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  • Marwaan Fredericks

Why The Enneagram Is Essential For Leadership Development

What does Martin Luther King Jr. and Joseph Stalin have in common? They both personality type Eights on the Enneagram. How is that possible, since as leaders, they have left completely different legacies? One fights for freedom to inspire a nation through non violent protests, and the other on the complete opposite side of the spectrum, responsible for the death of millions. The big difference though lies in their emotional health.

The Enneagram helps you find your natural personality type and therefore your natural way in which you interact and respond to the world around you. In the world of leadership this would refer to your default approach to lead. It is an integral key to

self-awareness but also an essential part in understanding those around you and in your team. The benefit of understanding the Enneagram is therefore twofold; firstly for your own personal development, and secondly as a means to better serve your team as a leader. In brief here is a breakdown of the nine personality types of the Enneagram:

Type 1 – The Reformer

Type 2 – The Helper

Type 3 – The Achiever

Type 4 – The Individualist

Type 5 – The investigator

Type 6 – The Loyalist

Type 7 – The Enthusiast

Type 8 – The Challenger

Let’s first look at how the Enneagram improves your own self-awareness and personal growth. While Martin Luther King Jr. and Joseph Stalin are both type Eights on the Enneagram and the big difference lies in their emotional health. To understand this we need to better understand the Enneagram and what it has to offer. The Enneagram is not just a numbers game, “I’m a type 1 and you a type 7”. The more important question is, now that I know my type how do I grow from that stand point? This is where the Enneagram makes a unique contribution in the world of personality profiling systems, and possibly its greatest contribution. The Enneagram provides a clear map for growth for each of its personality types, and breaks it down into Unhealthy, Average and Healthy. These levels can be broken down further if you really want to get into it. What is evident, is that the Enneagram provides a clear map to move into a healthy state based on your personality type. Every leader would want to be emotionally, psychologically and spiritually healthy, as healthy leaders build healthy teams and healthy organizations.

Without a doubt leaders that are healthy and more self-aware make for better leaders, and the Enneagram provides you with the opportunity to see yourself in the manner in which others will experience you. Your highest potential will not be determined by what you can do but rather by how healthy you can be.

So get yourself a great Enneagram coach to guide you through the workings and understanding of your personality in order to move towards that healthy state. So often I hear people saying they did the Enneagram and they know their type, but hardly ever have I heard anyone mention that they are now working on those aspects of their personality with a coach to move toward a healthier state. This is where the Enneagram really shines, as the pathway to personal growth is clearly marked, and indeed the path for everyone is not the same


How the Enneagram helps you better serve your team?

It is fair to say that people do not leave companies. People leave managers they leave other team members, they leave teams. People leave people.

Once you have the Enneagram as part of your leadership skill set you will understand how to best manage people based on their personality type. Even if you do not actually know peoples personality type, this knowledge will give you a framework to understand the different needs standing in front of you. Once you have a sense of their personality type you will have a key to unlock on how to best lead and manage each individual.

Our inner obstacles are always an issue, and as leaders helping people to identify, understand and transform their inner obstacles is a critical factor for both performance and job morale. Knowledge of the Enneagram helps us identify our various key members’ inner obstacles. Once we know what these obstacles and blind spots are we will have incredible insight into the reasons for their behavior. Once we know the reasons for their behavior we can transform that into a positive expression.

If you are a leader who is keen to develop and assist others in their growth. Then the Enneagram once again provides you with a very clear map and specific ways to empower others in your team. In the same way you have walked your path on the Enneagram journey, you can now inspire others in your team to walk theirs

Finally, the Enneagram provides you with the ability to motivate your team based on each individual’s personality type. To understand this, we first need to understand that the Enneagram does not categorize you based on your behavior alone but rather on the reasons behind the behavior, as two people could have the same behavior but underneath the surface the reasons are different. If you ever want to motivate change and inspire people then you need to learn to speak to their reasons and not your own. The Enneagram gives you the ability to motivate and manage each individual on a much more personalized level. This creates engagement, trust and respect, and you will be able to fulfill your vision as a leader.

Remember healthy leaders and healthy organizations do not happen by accident or coincidence. This only occurs through deliberate intention, So get healthy.

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