The Benefits of Understanding Your Enneagram
Your Enneagram personality type can tell you a lot about the challenges and strengths you’ll experience as a church leader. If you haven’t already taken the test to determine which of the nine personality types fits you, you can find the test online.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Enneagram system, it was first created in the 1910s by philosopher and teacher George Gurdjieff. The system was later expanded upon in the 1960s by Oscar Ichazo, founder of the Arica School. While not constrained to Christianity, the Enneagram is often used by church leaders and in Christian-based counseling. Here’s why it’s worth knowing your Enneagram type.
The 9 Types of Enneagram Personalities
When you take the Enneagram test, you’ll find that there are no right or wrong answers. You may also agree with more than one answer, but you have to choose the one that you feel applies the most to you. Countless tests exist, but The Enneagram Institute is considered to be one of the most complete, with 114 paired statements in the test, which takes about 40 minutes to complete in full.
At the end of your test, you’ll get your results, which won’t be conclusive. Most people get three top matches, with one match representing the major characteristics of their personality and the two secondary types being semi-matches. The nine personality types include:
- The Reformer
- The Helper
- The Achiever
- The Individualist
- The Investigator
- The Loyalist
- The Enthusiast
- The Challenger
- The Peacemaker
There are no “right” or “wrong” answers or any personality type that’s better than the others. These types simply exist to help one understand their strengths and the challenges they may face in various circumstances. As such, there’s a huge benefit to understanding your Enneagram type.
How Can Knowing Your Enneagram Help You?
The benefits of understanding your Enneagram are varied, but when we talk about these benefits, remember that understanding is the keyword. Simply knowing that you’re a “Type 8” or a “Type 3” isn’t going to help you unless you work to understand what the traits, characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses are that accompany that type.
As you seek to understand your Enneagram, you’ll begin to realize the following benefits.
Focus on Your Emotional and Spiritual Health
Your Enneagram type will detail the negative traits you may fall victim to, some of which you may already possess. This isn’t to say that you’re always going to have these weaknesses or negative characteristics — it’s to point out where you can seek improvement.
For instance, a Type 1 is often called “The Perfectionist” because, while they’re principled, disciplined, and highly motivated, they can also hold themselves back by putting too much time into making something perfect. They often need to work on accepting when things are “good enough” instead of spending all of their time and energy striving for a state of perfection that’s often unattainable.
Understanding your Enneagram will help you find similar traits within yourself that can help identify areas you can improve in. In turn, this can do wonders for your spiritual and emotional health.
For example, a Type 7, or “The Enthusiast” is quick to jump onto new ideas, but is often onto the next thing before they master a particular skill or finish a given project. If that’s you, it means you need to work on patience and realizing when something needs more time, without losing interest in it. A Type 7 who understands their Enneagram will become better at achieving long-term goals. They also improve their emotional health because they gain insight into why they don’t always finish what they started. They can also learn why they may become discouraged if something interferes with an activity’s current completion.
Fill In The Gaps with Others’ Strengths
One thing that knowing your Enneagram can do for you is help you identify the areas where you may not be so great. As a leader, recognizing that you need to delegate certain things and take advantage of the strengths of others is key to your success. Understanding your Enneagram can help by pointing out the specific areas you may find challenging.
Going back to the previous examples, a Type 1 may want to hand off the final stages of a project to someone who won’t try to “perfect” every little detail. It will save them time and stress, while they can still have input even though they won’t be stressing over how every tiny task gets completed.
Meanwhile, a Type 7 may find breaking long-term goals up into many short-term goals beneficial. This will help them maintain their focus and motivation as time goes on. Accomplishing many small goals will help them stay engaged. It also reminds them that they are on track. Better yet, it helps them keep from losing patience or interest when something takes time to finish. Bringing someone on board who can manage the long-term goals and keep things in perspective would be helpful.
Recognizing the areas where you need improvement is vital. It enables you to bring in someone else who does excel in that area. This is the key to powerful, impactful leadership. When you acknowledge that you work better together than independently, you can harness the strength of your church’s collective gifts. This equates to excelling in every area.
Never Stop Learning and Improving
As a leader and as an individual, investing time and energy into learning about yourself is imperative. This is true for improving your skills and strengths as well. Learning isn’t something that should stop when you reach your adult years. Everyone always has room to improve, and your Enneagram may help you see that.
If you’ve just learned about Enneagram or if you feel like you could use some insight, consider reaching out to a Christian counselor. They tend to be very familiar with the different Enneagrams, and they can help you understand what it means for you and how to overcome the weak traits associated with yours. Through this process, you will grow stronger and better.
Unlock Your Strengths Through Coaching
Here at DonorWERX, we base everything around our donor-centric framework. In our coaching, we help church leaders like you every day embrace that framework while also realizing their own strengths. We believe churches can do the most for their communities if they make use of all the gifts around them, and that’s why our coaching will walk you through leading with the help of others.
Interested in learning more about how to unlock your Enneagram type through hands-on coaching? Schedule a Discovery Call today.