Back to Blog

The Type 8 Leadership Style: Empowering through Strength and Justice

May 23, 2023
The Enneagram Type 8 Leadership Style - Strengths and Challenges

Leadership comes in various forms.


The Enneagram Type 8 leadership style, can be referred to as the "The Strong Protector," brings a powerful blend of strength, assertiveness, and justice to the forefront.


In this article, you'll learn more about the strengths, potential challenges, growth opportunities, and the impact of Type 8 leaders on team members who may not share the same personality type. By understanding the dynamics of the Type 8 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 8 Leader.


Strengths of Type 8 Leaders: 

  • Assertive and Decisive: The Strong Protectors are known for their direct and assertive communication style. They make decisions with confidence, providing clarity and direction to their teams.
  • Natural Leaders: Type 8 leaders naturally take charge and assume leadership roles. They are not afraid to speak up, advocate for their team members, and take action when needed.
  • Promotion of Fairness and Justice: The focus on justice and fairness is a core strength of Type 8 leaders. They champion inclusivity, equality, and create an environment where everyone's voice is heard and respected.


Potential Challenges and Blind Spots:

  • Intensity and Dominance: Type 8 leaders' strong presence and assertiveness can sometimes be experienced as domineering or overpowering. They will need to find a balance between their assertiveness and creating an environment that encourages open dialogue.
  • Impatience with Vulnerability: The Strong Protectors may struggle with the vulnerability of themselves and others. This can result in a tendency to undervalue the emotional aspects of teamwork, potentially hindering empathy and connection.
  • Need for Control: These leaders can have a strong need for control, which may limit delegation and hinder the development of team members. It is important for them to trust their team and empower individuals to take ownership.


Growth Opportunities for Type 8 Leaders

To continue to enhance their leadership effectiveness, Type 8 leaders can focus on the following growth areas:

Empathy and Emotional Intelligence: Developing empathy and emotional intelligence can help Type 8 leaders build stronger connections with their team members. By understanding and validating emotions, they foster a supportive work environment.

Collaboration and Delegation: Type 8 leaders can work on fostering a collaborative culture where team members feel empowered to contribute their unique strengths and feel safe to speak up. Learning to delegate effectively allows Eights to focus on higher-level strategic initiatives.

Balancing Power with Vulnerability: The Strong Protector can benefit from embracing vulnerability themselves and encouraging it in others. This promotes psychological safety and openness, enhancing team cohesion and trust.

For additional opportunities, study Type 8's resource points, Type 2 and Type 5, to see what behaviors and qualities they can pull in to enhance their leadership style. 


Potential impact on their team:

Positive impacts

  1. Strong leadership: Eights often have natural leadership qualities. They are decisive, confident, and comfortable taking charge, which can inspire and guide their team effectively.
  2. Protection and support: The Strong Protector leaders are known for their loyalty and protectiveness towards their team members. They often advocate for their team's needs and ensure that they have the resources and support required to succeed.
  3. Direct communication: This leadership style is typically straightforward and direct in their communication. They express their thoughts and opinions openly, fostering clear and honest dialogue within the team.
  4. Resilience and determination: Type 8 leaders are examples of resilience and determination in the face of challenges. Their unwavering commitment can motivate team members to persevere, even in difficult situations.

Negative impacts

  1. Domineering behavior: Eights' assertiveness and desire for control can sometimes manifest as domineering behavior. They may overpower or intimidate team members, hindering collaboration and stifling diverse perspectives.
  2. Tendency to be overly assertive: In their pursuit of control, Type 8 leaders may come across as overly assertive, leaving little room for others to express their ideas or contribute to decision-making processes. This can result in shutting down, disengagement, and decreased team morale.
  3. Difficulty with vulnerability: The Strong Protectors often have a need to appear strong and invulnerable. This can make it challenging for them to express vulnerability or seek input from others, potentially limiting the team's ability to share ideas and foster trust.
  4. Potential for confrontation: The assertive nature of Type 8 leaders can sometimes lead to confrontational interactions. While healthy conflict can be beneficial, excessive confrontation may create a tense and hostile work environment.


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 8 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 the Enneagram Dream Team Day Experience with a small business team of 12 at Beauty Culture Spa outside of Detroit, MI). 



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:



Get Enneagram resources for influencing and interacting with people at work.

Understanding People is a free weekly newsletter sent out each Saturday morning with Enneagram insights, self-awareness how-to, book recommendations, and human behavior research to help you build healthy relationships, inspire others to action, and live the best version of yourself.