Putting the Enneagram to WORK

Over the last few months, we have explored how to better understand our personality type through the Enneagram. Today we are back for the final section of our three-part series. It’s time to learn how our personality impacts our experience at work.

What’s with the hype?

Employers all over the world have turned to personality assessments to improve their work environment. By better understanding their employees’ strengths, they can intentionally assign projects specific to a person’s natural talent. Bosses can also consider how to best deliver constructive criticism or praise.  

Additionally, coworkers can better understand how to relate to one another and work as a team. Studies show a higher level of work satisfaction when there is a better understanding of the way employees naturally receive, process, and understand information. That SUPER annoying coworker may seem less irritating once there is a better understanding of how they operate (maybe… lol). Gaining self-awareness is a win-win for everyone involved in a professional relationship.

Companies can host a team-building meeting or workshop where each individual takes the Enneagram assessment. They then explore the meaning of their results and compare and contrast their results with their coworkers. Employees are often encouraged to think “outside of the box” and gain a better understanding of both themselves and those around them. This understanding strengthens rapport, welcomes diversity, and helps maximize potential.  

Fun Fact: Did you know the word Enneagram is driven from the Greek words “ennea” and “grammos.” Ennea means nine and grammos means a written symbol.  Cool huh?!

Let’s Learn!

Below you’ll find a brief assessment of each personality type within the workplace.

Type One:  

  • Strengths: Type Ones are very hardworking and responsible, making them trustworthy employees. Their perfectionist mentality allows them to perform at the highest of standards. They set the bar high for both themselves and their coworkers.
  • Challenges: It is important for Type Ones to be mindful of how their perfectionism impacts the team as a whole. Critical thinking is a strong asset, but only when used to a healthy degree.
  • Tip: Take a step back and consider moments when it’s appropriate to create “good work” instead of “perfect work.” Especially if it means being mindful of the impact you’re having on the team. Also, work on showing appreciation and compromise when appropriate.

Type Two:

  • Strengths: Type Twos work well with others. They can utilize their good communication skills to encourage teamwork and their empathy to relate with others in the workplace. It is likely they will be able to provide a positive perspective when needed.
  • Challenges: Although teamwork is good, people-pleasing can become a problem. Feeling pressure to always meet others’ needs can often lead to burn out and fatigue. People pleasing can also be a distraction from the task at hand.
  • Tip: Learn how to set healthy boundaries with your coworkers. Practice being assertive when needed and remind yourself there is a difference between assertion and aggression. Understand the importance of caring for your own needs in addition to those around you.

Type Three:

  • Strengths: Type Threes have several traits employees often look for. They are determined, goal-oriented, and extremely productive. They will be one of the first people to jump into action and work towards a company goal.
  • Challenges: Sometimes being so goal-oriented means overlooking other aspects of their work environment. Once they become focused on the goal in front of them, they may struggle to see the bigger picture.  Pushing themselves to the limit can also trigger burn out and work fatigue.
  • Tip: Remember your natural traits can be huge assets when used in the right way. Take healthy breaks and step away from your projects from time to time. Remember to implement self-care, build rapport with your coworkers, and remind yourself of the bigger picture when needed.

Type Four:

  • Strengths: Type Fours value authenticity, connection, and excellence. They have an eye for spotting beauty in any situation, making them highly creative and a great asset for brainstorming ideas. Honest and self-aware, they offer insightful feedback within the workplace.
  • Challenges: Due to being creative and expressive, mundane work tasks can feel intolerable. They may also find it difficult to remove their emotional reactions from a work-related situation.
  • Tip: Utilize your gift of self-awareness to notice moments when you are feeling emotionally strained. Take a step back or utilize a break room when available if you need a moment to separate yourself from the situation. Remember not to take things too personally at work.

Type Five:

  • Strengths: Type Fives are innovative and strategic, both helpful traits within the workplace. They understand knowledge is power and they work hard to acquire information needed in order to get the job done well. They do not mind alone time or working independently.
  • Challenges: Since they prefer working alone, it can be a challenge to prioritize healthy relationships within their team. Although it is not their intention, they may appear cold or closed off to others.
  • Tip: Remind yourself that it takes several different types of people to create a balanced team, even if their skills look different from yours. Make a point to connect with your coworkers and be available to them when possible.

Type Six:

  • Strengths: Type Sixes are very aware of their environment. They are able to identify a problem and offer solutions to fix it, making them great problem solvers. They are also very loyal, responsible, and reliable employees.
  • Challenges: Their awareness of the environment can manifest as anxiety if they are not careful. Looking for potential problems can help prevent complications within their job, but it can also trigger worry for those around them.
  • Tip: Remember your natural strengths can be very helpful when used within reason. If you catch yourself getting caught up in the “what ifs?” take a step back and look at the big picture. Practice coping skills such as probability testing and evidence checking to help decrease anxious thoughts.

Type Seven:

  • Strengths: Type Sevens are optimistic and adaptable. They are able to find the silver lining and offer a positive perspective, which makes them great team members. They work well in groups and are open to hearing others’ opinions.
  • Challenges: Although being optimistic is a strength, it can cause people to accidentally overlook problems within their job. They may also find it difficult to slow down and focus on the present task before them.
  • Tips: Try balancing your positive thinking with realistic expectations. Although dreaming big can be good, it can also cause you to overlook very real limitations within your company. Learn how to set SMART goals and incorporate them into your daily routine.

Type Eight:

  • Strengths: Type Eights are natural leaders. Confident and passionate, they are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in, making them loyal employees. They are also good at taking charge and getting things done.
  • Challenges: Their strong will can sometimes be viewed as confrontational and may rub coworkers the wrong way. Additionally, their passion and focus can come across as rigid and forceful.  
  • Tips: Understand the importance of finding balance within your natural strengths. Your positive traits can make you an excellent employee when used within moderation. Try to avoid unnecessary conflict and adapt when appropriate.

Type Nine:

  • Strengths: Type Nines are naturally open-minded and easy-going. Their ability to see several sides of an issue makes them great at working within a team. They have the natural ability to bring people together and create harmony within the workplace.
  • Challenges: Sometimes they find themselves placing harmony above productivity. They may also find it difficult to speak their opinion if it could create tension.
  • Tips: Remind yourself that not all conflict is bad. If handled correctly, small conflicts can initiate growth and positive change. Sometimes it is more important to stand up for what you believe in, even if that means rubbing someone the wrong way.

Topics for Discussion

Do you think any personality type can adjust to any job environment? Or do you think it’s important to find a career that best suits your innate personality? I’d love to hear your thoughts, please comment below!


O’Hanrahan, Peter. 2010-2020. Intuitive Leaps Creative Service.  Https://theenneagramatwork.com/the-nine-styles-at-work

2019. Enneagram Studies in the Narrative Tradition. Https://www.enneagramworldwide.com/the-enneagram-in-your-life/in-the-workplace/

August 15, 2018. https://www/iclasspro.com/blog-article/enneagram-in-the-workplace

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