The Enneagram and how it relates to communication is one of the most useful applications of the personality system. Finding effective ways to communicate with fellow human beings is a skill that will help us to reach our interpersonal and professional goals more effectively. Through observing people over the years and studying the Enneagram personality system and communication theories of some integral teachers such as Katherine Fauvre, Tom Condon, Don Riso and Russ Hudson and Elizabeth Waegle we have compiled a succinct overview of the types communication styles that can be incredibly useful in both typing others at work or in your personal life as well as understanding your own personal communication style and how you may be presenting to those around you.
I will go through each type and outline the following: 1.) Their talk style, meaning how they verbalize the world, their cadence, whether they have high or low inflection, and the general type of verbiage that the type presents. 2.) The energy of the type, meaning how their presence feels (do they feel heavy, light, playful, serious, somber, sad, angry, rigid, etc) and what that means in terms of their type. 3.) Their personal image statements (which has been adapted from Katherine Fauvre's work on the Enneastyle) which will outline how the type sees themselves and the image or message they want to portray to the world 4.) Conflict style which will show us how the type engages 5.) Conflict resolution style including tips for how to resolve conflict with each type.
Type One/The Rational Perfectionist: One's are rational, perfectionistic, ethical, critical and practical. One's are motivated by a desire to be good and righteous and uphold their personal standards. Ones may have trouble with irritation and anger and may be nitpicky and critical. At their best they are masters of efficiency, judgment but can relax and have fun as well.
Talk Style: Proselytizing, teaching, preaching, informing, telling, educating and elevating. Energy: Rigid, upright, stiff, contained, solid, stoic, elegant, polished, assured. Image Statement: I am right; I am good; I know best; I want perfection. One's want to communicate to the world that they have it together, and are competent, right, and good moral people even though internally they may feel the opposite. Conflict Style: Faultfinding, nitpicking, condescending, poker faced, unemotional (or explosive if pushed too far), moralizing, admonishing. One's are triggered by being told they are wrong and will go on the offensive if their character is attacked. They may become moralizing or scolding. Some One's may retreat for fear of emotional display or may seem cold and distant. Resolving Conflict: Do not tell them they are wrong, but rather find a way you can validate their opinion while holding your ground. Try to avoid the words wrong, incorrect, or bad all together while in an argument lest you escalate it. Help them see the ways in which they are being angry or hurtful (in a gentle way, as 1s have a fear of their own anger).
Type Two/The Heartfelt Helper: Twos are heartfelt, effusive, helpful, manipulative and people pleasing. They are motivated by a desire to help others and be seen as helpful and loving. Two's may have problems with ulterior motives, martyrdom and manipulation. Twos may have problems with neediness, manipulation and giving to get. At their best they are altruistic, loving, and nurturing.
Talk Style: Effusive, relational, heartfelt, emotional, helpful, complimentary and managerial. Energy: Soft on the outside, hard on the inside, seductive, sticky, clingy, flirtatious, nurturing/motherly. Image Statement: I am helpful; I am nice; I am giving; My will be done; I have what you need. Two's want to be seen as helpful and kind people because this supports their self image. Two's will present themselves as someone who has whatever you need whether it is resources or attention. Conflict Style: Dramatic, wet, emotionally explosive, entitled, sulking, martyring, or blustery anger. Two's are triggered by the message that they are not kind or helpful or by the implication that their efforts to help are not well received. Conflict Resolution: Assure the 2 that you appreciate their efforts and that they are not in vain but remind them that they choose to do whatever it is they are doing. Remind the 2 that you want them to take care of themselves because typically their anger stems from the misdirected feeling of having to care for others. Acknowledge their emotional displays but do not pay too much attention to their histrionics.
Type Three/The Successful Performer: Threes are successful, goal oriented, driven and image conscious. Threes are motivated by a desire to be seen as a winner and to achieve personal success. Threes may have problems with narcissism, arrogance and superficiality. At their best Threes are inspirational, encouraging and highly motivational.
Talk Style: Expedient, professional, polished, peacocking, bragging, smooth, trendy, competent or mentoring. Energy: Tough exterior, hollow, steely, energetic, high powered, glossy, chameleon like. Image Statement: I am successful; I am a winner, I am impressive, I go for the goal. Three's want to be seen as someone who is successful and attractive. They will present themselves as popular and accomplished even if internally they feel lacking. Conflict Style: Evasive, arrogant, superior, dismissive, sly, undermining, narcissistic and condescending. Threes are triggered when they feel undervalued or dismissed. They may become angry when their success and driveness are misunderstood or undermined. Conflict Resolution: Try to set aside a predetermined amount of time to discuss problems. Don’t allow them to smooth things over with promises or apologies if they don’t understand the situation. If in an interpersonal relationship with them try to appreciate the hard work they put in but emphasis the important of relationships. Help them feel comfortable with expressing feelings rather than “just the facts” as this is a method they utilize to prevent feeling too much.
Type Four/The Intuitive Individualist: Fours are creative, intuitive, melancholy, and original. Fours are motivated by a desire to express their inner world and to appear different and unique. Fours may have problems with moodiness, snobbishness and feeling above the common crowd. At their best they are insightful, emotionally aware and well grounded.
Talk style: Breathy, lamenting, metaphorical, haughty, symbolic, specializing, discriminating. Energy: Fluid, flowing, poised, sensitive, intense, emotionally charged, melancholy. Image Statement: I am intuitive; I am deep; I am creative; I am different; I am correct. Fours want to be seen as special and creative and will exaggerate their differences to cover over feelings of being ordinary or mundane. Conflict Style: Haughty, condescending, emotionally explosive, detached or cold, hatefully articulate. Fours are triggered when they feel misunderstood or the sense anger or abandonment from the other person. Fours can become pointedly articulate and hateful when provoked. Conflict Resolution: Don’t try to have a completely rational discussion devoid of emotional content, it won’t engage them. Try to recognize their intuitive insight while still maintaining your own personal truth (4s like to tell other people what they are feeling, and they are usually onto something). Don’t let their histrionics or emotional outbursts drive you away. Take a time out if necessary so that emotions can calm down. Let them know if you’ve been hurt too and that your feelings are just as important as theirs.
Type Five/The Lone Investigator: Fives are cerebral, remote, private, idiosyncratic, and high strung. Fives are motivated by a desire to intellectually understand the world in order to feel safe and secure. Fives may have problems with human interaction, anxiety and shyness. At their best Fives are intelligent, highly inventive, and can meld their insights with reality.
Talk Style: Technical, knowledgeable, unemotional, detached, high strung, know it all, idiosyncratic. Energy: Prickly, detached, disembodied, contained, cerebral, removed and remote. Image Statement: I am knowledgeable; I need more time; I am intelligent; I think; I am different. Fives want to be seen as intelligent, rational and idiosyncratic. They may cultivate intelligence to cover over feelings of insecurity. Conflict Style: Detached, cold, cutting, dispassionate, childlike, passive aggressive, arrogant, overly logical. Fives are triggered by the presence of expectations (particularly emotional expectations) and emotional displays. Fives may become distant or blisteringly angry when faced with an emotional expectation. Conflict Resolution: Try to maintain some emotional stability while arguing. 5s like to keep to the facts of a situation and will detach when emotions get too heated. Walk away from the argument if you are to emotional as you will be unlikely to get a response. Tell them that your feelings are hurt without expecting them to do something about it (they become angry when there are emotional expectations). Don’t let them use knowledge or arrogance as a weapon and remind them you are a person not a robot or computer.
Type Six/The Loyal Skeptic: Sixes are loyal, humorous, dutiful, anxious and doubting. Sixes are motivated by a desire to find a trustworthy authority in the world in order to help them feel safe and certain. Sixes may have problems with reactivity, doubt and anxiety. At their best Sixes are friendly, excellent problem solvers and supportive friends.
Talk Style: Tentative, funny, friendly, warm (or prickly), engaging, rebellious, provocative. Energy: Mentally active, hyper-vigilant, anxious, contained, suspicious, penetrating, punchy and high strung. Image Statement: I am clever; I must be safe; I am loyal; I am harmless; I am "real". Sixes want to be seen as responsible, clever and loyal. They may cover feelings of insecurity with ingratiating niceness or sweetness or rebellious provocativeness. Conflict Style:Vacillating, blaming, victimizing, distrusting, cross-examining, quick and relentless. Sixes are triggered by feeling mistrustful or feeling blamed. They may become terrier-like and questioning when feelings of insecurity or abandonment are brought up. Conflict Resolution: Admit any ulterior motives. Try to stay calm but don’t dismiss them, Find common ground and allay their fears of abandonment or anger. Do not get lost in their arguing circle, if it feels like a marathon walk away. Hold your opinion but don’t be stubborn about seeing their point of view. Do not insult their intelligence or flatter or appease them. Don’t try to win, this will only escalate the argument. DON’T ever tell a 6 to calm down!
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Type Seven/The Enthusiastic Visionary: Sevens are enthusiastic, entertaining, versatile, flippant and future oriented. Sevens are motivated by a desire to stay positive and keep moving so they are constantly making plans for the future. Sevens may have problems experiencing negative emotions, keeping their commitments and excess. At their best Sevens are visionary, grounded in reality and progressively minded.
Talk Style: High energy, fun loving, entertaining, storytelling, enthusiastic, evasive, exaggerating. Energy: Amped up, restless, airy and light, quick, spritely, mischievous, fast. Image Statement: I am free; I am exciting; I am entertaining; I want it all; I am positive. Sevens want to be seen as interesting, entertaining and fun. They may cover over feelings of inferiority or fear of boredom with big plans and interesting stories. Conflict Style: Fleeing, disinterested, condescending, arrogant, unaffected, mocking, explosive tantrums. Sevens are triggered by feeling trapped or limited and may try to flee the conflict or may react explosively to break free of negativity. Conflict Resolution: Try to allow them their space but hold them to a time when the conflict can be resolved, 7s will flee at difficulty and let them know how this affects your relationship. If they try to leave ask them to set aside time for you to discuss it (5s like this too). Don’t harp too much on what they are doing wrong or they’ll shut down. Don’t sugar coat things but try to reframe things so they can take in the information without feeling too threatened.
Type Eight/The Protective Leader: Eights are assertive, bold, domineering, powerful and protective. Eights are motivated by a desire to be in control of themselves and their environment and avoid being controlled by others. Eights may have problems with anger and acknowledging their own vulnerable emotions. At their best Eights are strong, aware of their soft side and champions of justice.
Talk Style: Bold, direct, unemotional, matter of fact, brash, impactful, empowering, offensive or limit pushing. Energy: Strong, solid, powerful, intimidating, big, overpowering, irreverent, laconic. Image Statement: I am strong; I am a survivor, I am in charge; I protect. Eights see themselves as strong and in charge. They want others to recognize their strength and to the extent they feel vulnerable they will project more power. Conflict Style: Blustery, domineering, violent, unemotional, dismissive, uncaring, rageful, vengeful. Eights are triggered by feeling controlled or dominated or by feelings of abandonment or disloyalty. Eights may become domineering, aggressive or incredibly cold when triggered. Conflict Resolution: Stand your ground and do not waiver in your opinion. They want someone who can hold their own against them. 8s will spar with people they love to test their strength. Try and set ground rules in an argument with an 8 and don’t be afraid to let them know if they hurt your feelings (this often surprises them). Try not to react to their intimidation tactics but don’t egg them on either.
Type Nine/The Peaceful Mediator: Nines are peaceful, easygoing, self-forgetting, stubborn and gentle. Nines are motivated by a desire to maintain their inner peace by keeping themselves and their environments calm. Nines may have problems with repressed anger and denial. At their best nines are motivated, great listeners and engaged with the world.
Talk Style: Peacemaking, agreeable, complacent, stubborn, saga-telling, passive (aggressive), noncommittal, receptive. Energy: Peaceful, grounded yet spacey, detached, open, sleepy, slow, vacant, doormat. Image Statement: I am peaceful; I am calm; I am easy; I am drama free; I am uncomplicated. Nines want to be seen as easygoing and peaceful and may deny problems or negative emotions to cover over secret feelings of anxiety or anger. Conflict Style: Passive aggressive, stubborn, pacifying, occasionally explosive, sleepy, unaffected, clueless. Nines are triggered by feeling internal chaos or being unable to escape negative feelings or emotions. They may go to sleep to the problem or suddenly become angry and belligerent like Eights or scolding like Ones only to calm down soon after. Conflict Resolution: Don’t attack aggressively or take a blaming tone, they will tune you out. Try to acknowledge that they want to find a point of agreement between the two of you. 9s will be afraid of your anger and may become stubborn or withdraw when you begin to show your anger. Assure them that your anger doesn’t mean that you don’t like/love them anymore (unless of course you don’t) but that it’s important to resolve this issue.
-Sterlin Mosley Insightful Innovations www.insightfulinnovations.com