Leading by the Numbers is a 10-part series.
Understanding your strengths and weaknesses as a leader is imperative to not only leading others, but also leading yourself effectively. But the make-up of great leaders doesn’t just lay in the balance of the pros and cons scale, it is the amalgamation of intricate character traits and personal tendencies that make each of us uniquely equipped to be the leaders we are called to be.
One of the best tools available to understanding our unique make up is the Enneagram of Personality. Enneagram, derived from the Greek word ennéa or nine, predicates that human personalities can fall in to one of nine separate personality types. Discovering your Enneagram type is a great way to recognize your personality tendencies and how they affect interaction with others.
These are the nine Enneagram types:
- Type One – The Reformer
- Type Two – The Helper
- Type Three – The Achiever
- Type Four – The Individualist
- Type Five – The Investigator
- Type Six – The Loyalist
- Type Seven – The Enthusiast
- Type Eight – The Challenger
- Type Nine – The Peacemaker
During this series, we will examine each of the nine Enneagram types and how they relate to leadership, including opportunities for growth and pitfalls to avoid. Ninth up, The Peacemaker.
Type 9 – The Peacemaker
These individuals are creative and optimistic leaders who lead through harmony and balance. With a more passive personality, they are all-embracing and able to unite others and mediate issues between other parties. Nines are driven by their desire to create harmony around them, to avoid conflict, preserve the status quo, and circumvent upsetting situations.
According to The Enneagram Institute, Nines are labeled The Peacemaker because more than the other eight Enneagram types, they are the most devoted to finding or creating internal and external peace between others and for themselves.
Famous Type Nine leaders include: Queen Elizabeth II, Claude Monet, Abraham Lincoln, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Princess Grace of Monaco, Ronald Reagan, Audrey Hepburn, James Taylor, and Mister Rogers.
Enneagram Type Nines are natural-born mediators, striving to bring others together in the purpose of unifying peace. According to The Enneagram Institute, Nines tend to include traits of all other types. For instance, they “can have the strength of Eights, the sense of fun and adventure of Sevens, the dutifulness of Sixes, the intellectualism of Fives, the creativity of Fours, the attractiveness of Threes, the generosity of Twos, and the idealism of Ones.” Due to the all-encompassing nature of their personality, they often do not have a strong sense of their own identity. As a leader, Nines tend to see all sides of issues affecting others. Through their non-confrontational and friendly demeanor, they can also struggle with saying “no,” causing burnout at work and overextension in life.
Here are a few of their strengths:
Due to their nature, Nines can become chronic conflict-avoiders, ignoring issues within their own life for the purpose of achieving peace at all cost. This can lead to co-workers, friends, and family to become frustrated by their unresponsiveness. Avoiding conflict can also lead to procrastination, which can negatively affect their relationships with others. Nines can have the tendency of living in their own world to avoid the problems and pain of reality, which can cause them to be disengaged, unreflective, and inattentive. Unhealthy Nines can become indifferent by minimizing problems affecting themselves and others. They can dissociate themselves from all conflict, which becomes neglectful and harmful to others.
If you are a Type Nine, here are a few traits to anticipate and avoid to help ensure you maintain healthy levels and be an effective leader:
- Conflict avoidant
- Overly conciliatory
- Emotionally indolent
Developing into Your Best Self
Understanding where the Type Nine leader may struggle is the first step to avoiding those pitfalls and focusing on being the healthiest version of The Peacemaker. According to The Enneagram Institute, Type Nines, when at their best, are “deeply receptive, accepting, unselfconscious, emotionally stable, and serene.” They become “self-possessed, feeling autonomous and fulfilled.” Healthy Nines can be receptive, emotionally stable, and fully connected and harmonious to themselves and others, while also being reassuring, supportive, and a good mediator and communicator.
According to The Enneagram Institute, Nines should focus on development and personal growth in these ways:
- Understand your tendency to go along with others to keep the peace puts you at a disadvantage for true relationships. By simply acquiescing to have peace at all costs, you don’t allow others to know the real you, which is imperative for connecting with others.
- Force yourself to focus and pay attention, realizing your tendency to tune out and daydream. Actively participate in the world around you and be more mentally and emotionally engaged.
- Recognize you have aggressions, anxieties, and other feelings that are necessary to address. Negative feelings and impulses are a part of you and they affect you emotionally and physically whether or not you acknowledge them.
- Although difficult, examine troubled relationships and how your actions or inactions have played a role in the conflicts. Relationships tend to be a source of your identity and self-esteem, so by acknowledging conflict, you will create deeper connections with others.
- Exercise regularly to become more aware of yourself and emotions. This healthy form of self-discipline will increase your awareness of your feelings and sensations, which will help focus in other areas. It’s also a good way to get in touch with and express aggressions.
Relating to Type Nines
If you aren’t a Peacemaker, it’s good to fully understand best practices when working with and relating to Type Nines. The Narrative Enneagram encourages others to follow these guidelines with Type Nines:
- Ask them what they want and need and give them time to discern the answer.
- Avoid coming on too strong, getting impatient, or creating pressure.
- If you sense they are reluctant or unsure about something they said “yes” to or agreed to do, let them know that it’s ok to say “no.”
- Encourage them to determine their priorities and support them to take action.
- Stay present to them when they are angry.
- Share body-based activities such as walking, exercising, cooking, or eating.
In the final article of the Leading by the Numbers series, we’ll recap all nine of the Enneagram types.
Which Enneagram type are you? How has learning more about yourself and your character tendencies helped you better lead others around you? Let us know in the comments section below!