Enneagram leader in the office

Are leaders born or made? This question has been hotly debated in leadership circles for a long time. Some people appear to be natural leaders while others seem to really have to work at it.

If you are more outspoken and confident then you will have a great presence about you, but you will probably also make more mistakes than other leaders who are more calculated and reserved.

Likewise, if you are calculated and reserved then you will probably make less mistakes and perhaps make better decisions; however, you will probably also seem to lack a bit of leadership presence.

What Qualities Make A Great Leader?

So if all leadership qualities have pros and cons, what makes a great leader? The answer is the qualities you were born with. In order to be a great leader you have to stop trying to be something you are not.

You need to understand your natural strengths and weaknesses and start operating within your zone of genius.

To give you an analogy. If a fish spent its whole life trying to climb a tree it would probably think it was a terrible climber. This is because a fish was not meant to climb trees, it was made to swim. In the same way if you are trying to lead in a way that does not leverage your natural strengths, you will never reach your potential as a leader.

But here is the good news. You can discover the places where you thrive as a leader. You just need a framework to understand yourself better.

I have found no better map of the human personality than the Enneagram. This is a 9-type personality assessment (similar to Myers-BriggsStrenthsFinder, etc.) which provides a framework to understand why you think, feel and behave the way you do.

If you haven’t heard of the Enneagram type yet, here is a resource to help you explore the 9-types and discover which one uniquely applies to you.

A Brief Overview of The Enneagram

If you are already familiar with the Enneagram, you will find your unique strengths as a leader below. This is powerful self-knowledge that can completely transform your potential as a leader. Knowing this information is literally the difference between operating within your zone of genius or not.

The 9 Leadership Styles Based on Enneagram Type

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All graphics created by the Author

Type 1 : The Moral Perfectionist — A detailed and responsible leader

The Type 1 is a detailed and responsible leader. Very dependable, virtuous, and reliable. They are at their best when in charge of work units that need to operate with a high degree of morale character and technical excellence. The Type 1 is the “standard bearer” who inspires others to show up each day with their very best.

Type 2: The Supportive Advisor — an excellent coach and mentor as a leader

The Type 2 is an excellent coach and mentor. They always look to the needs of others first and are the epitome of the phrase “leaders eat last.” They are at their best in roles where they can be “hands on,” helping employees develop and accomplish their tasks. Type 2’s quickly earn the respect and appreciation of the people they lead.

Type 3: The Successful Achiever — always gets the job done as a leader

The Type 3 is the one who gets the job done when “everything” is on the line. They are driven by a core need to succeed. They are at their best in challenging or difficult situations where others would perhaps shrink back. Type 3’s are impressive leaders who maximize efficiencies and inspire others to drive toward their goals and achieve more than they thought was possible.

Type 4: The Romantic Individualist — leverages creativity and depth as a leader

The Type 4 has an impressive combination of creativity and depth. They are poets, the artists, and the writers of the world. They are at their best when they are helping others to express themselves in authentic and unique ways. Type 4′s are fantastic at guiding and developing others on projects which require design, curation, and expression.

Type 5: The Investigative Thinker — a master of their craft as a leader

The Type 5 has a cerebral thirst for knowledge. They are masters of their craft and the thought leaders of the world. They are at their best when leading team’s from afar and serving as a steady source of knowledge. They can create expert guides and reference materials which serve as a timeless resource for the people they lead.

Type 6: The Loyal Guardian as a Leader — plans for every contingency as a leader

The Type 6 is excellent at developing contingency plans and forming strong bonds with the people they lead. They are at their best when helping others avoid the potential pitfalls and dangers that loom ahead. Type 6s are great at developing standard procedures and processes which prepare others for situations they may face.

Type 7: The Entertaining Optimist — cultivates excitement and vision as a leader

The Type 7 brings a unique combination of excitement and vision to an organization. They inspire others to do meaningful work while also showing them how to find excitement and joy in what they do. They are at their best leading others in jobs that have a lot of freedom and an endless number of possibilities. Type 7’s are highly interactive and inspiring while also being able to adapt quickly and keep morale high.

Type 8: The Protective Challenger — paves a way for others as a leader

The Type 8 has an unshakable intensity about them which they use to protect themselves and others. They are excellent at providing “top cover” for the people they lead and keeping everyone accountable. They are at their best when using their direct nature to protect others and engage in healthy confrontation to ensure everyone is doing the right thing.

Type 9: The Peaceful Mediator — extraordinary intuition and perspective as a leader

The Type 9 has an extraordinary intuition about people which they use to provide advice and council to others. They have great empathy and always consider others in their decision making, desiring to do what is right for everyone. They are at their best when mediating and guiding others toward harmony.


If you have ever struggled in leadership or been hesitant to step up because you felt it was out of your comfort zone, knowing your Enneagram type can completely change this. It will help you discover the places where you are not only comfortable as a leader, but where you thrive. Likewise, if you are an experienced leader, this is a powerful way to keep growing and take your leadership to the next level.

Originally published at Pursue What Matters