Every organization is a collection of different individuals. These individuals bring their own unique experiences, skill sets, values and perceptions with them. Collectively, these different personalities can shape the working environment of an organization. This is because the way one particular type of personality may perceive and approach a given situation might be different from how another type views the same situation. Organizational behavior, as a topic of study, has categorized individuals into 9 personality types, which are referred to as the Enneagram personality types. Let’s explore the Enneagram system and what each of these Enneagram personality types conveys in an organizational environment.


  1. Exploring The 9 Enneagram Personality Types

  2. Why Is The Enneagram Useful?

  3. The Three Centers

  4. The 9 Personality Types

  5. Know More


Exploring The 9 Enneagram Personality Types

The Enneagram is a system that maps different personalities and categorizes them into 9 personality types. Each type has its own traits, motivators and idiosyncrasies. Identifying these provides important insights into how a particular person might behave in a real-world setting. The Enneagram of personality helps an individual gain a better understanding of not only themselves, their thoughts and emotions, but also of others and how to approach a situation and conduct themselves accordingly.


Why Is The Enneagram Useful?

The Enneagram can be regarded as much more than a system that merely typecasts personality traits. It helps provide us with a deep dive into core motivations, defence mechanisms, fears and inhibitions within the subconscious layers of the human mind. The Enneagram types have their driving force, stimulated by some deep-seated emotions that help determine the reaction of that type. While behavioural reaction is an important indication factored in by this system, the Enneagram of personality also assesses the motivation behind that outward behaviour that helps distinguish between different types on a more logical basis.


The Three Centers

The system is based on three centers of intelligence and perception—head, heart and body—that further categorize the 9 personality types. Every individual has all three centers. But the magnitude of their experience of each of these centers may vary. In other words, one personality type may experience one center more than the other, which influences how they conduct themselves in the real world. These centers also help an individual discover their true potential by being more attuned to their inner self. Let’s explore what each of these centers indicates.



This center drives a thinking-based approach and focuses on gathering ideas, information and opinions. It influences radical decision-making rather than acting impulsively. Even while forming relationships, the head types prefer connecting on an intellectual level. They prefer to have control over things and yearn for security and stability. Types 5, 6 and 7 are the head-centered Enneagram types, discussed in detail later.


This center emphasizes emotions and emotion-based reactions. The individuals belonging to this center understand the world through their feelings and connect with others based on empathy and emotions. Emotions and feelings also guide their reactions. They attribute higher importance to relationships. Types 2, 3 and 4 belong to this center.


This center emphasizes intuition and gut feeling. Such people are aware of physical presence and driven by instincts. They bond with others based on their level of physical comfort. They focus more on control and security and like to be independent. Types 8, 9 and 1 belong to this center.


The 9 Personality Types

Enneagram Type 1: The Perfectionist

Often regarded as complete perfectionists, Enneagram Type 1 people are very particular about rules and regulations and exercising control. They prefer to do things the right way and fear imperfections in their way of operating. Their obsession with perfection makes them very detail-oriented, causing them to be hard on themselves and others, as they don’t want any slack. They are highly conscientious and responsible, placing an individual’s worth on how good and right they are. They are always looking for improvement and can, at times, be rather critical, judgmental or resentful of themselves and others. In an effort to be correct and perfect, they tend to be precise, clear, honest and direct in their communication and value the same qualities in return.


Enneagram Type 2: The Giver

As the name suggests, Enneagram Type 2 people want to help others and have an innate need to be loved and wanted. They like to foster a sense of belongingness. They are described as being caring, generous, people-pleasing and even possessive of their loved ones. They are all about extending support to others and focusing on others’ needs and feelings. They are friendly and expressive in their demeanour. However, their enthusiasm to help others can often become intrusive and controlling if left unchecked. In fact, this type is so focused on the sense of belonging that they fear not being loved.


Enneagram Type 3: The Achiever

Enneagram Type 3 people thrive on success and achievement and fear failure. They are very driven and conscious of their image. They want people to admire them for their success. They draw their self-worth from their accomplishments. They prove to be great role models for excellence and success. However, their blind pursuit of achievement might lead to burnout, which may cause them to lose sight of who they are.


Enneagram Type 4: The Individualist

This type of Enneagram focuses on their individuality and uniqueness. They yearn to stand out from the crowd and bring their individualistic capabilities to the table. They are full of authenticity but might come across as self-absorbed. They might seem to be withdrawn or even temperamental. As Enneagram Type 4 are highly attuned to their emotions, they are reflective, original and expressive. Because they are so self-aware and absorbed in themselves, they might struggle to connect with others. However, their keen sense of observance enables them to find beauty in the most mundane of places.


Enneagram Type 5: The Investigator

Enneagram Type 5 likes to focus on data and knowledge rather than the opinion of people. They are highly perceptive and can come across as intense. They are often regarded as cerebral but a tad aloof. They show a keen interest in understanding the world, analyzing and dissecting it to unearth information and make sense of it to plan their next move. Their investigative nature enables them to be more objective and rational about everyday matters. However, this might hinder their ability to engage with life. Their detached mannerisms might make it hard to connect with others and welcome them into their life.


Enneagram Type 6: The Loyalist

This type is considered reliable, committed and prepared. Rather than being too adventurous and exploring new ideas and paths, they prefer to stick to something safe and familiar. Enneagram Type 6 also likes to be well-prepared for potential issues in the future. This pre-planning might heighten their anxiety and make them suspicious. They have a methodical way of operating and fear being unprepared for any difficult situations. They try to pre-meditate every possible situation well in advance.


Enneagram Type 7: The Enthusiast

As the name suggests, this type is enthusiastic about life and everything that comes with it. As they are easily bored, they like to have as much fun as possible. They fear sadness, loneliness, pain and boredom, actively trying to avoid these emotions by staying busy all the time. Enneagram Type 7 can be described as spontaneous, versatile and busy. Their extroverted and energetic nature makes them very entertaining and helps them make new friends. For them, the world is an oyster of adventure and fun and they find it very difficult to come to terms with the inevitable painful parts of life.


Enneagram Type 8: The Challenger

These people have strong personalities and thrive on power. They like to be in control and don’t hesitate to stand up for their views. So, they can come across as dominant and aggressive. However, there’s no denying that they are also self-confident, decisive and willful, which are admirable traits. In a rush to prove their point, the Enneagram Type 8 tends not to back down easily. Debating with them can be a challenge. They fear appearing weak and under-confident in front of others and also like to protect the weak.


Enneagram Type 9: The Peacemaker

Enneagram Type 9 can come across as being passive and agreeable. To the best of their ability, they try to avoid conflict to maintain harmony. While they are easy-going to a large extent, it doesn’t mean they can be pushed around. They don’t like being controlled and can assert themselves if backed into a corner. But, they’d rather go with the flow and avoid unpleasant scenarios.


Know More

A theoretical understanding of the nine Enneagram personality types is a good way to know yourself. To better understand how these types behave and react in real-world settings, a detailed and specialized course can be useful for professionals. This will help them read a situation better and approach it thoughtfully based on the type of Enneagram they are dealing with. To know more, check out Harappa’s course on Building Presence. Our carefully curated curriculum and stellar faculty can help you know yourself and your coworkers better and excel at work.


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