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Are You Working with an Enneagram Type 6?

Mar 13, 2023
What to know about working with an Enneagram Type 6



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 Katie Taylor about life and work on the "inside" as a Type 6.)


First thing is first, though...

The foundation for the Enneagram Type 6 energy is a striving to feel safe and secure.


They are focused on mitigating risks, preparing for the future, and analyzing people and their intentions, especially authority figures. 


One of their many superpowers is supporting others. They are steadfast, dependable, loyal, and looking out for the common good.


Common struggles of a Type 6 can include: self-doubt, combativeness, skepticism, suspicion, indecisiveness, settling for mediocrity in exchange for safety


Other clues you might be working with an Enneagram 6:


  • They are an excellent troubleshooter who often saves the team time and money by thinking ahead and pointing out weaknesses in a plan. 
  • Every time they get an assignment they have what seems like a million questions before they can start.
  • They have a hard time making decisions and need to comb over the data many times before deciding what to do.
  • In meetings, they play the role of devil's advocate, testing other's points of view.
  • They express a lot of doubt - even of their own work and can display analysis paralysis, where they never get to a point where they feel confident enough to take action.
  • They understand and can clearly explain complex issues and problems. 
  • They will call out the higher-ups if they don't agree with what they're doing; they don't have an issue with questioning authority.


Is anyone coming to mind?


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


  1. Be trustworthy.
  2. Be patient with their questions.
  3. Understand and respect their fears and worries.
  4. Value their ability to access risk and troubleshoot.
  5. Give them time to go through the analysis and help them take action. 


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.