Have you ever wondered why we react certain ways under pressure? For example, as the deadline approaches, he mysteriously turns from “Mr. Nice Guy” to “Mr. We’re Getting This Done, MY WAY.” Or I wonder why she behaves so completely differently in social situations than she does at work? Or more personally, why do I respond more readily and more productively to some messages and completely reject others? Enneagram training can help.
Every once in a while, we come across a tool that transforms our view of ourselves and our world.
We recently used Enneagram as a tool for a management retreat. The 60-some staff who participated hailed from a variety of departments across Garden Spot Communities and prepared for the day by taking a 200-question Enneagram assessment. We started the day with ziplines, a ropes course and fellowship, to break the ice and set the stage for the day. As we headed to the conference room, we shed our coats and sweatshirts and began to uncover our Enneagram numbers, which were boldly printed on custom t-shirts, made just for the day. Little did we realize how well the following hours would shed light on our numbers, our personalities, our work experiences and the words our souls long to hear from God and others around us.
At first blush, the Enneagram may feel like a personality test and is casually compared to Myers-Briggs by many people. When you take the time, however, you will discover that Enneagram is a tool that can lead to self-awareness, self-understanding and self-development. While parts of the Enneagram can be traced back to the 4th century B.C., the modern adaptation of the Enneagram was developed by Oscar Ichazo in the late 1960s. We use a Wagner Enneagram Personality Style Scales (WEPSS) because we believe the approach of the tool is central to gaining great results and insight.
The Enneagram helps us to see that we can become a better version of ourselves. It also helps us understand why our teammates and those around us react in certain ways. Our team responded so powerfully to the retreat that we believed this was a tool that was worth sharing with others. We sent a group of team members to Louisville, Kentucky for Enneagram Intensive Training with CrossPoint where they learned how to help others understand their Enneagram profiles.
But, with all that we wanted to simply summarize why we believe it is so very effective and a very dynamic tool to consider:
- It is complex and multifaceted – so are we. It takes a bit of time and patience to understand what is being shown but the time invested is well worth it!
- The Enneagram focuses on a core style (one of the 9 profiles) which has a resourceful and non-resourceful side which shows us that our basic tendencies can either be quite productive or turn into vices which limit our influence and can strain and poison relationships.
- Beyond the core style, it presents a style when we are under stress and a second style when we are relaxed. Both have a resourceful and non-resourceful side as well. This recognizes that under either condition, we typically act differently and need to recognize this.
- There is an abundance of materials which compare the core styles, assist in techniques for communication and working relationships. This information and other resources can also focus on personal relationships and perhaps even strengthen our marriages! (Ps, my wife loved the Enneagram as well, so yes, it’s working and in use in our home!)
We highly recommend this for you, your management teams, small groups and departments as both a great tool and a fun way to get to know how to work more productively with each other. If you have an interest, we would love to connect on how we might help you to integrate this into your next team session, management team meeting or retreat. We have Enneagram resources and trainers ready to help you!
Steve Jeffrey is the Co-Founder/Guild Master of ForgeWorks and is passionate about building great foundations in people and non-profit organizations. His work is focused on innovation, strategy, affiliations and cultural alignment.