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Communication and Your Enneagram Type

communication communication challenges communication strengths enneagram series leadership leadership development professional development self-awareness strengths type eight type two Aug 11, 2022

Communication and Your Enneagram Type

What’s the number one way to increase morale, productivity, collaboration, productivity, and loyalty at work?

Communication.

Say what? 

Yes, communication is the number one way to motivate your employees, deliver clear and productive feedback, increase effective collaboration, articulate goals, and create a sense of community and connection at work. 

But, when communication is unclear or breaks down, conflicts arise, miscommunications persist, time is wasted, feelings are hurt, and productivity, creativity, and connection with others grinds to a halt.

In our modern work world, communication is paramount. 

So what makes an effective communicator?

It depends on you.

Communication is different for each of us - what we hear, what we communicate through words and body language, how we come across to others, and how we filter information coming in is unique to each of us. 

What feels like great communication from one person might feel like confusion for another.  

Some of us say too much, while others say too little.

What we think someone said might be radically different from what another person heard or even what the original communicator meant. 

So, how do you become a more effective communicator? 

It starts with knowing your Enneagram type.

The Enneagram is a personality map specifically designed to help you understand your unique way of seeing the world. 

Each of us falls into one of the nine Enneagram types. Our type helps us understand the motivations behind all of our actions, reactions, thoughts, and habits. 

Your Enneagram type can illuminate:

  • your strengths, challenges, & motivations,
  • how you communicate, 
  • what causes you conflict, 
  • how you relate to others,
  • and so much more - including what can improve your communication.

When we know and understand our Enneagram type, we know and understand ourselves exponentially better. We can become more self-aware, more proactive in our personal growth, and able to make meaningful decisions and changes that transform our lives.

And the more we know and understand ourselves, the more we can communicate with clarity, understanding, empathy, and compassion.

Our Enneagram-based coaching provides the unique opportunity to learn your type and how it affects all aspects of your life, including your communication.

 

Why knowing your Enneagram type matters

Each of us sees the world in different ways. This is the basis of our Enneagram type. And what we say, how we say it, and what we hear are directly impacted by our type.

For example, Enneagram Type Twos are warm and friendly, compassionate and helpful, hard workers, and dedicated employees. Their strengths are found in their ability to create rapport, connection, and relationships with others. 

When communicating, Type Twos tend to be open and engaging, ask a lot of questions to create rapport, give compliments, and focus the content of the conversation on the other person. 

Communication like this facilitates team cohesion and makes the workplace feel more collaborative and welcoming. Type Twos can use their easy-going communication skills to positively include others, motivate teammates, and soften hard conversations with empathy.

But, along with the strengths and natural abilities of our Enneagram type comes challenges, too. 

In our coaching, we help our clients understand and leverage their strengths while being mindful and aware of their challenges. 

For example, with our Type Twos, their strengths, when left unchecked or overused, become their challenges:

  • Creating rapport is great, until it becomes talking too much and wasting what should be productive work time.
  • Positively including others is great, until it’s difficult to give honest and direct feedback without sugar coating it. 
  • Focusing on others is great, until building the relationship (or concern for how much the other person likes you) is the only measure of your successful communication when other factors need to be considered. 

When Type Twos are aware of both their strengths and challenges, they can communicate with clarity and directness while maintaining their natural ability to engage others. They can give honest feedback and receive it well without fear of damaging relationships. They can be more objective about issues at work without worrying that the relationship with the other person might be in jeopardy. 

Meanwhile, opposite of the Type Two in communication is the Type Eight. 

Enneagram Type Eights are direct communicators. They focus on the big picture, getting things done, working hard, and playing hard. Their strengths are found in their ability to seek justice and truth, take on challenges, address conflict directly, and in bringing big energy to all they do.

When communicating, Type Eights are direct, hit the bullet points, talk about the big picture, and move on. They don’t sugarcoat, can be intense, and are bold and authoritative. 

Again, like the Type Twos, these strengths can be great. Type Eights can communicate their vision and make bold actions happen. They can clearly express what they want, and they can be great visionaries - leading teams and organizations in powerful ways. 

And also like Type Twos, Type Eights can overuse their strengths, turning them into communication challenges. 

  • Being bold and authoritative is great, until it intimidates others and creates a climate of silence and fear.
  • Being direct and unafraid of conflict is great, until it turns into looking for conflict or being aggressive when diplomacy and talking things through would be more helpful and productive.
  • Talking about the big picture and vision is great, until others feel lost, are missing details, or not grasping what the Eight is trying to accomplish.

When coaching our Type Eight clients in communication, we help them to learn to listen with empathy and patience, to stop and ask questions so others are clear on what they are saying, to be more diplomatic and understanding of other’s styles, and release the need to control the conversation.

Putting It Together

Now imagine the Type Two and the Type Eight in communication with each other. Each type is seeing their worlds in different ways and this will impact their communication.

The Two is focused on creating rapport and building relationships while the Eight is focused on taking action and direct communication. 

The Eight wants to share their big vision and take action without wasting any time while the Two wants to include everyone in the vision and spend time connecting with others. The Eight might see the Two’s desire to talk and connect as wasting time that could be spent taking action while the Two might see the Eight’s desire for fast action as intense and demanding and not helpful for creating team cohesion.

When a Two and an Eight are communicating, they are both listening for and expressing very different needs - vision vs. connection, action vs. relationship, directness vs. warmth.

So when they are aware of their types and how their type influences their unique style of communication (both verbal and nonverbal), they can better listen for what’s really being said and:

  • balance bold directness with creating rapport,
  • value both the relationship and the work equally, 
  • respect each other’s time and needs without resentment or frustration,
  • work together as a team while moving forward in the big vision, 
  • and most importantly, both will feel heard, understood, and productive

Conclusion

Modern workplaces need effective communication, now more than ever.

With multiple avenues of communication - text, email, Slack, meetings, in-person interactions, and video conferencing - exceptional leaders know their communication style, strengths, challenges, and what to do about them. 

Understanding your Enneagram type is the fastest, easiest, and most comprehensive way to become the communicator who motivates their employees, delivers clear and productive feedback, increases effective collaboration, articulates goals, and creates a sense of community and connection at work.

Our communication strengths come so naturally to us that we can’t always appreciate what they do for us, what happens when we come to rely on them too heavily, and the negative effects of overdoing them.

Those same communication strengths, when not regulated or when we are unaware of their overuse, can become our greatest challenges. 

With detached, neutral awareness gained through our expert Enneagram coaching, we teach leaders how to observe and realize their strengths and challenges, and most importantly, know exactly what to do to make meaningful changes in their lives. 

When you are ready to become the communicator you and your organization need and deserve, reach out and start your journey with us. 

Want to know more about our Enneagram-based coaching? Book your free discovery call here: 

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