The Self Aware Leader with Enneagram

Self Aware Leadfers use Enneagram

People often ask how learning and implementing the Enneagram can help them to lead and communicate better. In this Article, we will dive into what this could look like for you and your team. 

Let’s assume that your team has completed the initial Enneagram Exploration uncovering a diverse mix of archetypes among members. Perhaps you found that you’re a type 3 (me too!), maybe your assistant, Jessica, is a type 5, Bob the accountant is a type 1, Kelly, Chief of People is a type 2 and your boss, Alex, is a type 8. Okay, cool! Now what? What does this mean? How can we translate this combination of numbers into the solution for a more successful team? The answer is to first focus on yourself! 

At SSL we believe all professional advice is generally well-meaning yet most of it unactionable because it is generalized or based on the giver’s experiences. By knowing and understanding what your Enneagram archetype is, all of our advice is tailored to your natural strengths and challenges. This is powerful and actionable from the start. 

First, You Understand You

In the last article, we introduced the Enneagram tool as a way to learn about what motivates different types of individuals and the impact of these differences on a team. But before you can begin to use the Enneagram tool to navigate team dynamics, it is necessary to get familiar with what Enneagram can tell you about yourself. As Lao Tzu said “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.”

Introspection and self-recognition are crucial to have effective communication and forge meaningful connections with others. To truly connect with someone else, you must realize your own preferred ways of interacting with others to maximize mutual understanding. Think of understanding your Enneagram type as laying the foundation for communication—it provides a solid base upon which meaningful connective bridges can be built. Without a strong foundation of self-awareness, you cannot consistently and effectively connect with others. 

Enneagram for Effective Leadership
Enneagram for Effective Leadership

Enneagram Provides Key Information

Enneagram provides helpful information in several key areas that will help you understand your individual behavior and how you interact with others: 

  • Preferred communication style including speaking pace, detail needs, and processing speed
  • Starting level of trust and how to build productive and trusting relationships
  • Natural empathy and understanding and how to grow yours where needed 
  • Risk Orientation in relation to others 
  • Conflict style in relation to others 
  • An inventory of your consistent strengths and weaknesses (Opportunities for growth if you prefer)

By exploring the different dimensions of your Enneagram type, you can gain a better understanding of your role in a team and how you naturally work with others. As you explore your type’s tendencies, you will likely experience moments of recognition, where familiar patterns suddenly make sense. For example, you may realize why you easily go along with other people’s plans even if you would really rather do something else, or why you can’t move onto the next task until one is complete.

We All Have Preprogrammed Patterns and Preferences

How we communicate is a pre-programmed system within each of us. There is no “one-size-fits-all” method of communication or “one way is the right way,” despite what some Archetypes may think (sacrasm!) Understanding what works best for yourself is critical before you can adjust where needed. There is no one “quick-fix” to improving communications between individuals but rather a continuous process of adjustments—small pivots, gentle nudges, and subtle tweaks— to navigate various situations smoothly. While our brains crave shortcuts, true communication comes from a combination of self-awareness and an understanding of our audience, allowing us to take the most effective path to mutual understanding. Now that is high Communication Intelligence

After You Learn You, You Get To Learn and Practice With Your Team

Taking a close look at one’s own type is an essential (and often fascinating) phase of building your CQ. Embracing the positive insights and facing your “cringey bits” are essential parts of the introspection journey to self-awareness. In the next Article, we will discuss how we integrate your type with the types of your colleagues and leadership for greater connection and engagement. It starts with you, but it works best with the team. 

Have Questions?

Let Sailor’s Sweet Life guide you on this inward journey. To start, you can check out our Enneagram key, to learn more about your type. Our coaching services can help you translate your Enneagram types into true self-reflection so that you are prepared to move forward with intentional communication and a solid foundation. Click here to learn more or email us any time at We will answer witin 48 hours – that’s good CQ! 

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Effective Communication Starts Here

Through the Sailor’s Sweet Life Communication Intelligence™ program, you’ll get a new set of perspectives and actionable tools to help you communicate effectively with ANYONE.

(yes, even that person it feels impossible to see eye-to-eye with).