Understand personality differences and thrive in this relationship-based economy.
Being able to understand the basic motivations of different personality types can help you communicate with and relate to others. Everyone has innate fears and desires; we may seem different on the surface, but in reality, we are all seeking similar things: connection, understanding, support, and acceptance.
When you know a bit about what makes people tick, it can help you relate to and empathize with them.
The Enneagram focuses on deeply-rooted motivations, rather than grouping people by actions. This leaves plenty of room for variation in each type: type eights that are physically active and type eights that are socially active; type threes that go out of their way to introduce themselves to others and type threes that let others be drawn to them; etc. The Enneagram does this by sharing each type’s deepest fears and desires.
Perfectionistic, ethical, and motivated.
Type ones seek moralistic behavior and reform. They are naturally positive, determined people, with a heart for helping others. They make great lawyers, judges, and social workers.
Fear: being unethical or immoral
Desire: being good and honorable
Communication Style: Ones appreciate punctuality, honesty, and being taken seriously. When communicating with a type one, be sure to remain positive and clear, allowing them to share thoughts and ideas.
Helpful, generous, and warm-hearted.
Type twos seek love and affection from others. They are emotional-thinkers and hard workers. They make great counselors, nurses, non-profit leaders, and teachers.
Fear: being unworthy of love
Desire: being loved completely
Communication Style: Twos need attention and encouragement; share ways in which they can offer support while thanking them for their hard work.
Charming, ambitious, and energetic.
Type threes want to achieve great things and receive affirmation from others. They are charismatic and adaptable, preferring to follow a plan of action. They work well as consultants, marketing experts, analysts, and politicians.
Fear: being insignificant or useless
Desire: being worthy and important
Communication Styles: Threes prefer straightforward, honest communication; help them to feel valued and offer them specific tasks or goals.
Creative, dramatic, and self-aware.
Type fours seek individuality and authenticity from themselves and others. They are expressive, sensitive souls with a passion for various art forms. They make great writers, designers, actors, and artists.
Fear: having no personal identity
Desire: being authentically themselves
Communication Styles: Fours need emotional understanding and recognition of their personal identity; encourage their creativity and allow them space to recharge.
Introspective, thoughtful, and curious.
Type fives want to feel handy and valuable. They prefer to be by themselves and are excellent deep-thinkers. They make great engineers, scientists, and scholars.
Fear: being incompetent or unskilled
Desire: being useful and helpful
Communication Styles: Fives need plenty of time to themselves; appreciate their knowledge, express yourself logically, and ask direct questions.
Loyal, cautious, and responsible.
Type sixes seek safety and consistency. They are trustworthy and make reliable decisions. They perform well as bankers, professors, nurses, and consultants.
Fear: losing their security and support
Desire: being stable and secure
Communication Styles: Sixes need to feel safe to express themselves; be supportive, direct, and appreciative of their logical decision-making.
Adventurous, fun, and practical.
Type sevens want to feel like their living life to the fullest and experiencing all the world has to offer them. They are outgoing and spontaneous with a passion for action. They thrive as travel agents, designers, photographers, and writers.
Fear: missing out on opportunity or being deprived
Desire: being fulfilled and happy
Communication Styles: Sevens appreciate a positive, open-minded attitude; build a personal connection with them and listen intently to their out-of-the-box ideas.
Assertive, confident, and protective.
Type eights want to feel like they have control of their own fate. They are strong, attention-commanding leaders, skilled in quick, effective decision-making. They excel as lawyers, advisors, directors, and sales experts.
Fear: being controlled or hurt
Desire: being free, in control, and protected
Communication Styles: Eights want direct communication from others; be forward, logical, and strong when expressing thoughts and ideas with them.
Peaceful, adaptable, and optimistic.
Type nines seek to feel safe, comfortable, and at peace with themselves. They are adaptable and agreeable teammates, dedicated to considering multiple perspectives. They shine as counselors, doctors, diplomats, and religious workers.
Fear: being separated from the world
Desire: to be at peace and stable
Communication Styles: Nines prefer peaceful interactions; encourage nines to share their own thoughts and listen attentively, offering support and sharing feedback thoughtfully.
People are complicated. Each person has their own set of values, beliefs and perspectives. We may not always agree, but there are tools that can make stressful interactions easier. It comes down to understanding and employing empathy in your everyday behavior.
Empathy is the ability to share and understand another person’s feelings. To employ empathy is to be able to view another perspective in an authentic way.
Enneagram is a personality framework that can help you understand other people and why they behave in certain ways.