Which personality type is "the best"? While that's a fairly common question, it's really the wrong question. No personality type is intrinsically better than any other. All types have their strengths and weaknesses, and it's good that there's so much variety.
So, maybe a better question is, what is each type best at? In other words, what is your personality type’s competitive edge?
While this principle can be applied to any personality system, in this article we’re looking at each of the nine Enneagram personality types. Here’s the trait that helps you excel because it makes you stand out from everyone else.
Type One – Going above and beyond
The name says it all. Type Ones’ perfectionism means that they hold themselves to high standards even when no one's looking, and they take pride in a job done right, down to the last detail.
As a One, you follow rules and procedures, color inside the lines, and take pride in doing things not just correctly, but excellently. When there's a critical job that needs to be done well and in great detail, you have a carefully perfected edge and will go the extra mile to meet your own high standards and exceed expectations.
When you can’t afford any mistakes to go through the cracks, turn to a Type One. They also have the benefit of needing little supervision and can be counted on to go above and beyond.
Type 2 – Filling a need
When meeting the emotional or practical needs of others is essential, Type Twos step up to the plate. They know how to sense and meet others’ needs, and giving makes them happy, too.
As a Type Two, you’re on everyone’s go-to list when there’s a need to fill, including organizing events and people, and bringing everyone together in a way that’s mutually beneficial. And when a listening ear and compassionate heart are at the top of the “job description,” you have what it takes.
Whether it’s entertaining an emotionally needy client, showing compassion when a coworker is having a hard time, or just being there for friends and the community in a way that makes a difference, a Two has just the right warm, fuzzy edge.
Type Three – Getting it done with pizzazz
Threes are good at accomplishing multiple ambitious goals quickly and efficiently. They can direct a great deal of energy outwardly, focusing less on their feelings and more on visible achievements.
They’re also good at looking good, including in their online or public presence. It’s as if they have four hands – all of them perfectly manicured.
With their talent for looking good, both literally and metaphorically, Threes may be a good choice as the impressive “face” of your company, group or cause. If you need someone to get it all done while shining in the spotlight, type Threes have the right edge – a highly polished one.
Type Four – Doing things differently
Fours are good at being different and liking it that way. These types are all about being unique and standing out from the crowd. That means that they’re good at finding novel approaches and solutions that not everyone else would think of. This could manifest in creative projects, artistic expression, innovative ideas, or simply the ability to approach things from an unusual point of view.
As a Four, you’re not motivated by being like everyone else. In fact, you take pride in your uniqueness. This two-prong strength – thinking and expressing yourself differently, and not being afraid to be different – gives you your colorful, quirky edge in a world where most just want to fit in.
If you need someone who generates out-of-the-box ideas and not only accepts themselves as they are but is also open to doing the same for others, a Four is the right choice.
Type Five – Diving deep into the pool of knowledge
As a Five, your intense, insatiable thirst for knowledge and the ability to keep a laser focus on gaining and using information are your primary assets. Your ability to keep emotions, relationships, and all external considerations from intruding on your pursuit and analysis of knowledge gives you an encyclopedic edge over your colleagues and friends.
You’re able to dive deep, make meaningful connections, generate helpful ideas and put it all together in service to the current need, all while remaining calm under pressure. And since you love the pursuit of ideas and information, you’re likely to be willing to stay the course as long as needed.
Type 6 – Going the extra mile as a team player
Sixes work diligently to keep everyone safe and protected, preparing for the worst instead of hoping for the best. Whether that’s assessing and minimizing risk, assembling an emergency kit and evacuation plan, or saving for unexpected expenses, Sixes can be counted on to look out for the safety and interest of their family, group or organization.
The motto of Enneagram Type Sixes could be “better safe than sorry.” They go to extremes to childproof their house, research an investment in great detail, and plan for every possible contingency. However, instead of isolating to avoid danger, Sixes seek cooperation and belonging. They especially like fitting into and working along with a trusted institution.
When you need a team player who will go the extra mile – or ten – to foresee and avoid any kind of danger and put safety first, an Enneagram Type Six is the right person for the job. We won't call their advantage an edge, because edges can be dangerous.
Type 7 – Optimistic multitasking
Enthusiastic about embracing new people, places, challenges and experiences – often simultaneously – Sevens can energize and motivate others with their playful, willing spirit and optimistic attitude.
Their enthusiasm, joyful attitude and ability to multitask make Sevens a great fit for planning fun, unusual events and getting others as psyched as they are (almost).
If the job or other endeavor requires someone eager to travel to new places, meet new people, take on new projects, or plan exciting activities and get others on board, a Type Seven has the competitive edge – one they’ll likely jump off of with both feet and a joyful shout.
Type 8 – Standing firm for what you believe in
As a Type Eight, you come off as strong, direct and unafraid of conflict when you deem it necessary. You won’t let anyone take advantage of you or those under your protection. Unwavering in your personal standards and determined to make a difference for the good, you aren’t easily intimidated or swayed by the need to be popular.
While strong, determined and not afraid to challenge the rules, instead of being bullies, Type Eights – when at their best – use their strength to take the lead, defend the oppressed and stand up for what they believe in.
When an unflinching, unabashed approach, coupled with firm principles and little concern for public opinion, is what is needed, Eights have the competitive edge, with a capital E.
Type 9 – Calmly keeping the peace
When someone is needed to keep the peace – or make peace where it doesn’t exist – you are the one people likely look to. You’re able to get along with almost anyone, and often help others get along, too. If a mediator who can help everyone feel heard and included and who create win-win solutions is needed, you’re the natural choice.
Nines are good at being a calming presence and creating a unifying force in their workplace, family or social group. If avoiding or resolving conflict is essential, Type Nines have the edge – a deceptively soft-looking one.