How the Enneagram can help your team achieve its goals
Greg is a whirlwind of energy and a master story-teller. He has been running his own business since his early 20s and now has a team of 8 freelancers who work with him, united in their common vision of bringing heart into organisations around the country.
When Greg and I started working together, he was exhausted. His previously high energy vibe wasn’t there and he was at a point of considering pulling the plug altogether. He felt pulled in several different directions from various members of his team wanting to learn from him, and at the same time, felt himself chasing several new exciting ideas and opportunities.
Greg identified as an Enneagram Type 7 - the Enthusiastic Visionary. Through exploring himself and his business through this lens he realised:
He tended to live in the future zone, constantly chasing new ideas, new opportunities, new possibilities. As a result, he struggled to prioritise, focus or follow through on many of them
He was motivated by the concept of freedom and joy, and yet his current business model was leaving him without either…tied down, restricted, claustrophobic
He was energised by big ideas and concepts and assumed that the people around him felt the same. What he didn’t know was that his team were frustrated by his big and somewhat scattered thinking, and desperate for concrete action plans and clear direction
By exploring himself through the lens of the Enneagram, Greg was able to bring in the support of two very practical anchors to help him navigate through this challenge:
By drawing on the energy of Type 5 (one of his lines on the Enneagram wheel), he was able to establish firmer boundaries for his time. He set up very clear times for engaging with his team, and handed over some of the mentoring responsibility to a trusted senior colleague. He also practiced more frequent “cave time” to reflect on what was going on for him, using the alone time to process and rebuild energy
By drawing on the energy of Type 1 (another one of his lines), he was able to introduce order and structure into his way of working, seeing it now as a supporting mechanism rather than something to confine him. Through introducing regular team meetings and a defined teaching approach, not only did he free himself up to focus on what inspired him, but his team felt more supported through a clear and ordered process.
Each member of the team underwent a similar personal exploration with the Enneagram, gaining insight into how their lens was playing out in their behaviour and choices, learning specific tools for stepping out of these habitual patterns and discovering how they could show up in a more balanced and integrated way.
The team enneagram workshop that followed, enabled Greg to learn how his personal type was further exaggerating the team Enneagram type, which was also a 7. The team were able to work together to learn about the strengths and pitfalls of this particular team energy and each person was able to understand how they related to the group chemistry: how it was working for them and where specifically it was holding them back. They walked away with a clear action plan they’d jointly committed to, a greater understanding of themselves relative to the rest of the team, and a greater empathy for the strengths and struggles of their colleagues.
A final half-day strategy session with Greg and his business partner Lauren (Type 8), meant that they could use their understanding of each other through the Enneagram to:
Agree their way of working together to lead the business towards their common vision
Align their responsibilities with their strengths and desires
Adjust their style of communicating, aware of each other’s tendencies, preferences & triggers
Give each other permission to call each other out on old and unhelpful patterns
Design a 6-month strategy for the business, using their understanding the Team Enneagram style as a guideline for growth