What Your Enneagram Type Says About Your Leadership Style

The Enneagram personality test is a transformative tool. While many assessments help people understand their strengths, the Enneagram takes it a step further. It’s a map of the human psyche, providing a deep understanding of human behavior.
The Enneagram is a system of nine personality types, showing the interactions among each type. Although we all have the nine types within us, one is most dominant, and with it comes its own set of unique gifts and challenges.
By understanding your type, you can get let go of habitual patterns and open up to your own inherent gifts. As you become more aware of your type, you can move up the levels of growth and ultimately lead from your best self. You understand your reactions, preferences, and how you show up for your team.
With this level of self-awareness, we can be free of the patterns that hold us back and develop an understanding of those with whom we interact.

Type 1: The Reformer

Type 1 leaders get the job done, allowing little to no room for error. Trusting that others can carry out tasks to meet their standards is challenging, which results in difficulty delegating. As you become more aware of this pattern, mentor others. Trust their abilities, and value their input, relieving yourself of the burden of doing it all yourself.

Type 2: The Helper

Type 2 leaders can get caught in their need to be seen as helpful. Their “people-pleasing” behaviors such as flattery and being overly generous can often get in the way of them taking a firm stand when it’s needed. To be an effective and truly selfless leader, let go of the need to take care of everyone else, and make your own needs an equal priority.

Type 3: The Achiever

When Type 3 leaders aren’t aware of their personality type, they live and lead in reaction to an unconscious belief that they are worthless. Thus, they are always trying to prove themselves. They strive for validation by overachieving, often becoming outstanding in their fields, yet frequently at the expense of their personal relationships and emotions.

Get in touch with yourself, and accept that your value comes from who you are and not what you do. You can be an authentic and inspiring leader without needing to be the “shining star.” Relax into a more motivational role, so you can benefit the team and the organization.

Type 4: The Individualist

Type 4 leaders often struggle with fitting in — with their families, organizations, or society at large — believing they are somehow flawed. To compensate for this, they set themselves apart by identifying themselves as “special” or “unique.”

To be an effective leader, you must let go of your story and step into a sense of belonging to your team and organization. As you do so, bring your gift of creativity forth, making you an intuitive and gifted leader.

Type 5: The Investigator

Type 5 leaders often appear detached from the team, however, they’re actually observing every detail. They have an unconscious fear of being inadequate or unable to function in the world. They are extremely intelligent. They become experts in one area and connect to the group using this expertise, resulting in confidence. Use your clarity as a strength and let it benefit those around you.

Type 6: The Loyalist

Loyalists are the glue that holds the team together. They’re excellent troubleshooters and have a plan for every possible worst-case scenario. This comes from a lack of trust that they are supported in return. At their best, loyalists let go of their skepticism and lead from a place of trust. It allows them to shine in their ability to pay attention to the details that need to be addressed in order for the team to be successful. They are natural leaders; however, they don’t want all of the credit.

Type 7: The Enthusiast

Type 7 leaders are visionaries, endlessly generating new ideas. They have an insatiable appetite for new experiences and a fear of missing out on them. Thus, they pursue many activities and experiences with abandon. Their challenge is carrying their brilliant ideas to fruition, as they’re easily distracted by the next great project. Become aware of this, and prioritize and focus your efforts. You’ll step into your true gift of delivering a brilliant vision for your team and organization.

Type 8: The Challenger

Type 8 leaders can engage in bullying when they feel their sense of control is threatened. They may become willful, vengeful or demanding. But when they can relax knowing their control is not being threatened, they’re able to connect through their heart and vulnerability. At their best, Type 8s are strong leaders with magnanimous hearts.

Type 9: The Peacemaker

Type 9 leaders, generally easygoing and kind, have an unconscious need for peace and harmony, which can result in them overlooking problems that impact the organization. They have a tendency to withdraw and disengage. When they are unaware of these tendencies within themselves, their teams become frustrated with their inability to step in and take a stand.

Type 9s shine as leaders when they can maintain their serene nature while also engaging in and dealing with the reality of what the team is facing. At their best, they lead with a peaceful and grounded style.

When used correctly, the Enneagram personality test is a powerful tool for self-awareness. With compassion for ourselves and others, we can use it to live a more authentic and peaceful life at home and at work.

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Catherine Hayes

Certified Professional Leadership Coach, Enneagram expert, facilitator, speaker and certified Leadership Circle™ Practitioner.

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