Enneagram and the Business Owner
The Enneagram. Most have heard of it. Types, wings, direction of integration, childhood wounds, and so on. Maybe you’re a nerd like me and love to ponder the various numbers and how they explain a person’s essence. Maybe you think it sounds too clinical - like something only psychologists discuss. Or maybe you haven’t given it much thought.
Wherever you land on the continuum, do you wonder –
How does knowing my Enneagram number make me a better business owner?
No Enneagram number is better than another number. Each possesses positive and less-than-ideal traits. Like the food we eat, there are healthy and unhealthy options. And just like our food choices, we can choose to be a healthier version of our Enneagram number.
If you know your Enneagram type, then you can work on your unhealthy traits. This will empower you as a business owner and create a healthier work environment for you. You won’t eliminate the challenges of your Enneagram type, but you’ll learn ways to minimize the power those challenges have over you.
Sound too good to be true? Consider these ideas for each type of business owner.
Enneagram One - The Reformer
Enneagram Ones fight for injustice and lean towards perfectionism. Everything needs to be “right” for them to feel safe. This often leads to them identifying problems and providing solutions. Solutions are a good thing…until a One’s teammates feel like they’ll never measure up. They only hear what they need to fix.
If you’re a One, consider pointing out to others something they did right. Do this again and again and again. You’ll end up with happier, more engaged teammates. Don’t forget to recognize what you’re doing right. You deserve some kudos too.
Enneagram Two - The Helper
Who doesn’t love an Enneagram Two? They’re caring and all about easing the burdens of others. The challenge is over-helping and the motivation behind helping. Twos like feeling needed, and they can sometimes become over-involved, a bit hovering.
If you’re a Two, consider letting your associates complete their tasks without your involvement, unless they ask for help. This might be difficult at first, but in the end, your associates will be more empowered to do their jobs. And you’ll have some more time to concentrate on your tasks. As a business owner, you’ve got plenty.
Enneagram Three - The Achiever
Where would this world be without the go-getter Enneagram Threes? They are ambitious and rise to any occasion. But Enneagram Threes pay the price for their success by appearing impressive - always.
If you’re a Three, why not let your team connect with the real you, at least from time to time? It doesn’t have to be your most private thoughts that you share, but find a way to insert some vulnerability. Admit some flaws. You’ll be perceived as more approachable and be valued more for your authenticity.
Enneagram Four - The Individualist
Enneagram Fours offer value through creativity and feelings. They often see themselves as different from others - perceiving those differences as a negative self-image. What they feel is the truth - to them, at least. Not as the rest of the world sees them though.
If you’re a Four, make short lists of how alike you are to your teammates - in positive ways. Notice the similarities between yourself and your teammates, resisting the natural tendency to believe the negative feelings that so often squelch the fiery goodness inside.
Enneagram Five - The Investigator
If brain size indicates how knowledgeable someone is, then Enneagram Fives should have the largest brains. They are lifelong learners with a never-ending supply of ideas. But with those ideas comes a lot of nervous energy - palpable anxiety felt by anyone in near proximity.
If you’re a Five, it’s good to incorporate calming exercises in your day. Meditate for five minutes before work or mid-day, if that helps. Practice breathing exercises or walk around the block a time or two to gain a fresh perspective. These will ground you, making you less withdrawn and more in tune with those around you. Calming exercises positively impact your body and mind.
Enneagram Six - The Loyalist
Everyone benefits from the Enneagram Six. They’ve got your back to a fault. They also have plenty of “what if” questions for any occasion, which sometimes causes overreactions.
If you’re a Six, then one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to oppose those “what if” questions with a new “what if” question. Here’s what I mean. Instead of “What if it rains on the day of our parade,” simply ask, “What if it doesn’t rain on the day of our parade?” Say it out loud. See how the opposite “what if” question changes your perspective and the overall mood in the office? Realize that most of what you fear never happens.
Enneagram Seven - The Enthusiast
Who doesn’t love to be around Enneagram Sevens? They are the life of the party, cheerfully approaching all life offers them. They’re adventurous, curious, and fun-loving. This can sometimes lead to self-indulgence as a way of life and missing out on what others have to say. So how can Sevens be better business owners?
If you’re a Seven, learn to slow down and truly listen to your others. Repeat back to them what they’ve said to you, to ensure you understand what they’re conveying. Practice active-listening and strengthen your relationships with your clients, building a stronger foundation for your business.
Enneagram Eight - The Challenger
If war loomed in the future, we’d want an Enneagram Eight at the front, leading us with strength, confidence, and decisiveness. Eights welcome the tough stuff and laugh at Fear’s taunts. They’re powerful people, who sometimes lean towards being confrontational, combative, or dictatorial.
If you’re an Eight, try getting behind others’ ideas for a change. Even if you don’t see value in what they propose, if it’s not a threat to you or your business, then let them have some wins. Remember that not everything needs to be challenged. Save your energy for what truly matters.
Enneagram Nine - The Peacemaker
Enneagram Nines strive for peace, both inwardly and externally. They can be a balm to others who are hurting - a general safe place. They can also be so accommodating that they aren’t being themselves. Instead, they’re molding themselves into the likenesses of those around them.
If you’re a Nine business owner, then there’s a chance you’re too agreeable. Learn to set boundaries. Build those assertive muscles by relaying those boundaries to others. It might take a while, but with time and persistence, establishing ground rules will gain others’ respect.
The Enneagram Better Business Owner
The Enneagram is a great tool to help discover what makes each of us who we are. It outlines our biggest fears, deepest desires, strengths, and weaknesses. It provides understanding and ways to grow our character.
If you’re a business owner who doesn’t know what Enneagram type you are, then click here to find out your number. In doing so, you’ll better understand yourself and how to interact with other numbers, resulting in a more successful business. Don’t get overwhelmed though. It’s just one tool. There are others.
The Organized CEO
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