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Are You Working with an Enneagram Type 3?

Mar 13, 2023
What is it like to work with an Enneagram Type 3? Find out here!



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 four parts:

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

In this 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 the video interview here, you'll learn from Jayshree Mahajang about life and work on the "inside" as a Type 3.)


If any of these ring true, you might be working with an Enneagram Type 3....


  • Do you notice they hate wasting time and can get impatient during meetings, asking others to "get to the bottom line?"
  • Do know it's hard for them to unplug from work, even on vacation or after a health scare?
  • Are they the ones asking what the end goal is anytime a new project is started?


First thing is first, though...

The foundation for the Enneagram Type 3 energy is a striving to feel outstanding.


They are focused on being seen as successful, goals, and getting from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible. 



One of their many superpowers is accomplishing their goals and achieving success in whatever they take on.

Common struggles of a Type 3 can include: always working, defining themselves by their status or income, seeing others as slowing them down, and not trying new things in fear of failure


Other clues you might be working with an Enneagram 3:


  • They look impatient during staff meetings and are the first person to look at their watch or phone. 
  • They've already been at their desk an hour before you arrive (and don't complain about working long hours).
  • They're the ones who ask you to speed up your presentation to "get to the good part" and frequently ask for the "bottom line." 
  • They don't stop working overtime, even when they've had a health scare.
  • They can't find time in their schedule for team building and think getting in touch with feelings is a waste of time.
  • They have difficulty staying engaged if the goal and tasks aren't clearly outlined.
  • They know what to say to motivate the team to work together to achieve success.


Is anyone coming to mind?


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


  1. Be competent and get sh*t done. 
  2. Leave them alone to do what they do. 
  3. Recognize their efforts and achievements. 
  4. Don't waste their time. 
  5. Recognize relationships might be secondary to their work. 
  6. Don't expect them to spend time dealing with your feelings. 


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.


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.