9 Enneagram Personality Types: All You Need To Know
By Remy Meraz • December 12, 2023
Introducing the Enneagram as a personality type model
Have you ever wondered why people think, feel, and act in fundamentally different ways? The Enneagram, a dynamic personality type model, offers illuminating answers. It's not just another framework; it's a lens through which we can understand the diverse tapestry of human nature.
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Definition and Meaning of the Enneagram
The Enneagram system categorizes personalities into nine distinct types, each representing a unique worldview and methodology for coping with life's challenges. It stands out in the landscape of personality theories for its depth and adaptability, offering more than just labels—it provides a path for personal growth and understanding.
This introduction is your gateway to exploring the nine Enneagram types—each a distinct blend of traits, motivations, and fears. Whether you're seeking to enhance your self-awareness, improve relationships, or foster professional growth, understanding the Enneagram opens up a world of possibilities. Let's dive into this intriguing system and discover what it reveals about us.
Understanding the Enneagram Types
What Are the Nine Enneagram Types?
At the heart of the Enneagram system are nine distinct personality types, each offering a unique perspective on the world. These types range from the principled and idealistic Reformer (Type One) to the easygoing and self-effacing Peacemaker (Type Nine). Between these, we find the Helper (Type Two), known for their generosity, the Achiever (Type Three) who is success-oriented, the Individualist (Type Four) who expresses uniqueness, the Investigator (Type Five) with their intense curiosity, the Loyalist (Type Six) known for their reliability, the Enthusiast (Type Seven) who seeks joy and adventure, and the Challenger (Type Eight) who embodies confidence and assertiveness.
Identifying Your Basic Personality Type
Determining your basic personality type within the Enneagram can be a transformative experience. It involves self-reflection and sometimes, facing uncomfortable truths. Are you more head-centered, relying on intellect and curiosity like Types Five, Six, and Seven? Or do you resonate with the heart-centered types (Two, Three, Four), driven by emotions and self-image? Perhaps you align with the body-centered types (One, Eight, Nine), focusing on instinctual drives and gut reactions.
Identifying your Enneagram type is not about fitting into a box. Instead, it's about understanding your core motivations, fears, and desires. This self-awareness can lead to profound personal growth and an enhanced ability to relate to others. As you explore these nine types, consider which one resonates most deeply with your own experiences and worldview. Remember, the Enneagram is a journey of discovery, one that can lead to greater understanding and compassion for yourself and those around you.
Detailed Overview of Each Enneagram Type
Enneagram Type One: The Reformer (Perfectionist)
Type Ones, known as Reformers or Perfectionists, are defined by their sense of right and wrong. They are conscientious, ethical, and committed to improvement, both in themselves and the world around them. However, their basic fear of being corrupt or defective can lead them to be overly critical and perfectionistic.
Enneagram Type Two: The Helper
Helpers, or Type Twos, are caring, interpersonal types who excel at supporting others and showing empathy. Their desire to be loved and needed can be both a strength and a vulnerability, leading them to prioritize others' needs over their own. They fear being unwanted or unworthy of love.
Enneagram Type Three: The Achiever
Type Threes, known as Achievers, are success-oriented and driven, often excelling in their pursuits. While they are adaptable and charming, their basic fear of being worthless drives them to focus heavily on their achievements and the image they present to others.
Enneagram Type Four: The Individualist
The Individualists of Type Four are introspective, expressive, and sensitive. They seek identity and significance, often feeling unique and different from others. Their fear of having no personal significance can lead to feelings of envy and melancholy.
Enneagram Type Five: The Investigator
Investigators, or Type Fives, are perceptive, innovative, and curious. They seek understanding and knowledge and fear being overwhelmed by the world. This can lead to detachment and an intense focus on intellectual pursuits.
Enneagram Type Six: The Loyalist
Type Sixes, the Loyalists, are committed, security-oriented, and engaging. They struggle with anxiety and skepticism, driven by a basic fear of being without support or guidance. This can lead to either phobic or counter-phobic behaviors as they seek stability.
Enneagram Type Seven: The Enthusiast
Enthusiasts of Type Seven are spontaneous, versatile, and acquisitive. They seek to avoid pain and fear through escapism and anticipation of future pleasures. Their quest for happiness can sometimes distract them from the present moment.
Enneagram Type Eight: The Challenger
Challenger Type Eights are powerful, dominating, and self-confident. They fear being harmed or controlled by others, leading them to assert control over their environment. Eights are protective of those they care about and have a strong sense of justice.
Enneagram Type Nine: The Peacemaker
Peacemakers, or Type Nines, are receptive, reassuring, and agreeable. They seek internal and external peace and fear loss and separation. This can lead them to avoid conflict and to prioritize harmony over their own needs.
This detailed overview of the nine Enneagram types reveals a rich tapestry of human motivations and fears. Each type, with its unique strengths and challenges, provides a lens through which we can understand ourselves and others more deeply. By exploring these types, we gain valuable insights into our own lives and the lives of those around us.
The Centers and Subtypes
What Are the Centers?
In the Enneagram system, the nine personality types are divided into three centers based on the dominant aspect of human experience they utilize: the Head, Body, and Feeling centers. Head types (Five, Six, and Seven) are driven by intellect and seek understanding and security. Body types (Eight, Nine, and One) rely on instinctual energies and seek autonomy and control over their environment. Feeling center types (Two, Three, and Four) are driven by emotions and focus on identity and self-worth.
What Are the 27 Subtypes and Instincts, and Why Do They Matter?
Each Enneagram type further divides into three subtypes, making a total of 27, based on dominant instinctual energies: self-preservation, sexual (one-to-one), and social. These subtypes add a layer of depth, explaining variations within each type. For instance, a self-preservation Two focuses more on personal security and comfort, while a social Two is more oriented towards group belonging and acceptance.
Understanding these subtypes and instinctual energies is crucial because they provide a more nuanced view of each Enneagram type. They explain why individuals of the same type can exhibit significantly different behaviors and motivations. Recognizing your subtype can lead to deeper self-awareness and more tailored paths for personal growth. For instance, a self-preservation Four might need to focus on practical matters for balance, while a sexual Four might need to cultivate deeper emotional connections. Thus, exploring the layers of centers and subtypes in the Enneagram enriches our understanding of the complex tapestry of human personality.
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Dynamics of the Enneagram
Directions of Integration (Growth) and Disintegration (Stress)
One of the most powerful aspects of the Enneagram is its dynamic nature, illustrating how types change under conditions of growth or stress. Each type has directions of integration (growth) and disintegration (stress), symbolized by the connecting lines within the Enneagram diagram. For example, under stress, a Type Six might exhibit characteristics of an unhealthy Three (disintegration), while showing qualities of a healthy Nine during growth (integration). This dynamic approach allows for a more fluid understanding of personality, emphasizing that one can evolve or regress depending on their circumstances and coping mechanisms.
What Are the Levels of Development?
Each Enneagram type is further nuanced through levels of development, ranging from healthy to average to unhealthy. These levels describe the degree to which the core characteristics of a type are manifested. A healthy level indicates a well-balanced personality, where the positive aspects of the type are maximized. In contrast, an unhealthy level can result in more negative expressions, often driven by the type's basic fear and dominant instinct. Understanding these levels encourages self-reflection and offers a roadmap for personal and spiritual growth. It highlights the potential for transformation within each type, suggesting that one's Enneagram type is not a fixed destiny but a starting point for development. This perspective reinforces the Enneagram's value in guiding individuals towards greater self-awareness and holistic well-being.
The Enneagram Test: Unveiling Your Personality Type
What Is the iEQ9 Enneagram Personality Test?
The iEQ9 Enneagram Personality Test is a widely recognized tool designed to identify an individual's Enneagram type. Through a series of questions, the test assesses patterns in thinking, feeling, and behaving, offering insights into core motivations and behaviors. It differs from standard personality tests by providing a multi-dimensional analysis of personality traits, revealing not just 'what' we do, but 'why' we do it.
Why Is the iEQ9 Seen as the Official Enneagram Test?
The iEQ9 is often regarded as the official Enneagram test due to its comprehensive nature and accuracy. It has been developed with input from leading Enneagram scholars and integrates psychological insights, making it a robust tool for both personal and professional use. The iEQ9's detailed reporting offers nuanced insights into personality dynamics, making it a preferred choice for coaches, psychologists, and Enneagram enthusiasts.
The Benefits of Using the Enneagram Test
Utilizing an Enneagram test, like the iEQ9, can be transformative. It offers more than just a personality assessment; it provides a roadmap for personal growth. By understanding your Enneagram type, you can uncover the reasons behind your actions, recognize your strengths, and identify areas for development. For many, this leads to increased self-awareness, improved relationships, and enhanced professional performance. In essence, the Enneagram test is not just about discovering your type; it's about embarking on a journey of self-discovery and development.
Applications of the Enneagram
The Benefits for Personal Self-Awareness and Self-Development
The Enneagram is a powerful tool for personal growth, offering invaluable insights into our own motivations, fears, and behaviors. By understanding our Enneagram type, we gain self-knowledge that can lead to profound self-awareness. This awareness helps us identify and work on areas that need growth, such as managing stress, improving relationships, and enhancing communication skills. It also empowers us to set healthy boundaries, build self-confidence, and understand our unique path to personal development.
The Benefits for Professionals, Teams, and Leaders
In the professional realm, the Enneagram can be instrumental in team building, leadership development, and conflict resolution. Leaders and teams that use the Enneagram benefit from a deeper understanding of each member's strengths, challenges, and working styles. This knowledge fosters empathy, enhances team dynamics, and improves overall workplace efficiency. Leaders can also use the Enneagram to tailor their approach to each team member, leading to more effective and harmonious working relationships.
The Importance of Understanding One's Personality Type
Understanding one's Enneagram type is crucial in both personal and professional contexts. It goes beyond mere categorization; it provides a framework for understanding complex human behavior and motivations. This understanding is particularly valuable in clinical psychology, where therapists use the Enneagram to help clients explore their personality traits and behavioral patterns. In essence, the Enneagram offers a roadmap to self-discovery and improvement, allowing individuals to navigate their lives with greater clarity and purpose.
Conclusion: Integrating the Enneagram in Life and Work
Body or Gut Triad - A Recap
As we conclude our journey through the Enneagram, let's revisit the Body or Gut Triad (Types Eight, Nine, and One). This triad, grounded in instinct and reaction, teaches us about control, autonomy, and anger. Understanding this triad helps us confront our core motivations, manage our instinctual energies, and navigate conflicts more effectively, both in personal and professional spheres.
Embracing Personal Growth with the Enneagram
The Enneagram is more than just a personality typing system; it's a pathway to deeper self-discovery and personal growth. By exploring the nine types, their dynamics, and the intricate web of centers and subtypes, we gain valuable insights into our own behaviors and motivations. This understanding enables us to face our self-doubt, embrace our core motivations, and work towards becoming our best selves. Whether in resolving conflicts, understanding others, or pursuing self-awareness, the Enneagram is a powerful tool that can guide us towards a more fulfilling life and career.
In conclusion, the Enneagram offers profound insights into human nature, providing a comprehensive framework for personal and professional development. By integrating the wisdom of the Enneagram into our lives and work, we open doors to a world of understanding, compassion, and growth.
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About Remy Meraz
Remy Meraz, co-founder, and CEO of Zella Life, is a visionary leader who leveraged corporate glass ceiling challenges as a woman of color to drive systemic change.
While leading and cultivating high-performance teams from VC-backed startups to Fortune 500, she consistently faced obstacles such as inadequate mentorship, lack of psychological safety, and non-personalized training. Taking matters into her own hands, she turned to executive coaching and NLP training. This life-changing growth experience led to breaking leadership barriers and a passion for cognitive psychology.
Motivated by her experiences, she co-founded Zella Life, an innovative AI-driven coaching platform bridging the talent development gap by enhancing soft skills and emotional intelligence (EQ) in the workplace.
Her vision with Zella Life is to transform professional development into an inclusive and impactful journey, focused on the distinct needs of both individuals and organizations. She aims to promote advancement and culture change by ensuring every professional's growth is acknowledged and supported.
Today, Remy is recognized as an influential innovator, trainer, mentor, and business leader. Under her leadership, Zella Life has delivered significant measurable outcomes for numerous well-known brands. This track record of positive outcomes garnered attention and funding from Google for Startups and Pledge LA, establishing Zella Life as a pivotal force in the learning and development arena tackling and resolving fundamental talent development issues for organizations of all sizes.