The Team-Aware Team Wins!

Team coaching for bringing maximum value for stakehodlers

I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things. – Mother Teresa

High functioning teams can achieve technological breakthroughs, remarkable efficiencies, creative masterpieces and generally go farther than any one person can go it alone. By harnessing each unique individual talent, teams and larger entities succeed where individuals fail.  Up until now, we have been focused on developing personal Communication Intelligence (“CQ”)  specifically in the last article, we explored how understanding your Enneagram type can reveal your unique communication style, tendencies, and preferences. Now that you understand your own type, do you also understand your teammates’ types? Self-awareness is just the beginning. Effective team communication starts there but truly excels when combined with an understanding of the entire team. Whether you know your colleagues’ Enneagram types from a workshop or a conversation, or you’re making an educated guess based on observed patterns, connecting with your colleagues in ways that resonate with them is crucial for high communication intelligence and the team creating high value for all stakeholders. 

Remember CQ? 

As you may remember from a recent article, Communication Intelligence or “CQ” measures your ability to recognize your own communication style and connect effectively with diverse audience styles. As a leader, IQ and EQ will only take you so far if you are unable to effectively communicate your knowledge and feelings to connect with others. A lack of clear and effective communication often results in frequent frustration among team members, detachment from team goals, and a slowdown in overall team performance. 

Adjusting to Different Enneagram Types 

To improve team dynamics, we need to understand our teammates better and connect with them in ways that resonate with them. Practicing the Enneagram with your employees involves making small adjustments and experimenting to see what works best for each person. As Jeff Bezos said, “To invent, you have to experiment, and if you know in advance that it’s going to work, it’s not an experiment.” Growing your communication style may be challenging at first, but investing the effort to understand and adapt to your team will yield significant benefits. You can make small adjustments in the way you approach certain employees that may not be the way you like to receive information but aligns with the way that your colleague best receives input. 

Putting it into Practice

Let’s try an example of adjusting to fit a certain Type’s preference. 3s 7s and 8s tend to be fast, “big picture” thinkers who are action oriented and tend to assert themselves into the group. However, 1s 2s and 6s tend to be more moderate in pace, less direct, and require more details and time to consider information. And finally, 4s, 5s, and 9s tend to withdraw inward to consider their feelings and thoughts, do not want to be put on the spot in a group setting, and generally prefer a longer time to ponder what they are learning. Knowing this information, we can cater a meeting to account for each of these three preferences. If you know you are working with a lot of 3s, 7s, or 8s, you can maybe provide less detail in a meeting, saving time, and then send more specific details afterwards based on what emerged from the lively interaction. When working with a 1, 2, or 6, you may allow time for questions at several different times during a meeting for clarification. Finally, when communicating this same information with 4s, 5s, and 9s who prefer advance information and avoiding surprises, allow them time to consider the material afterwards before asking them about their opinions or feelings on the materials. For the second two groupings, consider providing a detailed agenda prior to the meeting to give attendees time to understand the topic and expected outcomes before the actual meeting. The first group is more comfortable with the unexpected and big picture. 

Leaverage the Team for Highest Value for All Stakeholders

Acknowledging these differences allow teams to leverage different individual strengths for the strength of the team outcome. Together teams are greater than their parts. 

It is incumbent upon the leaders to adjust their behavior to accommodate for people who are naturally wired in different ways. Below is a reference chart with information on how each Enneagram type prefers to receive communication Use this quick reference chart to improve how you can best communicate with each of your employees. 

We Can Help You and Your Team

For a more customized and personal approach to help you and your team communicate most effectively, take a look at our different coaching services and offerings here.  At Sailor’s Sweet Life, you can focus on building a winning team which increases value for all stakeholders! 


Type Communication Preferences
Type 1 – “The Perfectionist”  When communicating with Type Ones, focus on clarity and precision. Be direct, organized, and avoid vague language or ambiguity. Offer constructive feedback in a straightforward manner, emphasizing specific areas for improvement while acknowledging their efforts.
Type 2 – “The Helper” With Type Twos, emphasize warmth and empathy in communication. Express appreciation for their contributions and acknowledge their desire to be helpful. When providing feedback, focus on their strengths and the positive impact of their actions to maintain their motivation and morale.
Type 3 – “The Achiever” When interacting with Type Threes, highlight goals, results, and opportunities for advancement. Be concise and action-oriented in communication, focusing on the practical steps needed to achieve success. Provide feedback that emphasizes progress and achievements, while also encouraging work-life balance.
Type 4 – “ The Individualist” With Type Fours, engage in deep, meaningful conversations that allow for self-expression and creativity. Acknowledge their unique perspectives and emotions, and be patient with their need for introspection. When providing feedback, focus on validating their feelings and offering support to help them channel their emotions productively.
Type 5 – “The Investigator” When communicating with Type Fives, respect their need for autonomy and intellectual stimulation. Provide space for independent thought and exploration of ideas, and avoid overwhelming them with excessive emotion or detail. Offer feedback that is logical and based on objective analysis, focusing on areas where they can apply their expertise effectively.
Type 6 – “The Loyalist” With Type Sixes, establish trust and provide reassurance in communication. Be transparent and reliable, and address any concerns or uncertainties they may have upfront. When giving feedback, emphasize stability and consistency, and offer practical solutions to address their anxieties and doubts.
Type 7 – “The Enthusiast” When interacting with Type Sevens, maintain a positive and upbeat tone in communication. Keep discussions lively and engaging, and be open to exploring new ideas and possibilities. Provide feedback that focuses on the excitement of future opportunities, while also addressing any potential challenges or limitations.
Type 8 – “The Challenger” With Type Eights, be direct, assertive, and confident in communication. Respect their need for honesty and authenticity, and avoid any hint of manipulation or control. When giving feedback, focus on solutions and action-oriented strategies, and be prepared to engage in healthy debate and negotiation.
Type 9 – “The Peacemaker” When communicating with Type Nines, prioritize harmony and consensus-building. Be patient and inclusive, and give them space to express their opinions and concerns. Offer feedback in a gentle and supportive manner, focusing on maintaining harmony within the team and fostering cooperation.


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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).