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Are You Working with an Enneagram Type 5?

Mar 13, 2023
What is it like to work with an Enneagram Type 5? 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.


(Here in this video interview, you'll learn from Kathy Farah about what life and work are like with the Type 5 energy). 


If any of these ring true, you might be working with an Enneagram Type 5....


  • Have you noticed that they prefer to work alone and don't like being interrupted?
  • Does getting recognized for their depth of knowledge and know-how make them feel appreciated?
  • Do they tend to avoid office gossip and drama - both sharing it and hearing about it?
  • Have you ever gotten frustrated with them for procrastinating because they needed to gather more information?


First thing is first, though...

The foundation for the Enneagram Type 5 energy is a striving to feel self-sufficient. 


They are focused on knowledge, having enough resources and time, and being capable and competent.


One of their many superpowers is figuring things out. They thrive when they have the opportunity to analyze, research, innovate, and solve complex problems.


Common struggles of a Type 5 can include: too much thinking, not enough doing, not nurturing relationships, needing to show off their intellect, not sharing their information


Other clues you might be working with an Enneagram 5:


  • They go into their office, shut the door, and don't come out very often. 
  • They don't say much in meetings, even though you can tell they're listening and intellectually engaged.
  • They can talk forever about mental challenges, theories, data, etc., but rarely reveal anything about themselves. 
  • They do good work and are a key member of the team, but don't always want to join in the social gatherings.
  • They procrastinate because they need more time to look into it.
  • They can be relied on to offer deep insights and objective perspectives.
  • They're able to focus on what's important and always act like an adult/professional. 


Is anyone coming to mind?


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


  1. Respect their time and their space. Avoid busting in on them. 
  2. Communicate directly, clearly, concisely, efficiently, and thoughtfully.
  3. Be professional - they don't like it when people get messy or emotional. 
  4. Leave your personal life out of work matters. 


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 at Work podcast, 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.