Work Better Together By Using Enneagrams to Understand Coworkers

Learn how to work better together using the Enneagram personality assessment, including how to deal with different personalities and how to improve collaboration in the workplace with the Enneagram.  

Do you ever struggle to understand where your coworkers are coming from? Do they have a completely different work ethic than you? Are you always cracking jokes that no one seems to understand or appreciate? Do coworkers seem to have a different idea of what ‘late’ means than you do? 

Every one of your teammates has their own idiosyncrasies, work habits, and communication preferences—including you. Taking the time to participate in an office-wide personality assessment puts you on the fast track to understanding what makes your colleagues tick. The Enneagram is by no means a perfect science, but it will get you and your coworkers to consider how people prefer to work and communicate, enabling workplace trust, effective and efficient decision making, and improved team morale.



larry says

We have more articles surrounding how to utilize personality types in the workplace, including An Introduction to Enneagram Strengths, Weaknesses, and Career Paths and How to Lead and Manage Enneagram Types in the Workplace.



How to Promote Teamwork and Collaboration With Enneagrams

The Enneagram is a personality assessment designed to help people better understand themselves and others. There are 9 different personality styles that your coworkers may identify with, each with their own values, motivations, communication preferences, strengths, and weaknesses. For each of the 1-9 personality types, there are two wing combinations, creating 18 more specific personality descriptions.




Utilizing the Enneagram in the workplace is all about working better together. Understanding the communication preferences, values, and differing senses of humor among your colleagues makes for more effective teams, and knowing the personality types that clash means you’ll be better able to avoid or manage conflict with coworkers—whether that’s at work, at a team building session, or when you go out to lunch.

For example, if you’re an outgoing, extroverted person working on a team project with an introvert, the Enneagram enables both of you to better understand how each of you prefers to work. If your more reserved coworker prefers to work alone most of the time, you’ll be able to respect their boundaries without taking it personally. At the same time, your introverted coworker will be less intimidated by your volume and energy and more willing to join you for brainstorming sessions and group work.



How Enneagram Types Can Work Better Together

type 1

How to Work With Type 1 Enneagrams

Type 1s value morals, ethics, and fairness. They have an excellent eye for detail and little patience for those they deem lazy, unprepared, or apathetic. Type 1s will rarely ever let down the team—but they’ll expect that same dedication and hard work from you as well.  

How to get along with type 1 coworkers:

  • Schedule meeting dates well in advance
  • Arrive to meetings or calls prepared and on time
  • Address specific concerns in emails
  • Listen to their suggestions and say you appreciate them
  • Never bend the truth, cut corners, or break the rules


    type 2

    How to Work With Type 2 Enneagrams

    Type 2s are people-pleasers—they are generous, caring, positive, and dedicated. They love to both be helpful and be known for being helpful, so if you give these types plenty of attention, affection, and appreciation, they will do the same for you tenfold.

    How to get along with type 2 coworkers:

    • Let them help you solve problems
    • Appreciate their help or guidance
    • Be personable and ask them about themselves
    • Be sensitive to their feelings
    • Make casual conversation before meetings, during calls, or in emails
      type 3

      How to Work With Type 3 Enneagrams

      Type 3s are ambitious, image-conscious, and charismatic. They’re the coworkers that will jump at the chance to show new colleagues or guests around the office. Since they care so much about their personal image and how they’re perceived, type 3s are unlikely to enjoy jokes at their expense, but they’re excellent at motivating themselves and those around them to succeed.

      How to get along with type 3 coworkers:

      • Communicate clearly and directly
      • Credit them for their work, ideas, and accomplishments
      • Allow them to show you how to do something their way
      • Keep emails straightforward and concise
      • Remember that they may try to compete with you
        type 4

        How to Work With Type 4 Enneagrams

        Type 4s are reserved, sensitive, moody, creative, and empathetic. They do not enjoy group work or large parties. Type 4s generally aren’t interested in leading or following, and they can be difficult to motivate. Try to get to know them on a personal level by asking about their interests, which, when they feel comfortable with you, they will speak about with passionate detail.

        How to get along with type 4 coworkers:

        • Avoid chit-chat and communicate authentically
        • Take time to get to know who they really are
        • Avoid anything phony, fake, or disingenuous
        • Don’t be critical of their work
        • Take their feelings seriously
          type 5

          How to Work With Type 5 Enneagrams

          Type 5s are reserved, cerebral, logical, and perceptive. They like to work independently and do not like to be bossed around. While they do not like group work and often struggle in most social situations, they do like to be appreciated for their smarts and know-how. Give type 5s plenty of alone time, but don’t be afraid to ask them for their expertise now and again.

          How to get along with type 5 coworkers:

          • Give them plenty of personal space
          • Let them take time to work through ideas
          • Avoid small talk and communicate clearly and logically
          • Ask for their observations or keen insight
          • Never put them on the spot or surprise them
            type 6

            How to Work With Type 6 Enneagrams

            Type 6s are engaging, trustworthy, hard-working, and extremely loyal. They can also be defensive, anxious, and suspicious of ‘outsiders’. That said, they are very friendly and enjoy being around and communicating with people, so they often make friends with coworkers easily. If you show a type 6 dedication and loyalty, they will absolutely do the same for you.

            How to get along with type 6 coworkers:

            • Arrive on time and stick to scheduled meetings
            • Give them plenty of notice if you need to cancel or change a meeting
            • Offer them support and help them feel secure
            • Make an effort to build trust and friendship in and out of the workplace
            • Keep them informed and in the loop

              How to Work With Type 7 Enneagrams

              Type 7s are highly energetic, optimistic, distractible, scattered, and spontaneous. They are natural extroverts, so they love to have fun, keep busy, go out, and make friends. Don’t worry about approaching a type 7 coworker, as they have likely already taken the first step with you. Type 7s are impulsive and don’t like to stick to plans, so do your best to be understanding when they show up late (which they will).  

              How to get along with type 7 coworkers:

              • Engage in casual conversation and dialogue
              • Be upbeat and enthusiastic when communicating
              • Keep meetings, calls, and emails lighthearted
              • Listen to and consider their wild and exciting ideas
              • Work with them on group tasks or projects
                type 8

                How to Work With Type 8 Enneagrams

                Type 8s are decisive, assertive, self-confident, courageous, and unafraid of confrontation. They like to get down to business and get things done without a lot of talk, and they prefer to do things their way. Type 8s may challenge you on occasion, asking/demanding that you back up the opinions or ideas you have with evidence. This is just their way, and the more on their level you can get, the more they will appreciate and defend you.

                How to get along with type 8 coworkers:

                • Be upfront and direct with communication
                • Don’t bother with casual conversation
                • Express your ideas logically and practically
                • Give them space to share ideas and make suggestions
                • Seek their guidance when solving a problem or making tough decisions
                  type 9

                  How to Work With Type 9 Enneagrams

                  Type 9s are easygoing, agreeable, and optimistic, which makes them natural peacemakers and mediators. They don’t enjoy a competitive or busy work environment; instead, they like it when the entire team is in harmony with one another. Since they are so calm and self-effacing and dislike any form of conflict, it’s relatively easy to get along with a type 9 in the workplace.

                  How to get along with type 9 coworkers:

                  • Be consistent with your communication
                  • Avoid confrontation and conflict
                  • Try to make a personal connection with them
                  • Don’t put pressure on them
                  • Ask them for advice on your personal or professional life



                    Enneagram Examples of Business Collaboration

                    We outlined some business collaboration examples using the Enneagram as a guide. These common workplace scenarios demonstrate what it can be like working with various Enneagram types.

                    4, 5, or 9 working with 3, 7, or 8

                    If you identify as a 4, 5, or 9, try to understand your colleagues' bold or enthusiastic actions. A 3, 7, or 8 may come across as intense, bossy, or overbearing when really they are just excited about an idea or your very presence.

                    Working with 1s and 6s

                    Remember that 1s and 6s expect you to stick to a plan. If you’re working with one of these types, ensure you show up on time to meetings and don’t change things last minute. If you identify as a 1 or 6, try to remember that not everyone around you holds schedules in the same regard. Try to go with the flow every once in a while and understand that some of your colleagues work differently than you.

                    1s, 2s, and 8s telling people what to do

                    While it comes from a different place for each of these types (1s believing they know what’s right, 2s trying to help, and 8s trying to lead), each of these types can fall into a pattern of telling people what to do. This can be seen as bossy or intrusive to other types, especially those who don’t like being told what to do—such as 4s, 5s, and other 8s😬. Be aware of how you are coming across to other people, even if you believe you are helping. Everyone needs a chance to express their ideas; even if it takes them longer to do so, give your colleagues a chance to reach their own conclusions.

                    1s, 4s, 5s, and 9s need time to think things over

                    No matter how great an idea is, some people need time to think it over. Depending on your Enneagram type, you may need more time than others. Enthusiastic, idea-driven types (like 7s and 8s) should give those around them time to think things through and get used to a new idea. Not everyone can go with the flow as easily, and some need more time to process an idea before they decide whether or not they like it.



                    More From Blue Summit Supplies

                    💡 The Value of Work Personality Tests & Why We Chose the DiSC Personality Test

                    💡 Actionable Strategies for Better Communication in the Workplace 

                    We’re big into understanding communication preferences in order to improve office trust, collaboration, and communication. Follow our office supplies blog for the latest office trends, team building strategies, communication advice, and more.

                    If you have any questions or want to talk to someone about office supplies, send us an email or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.


                    Email newsletterFor more informative articles about office supplies, subscribe to our email newsletter!

                    Never fear, you won't begin receiving daily sales emails that belong in a spam folder. Instead, we promise a fun weekly roundup of our latest blog posts and great finds from across the web. And if you lose interest, it's always easy to unsubscribe with a single click.

                    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

                    Jordan's passion for travel led her to design a career as a remote content marketer. Nearing 1000 published articles, she's spent the past decade using her interdisciplinary education to research and write content for a wide variety of industries. Working remotely, Jordan spends half of the year exploring different corners of the world. At home, she's content exploring fictional lands—Spark an immediate and detailed conversation by mentioning Game of Thrones, Red Rising, Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings.

                    Leave a comment

                    All comments are moderated before being published