Empower & Inspire

Building a safe, collaborative, and cooperative work environment is typically the goal of every business owner, and businesses are increasingly relying on personality tests to provide valuable insight on their current or prospective hires. These tools can help employers keep their current staff engaged and motived and can minimize the risk of a prospective employee not fitting the company culture.

“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.” – Simon Sinek

Most employees agree that inspiration is way more effective (not to mention way more enjoyable) than manipulation; the Enneagram is a great way to learn about people – yourself included – so that inspiration becomes the better and more convenient choice.

Rooted in the Greek words ennea (nine) and grammos (a written symbol), the nine-pointed Enneagram symbol represents nine distinct strategies for relating to the self and others. Each Enneagram type has different patterns of thinking, feeling and acting – dictated by a deeper motivation. Everyone wins when self-awareness increases, but the biggest benefactor of this information is ourselves.

No one wins more than me when my own self-awareness increases.

The Premise

Everyone emerges from childhood with one of the nine dominate personality types, complete with a “born-that-way temperament.” (This is one area where most all of the major Enneagram authors agree — everyone is born with a dominant type.) This inborn orientation largely determines the ways in which we adapt to our environment – and we carry it with us as we go. By the time our autonomous sense-of-self has emerged (around four or five) we’re well on our way to establishing our own manner of fitting into the world.

enneagram for business

The Nine Types

While these one-word descriptors act as great “highlights,” they certainly don’t convey the full depth or meaning behind the number.

  • Type One is principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic.

  • Type Two is generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing, and possessive.

  • Type Three is adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious.

  • Type Four is expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental.

  • Type Five is perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated.

  • Type Six is engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.

  • Type Seven is spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, and scattered.

  • Type Eight is self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational.

  • Type Nine is receptive, reassuring, complacent, and resigned.

Armed with information about the strengths and challenges of your employees, you can show up better prepared to communicate, coach, provide feedback, develop leadership skills, build teams, resolve conflict, and drive sales.

The Enneagram as a Tool for Businesses

Although the Enneagram is probably the most open-ended and dynamic of the personality typologies (and our personal favorite), this does not mean that the Enneagram is the final word on the human beings in your circle. Individuals have always been – and will continue to be – mysterious and unpredictable. The Enneagram is just a tool, providing a bit of clarity and insight on the people you are trying to empower.

While the Enneagram (or any personality test) can certainly be a valuable resource – and will certainly give you a different perspective and understanding, don’t play psychologist with your employees. It will likely annoy them and, unless you’re an actual psychologist, probably won’t yield any constructive results. Use the information to create an atmosphere of safety and empower them to be their best…and focus on you – as an employer, a leader, a coach, and a friend. (Because, after all, you’re the only human you actually can control.)

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