Enneagrams are a type of personality test designed to help people better understand themselves and others. By taking time to learn about Enneagrams at work, businesses can improve communication and manage conflict, while building a team that thrives on each other’s differences.
There are 9 Enneagram styles, each with different traits, strengths, and weaknesses. Once you know your style, you can use it to improve your communication inside and outside of the office. You can get even more specific by determining your wing. This will further zero in on who you are and what makes you tick.
For each of the 9 Enneagrams, there are two wing options, creating 18 more specific personality descriptions. A person will naturally lean to one of the two wings that are on either side of their basic Enneagram type. Understanding your wing will give you a deeper understanding of who you are—your communication preferences, motivations, dislikes, and career paths.
For example, if you are an Enneagram type 7, you will either lean to Wing 8 or Wing 6. Your wing is determined by the next Enneagram type you most closely relate to between the two wing options.
Enneagram 7 Wing 6 is described as “Happy-go-lucky and humorous experience junkie who is always on the search for new projects to undertake.”
Enneagram 7 Wing 8 is described as “Creative and innovative entrepreneur who enjoys experimenting and creating with new mediums and ideas”.
They are similar but hold subtle differences that dig deeper into the core of what motivates you. You can learn a lot about your wing type from crystalknows.com, a free online resource with a ton of information for each wing, including characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, communication preferences, motivations, stresses, and career choices.
The Reformer is described as the rational, idealistic type. They are principled, purposeful, self-controlled, perfectionistic, and believe strongly in right and wrong.
Strengths: Type 1s are idealistic and optimistic. They pay great attention to detail and are a strong defender of other people’s rights. They have a love of and commitment to community, and they possess a deep sense of their own values.
Weaknesses:Type 1s are also highly critical of themselves and others; they tend to be too perfectionistic and self-righteous, and may have difficulty accepting reality for what it is.
In the workplace: Type 1s thrive in a work environment that prizes ethics and fairness. They want their advice to be valued and respected, and they want their work held to a high standard. They are very hardworking and expect that their coworkers will take their job as seriously as they do. Type 1s dislike working in a lazy, pessimistic work environment where their advice isn’t heard.
Communication preferences: Take type 1s seriously. Give them specific instructions, and do not be late to any scheduled meetings. Be constructive when giving feedback.
Careers:Lawyer, Doctor, Judge, Journalist.
The Helper is described as the caring, interpersonal type. They are demonstrative, generous, people-pleasing, and possessive.
Strengths: Type 2s are excellent at supporting and caring for the people around them. They are positive, warm, and dedicated, and it's these traits that help them forge lasting relationships easily.
Weaknesses:A type 2’s drive to connect with and support others may be perceived as a bit much for people who aren’t as social as they are. They may be seen as needy or clingy, and they take criticism very personally. They may have trouble distinguishing between their own needs and the needs of others.
In the workplace: Type 2s love when their coworkers ask them for help or advice with a personal problem. They want to be appreciated and valued for their effort, and they won’t forget a random act of kindness. Type 2s struggle in an environment that’s cold—one where they are ignored by their coworkers and frequently criticized by their supervisor.
Communication preferences: Type 2s don’t mind small talk, and would love nothing more than to hear about a coworker’s day and then tell them about their own. Be encouraging, attentive, and sensitive when offering feedback. Be constructive, and frame things in a positive light.
Careers:Teacher, Nurse, Counselor, Human Resources Manager.
The Achiever is described as the success-oriented, pragmatic type. They are adaptive, ambitious, action-oriented, and image-conscious.
Strengths: Type 3s are charismatic and confident, and they’re excellent at using these natural skills to motivate those around them. They desire success and all the accolades that come with it, and they will stop at nothing to achieve these things. Odds are they’ll also have a great fashion sense.
Weaknesses:Type 3s may, at times, be overly competitive and insensitive, and they take failure from themselves or others very poorly. They can also spend too much time fretting over their appearance or how they are perceived by others.
In the workplace: Type 3s love to be thrown new opportunities and responsibilities. If there’s a new person around the office, type 3s will jump at the chance to show them the ropes. They want to be admired, respected, and listened to. They dislike being disliked by coworkers, and have trouble being criticized or feeling disrespected.
Communication preferences: Be direct, concise, and precise with type 3s. Use constructive criticism, and help them to recognize and respect their own feelings as well as the feelings of others.
Careers:Entrepreneur, Salesperson, Lawyer, Marketer.
The Individualist is described as the sensitive, withdrawn type. They are expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental.
Strengths: Type 4s are imaginative and creative. They are excellent at understanding the feelings of others, even when those feelings are not expressed out loud. They are self-aware, honest, and take pride in always being authentically themselves.
Weaknesses:Type 4s are very emotional, which can cause them to frequently and easily lose their temper, or they may withdraw to their own internal world when confronted with stressful situations and become uncommunicative.
In the workplace: Type 4s thrive in an open-minded, creative environment with coworkers and supervisors who are genuine and give them the space to be themselves. They dislike criticism and not being taken seriously. They also don’t like large crowds, so office parties are not their scene.
Communication preferences: Do not start talking about the weather with type 4s. They hate chit-chat. Instead of focusing on logic, communicate with your feelings, and give type 4s time and space to make a decision. Be very sensitive when offering constructive criticism.
Careers:Writer, Actor, Photographer, Artist, Hair Stylist.
The Investigator is described as the intense, cerebral type. They are perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated.
Strengths: Type 5s excel at learning and details. They exude calm and are great at thinking and rationalizing their way through complicated problems.
Weaknesses:Type 5s lead with logic as opposed to their feelings, so they can often be perceived as cold and condescending. It’s for these reasons they often prefer to be alone, dealing with facts and data as opposed to people.
In the workplace: Give type 5s lots of room to work independently, as a lack of personal space will quickly stress them out. They dislike to be bossed around and appreciate when supervisors and coworkers pride them on the breadth of their knowledge. Avoid discussing subjects of a personal, non-work related nature.
Communication preferences: Type 5s appreciate logic, and may look down on an opinion if they perceive it as being based on emotion or someone’s feelings. Avoid chit-chat, and be constructive with any criticism. Give type 5s time to consider both sides of a story.
Careers:Scientist, Engineer, Writer, Artist, Computer Programmer.
The Loyalist is described as the committed, security-oriented type. They are engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.
Strengths: Type 6s are unlikely to be late for work or a meeting, as they are responsible, practical, and considerate. They are protective of the people they care for, and consider things both logically and emotionally.
Weaknesses:Type 6s are prone to anxiety and insecurity. They tend to be pessimistic and fear looming deadlines or big life events.
In the workplace:Type 6s excel in environments where they feel safe and supported, where their opinion is valued, and where their coworkers are also their friends. Type 6s are hard workers who like to stick to a schedule, and they don’t like things to be sprung on them.
Communication preferences: Be direct with type 6s, but be sensitive with feedback; always offer constructive criticism. Do what you can to create a safe space where a type 6 can feel comfortable expressing their feelings.
Careers: Police Officer, Nurse, Banker, Paralegal.
The Enthusiast is described as the busy, fun-loving type. They are spontaneous, versatile, distractible, and scattered.
Strengths: Type 7s are highly energetic and optimistic. As natural extraverts, they love meeting and interacting with other people. They think quickly on their feet and are highly creative.
Weaknesses:Type 7s easily grow bored if they are not sufficiently and consistently entertained. They can be impulsive and have trouble committing and sticking to plans. They will be late.
In the workplace: Type 7s thrive in energetic, busy environments. They don’t need to abide by a strict schedule, and they probably won’t. As often as possible, give type 7s a new project to work on, as they are most stimulated by what’s new and exciting. They will easily make friends with their coworkers and like to socialize with them outside of work. They grow bored with repetitive tasks and become uncomfortable in reserved, cold workplaces.
Communication preferences: Stay positive and energetic when communicating with type 7s. Unlike several of the previous types, 7s are more than willing to engage in small talk and chit-chat. Stay friendly and upbeat when offering suggestions for improvement.
Careers:Photographer, Tour Guide, Interior Designer, Artist, Entrepreneur.
The Challenger is described as the powerful, dominating type. They are self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational.
Strengths: Type 8s are bold, courageous, action-oriented, and unafraid to stand up for what they want or believe in. They are excellent leaders, and undeterred by any kind of confrontation. (They may even like it.)
Weaknesses:Type 8s will take charge of any situation, no matter where they fit in an organization, which means they struggle with authority figures and being told what to do. They are often perceived as intimidating or even rude, as they have a tendency to disregard the feelings and opinions of others.
In the workplace: Type 8s are efficient and hardworking, and they expect their coworkers to be as well. They like to be looked at as a leader, and appreciate being asked for their opinion, which really isn’t an opinion at all—just cold, hard fact. They don’t just want to talk about what to do next; they want to get it done.
Communication preferences: Be direct and practical when communicating with type 8s. They do not like to be ignored, and will quickly lose patience if someone tries to boss them around. If there is any conflict in the office, type 8s will want to discuss it out in the open and not let it simmer. It’s important to stand up to type 8s, as they can dominate an office if you let them.
Careers:Lawyer, Politician, Business Owner, Director, Marketing Executive.
The Peacemaker is described as the easygoing, self-effacing type. They are receptive, reassuring, agreeable, and complacent.
Strengths: Type 9s are calm, adaptable, and they have the ability to see multiple people’s perspectives at once—all of which make them great peacekeepers and mediators. They are supportive, encouraging people who are ready to help anyone.
Weaknesses:A type 9’s need for harmony leads them to sometimes ignore or minimize conflict. They don’t like upsetting situations and will go out of their way to avoid confrontation, leading them to act passive aggressively in certain circumstances.
In the workplace: Type 9s seek warm, open-minded environments where everyone gets along with one another. They want their coworkers to be open with them and will offer thoughtful guidance on a project or a coworker’s personal life if they are asked to do so. They dislike competitive, fast-paced environments where coworkers are in disharmony. They do not like their advice to be ignored or dismissed.
Communication preferences: Type 9s don’t mind a little small talk, and appreciate thoughtful, honest, but gentle dialogue. Don’t put too much pressure on type 9s to communicate, and always offer constructive criticism gently. Type 9s are sensitive souls, so don’t be overly critical.
Careers:Counselor, Diplomat, Teacher, Librarian, Psychiatrist.
The Big Five Personality Test is preferred in the psychology community. It measures five personality factors: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Unlike other personality tests, the Big 5 will inform you of your preferences, not assign you a type.
In general circles, Myers-Briggs may be the most popular and well-known personality test. It is broken down into 16 types based on 8 letters—Introversion/Extraversion (I/E), Sensing/Intuition (S/N), Thinking/Feeling (T/F), and Judging/Perceiving (J/P). Each person has a dominant quality in each category to create a 4-letter type, Example: ENTP or INFP. Many of the Enneagram numbers can be likened to specific Myers-Briggs letters. For example, types 4, 5, 6, and 9 tend to be Introverts (I), and types 3, 7, and 8 tend to be Extraverts (E).
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