How to Connect the Enneagram to Your Work

If there’s a personality test out there, I’ve probably taken it.  

Myers Briggs was helpful as was DISC.  I’ve had my teams take them for years and have always learned something new about my colleagues as a result.

When was the last time you took a personality test?

These days, I’m using the Enneagram test to learn more about myself and my colleagues.  I first learned about this through the excellent podcast The Road Back to You with Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile.  Their show is based on the book with the same title.

The Enneagram is an ancient test used by Christians and other traditions to help people understand themselves better.  The word means "nine ways".  

It turns out that Fr. Richard Rohr, one of my favorite weekend homilists (you can check out his podcast here) is one of the preeminent experts on the Enneagram.

How can the Enneagram make a difference in your work?  I’d like to suggest three ways:

1. The Enneagram will show you more about yourself than any other test.  This leads to greater self awareness.  For example, I’m a “1” on the test which has many blessings.  Unfortunately, it also brings some negatives such as a tendency to think that I’m right.  Now that I understand this better, I try to listen more and suspend my own opinions when I can.

2. The Enneagram will make you more humble.  As Fr. Thomas Judge once said, “humility is truth”.  When you know what you’re good at (and just as important, what you’re not good at), you’ll realize that you need smarter people around you at all times.  It will also help you to be confident when you’re in familiar territory.  Finally, it will let you know that you need help more often than not.

3. The Enneagram will make you more compassionate.  When you see that God has wired someone else a certain way, you immediately appreciate them more.  This makes you more effective at work as you learn one another’s moves and tendencies.  

If you haven’t taken a personality test like the Enneagram in a while, make an investment in your own leadership today.  I would guess than 10 minutes of assessment will lead to hours of understanding.