Accomplish More.
Juggle Less.
Everything you need to transform your work.

The Enneagram at Work: Part 1

This episode of One Next Step is all about the Enneagram and how to interact with all personality types at work. 

Tricia and I are joined by Ian Morgan Cron, a champion of the Enneagram, the awakener of people, and bestselling author of the popular Enneagram book, The Road Back to You

As a pioneer in the contemporary Enneagram movement, Ian is a highly sought-after speaker for large conferences and corporate boardrooms alike. In this first of a two-part interview, Ian will share highlights of Enneagram numbers 1 through 5, what motivates them, and what it’s like to work with them.

In case you need some brushing up on your Enneagram knowledge, here are the first five numbers and a general overview of who they are.

Type 1 - The Improvers

These people are meticulous, hard-working and reliable. Their unconscious motivation is a need to perfect themselves, others and the world.

Type 2 - The Helpers or Befrienders

These people are warm, caring, giving, supportive and interpersonal. They’re motivated by a need to be needed, loved and approved of.

Type 3 - The Achievers or Performers

These people are success-oriented, image-conscious, wired for productivity and ambitious. They are motivated by a need to succeed, to appear successful and to avoid failure at all costs.

Type 4 - The individualist

These people are creative, sensitive and temperamental at times. They’re motivated by a need to be unique and special to compensate for what they perceive as a missing piece or fatal flaw in their makeup.

Type 5 - The Investigators or Observers

These people are the most emotionally distant number on the Enneagram. They are private, motivated by a need to collect knowledge and information to fend off what they perceive as a lack of inner resources to meet the demands of the world.

All of us show up to — and process — the world in different ways. Knowing and having some understanding of different Enneagram types can revolutionize your workplace.


Here are some takeaways:


1. A key predictor of success among leaders is self-awareness.

What makes the Enneagram so valuable is the power it has in allowing you to become more aware of who you are. When you read your first test results, it might feel like the Enneagram has been reading your mail. 

Good leaders take that information and use it to better understand themselves and how they relate to others.

People often leave organizations because they feel like their leaders, or their team members, don’t see or understand them or don’t appreciate what they bring to the table.


2. The Enneagram reveals what's best about you is what's worst about you and what's worst about you is what's best about you.

Any personality test that makes you more self-aware is a good thing. However, the Enneagram truly gives you a 360 view of yourself. 

It reveals how you act at your most healthy, and it shines a light on the shadow aspects of your personality that reveal themselves when things aren’t going as well.

Part of the reason for knowing the Enneagram is so that you can begin to work on the shadow side of your type and take responsibility for those dimensions of your personality that need to be healed — in order to be the healthiest version of yourself.

Once you’re aware of the healthy and unhealthy versions of your Enneagram type, being self-observant and self-regulating throughout the day will set you up for success.


3. The moment you think your way of seeing the world is normal, it means that everybody else that you encounter who has a different view is abnormal.

One of the biggest mistakes leaders can make is to presume everyone sees the world the way they do.

The Enneagram shows there are nine “normal” ways of viewing the world. Good leaders understand that their point of view isn’t the same as someone else’s – and that’s okay. 

Unhealthy leaders believe that other person’s point of view is wrong, so they feel justified in judging them – and might even weaponize their Enneagram type, using it against them.


Learn how to recognize each type and identify the value they bring to the table in this resource, How to Lead and Work by Enneagram Type.