La Eneagrama en Business

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In Business

Organizations around the world are demanding more accurate information about the needs of clients and employees—and how best to communicate with them. Many are also interested in developing a more humane and person-centered approach to the workplace so that they can attract and retain valuable employees and achieve peak productivity. If we want to maximize our productivity in the workplace, we need to learn how to manage ourselves and how to manage different types of people. The Enneagram is uniquely suited to meet these needs—and many more—in the business world.

The key to success in any venture is the ability to communicate with others, to inspire them to share your vision and goals, and to provide clear direction and keep things on track through clear feedback. Yet communication is often difficult if personality type is not taken into account because people tend to believe that others think the same way they do and that others have the same motivations, values, priorities, and reactions as they do.

Even if we understand that different people need to be managed differently, without an adequate idea of what those differences actually are, it is difficult to manage people more effectively. Once type differences are taken into account, however, solutions grow out of insights about the nature of each type, its habitual reactions, and its motivations. When type is taken into account, communication becomes exponentially more effective and people can recognize and make the most of human diversity. The Enneagram helps managers and personnel at every level understand that there are nine different points of view, nine distinct sets of values, nine different communication styles, nine ways of solving problems—and so forth—and that they are all equally useful and valid. All of the types have something necessary to contribute to a thriving, balanced work environment.

By understanding personality types, we can speak the language of others, which may be very different from our own. Real communication is then possible, and we are able to deal more even-handedly with conflicts, ineffective work habits, office politics, and different management styles, among other important work issues. The Enneagram lubricates all interactions in the workplace by giving people a common vocabulary and frame of reference. Moreover, it helps retain valuable employees by increasing job satisfaction and productivity. It can be used in an executive search to find the right person for the job—and in executive coaching to help people work at the highest level of their capacities. The Enneagram is also particularly valuable for team development, conflict resolution, negotiation, and leadership development.

Furthermore, the Enneagram helps us see our own personality dynamics more clearly. Once we are aware of the importance of personality types, we see that our own style will not be equally effective with everyone. Thus, one of the most useful lessons of the Enneagram is how to move from a management style in which others are expected to mold themselves to our way of thinking and values to a more flexible management style in which we act from an awareness of the strengths and potential contributions of others. By doing so, we help others become more effective themselves—and as a result, harmony, p roductivity, and satisfaction are likely to increase.

The following brief descriptions of the nine types emphasize how they appear in the business world. (We also use different names for some of the types, since in our experience, these are more acceptable in the business world.) You may be able to identify yourself or someone else through this brief “paragraph test,” and you can use the descriptions to corroborate what you have found by taking the full RHETI. Needless to say, these brief descriptions are by no means complete—but they are a good place to see the utility of the Enneagram in this context.

The Nine Types in Business

Type One – The Reformer

The rational, orderly type. Principled, purposeful, self- controlled, and perfectionistic. Ones are concerned with maintaining quality and high standards. They focus on details and like to improve and streamline procedures. They are often good at coaching others on how to improve themselves, be more efficient, and do things correctly. Well-organized and orderly, they can also be overly critical of themselves and others. They dislike waste and sloppiness, but can deteriorate into micromanagement and constant, demoralizing criticism. At their best, they have good judgment, make wise decisions, and model ethical and responsible behavior.

Type Two – The Mentor

The helpful, interpersonal type. Generous, appreciative, people-pleasing, and possessive. Twos are sensitive to the needs of others and seek to be of service. They appreciate the talents of others and act as confidants and guides, good at networking people and services. However, they typically have trouble saying no to requests and tend to become stressed by trying to help others too much. They dislike impersonal rules and work situations and can deteriorate into favoritism and time-wasting personal overinvolvements. At their best, they are empathetic and generous and help build team interpersonal connections.

Type Three – The Achiever

The adaptable, ambitious type. Focused, excelling, driven, and image-conscious. Threes know how to work efficiently to get the job done according to customer expectations. Often attractive, charming, and energetic, they are conscious of the image they project of themselves as well as of their team and company. They like getting recognition and are attracted to success and positions of prestige. They can be competitive and workaholic, driven by the need for status and personal advancement, deteriorating into cutting corners to stay ahead. At their best, they are accomplished and admirable, often seen as inspiring role models by others.

Type Four – The Designer

The introspective, artistic type. Expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental. Fours deliver personalized service and/or develop distinctive products known for their refinement and sense of style. They can be uncompromising in their pursuit of the right effect, word, or design and of gauging the personal impact of a product. They dislike tasks that they feel are not creative or give them room for their personal imprint. They may be hypersensitive to criticism and can deteriorate into moodiness and erratic work habits. At their best, they bring intuition and creativity into the workplace and enrich it with their sense of depth, style, and appreciation of the personal dimension.

Type Five – The Investigator

The perceptive, provocative type. Curious, innovative, secretive, and eccentric. Fives are tireless learners and experimenters, especially in specialized or technical matters. They like to understand in detail, spend time on research, and follow their curiosity wherever it leads. They are highly analytical and preoccupied with discovery, not paying attention to project time constraints and relationships. They can deteriorate into arrogance and noncommunication, intellectual bickering and oneupsmanship. At their best, Fives are visionary pioneers, bringing strikingly new ideas and profound depth to their work.

Type Six – The Troubleshooter

The engaging, loyal type. Likable, responsible, anxious, and suspicious. Sixes are diligent and reliable workers. They build alliances and partnerships that help orient their co-workers and get things done. They are able to assess the motivations and relative merits of others and scan the business environment for potential problems. They dislike taking risks and want consensus and predictability. They can be indecisive and have difficulty taking responsibility or action without group authority and can deteriorate into evasiveness and blaming others. At their best, Sixes are self-reliant, independent, and courageous, often calling a group back to its root values.

Type Seven – The Enthusiast

The accomplished, upbeat type. Spontaneous, versatile, impulsive, and scattered. Sevens thrive on change, variety, excitement, and innovation. Often articulate and humorous, they are able to get others to support their ideas. They are in touch with the latest trends and are constantly looking for new possibilities and options. They are natural multi-taskers but can also get overextended and lack follow-through. They can deteriorate into endless talk and distractions, scattering their energy and talents and leaving many projects unfinished. At their best, Sevens focus on worthwhile goals and become highly productive and accomplished.

Type Eight – The Challenger

The powerful, decisive type. Self-confident, commanding, willful, and confrontational. Eights have a clear vision of what they want to accomplish and the willpower to make it happen. They make difficult decisions and see serious problems simply as challenges to be met, obstacles to be overcome. They want to be in control and find it difficult to delegate tasks or share leadership. They champion people, protecting and empowering them, but also can deteriorate into intimidation to get their way, making unnecessary enemies both within and outside the organization. At their best, they are magnanimous and generous, using their strength to improve others’ lives.

Type Nine – The Peacemaker

The easygoing, accommodating type. Receptive, reassuring, agreeable, and complacent. Nines create harmony among group members by emphasizing the positive so that conflicts and tensions can be eased. They are supportive and inclusive and work with everyone, humbly allowing others to shine. They dislike conflict and division in the team and try to create harmony and stability. But, they may accommodate others and avoid self-assertion too much, becoming secretly angry as a result. They can deteriorate into ineffectual “make-work,” stubborn passivity, and serious neglect. At their best, they are able to negotiate differences and bring people together in a stable but dynamic way.

Click here for more information about using the Enneagram in business.

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