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The Type 4 Leadership Style: Combining Authenticity and Creativity for Success

Jun 16, 2023
Enneagram Type 4 Leadership Style

Leadership comes in various forms.


The Enneagram Type 4 leadership style brings an important blend of creativity, emotional depth, and authenticity. 


In this article, you'll learn more about the strengths, potential challenges, growth opportunities, and the impact of Type 4 leaders on team members who may not share the same personality type. By understanding the dynamics of the Type 4 leadership style, you can foster a balanced and inclusive work environment that inspires collaboration and personal growth.


Read on to learn more about the anatomy of a Type 4 Leader.


Strengths of Type 4 Leaders: 

  • Creative and Innovative Thinking: The Type 4 leader excels in bringing creative and unique perspectives to problem-solving. Their ability to think outside the box inspires innovation and encourages unconventional approaches within the team.
  • Emotional Intelligence and Empathy: Type 4 leaders have a deep emotional understanding and empathy for others. They create a safe space for team members to express themselves and foster authentic connections.
  • Valuing Individuality and Authenticity: These leaders celebrate individuality and authenticity. They encourage team members to embrace their unique qualities, which leads to a diverse and inclusive work environment.


Potential Challenges and Blind Spots:

  • A tendency toward Intensity: The Type 4 leader can experience intense emotions, which can sometimes affect their ability to remain objective and make rational decisions. They may need to find ways to manage their emotions effectively in high-pressure situations.
  • Sensitive to Feedback: These leaders may be more sensitive to criticism or feedback, as they deeply value their individuality and creative contributions. They should work on developing resilience and open-mindedness to constructive feedback.
  • Can Struggle with Focus and Follow-through: Type 4 leaders' inclination toward exploring different ideas and possibilities can sometimes lead to difficulties in prioritizing and following through on tasks. Developing effective time management strategies can help them maintain focus.


Growth Opportunities for Type 4 Leaders

To continue to enhance their leadership effectiveness, Type 4 leaders can focus on the following growth areas:

Balancing Emotion and Objectivity: Type 4 leaders can work on balancing their emotional depth with objectivity. Developing the ability to step back, assess situations, and make rational decisions enhances their leadership effectiveness.

Cultivating Resilience: Type 4 leaders should focus on cultivating resilience in the face of challenges and setbacks. Building emotional resilience allows them to navigate difficulties while maintaining their creative spirit and inspiring their team.

Embracing Collaboration and Constructive Feedback: Type 4 leaders can benefit from embracing collaboration and actively seeking constructive feedback from their team members. This fosters a culture of continuous improvement and helps them gain diverse perspectives.

For additional opportunities, study Type 4s resource points, Type 1 and Type 2, to see what behaviors and qualities they can pull in to enhance their leadership style.


Potential impact on their team:

Positive impacts

  1. Creativity and innovation: These leaders often have a unique perspective and a strong sense of creativity. They encourage and value imaginative thinking, fostering an environment that nurtures innovation and fresh ideas within the team.
  2. Emotional depth and empathy: This type of leader tends to possess a heightened emotional intelligence and a deep understanding of human experiences. They are empathetic, compassionate, and able to connect with team members on an emotional level, promoting a supportive and understanding work environment.
  3. Authenticity and self-expression: Type 4 leaders value authenticity and encourage team members to embrace their individuality. They create a space where individuals can freely express themselves, which can foster a sense of belonging and encourage the team to bring their unique strengths and perspectives to their work.
  4. Appreciation for aesthetics and quality: A Type 4 leader often has an appreciation for beauty and quality. They pay attention to the aesthetics and details of their work, striving for excellence and creating an environment that values craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Negative impacts

  1. Emotional intensity and mood fluctuations: Type 4 leaders may experience intense emotions and mood fluctuations, which can impact their ability to maintain consistency and stability in their leadership. This emotional intensity can sometimes create an unpredictable work environment.
  2. Can be self-absorbed: This type of leader may occasionally be preoccupied with their own emotions and experiences. This self-absorption can make it challenging for them to fully recognize and attend to the needs and perspectives of their team members.
  3. Resistance to conformity: These leaders often resist conformity and may question or challenge established norms and systems. While this can lead to unique insights and creativity, it may also create tension or resistance within the team if not managed effectively.
  4. Different for the sake of being different: A type 4 leader who values uniqueness and significance may want to spend their time and the team's time creating something that's never been done before. While that energy can serve a team, when overused, it may sabotage a team's productivity, energy, and success because time is wasted trying to be different and one-of-a-kind in unnecessary situations. 


It's important to remember that the impact of a leadership style can vary depending on the specific context, the composition of the team, and the project at hand. A balanced approach that combines the natural gifts and strengths of the Type 4 leadership style with an awareness of potential challenges and blindspots can help maximize their positive impact and lessen the negative impacts. 


Every person is unique. Factors like childhood experiences, race, culture, birth order, socioeconomic status, education level, religion/spirituality, family dynamics, and more, all impact how a person's personality and strategies for navigating life show up in the real world. Understanding yourself, or someone else, through the lens of the Enneagram simply gives you a starting point to begin to better understand and support yourself and others. 


Sarah Wallace is the owner and lead trainer at Enneagram MBA, the host of the Enneagram MBA podcast, an Enneagram Certified coach, and a workshop facilitator for teams and groups. Learn more about Sarah and her approach with the Enneagram here


(Pictured above is from The Ways Women Work: What the Enneagram Says About Your Leadership Style presentation and breakout exercise for a "women in finance" networking event during the Carson Group's annual Excel conference in Las Vegas, NV.)



If you lead a team or plan to host an event where you'd like the Enneagram to be shared through the lens of leadership and team building, learn more about the presentation and workshop options below:


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