As much as we would like to lounge poolside with a margarita in hand forever, most of us have to work.

Your Enneagram Type in the Workplace: Do's and Don'ts

I’m no stranger to an exhausting, confusing workplace, and I’m sure you aren’t either. As an Enneagram coach, my goal is for you to thrive in any environment, whether it be on a date, relaxing at home, or sitting through that midday meeting that TOTALLY could’ve been an email. So, I’m here to give you the best tips on what to do and what not to do in the office, based on your unique personality type. 

Enneagram One: The Moral Perfectionist 

Don’t - Apply black and white thinking to your workplace. 

Do - Remain open-minded. If someone breaks the rules, it’s not the end of the world. Black and white thinking can make you rigid and unyielding, neither of which are qualities that will lead to your happiness in the workplace. Sometimes innovation requires a break in the routine. 

Don’t - Beat yourself up over mistakes.  

Do - Silence your inner critic. I know it’s hard to shut down that harsh voice inside telling you to “Be better!”, but talking down to yourself will only lead to more bad feelings. Give yourself the grace and understanding you deserve. 

Don’t - Get defensive and accusatory when approached with a conflict. . 

Do - Ask clarifying questions to get on the same page. Repeat what the other person is saying to make sure you understand. Conflict is inevitable in the workplace — it is not a personal attack on your integrity. 

Enneagram Two: The Nurturing Helper 

Don’t - Underestimate what you bring to the workplace as a leader. 

Do - Be proud of your highly-developed interpersonal skills and your ability to be sensitive to a team’s needs. 

Don’t - Work in an isolated environment. 

Do - Look for positions where there’s lots of opportunity for connections with other people. 

Don’t - Say “yes” to everything.

Do - Set and maintain your boundaries. You operate best when you are filling your own cup before prioritizing everyone else’s needs. 

Enneagram Three: The Successful Achiever 

Don’t - Work in an environment that never acknowledges your efforts and has no room for upward mobility. 

Do - Find a work environment that allows you to be recognized for your ability to drive results. 

Don’t - Disconnect from your feelings in order to stay focused at work. 

Do - Allow yourself space to feel emotions and enjoy life, even if it’s not productive. Life is better for Type Threes when you feel worthy simply for being you (and not for what you do).

Don’t - Obsessively dwell on your mistakes and failures.

Do - Take the time to celebrate your “wins” while remembering that your accomplishments do not define your self-worth. 

Enneagram Four: The Introspective Creative 

Don’t - Work in an environment that discourages freedom of expression. 

Do - Find a work environment where you have the freedom to share your creativity and big ideas.

Don’t - Self-isolate when you feel hurt or misunderstood. This will only lead to feeling alone. 

Do - Express your emotions in a calm and clear way. It can be difficult for Fours to say they’re struggling, but it will contribute to a healthier work environment in the long run. 

Don’t - Censor yourself when you feel like nobody is saying the hard stuff. 

Do - Authenticity is your superpower! Your ability to get comfortable with the uncomfortable makes you stand out from the crowd. 

Enneagram Five: The Quiet Specialist 

Don’t - Force yourself to be around people when your social battery is low.

Do - Give yourself the alone time you need every day, whether that’s waking up an hour early to get time to yourself or taking a rain check for happy hour cocktails after a tiring day.

Don’t - Grin and bear it when pointless, should’ve-been-an-email meetings are spontaneously held. 

Do - Speak your needs. Type Fives crave predictability at work — otherwise, their inner resources might be unexpectedly drained. It’s important to internalize that your needs are not a burden. Ask your manager to give you a heads up before any unplanned meetings. 

Don’t - Withdraw and isolate when a work conflict arises. 

Do - Allow yourself time to process thoughts and feelings alone before coming back for conflict resolution. 

Enneagram Six: The Loyal Guardian

Don’t - Smother your sense of humor in order to look respectable. 

Do - Delight in levity and laughter when appropriate. Life is too short to take things too seriously! Type Sixes can utilize their sense of humor to mitigate the negative effects of anxiety and stress for themselves, and for their coworkers.

Don’t - Catastrophize the issue at hand.

Do - Communicate thoughts, feelings, and feedback clearly.

Don’t - Underestimate the value you bring to the team. 

Do - Understand that Sixes make fantastic troubleshooters thanks to their ability to assess risks and threats. They play an important role on teams that most other types would rather not take on. 

Enneagram Seven: The Enthusiastic Visionary 

Don’t - Focus so much on the future that you forget the present.

Do - Use your ability to envision the future to inspire your team about what could be. 

Don’t - Settle for boredom at work.

Do - Ask yourself: is there a way to make this task more creative? Sevens thrive when they are in an interesting and fun environment. 

Don’t - Reframe the negatives into positives to such a degree that you refuse to acknowledge potential problems or look for ways to troubleshoot issues. 

Do - Keep everyone’s spirits up, especially when times are tough!! A Type Seven’s superpower is their ability to see the silver lining in any situation. Every office needs a mix of big idea dreamers and risk-averse inquisitors on the team. 

Enneagram Eight: The Passionate Protector

Don’t - Steamroll coworkers when they speak their mind.

Do - Encourage coworkers when they express their needs. You value honesty above all else, so foster an environment where authenticity is praised. 

Don’t - Get angry when things aren’t done right. 

Do - Support, empower, and protect the people around you. Enneagram Eights operate best when they are sticking up for the underdog. Use your confidence and know-how to uplift your coworkers.  

Don’t - Put a ton of pressure to do everything yourself. 

Do - Delegate! A Type Eight who refuses to let others help will eventually burn out.

Enneagram Nine: The Peaceful Mediator 

Don’t - Shy away from leadership because you would rather not rock the boat.

Do - Embrace the gentle strength of a Type Nine leader. Nines excel at creating an environment where everyone feels heard, particularly because they know how much it sucks to be ignored. 

Don’t - Shut down and zone out when you get overwhelmed.

Do - Voice your needs and desires in the workplace. Do you need a vacation? Are you stretched too thin across a bunch of projects? Is a coworker proving to be challenging to work with? I know this is a hard skill for Type Nines to master, but it will greatly improve the quality of your work life if you prioritize your own needs. 

Don’t - Delay vacations because you don’t want to inconvenience the team. 

Do - Use up all your vacation days and long weekends. Even play hooky from time to time! Type Nines thrive when they are given the freedom to relax and enjoy life. 

I hope these tips help you navigate your work life with more grace and understanding towards yourself. You're doing a great job! 

Now go get yourself a margarita and put your feet up!