Catherine Hayes

Team Dynamics and the Enneagram

Team Dynamics and the Enneagram Well-functioning teams are essential to productive workplaces. Team members showing up at their best and aligned with the mission and goals of the organization is the ideal scenario.

We know the importance of aligning team members and we spend time in strategic planning meetings and retreats to develop mission statements, goals and action plans. While this is important and essential, it is not sufficient.

Understanding our team members and helping them to understand themselves and each other is crucial to a productive and harmonious workplace.


The Enneagram is the ideal tool for understanding ourselves and others.  Everyone has an ego and understanding our underlying ego patterns and behavior is crucial to self-development.

As we understand these patterns, they no longer run our lives in the background. The Enneagram helps us to shine the light on our patterns and offers a compassionate understanding of our underlying motivations. As we bring compassion to these unconscious patterns, we begin to release the personality patterns that hold us back in our work and relationships.

For example, a Type One personality often shows up as a perfectionist or task master and others may find it challenging to work with someone who finds fault in everything they do. When the person with the Type One personality understands that what is underlying their behavior is a need to connect with their inherent goodness, they can hold that with compassion and let go of this underlying need for perfection. Self-knowledge is the first step.

When we bring the Enneagram to our teams , we help team members understand each other with compassion as well. Team members will see that the Type One personality is trying to recreate their inherent goodness and they will begin to understand why their colleague is such a perfectionist. They will also see how hard that person is on themselves. With this mutual understanding, the team members naturally align.

Another example is the Type Six personality who may play the devil’s advocate role on the team. S/he may be incredibly reliable and dutiful and always pointing out what could go wrong. With an understanding of the Enneagram, the individual with the Type Six personality understands that what their personality is trying to recreate is a sense of support or guidance by creating certainty around them. Seeing this brings compassion for the individual themselves and by the team for their colleague.

Compassion for ourselves and our colleagues is crucial to team members working together collaboratively and productively.

Download my complimentary Enneagram and Leadership Guide to learn more about the other Enneagram types.

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