The 9 Enneagram Personality Types at Work

“To see ourselves as others see us is a most salutary gift.

–Aldous Huxley

Each of the nine Enneastyles is rooted in a specific viewpoint or belief structure that largely determines what is important to you and how you interact with the world to fulfill your hopes and dreams. Naturally you interpret other people’s behaviors through your own lens of looking at things. Your stance becomes your baseline. Working from the strengths of your type brings forth transformation and enhanced communication skills.

The Enneagram describes nine basic worldviews and nine different ways of doing business in the world. The description of the nine distinct personality types each reflects a different pattern of thought, feeling and action with their own natural gifts, limitations and blind spots. Aldous Huxley said, “To see ourselves as others see us is a most salutary gift. Hardly less important is the capacity to see others as they see themselves.”

The Enneagram divides the nine types into three groups. In the three triads, each type is different in important ways:

  • Heart Center or The Feeling Group (Two, Three and Four) are concerned with people and are sometimes called the image or vanity points.
  • Head Center or The Mental Group (Five, Six and Seven) put their trust in ideas (idea is Greek “to see”). They are the visual people who like to analyze. Fear is their central concern.
  • Gut/Belly Center or The Sensing/Action Group (Eight, Nine and One) has central issues of will. They ask, “Whose will is more powerful, yours or mine?”  Each has a characteristic issue around anger. They make decisions based on how it was done before.

Below is a brief synopsis of the nine personality types:

2  The Helper; Supporter; Lover; Giver; Pleaser; Enabler; Mentor:

The Two is feeling-based with an emphasis on relationship and empathy. They will go the extra mile to please others at the cost of taking care of self. Their own needs can become sublimated or expressed indirectly. They are considered the classic co-dependent personality. When their generosity is taken for granted they could become demanding, and tend to have a pattern of unavailability. They are heart-centered with an emphasis on feeling worth by loving others. “I give myself away to get love.”  They need to be needed.

People: Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert Schweitzer, Mother Theresa (redeemed), Arsenio Hall, John Denver

“People depend on my help. I am needed.”

3  The Achiever; Performer; Motivator; Communicator; Manifestor; Star:

The Three is feeling-based with an emphasis on success and achievement. They enjoy working hard, being successful and producing what is expected of them. They work hard to embody the definition of high accomplishment that is held in esteem by their cultural milieu. They have a tendency to lose touch with their authentic inner selves. They like to remain connected to what makes them worthy of being loved. They are image-conscious with a desire to feel worthwhile and accepted. Being performers, they can get addicted to performing. They are heart-centered with an emphasis on being a winner. “I can do it” because they need to succeed.

People: Elvis Presley, Michael Jordan,Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton, Mary Kay, Madonna

“The word values a champion. I must avoid failure.”

4  The Individualist; Romantic; Seeker; Artist; Tragic Victim; Innovator: 

            The Four feeling-based places an emphasis on authenticity and aesthetics. They like to look deeply within their own vibrantly intense inner world to search for a means to express the emotional depth that they feel. They have a tendency to be withdrawn and sensitive to beauty and meaning, but may be prone to melancholy, feelings of inadequacy, and envy. They see themselves as fundamentally different from others; consequently, no one can understand them or love them adequately. “You’re not like the fantasy. Something is missing. I have been abandoned.”  They need to be special.

People: Janice Joplin, Michael Jackson, Edgar Allen Poe, Jackie Onassis, Jeremy Irons

“Something is missing. Others have it. I have been abandoned.”

5  The Investigator; Observer; Sage; Expert; Specialist; Synthesizer:

The Five is thinking based with an emphasis on being knowledgeable. They like to accumulate knowledge and protect personal autonomy. They keenly observe phenomena with astute detached awareness. Using intellectual depth and insight, they often make original and innovative associations. They accumulate knowledge in preparation for taking action. They tend to be the most independent of the nine types. They believe the world is invasive so they need privacy to think and recharge. “I don’t want to look foolish.”  They need to perceive.

People: Albert Einstein, Bobby Fisher, Lily Tomlin, Jane Goodall, Bill Gates

“The world is invasive. I need privacy to think and to refuel my energies.”

 6  The Loyalist; Truth-sayer; Questioner; Guardian; Doubter; Partner:

The Six thinking is based with an emphasis on creating security. They may behave as either phobic or counter-phobic. They are usually friendly and well liked, loyal and sincere. They use perception and intellect to understand the world and to figure out whether people are friendly or hostile. They have a tendency to imagine worst-case scenarios, so they prepare mentally to be safe. “What if?”  They need to protect self.

People: Princess Diana, Tom Hanks, Katie Couric, Rush Limbaugh, Jay Leno

“The world is a threatening place. I question authority.”

7  The Enthusiast; Generalist; Connoisseur; Epicure; Visionary; Adventurer; Futurist:

The Seven is thinking based with an emphasis on multiple options. They are always thinking ahead, moving towards better possibilities and more enjoyable experiences. They tend to be extroverted, busy, productive, optimistic, and spontaneous; they distract themselves by staying on the go. Their compulsive desire is to avoid being deprived, bored or in pain which may lead to difficulty with commitment and follow-through. They live in the future with a type of “monkey-mind” that jumps quickly from one idea to the next idea, and it all seems connected. “The world is full of opportunity and options. I look forward to the future.” They need to avoid pain.

People: Robin Williams, Goldie Hawn, John F. Kennedy, Steven Spielberg, Lucille Ball

“The world is full of opportunity and options. I look forward to the future.”

8  The Asserters; Boss; Challenger; Warrior; Protector; Leader:

The Eight body-based type places an emphasis on control through personal authority. They present themselves as strong, self-confident and direct. Resourceful, decisive and protective, they want to be in charge. They tend to express themselves powerfully and like to maintain control, and they live with intensity, and fight for the underdog. They show anger freely. Everything is a contest of wills and they seldom back down. “Are you against me or with me?”  They need to be against.

People: Jesse Jackson, Mikhail Gorbachev, Barbara Walters,Susan Sarandon, Donald Trump

“The world is an unjust place. I defend the innocent.”

9  The Mediator; Peacemakers; Unifier; Comforter; Optimist; Diplomat:

The Nine body-based shows an emphasis on harmonizing with people, task, or environment. Typically have a feeling of serenity and ease that they prefer not to have disturbed. They are easy-going, unpretentious, creatures of habit, jack-of-all-trades, and good-natured. There is a tendency to passively resist anything inharmonious or distressing by tuning it out. They seek personal balance and achieving harmony with other people. They are good at seeing all points of view. Creatures of habit, they can be stubborn and neglectful. “Keep the peace. The world won’t value my efforts anyway.” They need to avoid everything.

People: Gerald Ford, Kevin Costner, Whoopi Goldberg, Janet Jackson, Ronald Reagan, Ringo Starr

“The world won’t value my efforts. Stay comfortable. Keep the peace.”

1  The Reformer; Perfectionist; Humanitarian; Reformer; Idealist:

The One body-based type places an emphasis on control by rules and structure. They have an internal picture about what a standard of perfection looks like against which everything and everyone (including them) is measured. They are preoccupied with being good, driven to do the “right” thing or what should be done. They are prone to repressed anger. “There is a better way.”  They need to be perfect.

People: Martha Stewart, Martin Luther, Mahatma Ghandi, Celine Dion, Margaret Thatcher

“The world is an imperfect place. I work toward perfection.”

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