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Lead Yourself Well To Lead Others Better: The Enneagram

Three ways you can use the Enneagram to grow as a leader:

I have always been interested in personality tests and have had pretty consistent results… I’m an ENFP (sometimes ENFJ) according to Meyers Briggs (take your own assessment on 16personalities.com). But lately I have been hearing SO much about the Enneagram numbers that I had to check it out for myself. (Alli Worthington’s podcast was the catalyst to exploring this further, and I want to encourage you all to take a listen!)

What is it exactly? According to The Enneagram Institute, the Enneagram helps us to see ourselves at a deeper, more objective level and can be of invaluable assistance on our path to self-knowledge. After taking a brief test, you are scored into one of nine categories, or “types.” These types are organized by numbers and descriptions including:

  1. The Reformer
  2. The Helper
  3. The Achiever
  4. The Individualist
  5. The Investigator
  6. The Loyalist
  7. The Enthusiast
  8. The Challenger
  9. The Peacemaker

In full disclosure, I took a free version of the Enneagram and learned that I am a type three, The Achiever…not a big surprise to me based on other tests I have taken. (Full descriptions of each type are available here.) At some point I’d like to invest in the full test from the Institute to see if that impacts my results in any way.

But the whole point of this post is to discuss WHY personality tests are important to growing as a leader. It is critical to understand yourself well so that you understand how you interact with others around you. Every interaction you have involves YOU.

The more understanding you have of yourself, the more self awareness you have of the impact you make on those around you. Seeing yourself clearly from an outside lens, helps you to view the world around you from different perspectives.

These insights are valuable in every are of your life. Every day, you lead someone. Whether it’s your family members, a team at school, the workplace, or at your church… everyone is a leader to someone.

Three ways you can use the Enneagram to grow as a leader:

1. Take the test to learn more about your specific type. Ask those closest to you if they agree with the results or if there are any areas that DON’T accurately reflect where you are at.

2. Learn more about others to communicate effectively. By understanding the types of those around you… the people you work with on your team, your family, and your friends, you can learn how to show love and appreciation in a way that they are able to receive it. Effective communication is essential in leadership.

3. Establish an effective leadership team. It’s no secret that certain personalities mix better than others, and certain individuals are better suited for specific roles than others. Understanding the type of person you need to fill a role will set you up for success. Having a mix of individuals will help you approach situations and obstacles in ways you wouldn’t be able to do successfully on your own…or in a room full of people just like yourself.

QUESTION: Have you taken the Enneagram? How has understanding your “type” helped you in your leadership roles, or in your personal life?