46. Enneagram Part 4: “The Thinking Triad-Profile Types 5, 6, and 7”
Chelsie [00:00:01] The Enneagram, which is what I would call a personality assessment, has nine distinct profiles, or styles, as I like to call them. And gaining a really solid understanding of types 5, 6, and 7 is crucial for leaders in the workplace because these numbers, they bring groundedness, and they bring rational thinking to our teams. And as we all know, we need that in the workplace.
Don [00:00:30] My name is Don Rheem, CEO of E3 Solutions and author of the book, “Thrive By Design: The Neuroscience That Drives High Performance Cultures.”
Don [00:00:39] I speak across North America on the neuroscience of engagement, and I’m passionate about helping leaders at every level create engaging workplace environments where employees feel safe, recognized, and validated. Employees who feel safe are happier, healthier, and more productive.
Don [00:00:57] Each week, my team and I take on topics impacting managers, and we offer solutions to your biggest workplace challenges. And, you’re listening to Thrive By Design, a podcast created by E3 Solutions to give managers, CEOs, and leaders tips, strategies, and tools needed to create an engaged culture at work.
Don [00:01:21] Welcome. I’m your host Don Rheem, CEO of E3 Solutions. As our listeners know over the past few weeks, we’ve had the pleasure of talking with subject matter experts to bring more specific details to this role of being an effective leader. Returning from last week, via Skype, is our guest Chelsie Sargent, a licensed professional counselor and a certified specialist in the Enneagram, a 2000-year-old personality examination. Chelsie is here to wrap up our last session, the fourth session about the Enneagram, as we dive into these specific personality profile types that make up the assessment. Welcome back, Chelsie. And thanks for helping us wrap up this fascinating four-part series. And I’m really excited to get into this last of the three triads of the Enneagram.
Chelsie [00:02:14] Hello, Don. It’s so good to be back. I’m excited to jump back in as well.
Don [00:02:18] Chelsie, last week you spoke to our podcast listeners about that second set of the Enneagram profiles, or triads, as you referred to them – types 2, 3, and 4. And today we’re going to pick right up where we left off and move on to the third triad, that would be types 5, 6, and 7. So, tell us about these three personality types, and why are they called the “Thinking Triad.”
Chelsie [00:02:44] Yeah.
Types 5, 6, and 7 are our thinkers. They are going to bring rational thinking to the table in the workplace. And they are going to all do this in very different ways, but the way with which they see the world and the place that they start, specifically when they’re working through problems or conflicts is going to be with thinking or with their head.
Don [00:03:10] So, Chelsie, before you dive into the first of these thinking types, I could imagine some listeners thinking, “Hey! I remember from the last podcast, and I thought I was a 3 because I’m really efficient, and I like getting my good work done, but I’m also a thinker.” So, the question to you is a little context here on these profile types. It’s not a specific narrow channel is it?
Chelsie [00:03:36] 100 percent, it is not.
One of the things to understand about the Enneagram is that you are going to be able to see a little bit of yourself in all the numbers. That’s one of the reasons it’s on a circle.
Chelsie [00:03:46] So we are multi-dimensional people, human beings, and we have all sorts of different things that make us who we are. And so you are going to be able to find yourself in all the numbers. One of the big things to remember as you are learning about each number on the Enneagram, is your motives. And so, that is where only you can determine what that is, but your motives is what is the glaring indicator of what your number is.
Don [00:04:17] So, your primary Enneagram type is going to indicate specifically what you’re primarily motivated by, but your expression, your expression as an individual, as a person, your personality if you will, could have little bits and pieces of all the numbers. Is that what you’re saying?
Chelsie [00:04:35] Absolutely.
Don [00:04:36] OK, that’s helpful to know because I can see some listeners seeing themselves already in multiple personality types of the Enneagram and just trying to figure that out. How does the Enneagram talk about those spillovers, if you will? Are there areas where, let’s say a person is a 5, could they have stronger expressions in one or two other personality types? How does the Enneagram talk about that?
Chelsie [00:05:02] Yeah. And that’s, man how much time do we have? One of the things that we have to remember is, there’s a lot of things that I haven’t even gone over with the Enneagram.
Don [00:05:11] Right.
Chelsie [00:05:11] And so if you are a 5, there are personality types on the Enneagram that are influencing you that you’re actually connected to, so your wings, and your wings are the numbers on either side of you.
Don [00:05:24] I see.
Chelsie [00:05:24] So, for a 5, that would be a 3 or a 6. And those can add different flavors to your personality.
Chelsie [00:05:32] So, one of the really cool things about the Enneagram, when you go to conferences, or when you go to trainings, is a lot of times the presenter will bring up all the 5s in the room. And, it’s fascinating because all of those 5s have the same motivation. They share the same number, and all of them manifest personality differently.
Don [00:05:51] Yes.
Chelsie [00:05:52] So, it’s just fascinating to watch five 5s sit up on each on a stage and each of them are different, although they do have these certain characteristics that are the same about them.
Don [00:06:03] That, I think, is really helpful context to know. So, if someone was to take an Enneagram test to determine what their type is, I’m assuming that reporting then would show them what their wings are to use the term that you brought up?
Chelsie [00:06:18] Yeah. So, once you discover your number, and when you sit with an assessment or a specialist in it, they will be able to tell you what numbers you are connected to. So, the Enneagram already has all of that mapped out for you. You don’t have to guess that, and you don’t have to figure that part out. The only thing that you have to figure out is what your number is.
Don [00:06:39] Right.
Chelsie [00:06:39] And so, even if you do take one of the personality assessments associated with the Enneagram, it’s still a good idea to sit down or to be taught by a specialist because then they can really help you hone in the finer qualities of what that number is and how that really does make up who you are.
Don [00:06:56] OK. So, there’s, even within these nine personality types, there’s just wonderful individual expression that’s not locked into, like you said you are a 1, but how you look as a 1 is going to be very different perhaps than an accountant who’s a 1, or an engineer who’s the 1. You’re each going to have your own individual personality, but what motivates you, that clarity around structure and rules on a black and white world, and wanting to fix and solve things, is going to be a common motivator.
Chelsie [00:07:27] Yes, that is spot on.
Don [00:07:28] OK.
Chelsie [00:07:28] And, then because of our personality, we’re going to go about those in different ways.
Don [00:07:33] Yes. And certainly you, as a counselor and a therapist, are going to do that in a unique way. So let’s dive in to the 5s. Tell us about 5s.
Chelsie [00:07:41] 5s are known as your Intellects. They are information gatherers, and they are focused on data and facts. Some of the stuff you have to remember when I’m talking about the Enneagram, I’m saying pretty blanket statements, and so not everyone is going to have this, but 5s traditionally are going to report that they are pretty high introverts. They really value alone time, and they need alone time to recharge. So, whereas 8s have the most energy on the Enneagram, 9s have the least energy on the Enneagram, 5s only start out with a certain amount of energy every day. And when that energy is gone it is gone. And so 5s, healthy 5s really have to know how to space out their energy. This is crucial for a leader to understand, because if a leader is a 5, when you are managing a team that requires a lot out of you. And so when you walk into the office every day, it is good for you to understand that you’re not going to have tons of energy to give to everyone. So, for you to be able to parcel that out to your team as needed throughout the day.
Don [00:08:59] Let’s do this contrast of healthy and unhealthy aspects of a 5. What is a healthy 5 and what is an unhealthy 5?
Chelsie [00:09:09] So, we’ll start with the unhealthy aspects of a 5. They’re going to be stingy with their time. They can withdraw. They can become cynical, and they can really turn inward because they again, really like being in their head and really like figuring things out on their own. They’re also really good compartmentalizers. So, they again, just can turn real inward and maybe not have as high value on working in a team. Healthy 5s, they can enjoy gathering data and mastering knowledge and helping bring their team into those areas. They, because they excel at information gathering, they can expand the parameters on what the team knows on topics and bring in a lot of information for the team, to there go out and expand on all of the information that 5s have gathered. They can also be really objective in conflict. So when conflict or confrontation happens on a team, 5s really don’t shy away from that. And they really can bring a sense of being able, like 9s, being able to see from all sides, and they are very level headed in the workplace usually.
Don [00:10:36] So, if a manager is working with a 5 as a team member, what’s the best way to interact with them, start the conversation? How do we help 5s be successful?
Chelsie [00:10:47] Yes. Good question. Like I said, 5s can sometimes have a hard time relating to other people, and they can also have a hard time, or they report feeling uncomfortable, when they have to deal with other people’s feelings. They really value other people dealing with their own feelings and that they don’t have to get involved in that. So, they do not like depending on other people, and they really like being autonomous. So, for a manager being able to give 5s tasks or responsibilities, 5s are gonna get that done. They don’t need a lot of managing or people really standing over them, and because they value your time, and they want you to value your time, they’re usually going to get it done in a timely manner.
Don [00:11:33] OK. Tell us about 6s. What’s going on there?
Chelsie [00:11:37] OK, so the 6s – they are known as your Loyalists. Other names that people have given them is they can play the devil’s advocate on your team. They are the person who can think of worst case scenarios, and they are the person, when you’re all doing group thinking, who is going to poke out all the holes or all the things that could go wrong in whatever plan that you were doing. 6s tend to be the most anxious number on the Enneagram and they often act and make decisions out of fear. So if you’re talking about the unhealthier parts of the 6, if they are not self-aware of how much fear can play into their decision making, they can get lost in that. So, instead of coming from a place of making a decision out of mindfulness or empowerment, they will let anxieties or how everything could go wrong make all of their decisions. They’re natural questioners. And they have a hard time making quick decisions.
Don [00:12:41] OK. Tell us about what a manager would see in a really healthy 6, and what they might experience with an unhealthy expression of a 6.
Chelsie [00:12:49] Sometimes I say 6s are the mortar between our bricks – they keep everything together. They’re insightful, they thoughtfully think through situations, and, like the name says, they’re loyal. They’re the people who are going to stick something out, specifically if they are being led by someone they respect and they can get behind. They question authority, but once they trust the person who is leading them, they are loyal. So, as leaders, they’re going to be loyal to your team, and they are going to be protective of the team. And as workers, if you all have built a trusting relationship between you, they are going to be loyal workers, and they’re going to have your back. So, you need them on your team.
Don [00:13:41] That’s fantastic. So take us through the 7s. This is the last of the nine that we’re talking about on our series in this last part of our four-part series. Walk us through the 7s.
Chelsie [00:13:53] Yes, the 7s. I also laugh, because I make them go last. And the 7s are just kind of sitting at the table like, “When is it gonna be my turn, when is it going to be my turn?” They’re your Enthusiasts. They also bring a lot of energy to your team. They are optimistic, they are adventurous, and what a lot of people will say is they bring the fun.
Chelsie [00:14:16] They just have a delightful personality. And what a lot of people will say is they’re the life of the party. They like to have the freedom to pursue lots of options, and they don’t like limits. They want to be able to experience a lot of different things. So, in the workplace, they’re going to excel at brainstorming and envisioning all the possibilities of how you can grow, and achieve, and move forward. And they’re going to bring in all sorts of ideas of how you can do that on a team. They really like looking at the bright side of things. One of their shadow qualities or negative parts is that they have a really hard time dealing with negative emotions. So, they want everything to feel good and be good, and just be really optimistic. And so sometimes if the team is struggling, or there’s a lot of negativity, that is really hard for a 7 to sit in.
Don [00:15:17] So, that brings me to the question then if you’re a manager and you have a 7 on your team, what are the things you should be aware of, sensitive to, and how can you most successfully interact with them?
Chelsie [00:15:30] 7s are the cheerleaders. They are for people, they are for whatever you’re doing. So, empowering them to be the cheerleaders of your team. They’re also good networkers. So, putting them out in places where they can speak about your product or what you’re doing to other people. 7s are really good at that. They’re also really good at lifting the team morale. So, I think that’s a really great quality to have. If you’re a leader and you’re a 7, you’re just going to bring a lot of positivity to the room specifically when you’re healthier. And if you have a 7 on your team, you know one of the things that you’re going to have to be mindful of is how you put limitations around them, and really working on empowering them so they don’t feel like you’re just saying “no” to them all the time.
Don [00:16:17] Well, clearly there are some of these Enneagram types where it feels like the personality is more driven for integration and not necessarily leadership in the broader way I think of this. Chelsie, as you know, we’re very focused on what the neuroscience tells us about the hardwiring in the brain, and what some of the primary motivators are is some social neuroscientists say is that every fold of our cerebral matter is dedicated to being in a group, to being a part of something, again coming back to attachment and especially adult attachment. But, when I think of these tribes and what a successful tribe would be, you could say department or clan or team, you really need multiple personality types, and in fact, it may have been that the most successful tribes had all nine of these types in them. In order to be successful as a tribe because each type brings out a really important part of what it takes to be successful as a group. Does that feel accurate to you?
Chelsie [00:17:18] I really love that hypothesis – that to make a successful tribe you need all nine of these personalities sitting at your table. I think that is a beautiful way to look at the Enneagram. And that goes back to what I try to reiterate over and over again to people is not one number is better than the other. So, sometimes people can get really stuck on the negative aspects of each number, and when you get into the Enneagram and you read a lot about it, that is a complaint that actually a lot of people tell me, is, “Man, it just seems like they focus on all the negative pieces of it.”
Don [00:17:50] Yeah.
Chelsie [00:17:51] I can see that, and I think we hear negativity before we hear positivity, but I think if you can continue to work past that, you’re going to get into a place where you can see how, because we are multi-dimensional humans, we do have negative pieces to us, and we have positive pieces to us.
Don [00:18:12] Right.
I think our job is: How can I be the best version of myself? And, the Enneagram is a beautiful map to that.
Don [00:18:20] Well, now that our podcast listeners understand all nine Enneagram profile types, what now? What should leaders and managers do with this knowledge to empower employees to thrive in the workplace?
Chelsie [00:18:33] Yeah. So now, it’s understanding what your number is, understanding how you’re affecting the work environment, and then once your employees figure out their number, or they can be able to tell you what their motivations are, how you can collaborate the best to make your work environment the healthiest.
Don [00:18:53] Chelsie, thank you so much for spending the time on these four podcasts with us. I think the Enneagram can have a significant impact in the workplace on a manager, a leader’s ability to understand the personality types and differences that occur within teams in the workplace about why people respond differently to the same events or stimuli, and to understand how to better work with them, even if it’s only to be more self-aware of their type and the impact of their type on others and how that plays into their leadership profile, if you will. This has been so helpful, and we at E3 are also so grateful that you are leading this workshop that we provide for clients on the Enneagram. It’s a revelation when it occurs, and clients are always thrilled. So, thank you very much for working closely with us and taking the time here in this four-part series.
Chelsie [00:19:45] Thank you, Don. It has been my pleasure to talk about something that’s so near and dear to me. I’m excited for other people to learn and grow from it as well.
Don [00:19:51] That’s it for today. I’m your host Don Rheem, and thank you for being with us in this four-part series. Our guest next week is Dick Smith. Dick leads several groups of CEOs who meet monthly to tackle tough business issues as a part of Vistage International, a membership organization for CEOs. In his role, he provides executive coaching to his Vistage member CEOs, and he’s been doing that for over 10 years as a Vistage chair. You’ll enjoy this one. See you next week.
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