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The Type 3 Leadership Style: Driving Success and Inspiring Achievement

May 23, 2023
Enneagram Type 3 Leadership Style

Leadership comes in many forms.


The Enneagram Type 3 leadership style, can be called the "Inspirational Role Model," and brings a drive for success and excellence to the forefront.

In this article, we'll dive into the strengths, potential challenges, growth opportunities, and the impact of Type 3 leaders on team members who may not share the same personality type. By understanding the dynamics of the Type 3 leadership style, we can foster a productive and supportive work environment that cultivates success and personal growth.


Strengths of a Type 3 Leader:

  • Goal-Oriented Focus: Type 3 leaders are driven by achievement. They excel in setting and pursuing ambitious goals. Their ability to articulate a clear vision and rally their teams around it is instrumental in driving success.
  • Notable Work Ethic: Threes are known for their strong work ethic, leading by example and inspiring team members to give their best. They set high standards and strive for excellence, creating an environment that fosters continuous improvement.
  • Exceptional Organizational SkillsType 3 leaders have strong organizational abilities, effectively managing tasks, resources, and timelines. Their proficiency in planning and execution helps ensure projects are completed efficiently and successfully.


Potential Challenges and Blind Spots:

  • Overemphasis on External Validation: Type 3 leaders may rely heavily on external recognition and validation as measures of success. This can lead to a tendency to prioritize image and perception over genuine personal and team growth.
  • Impatience with Inefficiency: The Inspirational Role Model's drive for efficiency and results can make them less tolerant of processes or tasks they perceive as inefficient. This impatience may unintentionally undervalue the importance of thoroughness and attention to detail.
  • Potential for Burnout: Type 3 leaders' relentless pursuit of success can result in excessive workload and neglecting their own needs. This may have adverse effects on their health, well-being and ultimately impact their ability to lead effectively.


Growth Opportunities for Type 3 Leaders

To continue to enhance their leadership effectiveness, Type 3 leaders can focus on the following growth areas:

Cultivating Authenticity: Type 3 leaders can benefit from working from a place of authenticity and embracing vulnerability. By connecting with their true selves and encouraging transparency, they will create an environment that fosters trust and genuine relationships.

Balancing Results and Well-being: Prioritizing personal well-being and work-life balance is crucial for Type 3 leaders. By recognizing the importance of self-care and encouraging a healthy work environment, they create a sustainable foundation for success.

Tapping into Intrinsic Motivation: Type 3 leaders can learn to appreciate and celebrate accomplishments beyond external validation. Recognizing and acknowledging personal growth and the achievements of team members foster a culture of intrinsic motivation and fulfillment.

 For additional opportunities, study Type 3s resource points, Type 6 and Type 9, to see what behaviors and qualities you can pull in to enhance your leadership style. 


Potential impact on their team:

Positive impacts

  1. Goal clarity and focus: Type 3 leaders are typically good at setting clear goals and expectations. They provide a sense of direction for their team, ensuring that everyone understands what needs to be achieved and why.
  2. High-performance standards: Threes often set standards of excellence for themselves and their team members. They push their team to achieve and surpass challenging targets, promoting a culture of greatness and continuous improvement.
  3. Accountability and responsibility: They emphasize accountability and encourage team members to take ownership of their work. Threes provide constructive feedback and hold individuals responsible for their actions, fostering a sense of responsibility and professionalism.
  4. Efficient decision-making: Type 3 leaders are generally decisive and confident in their decision-making. They can make timely and well-informed choices, which can help streamline processes and drive efficiency within the team.


Negative impacts:

  1. Lack of flexibility: These leaders may prioritize results and efficiency to the extent that they overlook the need for adaptability and flexibility. This rigid approach can hinder the team's ability to respond to unexpected changes or explore alternative approaches.
  2. Overemphasis on individual performance: While Type 3 leaders value high performance, they may unintentionally ignore the importance of teamwork and collaboration. This focus on individual achievements can create a competitive environment that undermines cooperation and shared goals.
  3. Neglect of employee development: In their pursuit of results, Type 3 leaders may prioritize immediate outcomes over long-term employee development. This can result in limited opportunities for skill-building, professional growth, and mentorship, which may impact employee satisfaction and retention.
  4. Potential for burnout: The relentless drive for achievement and meeting targets can put excessive pressure on team members. Type 3 leaders may inadvertently contribute to a high-stress work environment, increasing the risk of burnout and reducing overall well-being.


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 3 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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