“Yeah I’m not much into those personality tests” and “I don’t really like to be boxed in like that.” That’s what many of us think and feel when we encounter the latest and greatest personality typing.
One day I’m just living life and a friend sent me a link to the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast where he interviews Ian Morgan Cron on the Enneagram. Two sessions in, my interest peaked.
“The Enneagram doesn’t put you in a box. It shows you the box you’re already in and how to get out of it.”Ian Morgan Cron, The Road Back to You
Like many of you, I’ve taken everything from the Myers-Briggs to the DISC, PDP to the Strengths finder to the Wonderlic. The results have shown everything from four letter acronyms to being a sea lion.
While each one of these different profiling tools have lots to offer, after reading and studying, the Enneagram has in six months become one of the most valuable tools in my life and relationships over the last decade.
Before you go any further, “DON’T TAKE A TEST.” I don’t care whether it’s free or $99. Here are the three reasons why:
- Most tests carry a low degree of accuracy (<80%) and many find it difficult to trust the disproving of their test results. Yes it’s the shortcut. As a 3, I LOVE shortcuts. Remember, don’t take the test.
- It’s not terribly difficult to zero in and own which Enneagram type you are by exploring various resources (my favorite and the one I recommend is below).
- The time and energy invested in learning the 9 types (and your type) helps in understanding and ownership at a deeper level.
So what’s so powerful about the Enneagram?
- The biggest piece is helping me to know myself. As I’ve zero’d in on being a 3 (with a 2 wing), I’ve gained a far deeper understanding of my underlying motivations, drivers, fears, stance and posture toward those around me.
- The second most valuable piece has been getting to know my wife, friends and co-workers on a deeper level.
One quick story… I have a team member who reports into me and over the years our communication and styles have felt “clunky.” 2 steps forward and 1 step back like a bit of an awkward three legged race. The natural tendency for most leaders is to either avoid or critique the other person until the three legged race gets more comfortable for all involved. So after having each of my direct reports take the test (yeah, still don’t recommend it), I was sitting in a deer blind, reading through the chapter on his type. At the end, I thought to myself, “oh my, my style of leadership is literally a nightmare for this person.”
Such a huge shift – from blame to empathy to growth.
While there is a ton out there on the Enneagram, Ian Morgan Cron has been a valuable tour guide. The book below is written through the lens of a Christian worldview and yet regardless of faith background, it’s been a useful roadmap.
How committed are you to learning and growing as a leader?