Here are the final three types E7-9, in the series of the enneagram and leadership styles. All types make fantastic leaders and while there are many strengths in each type, there are also growth paths to become even better, to integrate the strengths of other types into our own and to notice, accept and find ways to challenge those aspects of our leadership where we would like to adapt to be more successful in our leadership.
Starting with Type 7, ‘The Enthusiastic Visionary’
These spontaneous, optimistic, fun-loving people are a joy to be with. They appreciate and bring energy to everything, fascinated by new ideas, they are innovative and entrepreneurial.
Their strengths as leaders include their ability to see the big picture, their flexibility, desire to learn more and ability to make things happen while inspiring others as they lead.
Their growth includes, finishing what they start before boredom sets in, tempering their restlessness, following protocol and, slowing down to ’embrace the tedium’ while allowing others to catch up.
Their high level of activity can be a real positive but can also create tension as others are obliged complete the activities started by them.
Type 8, ‘The Active Controller‘. These strong, decisive, magnetic people exude charisma, energy and a lust for life. They are dynamic, direct, authentic and courageous, symbolised by the lion.
Their strengths as leaders include their ability to take charge and demonstrate their self-assurance. They make things happen and have impact, they are determined, reliable, supportive and fiercely protective of others.
Their growth is to accept their own and others’ limitations, be less intense and more tolerant and self-aware, and to be more in touch with their vulnerable side. They also need to be less confrontational as they follow their desire to change the world and to challenge injustice.
And finally, Type 9, E9, ‘The Adaptive Peacemaker’. These unassuming, easy-going and accommodating people always try to keep the peace and avoid conflict wherever possible. They seek harmony and comfort and are archetypal lovely people.
As leaders, their strengths include an amicable sense of fairness, their desire to play down their own achievements by placing their colleagues/team members in the limelight, their ability to listen to and validate the views of others and their acceptance of mistakes, remaining positive and optimistic wherever possible.
Their growth pathways include an acceptance of their own brilliance and not to always deflect to the team, to move into action more quickly and be more dynamic, to share and sometimes exert their opinion rather than always listen to others and, to be more decisive.
If you’re curious to learn more about your type and how you show up as a leader, do get in touch.
Here are the first three types in my series of posts on looking at leadership styles through the lens of the enneagram. Each of the nine #enneagramtypes will show up in leadership in different ways. All will demonstrate huge strengths as leaders but all have a pathway of growth either to better engage these strengths, or through integration across the enneagram leaning into those of other types.
Starting with Type 1 or E1….
We are ‘Strict Perfectionists’, we want to see good in the world, we often judge those around us, and we are principled and live by strong values. Our motivations are ‘Doing the right thing, avoiding mistakes and working towards self-improvement and self-control’.
Our #strengths include striving for high standards, being systemic in our thinking and role modelling by living our beliefs and values.
Our #growth is to trust others by relinquishing control, be able to delegate, value others’ input and accept and enjoy good enough and imperfection.
Type 2 or E2, otherwise known as ‘considerate helpers’….
These generous and caring individuals often take on leadership or central roles as they enjoy being able to build their influence and connections. They can be great in the limelight. They are motivated by helping and providing for others with a deep-seated need to be liked and appreciated.
Their #strengths include building strong relationships, engaging groups, communities and broader systems often standing out from the crowd. They are ambitious, strategic & goal-oriented.
Their #growth is to catch themselves out when giving unsolicited advice. Ask themselves, “Am I disempowering you by always being there? Am I smothering the creativity and growth of my team?”
You will reap the benefits of stepping back a bit, putting some of your needs first and delighting in watching others grow.
Type 3 or E3, the ‘competitive achievers’….
Type 3’s are charming, charismatic individuals striving for success and to be the best at whatever they take on. They can be ambitious, focused, task-oriented, adaptive and are motivated by their need to outshine the rest. They may have an overwhelming desire to prove themselves often worrying about their image and how the world sees them.
Their #strengths as leaders include always having their eye on the prize, knowing where they are going and being hugely energetic and organised multi-taskers who have a deep seated desire to be successful. They are driven, inspiring leaders and can focus their competitiveness on supporting others to personal achievement.
Their #growth includes slowing down so as to not lose people, allowing themselves to feel failure to learn from it and therefore allowing others to do the same, collaborate more and be open to others’ views and lastly, reconnect to who they really are.
If you are interested in learning about your type and your leadership strengths, let me know.
Types 4-6 to follow…
I have just started my Integrative Enneagram training (iEQ9) live from South Africa.
I’m so excited about the prospect of being an Enneagram practitioner and can’t wait to get started. I knew it was for me before I discovered its roots were founded in Pythagorean Geometry and Fractal patterns (objects whose parts at infinite levels of magnification, appear geometrically similar to the whole). I just knew there was a calling to delve deeper – self discovery, coaching and maths!
Here are two beautiful fractal images.
And as to the Enneagram, it’s a law of threes, patterns of threes. More in the coming days….
I have spent two weeks this summer cycling from the north of Vietnam to Hoi Chi Minh City in the south – a long and potentially arduous journey, made more difficult with temperatures exceeding 350C on some days. That said, it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in terms of personal and team resilience, commitment and achievement, all made possible by the incredible leadership of our group leader. I witnessed all aspects of what makes a great leader unfold over the fortnight all of which can be applied to leadership in all we do.
Clarity of Purpose
During our welcome meeting, we were re-introduced to the values of the cycling company and indeed, that of the leader. Why responsible travel was fundamental to our holiday choice, why getting to know the country, it’s culture, history, language was key to our experience and, why enjoyment, fulfilment and achievement was his and our intention. There was absolute clarity in what would be expected from us on a daily basis and an unshakeable belief that all were physically capable of the cycling journey ahead.
The group members were from Europe, US, Australia, New Zealand with an age range of 18-67, all from diverse backgrounds. Some had experienced long bike rides while for others, it was their first; some were focussed on their personal goals while others were ‘just doing it’; some were anxious about their fitness levels while others tackled each day with an awe inspiring confidence. Despite these differences, there was a commitment to a common goal – all were to complete each day with a sense of pride in ourselves and in our team. There was a collaborative spirt fostered by our leader. He created a supportive camaraderie regardless of difference – ‘high fiving’became routine at the end of each day.
Positivity and Reality
Everyone can do this!The leader’s motto regularly heard over breakfast, during our morning briefings, as we mounted our bikes. Always accompanied by the reality of the day – the distance, the terrain, the gradient, the beauty of the landscape, the breaks. We knew exactly what was ahead of us with very few surprises. His experience of the journey fostered a sense of trust and assurance in the team.
Fear and Laughter
Cycling into and out of busy Vietnamese cities was something we just could not imagine – it looked terrifying. The number of possible calamities was too great to count. Our leader’s calm and protective approach soon diminished these fears, so much so, we often found the funny side, screeching hysterically as hundreds of mopeds came towards us. We laughed a lot – even climbing an unrelenting 10km mountain pass, gradient of 8-10%, we laughed. We found humour in extreme situations, each other, with
him and with people we met along the way. The good natured group dynamic enabled us to feel comfortable in laughing at ourselves and each other.
We made it! The sense of achievement was incredible both from an individual and team perspective. As well as organising moments to celebrate, our leader ensured we were able to have opportunities to reflect and share our highs and lows with each other. He was also incredibly keen to hear what he could do better on his future trips. This was one question where we had little to say – he was the best leader we could have possibly hoped for. He made our trip and for that we thank him. As to us……we’re planning to go away together next year – that’s team spirit!
As a leadership coach, I am frequently reminded that leadership is often learned ‘on the job’. No-one prepares you for; the countless decisions you need to make every day, the challenge of time, managing the external and internal pressures, bringing out the best in all, to name but a few.
While looking back to the early days of their leadership, I often hear leaders say, “if only I had said/done this earlier”, “if only I had been clear about this”, “if only I hadn’t said yes”. It’s always about lessons they wished they had learned earlier, the preparation for leadership.
There are repeating themes from most leaders I coach and while the following is not a complete list, it’s a start.
- Know and set out your core values from day 1
Leaders often feel they have been slow in being explicit about what’s important to them. They are often hesitant at being too forthright with this as they believe it’s right to ‘know’ the organisation, its people and its history. Yet none of this knowledge effects what we believe in. If our values are truth, equality, social justice, compassion, ambition for example, what difference would that knowledge make? From the moment we set out our values, people begin to understand us and we can begin to make decisions based on these. We start from a transparent place not from one where there is curiosity or suspicion about our motives.
- Accept that a life balance won’t always exist
There is little point expecting this to be the case when every day brings new unforeseen challenges. Our best laid plans for our evening ahead can be scuppered by 7.30am that morning. If we accept that we can avoid disappointing ourselves or others. What we must do instead is ensure we find pay back. If that evening activity was lost to us, how do we recompense later that week. How can we remove something from our priorities that just isn’t that urgent? Or better still, how can we delegate to others….
- Be confident about delegating
Some leaders see delegation as a form of weakness, offloading because they can’t cope. For some, only they can do the job well enough. Others are able to delegate to the point of abdication.
I ask my clients to remember when they were entrusted to carry out something by their leader. Then, how did this make them feel, what did they learn, how did they grow, what responsibility went with it? Words repeated back at me were; trusted, empowered, privileged,excited. Perhaps it’s time to flip the term delegate into something much more positive; entrust, empower, develop, invest.
- It’s okay to take time to make decisions, providing…
…you make them.
The most frustrating thing for those awaiting decisions is not necessarily the outcome but the knowing it will take place and when. As leaders become more experienced they are able to make quick decisions especially on recurring issues, and especially when they are clearly values based. The difficult ones may need longer to accomplish.
Rather than ruminate over the pros and cons of the decision in the first instance, focus on the information you will need to know to make it, who do you need to speak to, what do you need to read, what advice do you seek? And then, set a deadline for when you are able to do this. Communicate this deadline to offset any frustration for those who wait.
- How we lead other leaders
Setting out expectations for how we want our leaders to lead is something to consider before day 1. Bad habits are difficult to break so ensuring this is clear and explicit and, more crucially, modelled from the off. Picture the best leader you had…what was it about their leadership that inspired you, how did they model leadership, how did they bring out the best in you?
- It’s okay to make mistakes
Of course it is. If you are committed to perfection, it’s not going to work. We learn and grow from mistakes and if we model failure, we allow others to do so too. We give them space and confidence to take risks and if it doesn’t work ask ourselves the question, what would we do differently next time? Most organisations expect their people to take risks and make mistakes – if they were ‘perfect’ on appointment, how will they develop in the organisation?
While it would be wonderful to have thought through all these, we must acknowledge that we too are not ‘fully formed’ leaders when we step into our new role. And, like our teams, we will mistakes and learn from them. We then find the courage and determination to reset, to draw a line in the sand and put our lessons learned into practice.
As a leadership coach, I am often asked to visit organisations to coach individuals or sometimes a whole tier of leadership in order to support them becoming more advanced leaders.
As part of the completion session of the 1:1 coaching, I explicitly frame the skills I have used through the relationship and encourage each client to use those they believe would be beneficial while leading others. Ultimately, I am trying to develop a coaching culture within and across the organisation, attempting to enable individuals to become coaches themselves.
However, this alone does not achieve it. Studies across organisations show the following must take place to truly embed the culture:
- There is a desire for it at the heart of the organisation. It is a philosophy, a set of values in the way in which everybody is encouraged and expected to work. There are key objectives linked to its integration
- It is modelled from the top. Line management meetings in the main are coaching conversations where a coaching skillset is evident for example;
- great listening and paying attention
- great speaking with clarity and intention
- empowering, supporting and encouraging
- openness and honesty
- powerful questioning and curiosity
- goal/action focussed
- commitment and responsibility
- It is part of a learning and development plan for all while formal training is available for key leaders. This is properly funded and is part of the strategic plan
- There is access for all to a mixture of internal and external coaching
- There are key measurable objectives linked to the benefits of it. For example, the improvement of;
- working relationships
- leadership development
- self-esteem and confidence
- individual and team performance and subsequent outcomes
- retention and recruitment
- resilience, emotional intelligence and self-awareness
- well-being and life balance
- The impact is measured transparently and relates to the goals set by the organisation in its strategic plan. This might involve before and after surveys, 360-degree reviews etc.
There is an increasing trend for organisations to place coaching at the core of their ethos. The undeniable benefits can be abundant and extensive and can make a radical difference for the development of individuals and the success of the organisation.