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First up: If don’t know your type, take the free Enneagram personality test before reading the rest of this blog.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever given out (and taken!) a personality test for a new job or as a team-building exercise at work. Chances are, many of you have – and with good reason. Personality tests are a powerful tool for discovering your management style. And they’re even more important for those in leadership positions, who are responsible for driving the development and success of others.
Personality tests can be used at work to…
- Increase self-awareness
- Identify strengths and weaknesses
- Understand management styles
- Match employees to managers
There are many personality tests to choose from. Perhaps the most well-known test, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, has faced backlash in recent years for scoring low in reliability and predicting outcomes. You may have also heard of or taken the DiSC model or Holtzman inkblot technique (HIT). And along with about a dozen more, each test focuses on different variations of personality indicators and comes at various price points.
What is the Enneagram test (and how can you use it at work)?
One personality test that WorkTango loves is the Enneagram, especially in a work setting. That’s because this particular personality test taps into how we think, feel, and act – all three of which play a huge role in developing the traits of a good manager and laying the groundwork for success as leaders in the workplace.
At the heart of this test is the distinctive Enneagram symbol. According to Enneagram Worldwide, “Stemming from the Greek words ennea (nine) and grammos (a written symbol), the nine-pointed Enneagram symbol represents nine distinct strategies for relating to the self, others, and the world.”
“Each Enneagram type has a different pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting that arises from a deeper inner motivation or worldview.”
So there are several different versions of Enneagram tests. They range from short, free versions and to the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator, or RHETI. (The RHETI is the most popular version of the test, consisting of 144 questions for about $12 a person.) But no matter which version you choose, at the end of the questionnaire you’ll be categorized as one of nine Enneagram types.
Using personality tests in the workplace
The 9 Enneagram types and their management styles at work
Let’s be clear: Personality tests shouldn’t be used on their own to categorize employees or make major decisions. But they can help support a broader effort to better understand your managers’ actions and leadership style.
So, how does your Enneagram type at work affect your performance and success as a manager? Find your type in the list below to learn more:
TYPE #1: THE REFORMER
The rational, idealistic type: principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic
A Reformer’s worst fear is not doing the right thing. That’s because a growth mindset is woven into their DNA. As a result, they’re often high achievers who want to improve everyone and everything around them. So as managers, Reformers are good at driving continued development and encouraging employees to set stretch goals.
Famous examples: Michelle Obama, Mahatma Gandhi, Steve Jobs, and Eleanor Roosevelt
TYPE #2: THE HELPER
The caring, interpersonal type: demonstrative, generous, people-pleasing, and possessive
Helpers are givers, not takers. At work, this Enneagram type often ascribes to a servant style of leadership. As people pleasers, managers who are Helper types might lack the tough love necessary for certain employees to succeed. This means they may even shy away from delivering the uncomfortable criticism needed to get under-performers back on track.
Famous examples: Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, and Jimmy Carter
TYPE #3: THE ACHIEVER
The success-oriented, pragmatic type: adaptive, excelling, driven, and image-conscious
Here come the workaholics! Achievers are quintessential ladder climbers who place a high value on both being successful and being seen as successful. So achiever types in management roles might have ended up there by being exceptional individual contributors. And while they certainly understand what it takes to be successful, they may need coaching themselves on how to drive that same level of performance out of others.
Famous examples: Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, and Lance Armstrong
Need to have a 1 on 1 Sync-Up? No problem. Read:
The Ultimate Guide to Effective 1-on-1s for Managers
TYPE #4: THE INDIVIDUALIST
The sensitive, withdrawn type: expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental
Individualists are creative thinkers. Often you’ll find them to be creatives, like visual artists, musicians, and poets. As managers, Individualists might tap into an employee’s emotional needs and well being more easily than other types. So they’ll be quick to get to the root cause of problems. But on the flip side, they might have trouble leaving their feelings at the door, and blur the line between work and personal issues.
Famous examples: Alanis Morrisette, Frida Kahlo, Bob Dylan, and Janis Joplin
TYPE #5: THE INVESTIGATOR
The intense, cerebral type: perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated
Unsurprisingly, many entrepreneurs identify as Investigators. They are visionaries, concerned with solving big problems. As managers, Investigators risk getting their heads stuck in the clouds instead of focusing on their team’s tactics and deliverables. And their eccentric management style and problem-solving approach could turn off certain pragmatic employees.
Famous examples: Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and Diane Sawyer
TYPE #6: THE LOYALIST
The committed, security-oriented type: engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious
Loyalists focus on creating and offering security to others around them. As such, they don’t shy away from commitment or run when the going gets tough. That means loyalists are great managers who can be very supportive of their teams, but also can get stressed from time to time. Also, they’re likely big on recognition (they would thrive at WorkTango!) and creating positive, encouraging work environments for young employees.
Famous examples: George H.W. Bush, Tom Hanks, and Ellen DeGeneres
TYPE #7: THE ENTHUSIAST
The busy, fun-loving type: spontaneous, versatile, distractible, and scattered
Enthusiasts are the life of the party but rarely stay in one conversation for too long. They are experience seekers who change interests and hobbies often. So, as managers, they may have trouble keeping employees on track. But they might also help them uncover hidden talents or skills that can help them in their careers.
Famous examples: Jim Carey, Iggy Pop, and Amadeus Mozart
TYPE #8: THE CHALLENGER
The powerful, dominating type: self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational
The Challenger types often have some issues as they like to be in control. They are confident but can quickly turn egotistical and domineering. So, as managers they could tend to rule with an iron fist and not be the greatest delegators. That’s because they prefer to do the job themselves to ensure it’s right.
Famous examples: Winston Churchill, John Wayne, and Donald Trump
TYPE #9: THE PEACEMAKER
The easygoing, self-effacing type: receptive, reassuring, agreeable, and complacent
Peacemakers have the perfect moniker, shying away from conflict and confrontation all for the sake of keeping things in harmony. So they might not be comfortable as managers, especially when it comes to giving feedback or delivering bad news. But on the positive side, they are great at keeping the peace and creating stability for employees.
Famous examples: Abraham Lincoln, Mister Rogers, and Princess Grace
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