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Harnessing the Power of Enneagram in the Workplace: Benefits and Precautions





The Enneagram is an extraordinary tool for self-discovery and personal growth. It helps individuals uncover the Motivations, Fears, and Longings that drive their behavior more effectively than any other typology system available. When used properly in the workplace, the Enneagram has the potential to drastically improve workplace harmony, productivity, and individual growth, however, this deep dive into personal Fears, Motivations, and Longings should be treated with utmost preparation and care to avoid potential pitfalls. Let's look at these benefits in more depth and also how to spot pitfalls before they affect your workplace.



Benefits of Using the Enneagram in the Workplace:


Better Understanding of the Team

By uncovering each individual's core Weaknesses, Fears, Motivations, and Longings that drive their behavior, the Enneagram provides a unique opportunity for team members to understand each other, develop empathy for each other, and check their own expectations and stories about each other that hinder harmony and productivity. Knowing what drives a person helps us shed our biases and allows us to see how we are the same, how we all struggle, and how we can support each other.


Understanding Triggers and Avoiding Conflict

Our Core Fears (the messages or experiences in our lives that we actively avoid) are the source of our most reactive and most predictable triggers (the interactions and experiences in our lives that cause us to react negatively). When a work team uses the Enneagram correctly, knowledge of these triggers allows us to communicate more effectively, avoid miscommunication, and ultimately create a more harmonious workplace.


Conflict Resolution

When conflict arises on a team, which it inevitably will, knowledge of individual's Core Fears (and the resulting trigger points), Motivations, and Longings will allow team members to be able to wade through the underlying negative stories our minds create and address the root cause quicker and more effectively. By using the Enneagram to help with conflict, the conflicting team members will be able to speak a deeper, more healing, language with each other which will resolve conflicts and address contempt more effectively.



Teams Best Suited for Enneagram Implementation:


Teams with a Culture of Safety

Though every team could benefit from using the Enneagram, not ever team is ready for a full-scale implementation at the team level. Those teams that have created a level of safety that allows individuals to speak truthfully and openly without backlash, gossip, or criticism as well as teams that have actively encouraged diverse perspectives and open dialogue are ready for team-wide implementation. For those teams who are newer or do not have this level of safety formed, sometimes it is best to initially implement the Enneagram with the leadership and perhaps using MBTI team-wide until safety has been established.


Leadership Committed to Personal Growth

In terms of culture, the most important players to be whole, healthy, and ready for growth are the team leaders. If the team leaders are not ready to address their "shadow sides" (Core Fear, Motivations, and Longings), then they are not going to be able to foster a culture of safety for team members undertaking this journey. Only when we look at and grow from our own shadow sides are we able to create space for others' Core Fears, Motivations, and Longings to surface without it triggering our own issues.


Strong No-Gossip Policy

The Enneagram requires a vast amount vulnerability and openness to our weaknesses. To ensure a productive experience, teams need to have a strictly enforced no-gossip policy to protect the whole team. This policy should be in effect and vigorously guarded and upheld long before Enneagram talks begins in order to ensure a level of safety for vulnerable talks.


More Resources!

I have written more about workplace dynamics, conflict resolution tips, as well as detailed descriptions of each Type in my new book Enneagram in the Workplace now available on Amazon. https://a.co/d/gPSIW8O



For more information on personal coaching, team workshops, or other questions about the Enneagram, email me at enneagramreflections@gmail.com.

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