If what follows mainly concerns the corporate world, it is easy to transpose it to any field, such as associations, administrations, teaching … the couple, the family, the children. This approach is also very beneficial in those other fields. It still relates to human relationships, communication that is facilitated by a better self knowledge and the knowledge of the other, beyond cultures.

« The word enneagram comes from the greek word ennea, that means nine, and grammos, that means point. It is a star-shaped diagram with 9 branches »

It symbolizes a very ancient teaching before our era.

« Elaborated originally to be a tool for self observation, the enneagram describes 9 main personality types and their interactions. Each type is defined by its emotional habits, a mode of thinking and a connection to others which, put together, result in a specific look onto the world … As all typologies, the enneagram points out the characteristics that are common to people from the same profile … Within the firm, the big strength of the Enneagram is to allow a better understanding of how others reason, what they feel and the way they filter information relative to their work … Thanks to enneagram, one can better understand what we mainly dedicate  our energy to and therefore become more productive, show more initiative and be more reactive at work »

« Our style of communication is linked to our perception filter … No enneatype reacts the same way to motivation tools … The flow of time is not perceived in the same way from one enneatype to the other … No enneatype has a better use of time than another, but each one of them evaluates time in its own way … We wrongly consider that indications like « important », « urgent », « prioritary », or « not urgent » have the same meanings for everybody. It is not the case … Each of us structures negotiation according to his ennatype … While bringing light to these factors, the study of enneatypes allows more successful negotiations. We do not always know with whom  we are going to negotiate, but knowing one’s own enneatype and one’s own natural tendencies allows us to take some perspective and observe the differences between one’s own approach and that of the people who are present …  Training people has nothing to do with intelligence. What comes into play is the way each receives the information he is given … Being aware of the various enneatypes helps trainers to better organize their  course …

While knowing oneself better and learning to know the others, one can access to precious information on the conflicts that can arise. One disadvantage is that one can be tempted to stick a label to all those he/she interacts with and to imagine oneself able to read in their thoughts and predict their reactions.

Nevertheless, we all recognize ourselves more or less in the nine enneatypes, because each of them represents a natural reaction to our condition as a human being … We recognize ourselves in the nine enneatypes because each enneatype corresponds to a system that filters information in a way that is adapted to a specific type of information. Therefore, the critical mind of a Perfectionnist corresponds to the state of mind in which one must be to re-read  and edit a report. In the same way, we all draw on the determination of a Protector in front of adversity.

All the more, our enneatype is not absolute : we  change our functioning mode in order to adapt to situations that are especially reassuring, or on the contrary, stressing. In other words, each enneatype is a mix of three distinct elements : a main type that determines our perception filter, and two secondary types that appear when we feel threatened or, in the opposite, secure …

Every manager would benefit from knowing how his management style is perceived by others and to learn to better influence, train and help co-workers from various enneatypes. The goal consists in knowing the assets and limits of one’s own point of view in order to be more open to the others’ points of view »

Helen Palmer

« The enneagram »

(she structured the knowledge of the enneagram – oral tradition)