The Enneagram informs leaders in understanding how nine different personality types drive our differences, motivations, and capabilities within work teams. Employees in the Heart or Feelings Triad – styles 2, 3, and 4 – bring qualities like empathy, efficiency, and social intelligence to the workplace. These personality styles act from their heart center by showing compassion and emotion.
In part three of our four-part series on the Enneagram, I continued chatting with Chelsie Sargent, certified International Enneagram expert and E3’s own Enneagram Trainer – this time about the Heart Triad. Below are highlights from our conversation to help leaders better understand types 2, 3, and 4, maximize their strengths, and manage employees with these personality styles.
Listen to our episode of Thrive By Design: The Podcast this week for the full interview with Chelsie.
TYPE 2: THE HELPER
Chelsie: 2s are called the Helpers. They’re your leaders who are very empathetic. They are people-oriented, sensitive to the needs of others, and have a lot of feelings. People in the Heart Triad are those on the Enneagram whose feelings can often drive their decisions and actions. 2s need to be aware of this. They are charming, kind, and really want people to like them. If they don’t understand this about themselves or are in unhealthier levels of their number, they can become people pleasers who let others walk all over them. When I work with leaders who are 2s, I help them understand this about themselves and find ways they can be a little more directive, while also being kind, warm, and compassionate because those are qualities they are comfortable with.
Don: What’s the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy 2?
Chelsie: Healthy 2s use their warmth, empathy, and people skills to empower employees to be aware of the relationships within a team. They are very relational. When they are in the healthier parts of their personality, their team is going to have a strong, relational bond. When a 2 is not healthy, they are very focused on making sure the team likes them instead of concentrating on what the team needs to be successful.
Don: If a manager has a 2 on their team, what is the best way to support that team member to be successful?
Chelsie: Because 2s are relational, if you are a more technical or logical leader, you need to get in touch with the relational side of yourself. 2s respond best to warmth and compassion. For example, when you walk up to a 2’s desk, instead of jumping right into business and listing off everything you need from them, say, “Hi Christina, how was your weekend?” Talk with them for a few minutes about things outside of the office – consider asking them questions about their family or what they did over the weekend – and then start talking business. By doing so, you will meet the 2’s relational needs, allowing them to be more open to what you need from them.
TYPE 3: THE ACHIEVER
Chelsie: 3s are known as the Achievers. I like to think about them as the “American Dream.” 3s like to create an image of success – that’s very important to them. They do create this image through working hard, and they aim to do the best job possible. 3s value efficiency and effectiveness. They move fast. They want to get the job done as quickly and effectively as they can, so they can move on to the next task.
Don: I have heard that some 3s can put work ahead of family because they are so focused on achievement. Is that accurate?
Chelsie: 3s can be workaholics in their unhealthy levels. One of the big things I work with 3s on is how to practice self-care and have balance in their lives. When 3s are focused on producing results and moving up the corporate ladder within their company, or doing whatever they deem success as, that is where they get a lot of their self-esteem from. Other areas of their life may not come across as results-oriented, so they frequently put a lot more energy into their work environment.
3s are an interesting number because although they are part of the Heart Triad, a lot of 3s will tell you feelings are not efficient or effective. They don’t spend a lot of time on their feelings. 3s have a gift of being able to walk into a room, pick up on the emotions, and morph into what people need them to be. They are very likeable. 3s can really pick up on the energy of other people and give people what they need.
Don: How does a healthy 3 act versus an unhealthy 3?
Chelsie: Healthy 3s are going to know when they are shape-shifting too much or morphing into what they think the people need. They possess self-awareness, and they can hold their own when they’re in a room. This is a really powerful thing to watch because 3s are gifted at reading an audience. They know how to sell things well and tend to have a little bit of knowledge about a lot of different topics. When 3s are unhealthy, they just want to do whatever they need in the room to get you to like them or value them, so they can continue to move forward.
TYPE 4: THE INDIVIDUALIST
Don: Tell us about the 4s and their role in the workplace.
Chelsie: 4s are known as Individualists, Artists, or Romantics. They are not scared of feelings at all. Many 4s say they live in a place of constant melancholy, even in their healthy levels. When 4s are not healthy, they can really sit in their emotions and wallow in their darker feelings.
Healthy 4s in the workplace work well with others through understanding and connectedness. They can sense other people’s feelings. 4s bring a rich sense of authenticity to your team, and they love creating environments where people can express themselves authentically.
Don: If a manager has a 4 on their team, what’s the best way to interact with them?
Chelsie: 4s want to feel understood, so they don’t do well with small talk. This can be quite difficult for some managers, especially if they are an 8 or a 3, because those personality styles view feelings as ineffective or inefficient. 4s are drawn to connecting through emotions. When you’re interacting with a 4 on your team, you need to understand they’re not scared of feelings and they live in their emotions all the time. Let them talk, feel seen, and feel like they are understood. You have to take a relational approach and be authentic. A good place for a manager to start would be to practice being empathetic or validating, and just coming alongside the employee to have a shared experience.
- The Enneagram Heart Triad is composed of personality styles 2, 3, and 4. These types bring qualities like empathy and social intelligence to the workplace.
- Type 2s are people-oriented, kind, and sensitive to the needs of others. An unhealthy 2 can become a people pleaser who others walk all over, so it’s critical they learn how to be more a little more directive, while also being compassionate.
- 3s value efficiency and effectiveness, and they get the job done quickly. An unhealthy 3 can become a workaholic who is more concerned with their work than other aspects of their life. This personality style needs to incorporate self-care and balance into each day.
- 4s bring a rich sense of authenticity to the workplace, are not afraid of their emotions, and want to be understood by others. An unhealthy 4 spends a lot of time dwelling on their feelings. It’s important for this personality type to focus on their strengths of engaging with others through understanding and connectedness.
Heart Triad, The Enneagram Depot, TheEnneagramDepot.com.
Type 2 ~ The Giver, Dr. David Daniels, DrDavidDaniels.com.
Type 3 ~ The Achiever, Dr. David Daniels, DrDavidDaniels.com.
Type 4 ~ The Romantic, Dr. David Daniels, DrDavidDaniels.com.