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Using Enneagram as a Manager

Learn five ways to use the Enneagram to strengthen your leadership and team effectiveness.

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Written by Team
Updated over a week ago

There’s a reason that so many people love the Enneagram, and that is because there is so much information that gives you insight into who you are, and sometimes it is alarming how accurate it is!

Oftentimes in relationships and friendships, the Enneagram assessment is very useful in learning more about the other person and how to work with them, and this is very useful in a work environment, so let’s dive in!

Leading and Training

In addition to the main type, wings, and triads, the Enneagram provides you with two other pieces of information about yourself and others. These are the arrows, or directions of growth and stress, which describe how you and others act in different scenarios.

Your direction of growth shows how you will act during times of growth, so as you can see, if you are an Enneagram 1, you will act like a healthy Enneagram 7 in growth, but during stress, you’ll act like an unhealthy Enneagram 4.

In knowing this, you are self-aware in either current or future times of stress, and you can learn to control your reactions and re-center yourself when leading others.

This tactic can also be helpful when training employees. You can sit down with them demonstrate how they will act in times of growth and stress looking at their results, and create routes you will take as a team to find balance in emotions and regain motivation.

Understanding Employees

When it comes to the Enneagram, there are many different aspects that might be confusing. Instead of remembering each type and every quality about them, a quick way to understand employees is to get an idea about how an employee will perceive, process, and respond to information through their triad.

To break it down quickly, the three triads are the gut: 8, 9, and 1, the heart: 2, 3, and 4, and the head: 5, 6, and 7.

Those in the gut triad respond instinctively, those in the heart triad respond through feelings, and those in the head triad respond through the mind.

For example, if an employee belongs in the heart triad and they receive information that is not favorable, emotions might come out through the way they respond, and it may affect them beyond the surface.

Dealing with Conflict

Conflict is a pressing issue that every team will face at some point. The Relationship Map allows you to see the side-by-side comparison of team members, what causes them to be conflicted, their responses to conflict, and how to handle situations.

This is a very useful tool should conflict arise, because it allows each person to see the situation from the other viewpoint and to understand why they react the way they do. For example, if Cassidy and Adam get into an argument, it may arise from Cassidy getting aggressive and over-delegating as a result of Adam dreaming up future ideas instead of working on present ones.

If you have a meeting with Cassidy and Adam about this, or you find yourself in the same situation with another employee, pull up the relationship map and look at the sources of conflict and reaction to conflict.

Here, Cassidy can see that Adam doesn’t like being told what to do, which is why he has been avoiding her and talking about other topics, while Adam can see that Cassidy doesn’t like when things are done inefficiently, which is why she keeps telling him what is right and needs to be done now.

In the bottom, you can see how Cassidy and Adam can resolve conflict, and this is by focusing on the end goal and understanding each other’s differing styles. If Cassidy and Adam use this map and talk about how to work effectively in the future, the meetings could start with Adam offering his future-oriented ideas, and Cassidy helping to set deadlines and a plan of implementation.

Conduct Better Meetings

Whether it is a one-on-one or a team meeting, knowing your employee’s preferences when assigning tasks will help them feel understood and motivated.

No person is just one Enneagram type, they also have wings. This is a type adjacent to their main type that they lean into and balance themselves out with.

So, they may enjoy being given tasks that lean into their wing qualities as well as tasks that lean into their main Enneagram type. For example, if your employee is an Enneagram 1, with a Wing 2, delegate tasks in meetings that might fit into both of these areas of preference.

If you need help with a task or situation regarding ethical issues or certain procedures to follow, this person is likely good to lean on. However, cut-and-dry tasks could get monotonous over time, and looking at this employee’s Wing 2 could help get them motivated again. A small task could be having them do quick check-ins once a week with some people in their department.

Delegate and Motivate

Looking at an employee’s main Enneagram type will quickly show you their preferences and what motivates them at work. After all, this is their main type, so it will describe who they are. You don’t even have to do that much work to figure this out!

In the Cloverleaf profile, we tell you how they are motivated! Taking a look at an Enneagram 8, this employee is motivated by needing to be self-reliant, strong, and independent. They also enjoy taking initiative, being in charge, and the freedom to make choices.

Give this employee the autonomy to do these things, and assign them tasks that allow for decision making and independence at work, as this is what will motivate them. This can even help if you see an employee struggling in their position, and you feel there may be a position better suited for them or that they have potential in.

If the job description is vastly different than what is suited for their Enneagram type, they may lose motivation, so thinking about where their personality traits and motivations fit in a different position may be beneficial.

Also, if there is a promotion on the table, and you see potential in an employee through motivations that they have not yet lived out, they may be a good candidate to move up in the company and possibly manage others.

Cloverleaf has a lot to offer, so check out our blog or other articles about the TEAM Dashboard.

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