Many of you will know that I am passionate about how the Enneagram creates extraordinary self-awareness as a way to transform your life and your work in endless positive directions.

It's an incredibly dynamic and profound personality profiling framework that shows how your orientation to life affects your happiness, your success, your effectiveness, how others perceive you. It shows you how you can move forward to your full potential, and equally how you can sabotage yourself and hold yourself back.

I am currently using the Enneagram in my executive coaching (with individuals and teams) to help them understand and maximise their individual leadership style, and that of their colleagues. Last November I did an advanced course (Nine Domains) with the Enneagram Institute in New York on using the Enneagram to develop teams to their full potential.

Knowing how your individual Enneagram type creates your signature leadership style, and the potentials (as well as the pitfalls) of your individual approach and persona is not only enlightening, but is actually fundamental to creating your own authentic way of leading your team and organisation.

Here are some quick examples of leadership opportunities and traps by type:

Type 1: The Idealist or Reformer
+Type 1s are genuinely visionary, idealistic, passionate about their individual leadership role and the corporate mission. As such, they can inspire their team to new levels of success, commitment and enthusiasm.
-Along with their high standards and idealism, Type 1s can be painfully self-critical and demanding, both of themselves and of others they lead. This can be demotivating and unproductive, with type 1s sometimes being seen as overly harsh, rigid task-masters by their direct reports and colleagues.

Type 2: The Helper or Carer
+Type 2s lead with heart, and inspire their team with their ability to connect emotionally and empathize.
-Type 2s can become overly emotional, becoming especially vulnerable to derailment if their personal or professional relationships break down; they can sometimes resort to emotional blackmail if they feel disempowered, which clearly undermines effective leadership.

Type 3: The Achiever
+Type 3s are passionately driven to excel and many successful leaders are in this type. Their commitment to success (sometimes at almost any cost) often ensures excellent results and accompanying commitment from their team.
-Sometimes 3s are so driven that they do whatever it takes to ensure "success" at any cost, leading to inauthentic leadership, where 3s burn themselves and their teams out, losing connection with priorities and values.

Type 4: The Individual/Creative
+Type 4s are often compelling, charismatic, creative and inspired deep-thinkers, inspiring their teams to excel similarly using their own individual values and strengths
-4s can sometimes get derailed if they don't feel valued, or if they feel they aren't given sufficient scope to use their individual leadership style and gifts to shine. When this happens, they can come across as too individualistic, not team-players, overly dramatic and intense.

Type 5: The Thinker
+Type 5s can be brilliant, original, visionary, deep-thinking leaders, able to create extraordinary results with their analytical and creative thinking.
-Type 5s can become isolated leaders, losing the ability to connect with and inspire their team, coming across as cold and overly detached.

Type 6: The Loyalist
+Type 6s are engaging, committed, hard-working leaders who inspire their teams to be similar, often using humour as an effective strategy
-If they get stressed, 6 leaders get derailed by anxiety and negativity, so focused on worst-case scenarios that they lose their team's confidence, sometimes leading to low moral, even panic.

Type 7: The Enthusiast
+Type 7s are enthusiastic, charming, fun leaders who can inspire their teams with the force of their personality and energy
-7 leaders can lose focus, become distracted, and lose connection with their own emotional authenticity, thereby undermining their team and weakening collective focus and performance

Type 8: The Challenger
+Type 8s are forceful, charismatic, strong, natural leaders who naturally command confidence and allegiance from their team
-8s can deteriorate into bullying behaviour as leaders, causing their team to be intimidated, even frightened and alienated

Type 9s: The Peacemaker
+Type 9s are collaborative, harmonious, "we" leaders, skilled at getting their people to work together effectively to create breakthrough results
-9s can become too collaborative, not asserting themselves powerfully enough, failing to lead from the front and losing their team's confidence.

Do you know your Enneagram type? If so, why not reflect on these points and consider how you maximise your authentic leadership by working with the awareness of your Enneagram type?

Do get in touch if I can help you develop your own authentic leadership to new levels of brilliance and success, or if I can work with your team to help you collectively maximise your potential by understanding your individual/team Enneagram profiles.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Nicola Bunting Master Certified Coach (MCC, ICF) Director, La Vita Nuova Personal and Professional Coaching Want To Use This Article In Your E-Zine or Website? Feel free to reprint this article. Please write copyright Dr . Nicola Bunting, 2009, La Vita Nuova Personal and Professional Coaching. Get our FREE e-course/audio mini-workshop and FREE monthly inspirations for your life and work at

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