The Enneagram and Emotional Intelligence

The vital ingredient to the success of groups and teams is emotional intelligence (EQ). Research demonstrates that EQ is more important than IQ whenever people work together towards a common goal. This includes two parts: 1) the capacity to know oneself, one's feelings and motivations, and 2) to understand and relate well to co-workers and colleagues. 

The Enneagram is regarded by many business leaders and trainers as the most effective tool available today for developing emotional intelligence. The Enneagram provides insight into how nine personality types think and feel, their mental models and motivation. It supports our self knowledge and our ability to relate well to others, the two necessary aspects of EQ. 

Working with the Enneagram provides the necessary awareness and skills for developing greater emotional intelligence. With the Enneagram, we learn:

• About each person's habit of emotion that is a key to their type structure. 

• How we can increase our motivation and support others.  

• How to best manage our patterns of reactivity and return to a more centered state.

• When personalities clash we don’t have to take things so personally.

• How to reduce conflict and find common ground amongst all personality types. 

• How to increase our communication skills through rapport and empathy with different styles

Understanding the concerns, issues, and motivational styles of nine personality types at work increases our ability to collaborate with peers, supervisors, and direct reports. 

Daniel Goleman, in "Emotional Intelligence," has this to say: "When people come together to work as a group, each brings certain talents - say, a high verbal fluency, creativity, empathy, or technical expertise… The single most important factor in maximizing the excellence of a group's product was the degree to which the members were able to create a state of internal harmony, which lets them take advantage of the full talent of their members."

The Enneagram & Teams

The shadow side of many organizations is the lack of "engagement" by employees. A report from Deloitte and Touche based on thousands of interviews indicates that only 25-30% of US workers feel that their best contributions are being harnessed. This means that the other 70% are either "disengaged" or "actively disengaged." The cost of this is estimated at $350 billion per year . 

Margaret Wheatley in her book “Leadership and the New Science” has this to say: "The ‘basic building blocks’ of life are relationships, not individuals. Nothing exists on its own or has a final, fixed identity. We are all ‘bundles of potential.’ Relationships evoke these potentials. We change as we meet different people or are in different circumstances.”

By viewing people as living systems rather than static and unchanging, the Enneagram brings intelligence and resources to the professional development of individuals and their participation as team members. 

The Enneagram supports not only individual learning but also organizational learning by assessing the human resources in any group. Every personality type has a particular contribution to make. Which styles are present, and which are missing? What additional point of views are necessary for the best decisions and successful outcomes? 

The Enneagram helps us to appreciate diversity - each type has something important and unique to bring to work. Understanding the nine styles at work helps to engage each person's motivation to bring their full enthusiasm, their most brilliant thinking and creativity to achieving goals. Additionally, it supports people to commit themselves to a process of constant challenge and development.

Team competencies developed with the Enneagram:

• Effective communication

• Making good decisions

• Self management

• Getting results

• Holding the vision

Communication and Teams

"Efficient and highly adaptable teams have the intelligence and flexibility to meet the challenge of this new era. But to be successful, managers and staff at all levels of the organization must be equipped with the "people skills" that will make their goals and visions practical. Good ideas and good intentions are not enough. Whether efforts to restructure organizations and build teams succeed or fail depends on the ability of staff to communicate effectively and reach higher levels of cooperation and group intelligence." From the handbook: "Transformational Leadership," Forster & O'Hanrahan.

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