Enneagram Leadership Styles for Self Awareness

What’s Your Enneagram Leadership Style?

Leaders today are facing change on multiple fronts at an unprecedented level. To successfully lead, whether that be an organisation or a family, a high degree of personal awareness and development is required across cognitive, emotional, social, ethical, moral, spiritual aspects of being.

You Can’t Lead Others, Unless You First Lead Yourself

Effective leadership depends on self-awareness and self-management. Great leaders are willing to inquire within to examine their attitudes, beliefs, values, thinking and behavioural patterns. Self-awareness leads to greater flexibility of response in any situation, and simultaneously a deeper understanding of how best to interact with other’s reactivity.


The Enneagram typology test is a powerful tool that can be used to help expand self-awareness. More than just pointing to personality types, it’s a map of the human psyche, providing a deep understanding of human behaviour, and pathway to freedom. It also allows you to identify your strengths and potential weaknesses, so you bring your best self to leadership.

The Enneagram is a system of nine personality types. Though each of us has all nine Enneatypes within, one type will be our centre of gravity. The more you learn about your Enneatype, the better able you become to identify your blind spots and reactivity, and see how you may show up from other people’s perspective. Understanding other people’s Enneatypes, preferences and perspectives also helps build social and emotional intelligence, vital to any leader.

Let’s take a brief look at the focus of attention for each Enneatype and how that may play out from a leadership perspective. If not currently aware of your Enneatype, notice which types resonate most for you.

Type 1: The Reformer or Perfectionist

The Type One’s focus is on what is right and wrong. They seek to make continual improvement, and tend to be honest, responsible and reliable. Their drive for perfection can mean they allow little room for error and Type One leaders can therefore find it difficult to delegate out of fear that the job won’t be done as well as it would if they did it themselves. Perfectionism may also lead to procrastination. A healthy expression of Type One leadership is trusting in the ability of others thereby freeing themselves of the burden of doing it all themselves.

Type 2: The Helper

The Type Two’s focus is on the needs of others. They are caring, relationship oriented, and attuned to the emotional reality of others. From a strengths perspective this can mean a collaborative leadership style. At the other end of that continuum, their impulse to cede to other’s expectations and be liked can interfere with autonomy of leading. Healthy Type Two leaders know to take care of their own needs as an equal priority to others.

Type 3: The Achiever

The Type three focus of attention is on task, roles and image. As leaders they are energetic and adaptable, and can have adept social skills. If unaware of their personality type, they can live in reaction to an unconscious belief that they are worthless and thus constantly strive trying to prove themselves, and this may come at the expense of their personal relationships and emotions. In a healthy expression Type Three leaders relax their need to be the star of the show and become inspiring leaders.

Type 4: The Individualist

The focus for Type Fours is on what’s missing, and on the worst of what’s here. Type Four strengths can include creativity, empathy and idealism. They may struggle with a sense of not belonging, and with being somehow flawed, and to compensate may set themselves apart by identifying themselves as “special” or “unique”. Effective Type Four leaders let go of this story, and of identifying with their emotions allowing their gift of creativity and intuition to come forward.

Type 5: The Investigator


A Type Five’s focus of attention is on what other’s expect. Type Five leaders often appear detached from the team, however on the contrary, they’re usually observing every detail. They are scholarly, analytical and intelligent, but can withhold themselves and their knowledge from others. Finding their emotions intrusive they can seem cold or uncaring to others. Healthy Type Five leaders reach out to their team by sharing their expertise, letting their clarity and insight benefit all.

Type 6: The Loyalist

Potential danger is the focus of Type Sixes, which makes them excellent trouble-shooters with a plan for every possible worst-case scenario. This focus of attention arises from a lack of trust in themselves or that they are supported by others. Type Sixes make natural leaders thanks to their ethical nature, sharp perception, and attentiveness, and are the glue that holds a team together. At their best, they let go of skepticism and lead from a place of trust.

Type 7: The Enthusiast

Type Sevens focus on the positive possibility in all things. As leaders they are visionaries, endlessly generating innovative ideas. However, their insatiable appetite for new experiences and a fear of missing out on them can make them scattered and impulsive. Intelligent and charming, they can be compelling communicators, but because they self-reference they can falsely assume that because they are happy, everyone is. Their biggest challenge is bringing their visions to fruition, as they’re easily distracted by the next great project. Healthy Type Seven Leaders are aware of this potential challenge and prioritize and focus their efforts.

Type 8: The Challenger

Type Eight’s focus is on power and control. They make natural leaders as they are bold, assertive and action-oriented, and a tower of strength under pressure. They can however engage in bullying if their sense of control is threatened and may become willful, vengeful or demanding. With a low tolerance for ambiguity, a surgent temper where attack is the best defence, Eights can find relationships challenging. When they relax and connect through their heart with vulnerability, they make strong, magnanimous leaders.

Type 9: The Peacemaker

Type Nines are attentive to other people’s wants and needs. Seeking to avoid conflict externally so they can experience peace on the inside, they are accepting, calming and steady to be around. As leaders, this can result in them overlooking problems that impact the organisation. They have a tendency to withdraw and disengage, and if unaware of these tendencies within themselves, their teams become frustrated with their inability to step in and take a stand. The best expression of Nine leadership is the capacity maintain calm whilst confronting reality.


The Enneagram is a window to self-awareness. With compassion for ourselves and others, we can use it to live more authentically and peacefully across all contexts of life.

Women located in Sydney who’d like to know more about the Enneagram and what blindspots it can reveal to you about your leadership style, join us for the next She Leads Session on August 21st from 8-9.30am at the Seaforth Community Centre 550 Sydney Road Seaforth.

If you’d like to work with us directly to help unlock your potential contact us to discuss Developmental Coaching or Bespoke Developmental Programs for your workplace.

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