How the Enneagram Can Help Create Diversity in the Workplace17 March 2021 / By Lynn Roulo Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on March 17, 2021
Applying the Enneagram personality test in the workplace is one of the most powerful tools you can use to improve office communication and strengthen team dynamics. But like all powerful tools, it can be misused, and one common misconception is that it might be efficient to eliminate various Enneagram types from specific jobs or teams.
This is a misunderstanding, and in fact, the opposite is true. If used properly, the Enneagram illustrates the important gifts of each type, and it highlights why personality type diversity is key to a balanced, high functioning workplace. You can think of each Enneagram type as having unique superpowers and if any of the superpowers are missing, the team is weakened.
Here you can get a glimpse of the workplace superpowers by Enneagram type.
Type 1 Perfectionist
Their superpower is to improve output, to maintain high standards in a work environment and find practical solutions to work-related problems. These are the detail-oriented folks who create systems and structures to ensure quality, efficiency, and fairness throughout the organization. Without the Type 1 influence, a workplace might stagnate, grow inefficient, or suffer low quality of work. We need Type 1s to keep us constantly improving.
Type 2 Giver
Their superpower is to boost team morale, provide broad support, improve office communication, and to create a positive work environment. Type 2s bring the human connection to the organization and help keep the corporate world an approachable place to work. Without Type 2s in the workplace, communication would break down, employee stress leave would go up, and we’d dread going to work a lot more. We need Type 2s to keep us connected to our humanity.
Type 3 Achiever
Their superpower is winning and achieving. These are the goal-seeking sprinters of the Enneagram, aggressively working to succeed in their initiatives and beat the competition. Their eye on image keeps the corporate reputation in line. Without Type 3s in the workplace, we might sit on our laurels and get complacent or worse, miss our goals. We need Type 3s to drive us to achieve our initiatives.
Type 4 Individualist
Their superpower is innovation, original expression, and to interpret the unspoken undercurrents in professional situations. Type 4s bring a remarkable perception to the workplace. Unafraid to think out of the box, they have a sixth sense for what is important but perhaps not being said. Without Type 4s, we’d miss out on a lot of original thinking, and we would miss the subtle layers of communication. Customer needs might go unnoticed, innovation might stall out, employee dissatisfaction might escalate. We need Type 4s to show us their vision and help us hear the quiet undercurrents in the workplace.
Type 5 Investigator
Their superpower is clear, rational thought and deep focus. Type 5s bring the ability to stay steadily dedicated to complicated and thorny problems. This focus allows them to develop mastery of a topic, and Type 5s are often the subject matter experts in a corporate environment. Without Type 5s in the workplace, we would have a less complete understanding of the complex issues important to our business. We need Type 5s to relentlessly pursue knowledge around our business issues.
Type 6 Skeptic
Their superpower is critical thinking and eliminating threats in the workplace. Type 6s bring a security-minded, problem-seeking perspective to the office. They focus on what could go wrong, what could be dangerous, and what could threaten the business. Without Type 6s in a business setting, we wouldn’t think of what could go wrong and would have unnecessary exposure to threats to the company. We need Type 6s to keep us safe.
Type 7 Enthusiast
Their superpower is curiosity, lateral thinking, expansive vision, and an upbeat approach to work. Type 7s bring a boundary-free way of processing information that allows them to make original connections and come up with new ideas. Their focus on the positive and the possible makes them valuable for brainstorming, strategy, and vision. Without Type 7s in the workplace, we would miss out on many new opportunities. We need Type 7s to keep us expansive and growing.
Type 8 Challenger
Their superpower is decisive thinking, bold action, and a tenacity to get things over the finish line. Type 8s bring a direct, no-nonsense approach to the corporate environment and stay focused on actionable goals and initiatives. Their direct communication and “get things done” attitude makes them valuable in closing difficult deals and leading challenging projects. Without Type 8s in the workplace, important deals might not get done. We need Type 8s to lead us through difficult issues.
Type 9 Peacemaker
Their superpower is collaboration, mediation, and getting different perspectives to work harmoniously together. Type 9s bring a soothing, inclusive attitude to the workplace and can often be the glue of a team or office. These are the folks who get along with everyone. Their amiable, easy-going nature often de-escalates workplace conflicts. Without Type 9s in the workplace, we’d waste a lot more time on petty conflicts. We need Type 9s to keep harmony in the office.
How do we activate our superpowers?
The difference between a latent and an active superpower is often as simple as self-awareness. Once a person knows his or her type, they can start working with their natural gifts to bring out the best in their workplace. One of the most valuable things a company can do is to provide personality system training where employees can start to uncover their natural strengths and superpowers. A workplace with all Enneagram types working at their highest and best is almost certain to succeed.