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Are You Working with an Enneagram Type 1?

Mar 13, 2023
What is like to work with an Enneagram Type 1?

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.


(Here in this video interview,  you'll learn from Katy Lumsdem and Linda Kolean about life and work on the "inside" as a Type 1.)


If any of these ring true, you might be working with an Enneagram Type 1....


  • Do you see that they can get frustrated when others don't follow the rules?
  • Do they strive to take things from good to great and have the precision and plan to make it happen?
  • Have you noticed they have a very loud and very harsh inner critic?
  • Is it perfection or nothing at all with them?


First thing is first, though...

The foundation for the Enneagram Type 1 energy is a striving to feel perfect.


They are focused on right and wrong, what needs to be improved, following the rules, and what's best for the common good.  



One of their many superpowers is their ability to set and follow procedures. They thrive in roles that require consistency of method and logic.  


Common struggles of a Type 1 can include: being unwilling to change, black and white thinking, being critical and judgemental (of others and themselves), a need to always be right, and being too serious


Other clues you might be working with an Enneagram 1:


  • They're the one who keeps insisting people follow the rules. 
  • They inspire the team to achieve high standards and improve the product, company, or the world.
  • They can seem critical or even harsh, but they may not realize the effect of their criticism. They are most likely talking to themselves even worse. 
  • They work to make sure expectations, instructions, and communications are precise and planned out.
  • They sometimes micromanage and don't trust others to do the job as well as they can.
  • They can focus or over-focus (in your opinion) on the details.
  • They have great work ethic and try hard to do their best in everything they do. 


Anyone coming to mind?


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


  1. Be clear and precise when working together with them. 
  2. Understand how hard they can be on themselves and emphasize positive feedback.
  3. If you make a mistake, take responsibility.
  4. Show that you value quality.
  5. Have compassion for their drive for perfection. 


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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