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Are You Working with an Enneagram Type 8?

Mar 13, 2023
How to work with an Enneagram Type 8

The Enneagram can be transformative in your own self awareness journey and the insight can also be valuable in your relationship management skills at work - with those you lead, with those you work beside, and with those you serve, like your clients.


Emotional intelligence is made up of 4 parts:

  • Self awareness
  • Self management
  • Others awareness
  • Relationship management

In the newest series about understanding people at work you’ll gain insight beyond your own type and into how others close to you are viewing the world.


 (In this video interview, hear from Stephanie Smith and Lorelei Cheung about life and work on the "inside" as a Type 8.)


If any of these ring true, you might be working with an Enneagram Type 8....


  • Do they tend to have massive expectations of others?
  • Do you notice they prefer to address conflict head on rather avoiding it?
  • Does beating around the bush make them want to scream?
  • Do you see them as a passionate person that gets things done?
  • Is your teammate fiercely protective of your team?


First thing is first, though...

The foundation for the Enneagram Type 8 energy is a striving to feel powerful. 


They are focused on being strong, avoiding being vulnerable, fighting for injustices, and power dynamics (who has, are they worthy of it, do they need to step in and take it, etc.). 



One of their many superpowers is their ability to thrive in the heat of battle. They bring tremendous self-confidence and energy to their work and love a good challenge.


Common struggles of a Type 8 can include: stubbornness, arrogance, impatience, impulsiveness, what they to believe is "tough love" but really bullying, a need to be right


Other clues you might be working with an Enneagram 8: 


  • They automatically command respect from everyone on the team. 
  • They have no patience for long explanations - "Just get to the point!" 
  • Have a "my way or the highway" mentality.
  • They can be intimidating, even when they're not saying anything.
  • They seem to respect you more after you argue with them. 
  • Others see them as aggressive and domineering, but you see them as assertive and strong. they'll stand up for their team when outsiders criticize. 


Anyone coming to mind?


If so, below you'll find a few ideas for working well them:


  1. Be direct. Tell it like it is.
  2. Don't give them a book when they want bullet points. 
  3. Support them in taking action. 
  4. Be competent and able to work independently. 
  5. Try not to be afraid of conflict with them. 


Sources: 9 Types of Leadership book by Beatrice Chestnut, Awareness to Action book by Robert Tallon and Mario Sikora, Insight book by Tasha Eurich


If you haven't already be sure to download your quick reference guide, Understanding People Cheat Sheet to gain insight into working with all the Enneagram Types. 


To learn more about how the Enneagram can benefit your team and organization, learn about bringing a workshop or training in with the options here. 



Sarah Wallace is the owner of Enneagram MBA, a team training company, host of the Enneagram MBA podcast, speaker, and workshop facilitator. Companies and organizations hire her to help them use the Enneagram to develop confident, effective, and emotionally intelligent leaders with powerful, productive, and happy teams.



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