Boosting Team Dynamics with Enneagram Insights

Mon Mar 27 2023

Greek statues working in teams

Is everyone speaking the same language?

Imagine walking into a room where everyone speaks a different language. Confusing, right? That’s what it’s like in a workplace where people don’t understand each other’s personality types. Enter the Enneagram—a tool that deciphers this “language barrier,” transforming it into a bridge for better communication, collaboration, and overall team dynamics.

What is the Enneagram?

The Enneagram is a comprehensive personality framework that categorizes people into nine distinct types, each with its own set of characteristics, motivations, and fears. Developed by Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo in the 1960s and 70s, the Enneagram has since gained popularity as a tool for personal growth and team development.

The Nine Enneagram Types

  1. The Perfectionist
  2. The Helper
  3. The Achiever
  4. The Individualist
  5. The Investigator
  6. The Loyalist
  7. The Enthusiast
  8. The Challenger
  9. The Peacemaker

By understanding these types, individuals can gain valuable insights into their own behavior and that of their colleagues, paving the way for more effective collaboration.

The Benefits of Using the Enneagram in the Workplace

Improved Communication

The Enneagram helps team members understand and appreciate each other’s communication styles. For example, a Type 5 “Investigator” might prefer email correspondence, while a Type 2 “Helper” thrives on face-to-face conversations. By recognizing these differences, team members can adapt their approach to ensure clear and effective communication.

“The Enneagram doesn’t put you in a box. It shows you the box you’re already in and how to get out of it.” - Ian Morgan Cron

Increased Empathy

Understanding the Enneagram fosters empathy among team members. When colleagues can put themselves in each other’s shoes, they can work together more effectively and resolve conflicts more easily. This empathy is the foundation of strong, harmonious relationships within the team.

Enhanced Decision-Making

The Enneagram can also aid in decision-making by leveraging the diverse strengths of each team member. For instance, combining the decisiveness of a Type 8 “Challenger” with the creativity of a Type 4 “Individualist” can lead to well-rounded, effective solutions.

Creating the Ideal Work Environment with the Enneagram

The Enneagram provides valuable insights into each type’s ideal work environment. A Type 3 “Achiever” thrives in a goal-oriented setting, while a Type 9 “Peacemaker” excels in a harmonious atmosphere. By tailoring the workspace to suit each type, leaders can boost productivity and job satisfaction.

The Importance of Emotional and Interpersonal Atmosphere

In addition to the physical workspace, the emotional and interpersonal atmosphere is crucial for team success. The Enneagram helps leaders create a culture that brings out the best in each team member by catering to their individual needs and preferences.

Ideal Work Environment for Each Enneagram Type

Understanding the ideal work environment for each Enneagram type can help organizations create a more supportive and inclusive workplace culture.

For example, an Enneagram Type 1 may thrive in a structured and organized environment, while an Enneagram Type 7 may prefer a more flexible and creative work environment. By tailoring the work environment to each employee’s personality type, organizations can create a more engaged and motivated workforce.Here are some examples of the ideal work environment for each Enneagram type:

Type 1 - The Perfectionist

Approach to work: Type 1s are the meticulous planners of the office, always striving for excellence. Their primary goal is to create a flawless work environment, often taking on the role of the quality checker. They’re the ones who will stay late to ensure that a project is error-free. However, this can sometimes lead to stress, as they set incredibly high standards for themselves and others. Their unique contribution? They bring a level of precision and accountability that’s hard to match.

Ideal Work Environment: A structured and organized environment that values attention to detail and accuracy. A clear set of rules and expectations can help the Type 1 thrive and feel secure.

More on type 1s

Type 2 - The Helper

Approach to work: Type 2s are the nurturers, always willing to lend a helping hand. Their main goal is to create a harmonious work environment. They’re the ones who remember birthdays, organize team lunches, and are always available to assist colleagues. While their kindness is their strength, it can sometimes be their downfall if they neglect their own needs. They uniquely bring emotional intelligence into the workplace, making everyone feel supported and valued.

Ideal Work Environment: A supportive and collaborative environment that values teamwork and relationships. The Type 2 thrives in a work environment that values their nurturing and empathetic qualities.

More on type 2s

Type 3 - The Achiever

Approach to work: For Type 3s, work is a platform to shine. Their primary goal is to achieve and be recognized for it. They’re the ones who will take the lead on projects, often setting ambitious timelines. While their drive is admirable, it can sometimes lead to burnout. What sets them apart? Their ability to inspire others with their vision and determination, making them natural leaders.

Ideal Work Environment: A fast-paced and competitive environment that values goal-setting and achievement. The Type 3 thrives in an environment that values their ambition and results-driven attitude.

More on type 3s

Type 4 - The Individualist

Approach to work: Type 4s are the artists of the workplace, always seeking to inject creativity into their projects. Their main goal is to make a unique mark. They’re the ones who will suggest out-of-the-box ideas during brainstorming sessions. While their creativity is a boon, it can sometimes clash with more structured environments. Their unique trait? They bring a depth of emotion and originality that can turn any project into a masterpiece.

Ideal Work Environment: A creative and innovative environment that values self-expression and originality. The Type 4 thrives in an environment that allows them to explore their unique perspective and creativity.

More on type 4s

Type 5 - The Investigator

Approach to work: Type 5s are the researchers, always diving deep into their subjects. Their primary goal is to gain expertise and knowledge. They’re the ones who will spend hours getting to the root of a problem. While their analytical skills are top-notch, they may sometimes struggle with teamwork. What’s unique about them? Their ability to see details others may overlook, making them invaluable in problem-solving.

Ideal Work Environment: A quiet and contemplative environment that values intellectual curiosity and expertise. The Type 5 thrives in an environment that allows them to explore and learn on their own terms.

More on type 5s

Type 6 - The Loyalist

Approach to work: Type 6s are the reliable backbone of any team. Their main goal is to provide a stable work environment. They’re the ones who will double-check safety protocols and always have a Plan B. While their caution is a strength, it can sometimes lead to indecisiveness. Their unique contribution? They bring a sense of security and reliability that keeps the team grounded.

Ideal Work Environment: A supportive and secure environment that values loyalty and dependability. The Type 6 thrives in a work environment that provides clear guidance and structure.

More on type 6s

Type 7 - The Enthusiast

Approach to work: Type 7s are the adventurers, always looking for the next big thing. Their main goal is to make work fun and engaging. They’re the ones who will propose a team-building trip or a new, exciting project. While their enthusiasm is infectious, it can sometimes be a distraction. What sets them apart? Their ability to keep the team motivated and morale high, especially during challenging times.

Ideal Work Environment: A dynamic and exciting environment that values exploration and variety. The Type 7 thrives in a work environment that allows them to pursue their interests and passions.

More on type 7s

Type 8 - The Challenger

Approach to work: Type 8s are the assertive leaders, never shying away from a challenge. Their main goal is to take control and make impactful decisions. They’re the ones who will confront issues head-on and are not afraid to voice unpopular opinions. While their assertiveness is a strength, it can sometimes intimidate others. Their unique trait? They bring a level of candidness and directness that cuts through ambiguity.

Ideal Work Environment: A challenging and competitive environment that values assertiveness and leadership. The Type 8 thrives in an environment that allows them to take charge and make decisions.

More on type 8s

Type 9 - The Peacemaker

Approach to work Type 9s are the mediators, always seeking harmony. Their main goal is to create a peaceful work environment. They’re the ones who will diffuse tensions and avoid conflicts. While their diplomacy is a strength, it can sometimes lead to passivity. What’s unique about them? Their ability to see multiple perspectives makes them excellent at resolving conflicts and finding middle ground.

Ideal Work Environment: A harmonious and peaceful environment that values balance and collaboration. The Type 9 thrives in an environment that promotes a sense of unity and cooperation.

More on type 9s

Implementing the Enneagram in Your Workplace

  1. Encourage team members to take the Enneagram test and share their results.
  2. Provide resources, such as “The Wisdom of the Enneagram” by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson, to help team members understand the nine types and how they interact.
  3. Incorporate the Enneagram into team-building activities and discussions to foster understanding and collaboration.
  4. Use Enneagram-based tools, like the “Relationship Guide” from the Enneagram Institute, to help team members navigate their interactions with each other.

By embracing the Enneagram as a tool for personal and team growth, you can transform your workplace into a more understanding, collaborative, and productive environment. So, let the Enneagram be your guide in breaking down language barriers and unlocking your team’s full potential.


The Enneagram is not just a tool but a catalyst for creating a more inclusive, efficient, and harmonious workplace. By understanding each team member’s unique personality type, you unlock the door to a realm of possibilities—better communication, stronger collaboration, and a work environment that feels like home to everyone.

If you like diving into personality, explore our questions and go deeper with the Enneagram. 🚀

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