A group of colleagues sit around a computer at work.

If you’ve been managing a team for a while, you’ll have noticed that sometimes your team works really well together and sometimes they don’t. It can be hard to pinpoint what’s different.

While there are many factors that can undermine performance, one really useful lens to look through is Enneagram blind spots. Not just each person’s blind spots, but the team’s blind spots. 

Once your team has taken an Enneagram assessment, and their type confirmed through one-on-one debriefs or an introductory team session, you can create a team profile

A team profile shows what percentage of your team is represented by each Enneagram type. For example, you might have a team that's 100% type Twos, or a team that's a mix, for example, 30% Type Three, 20% Type Eight, 15% Type One and 35% Type Six.

Once you’ve created the profile, start by looking at how the team profile aligns with the team’s responsibilities. Then for every new project they take on, use the profile to assess the alignment between the team and the project. 

This is a great activity to do with the team itself. Gather everyone around a table and ask questions like:

  • Do the team’s strengths and priorities align with the needs of the project?
  • Are there any team blindspots that will undermine the success of the project?
  • Is anyone on the team able to cover what’s missing? 
  • What additional support might we need? 

Each Enneagram type represents more than one strength and blindspot, but here is an example of what to consider if this type is missing from your team. 

Enneagram Ones - Quality Control 

If you have no Enneagram Ones on your team, you might notice that quality control isn’t a priority for the team. This isn’t a problem if the team’s work is primarily focused on relationship building or where specific standards undermine creative output. 

But it’s always useful to check in and ask:

  • How important is quality control to this project?
  • What happens if mistakes are made on this project?
  • Does this project require clear standards? 
  • Is managing a lot of detail important to the success of this project? 

Enneagram Twos - Customer Service

If you have no Enneagram Twos on your team, you might notice that delivering amazing customer service experiences isn’t high on the team’s agenda. That’s not a problem if their work is more focused on data gathering, insightful analysis or resolving conflict.   

But it’s still helpful and check in and ask:

  • Who are the team’s internal and external customers?
  • Who manages and maintains those relationships?
  • Is creating positive experiences important to the success of this project?
  • Is the team receiving sufficient appreciation and positive feedback?

Enneagram Threes - Market Orientation 

If you have no Enneagram Threes on the team, you might notice a struggle to really understand the market and adapt the team’s communication style to that audience. They might struggle to promote themselves or not be very interested in competing with others.  

Again, that may not be relevant, but it’s good to check:

  • Who is responsible for understanding our audience and target market?
  • Is adapting our messaging to each audience key to this project’s success?
  • Who is responsible for promoting this project? 
  • Does the team need assistance with sales and marketing? 

Enneagram Fours - Authentic Communication

If you have no Enneagram Fours on the team, you might notice a lack of emotional intuition, which helps teams make value based decisions and communicate in an emotionally honest and authentic way. 

Questions to ask include:

  • Are the team’s values clear?
  • Are our values a key part of the team’s decision making process?
  • Do our projects need a unique perspective?
  • Would this project benefit from some empathetic, truth telling?  

Enneagram Fives - Objective Analysis

If you have no Enneagram Fives on the team, you’ll notice a lack of subject matter experts or people interested in deep diving into the data to provide high quality, unbiased analysis. This isn’t something to worry about if your team’s remit is customer service or quality control, but in this modern era, with data everywhere, objective analysis can be essential to many different teams.

Questions to ask:

  • What kind of research and data gathering is required for this project?
  • Who will be responsible for managing and maintaining that data?
  • What objective analysis does this project need?
  • What subject matter experts are required for this project?

Enneagram Sixes - Risk Assessment

If you have no Enneagram Sixes on your team, you’ll notice a lack of interest in asking about all the things that could go wrong and how to plan for those happening. Every project requires a risk assessment to some degree. The bigger the project, the more essential it is. 

Questions to ask:

  • Who is responsible for assessing the risks of the project?
  • Who is responsible for creating detailed plans for each risk?
  • Who is asking the tough questions about what might go wrong?
  • Who is responsible for the safety of all involved?

Enneagram Sevens - Creative Planning

If you have no Enneagram Sevens on your team, you’ll notice a lack of interest in new, untested, innovative, unusual and impossible ideas. Other types can be positive, but Sevens really turn up the optimism that anything's possible. This is useful for teams doing things that have never been done before. 

Questions to ask:

  • Does the team need to create a clear vision for the future?
  • Does the project need some fresh ideas or a new perspective?
  • Does the team need a brainstorming or ideation session?
  • Is the team unsure it’s even possible to achieve the goal?

Enneagram Eights - Seeing the Big Picture 

If you have no Enneagram Eights on your team, you might notice the team doesn’t always see the big picture or care how the team’s work fits into the companies. Or you might notice a lack of interest in directly confronting problems in a way that benefits the project. 

Questions to ask:

  • Is the team clear on how the project fits into the bigger picture?
  • Does the team struggle to make decisions that align to the company's direction?
  • Is the team’s decision making process slow and overly complicated? 
  • Is there a difficult situation that the team isn’t sure how to move past?

Enneagram Nines - Diplomacy

If you have no Enneagram Nines on your team, you might notice a lack of interest in hearing everyone’s opinion and ensuring everyone has a chance to contribute. You might also notice that the team finds it’s hard to find common ground on different topics and there can be a lingering sense of unspoken disagreement. 

Questions to ask:

  • Does everyone on the team feel heard?
  • Would this project benefit from a consensus based approach? 
  • Where is diplomacy needed for this project? 
  • How would taking the time to really listen to key stakeholders benefit the project? 

Getting a team profile

An Enneagram based team profile can be a really useful tool for a team to have. It can help with:

  • Checking how the team aligns with its overall purpose and responsibilities 
  • Deciding what mentoring or resources might be needed at the start of each new project, and
  • Understanding why certain conflicts or miscommunications with other teams are happening.

Whether your team is new to the Enneagram or already familiar with it, developing a team profile can be a range of practical insights that will help you lead your team.

Samantha Mackay

Samantha Mackay is a certified Enneagram and leadership development coach who believes work should be energizing, not draining. She combines the Enneagram with her experience of recovering from burnout twice to help leaders and teams thrive during stressful times. Connect with Samantha at www.samanthamackay.com