6 ways your Enneagram type impacts how you lead & how others respond to you

Most everyone is familiar with using personality tests to allow us to better understand ourselves, identify our strengths and gain more clarity in our careers.

But do we ever consider how these tools can also help us lead others more effectively?

Don’t be too quick to consider the Enneagram as another gimmicky, find-yourself, self-improvement assessment. Rather, the Enneagram is an effective and efficient tool used by leaders young and old, all across the board.

The Enneagram is an ancient personality typology that defines the wiring of nine personality types, and its results are often comically accurate. From tech CEOs to lead pastors to creative entrepreneurs, the Enneagram offers unique insight into how we lead and how those we are leading respond to us.

In an interview on The Tim Ferriss Show, Tobi Lutke, CEO of Shopify, said, “In our internal system, you can see the Enneagram of everyone else and it tells you what nuances that means for how to work together…We want to find out what areas people have a fixed mindset and try to get them to acquire a growth mindset.”

Even as leaders, we don’t have it all figured out. We aren’t perfect and that’s okay. As Ian Cron, the author of “The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery,” discusses in his book, the Enneagram not only helps you understand yourself, it enables you to lead yourself. So, as we learn how to lead ourselves better, we can then learn how to lead others.

Here are six reasons your Enneagram type impacts how you lead and how others respond to you:

  1. It helps you learn how to lead yourself first. By understanding your personality more clearly, you will then be able to better navigate your shortcomings and build upon your strengths. If you can’t do this with yourself first, you can’t effectively do it with others.
  2. It helps you understand what makes you tick. What makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning? What are your pet peeves, and why? Understanding our ticks and nuances are key in leading well and understanding our teams.
  3. It allows you to better understand what makes others tick. By having more clarity in what drives you, you can then begin to see what drives others.
  4. It makes you aware of your own strengths and limitations. Immediately, the Enneagram offers you the face value of your skills and weaknesses that can’t be ignored.
  5. It allows you to acquire a growth mindset. This mindset allows you to fulfill your potential in any role. In the Tim Ferriss interview, Lutke said, “Once people acquire their growth mindset, they can go very, very far, they can have ten years of a career on one year of the work clock.”
  6. It enhances your character and sense of self. A better sense of self gives you a more solid character. The more aware we are of ourselves, the more we can effectively impact others.

In short, yes, the Enneagram helps you become a more successful leader and a wiser decision-maker. Knowing your Enneagram type allows you to have a greater sense of self, but that is not even the best part. 

While many may look to the Enneagram simply for themselves, it can significantly increase the relationality and strength of your teams as a whole. When we can recognize the qualities of others and be understood by those we work with, the dynamic of our work is significantly changed for the better.