Over the last few months I have had the pleasure of working with an incredible team made up of 16 leaders. We have worked on individual and team leadership development through the lens of the Enneagram. 

Starting from the belief that all great leaders have a keen self-awareness of how they are perceived by others, how they show up in the world; their world view, motivations and strengths; the culture they are creating, their openness to listen, be challenged and change.

When leaders are honest about their strengths and their ‘weaknesses’, they demonstrate the capacity to be open and authentic and model what real self-awareness looks like.

Self-awareness, the ability to be mindful, ‘conscious’ about what, how and why you do what you do, is the starting point to develop a growing insight of the same in others – those you lead. It’s also the starting point in developing an emotional intelligence, the ability to recognise, understand and manage your own emotions AND the capacity to recognise, understand and empathise with the emotions of others.

Simply put, if you don’t know yourself, how can you begin to know others?

We started the process with a day learning to understand the Enneagram as a system and tool and getting conversant with the 9 types and what this means for individuals, and teams in general and specifically for this team.

In between this and the second leadership development day, we started the work on self-awareness. All leaders did the Integrative Enneagram questionnaire (iEQ9) and had a 1:1 coaching feedback session. This was significantly impactful for each leader with many ‘Ah ha!’ moments as they learn so much about their personality and how this serves them well or not, their habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. Yet much more importantly, how they develop and grow, how this tool provides a roadmap to conscious and better leadership and relationships.

Day 2 consisted of each leader communicating their strengths and growth path to the whole team. To enable this, we worked on how to make everyone feel psychologically safe, how everyone could feel vulnerable yet supported. This was crucial to making progress with how they are together as a team. This process shifted the focus from our ‘self’ awareness to ‘awareness of others’. The team is also enhancing their emotional intelligence of others.

Then, who are we as a team? How do our personalities, our leadership strengths help us improve our team dynamic and cohesion? How do we apply what we know to different aspects of working relationships like communication, giving feedback, and our overall team performance. How do we deal with conflict & challenge, how do we work under stress and strain, how can we move from ‘forming’ to ‘performing’ as one?

Team Enneagram Types

We ended the day making commitments to ourselves and the team. Asking what each team member needed, they were invited to stand and request it. They then asked for someone to help them keep that commitment making themselves accountable for the change they were wanting.

I’m already excited about Day 3 where we move to the next level in our team dynamic work, looking at the gaps and how we use the expertise in the team to fill these.

“Because teams are complex and dynamic, they cannot be understood from a single perspective or at only one moment in time” Ginger Lapid-Bogda