the anxiety you feel in new social situations. Try making yourself do one more social act every day. This exposure therapy can help you emphasize the traits of yours that aren’t as similar to Mr Shelby.

Thomas Shelby Weaknesses:

One of his chief weaknesses is women. We see this in the beginning of the show with the barmaid that spies on his operation.

You can also speculate that his disagreeable personality will eventually cause a bit of a rift between the family and Thomas. We see this in various parts of the show as he seems to be more selfish and uncaring and it irritates and frustrates people and causes some rebellious behavior (Michael).

Thomas Shelby Strengths:

Tommy’s strengths include his intelligence and sticktuitiveness. He sets goals, creates strategies, and manipulates those that stand in his way. While most strengths can be turned in to weaknesses at the hand of a skillful manipulator, these traits prove quite useful to him.

How To Persuade Tommy Shelby:

Tommy is best persuaded by answering the question WIIFM, or what is in it for me. You would show him how your plan would increase values that he has like power, social prowess, and self direction. See this article if you want to learn the importance of WIIFM. You can also show him how doing what you want would keep him from losing power.

How To Manipulate And Attack Tommy Shelby:

When you manipulate someone you use their typical behaviors to accomplish what you want. Tommy has a few behaviors that are consistent. We know he is manipulative and not willing to be subservient to other people. This means it is inevitable that he will rebel and go his own way.

To weaken his power you would first want to isolate him from his power source, those that follow and listen to his command. To do this, simply point out how Tommy’s behavior is self serving. Drive a wedge here by pointing it out before acts that way. You could also point out how he is manipulative.

If you can get people to believe Tommy is selfish and manipulative in a way that doesn’t benefit them, why would they follow him? Try to show how Thomas’ desires and actions hurt what other people want. By isolating him from his power base, you weaken him.

There are more ways to manipulate and attack Mr Shelby but we won’t list them here. See our other articles about psychological profiling that are coming soon.


If you needed to get him to respect you, you would simply challenge him and either put up a strong fight or win. It would be best to attack him in an area where he will care enough to pay attention but not enough to turn his whole attention to you and crush you. You could use simple tricks like disagreeing with him but you’d better have a logically better plan. Ultimately getting respect is very similar for all people. Simply beat the person in an area they value. Out strategize, out manipulate, or out earn him and he will likely respect you.


Mr Shelby is a criminal so much of his behavior is subject to blackmail if you are able to prove that he acted in a certain way.

Internet Information Analysis:

Thomas Shelby is a fictional character so there isn’t much dirt or information on the internet about him that isn’t already present in the show.

Where Do I Watch This Show?

You can catch Tommy Shelby here.

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