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Enneagram personality types explained: What are enneagram types and how to use them to your benefit?

Bijgewerkt op: 5 feb.


In my life, I had several opportunity's to do enneagram tests for me and my coworkers or students. This helped me to understand how I operate and why I do so. This also counts for my coworkers. Now I understand why some people do stuff they do and other people do stuff differently. It helped me and my team to understand our unique personalities, motivations, strengths, and weaknesses. This is a very powerful tool for personal growth and understanding ourselves and others better.

The enneagram system provides us with general knowledge about personality development, as well as specific knowledge about nine different personality types, also known as the “enneatypes” or “Enneagrams”. Each type reflects a certain set of personality traits, motivations, values, and behaviors that are associated with that type. By understanding our type and those of others, we can better manage our relationships and create better connections with people from all walks of life.

Enneagram personality types explained


Quick Summary:

The author reflects on their experiences with enneagram tests, emphasizing the value of understanding one's personality and that of others for personal growth and teamwork. The enneagram is explained as a nine-pointed figure representing personality types, each with distinct traits. The nine enneagram personality types explained are Reformer, Helper, Achiever, Individualist, Investigator, Loyalist, Enthusiast, Challenger, and Peacemaker. The text further explores communication styles for each type, potential pitfalls, and encourages readers to take an Enneagram-type test for self-discovery. The emphasis is on recognizing individual uniqueness and using the enneagram as a tool for better relationships and personal development.


Enneagram personality types explained

Enneagram Type 1,

Also known as the Reformer is known for its strong sense of right and wrong, and its desire to improve the world. They are often perfectionists and strive for excellence in all areas of their lives. They are also highly independent and self-reliant and often have a strong sense of personal integrity.

They often have a management role in a company and follow rules precisely. They know what their roles and responsibilities are and also of their coworkers/ employees.

Reformer personalities are Rational, Idealistic, Principled, and Purposeful, with strong Self-Control and Perfectionistic tendencies.

They are well-suited to understanding the complexities of information and working to achieve a goal. They value personal development and teamwork.

Enneagram Type 2,

Also known as the Helper is known for its strong desire to help others and be of service. They are often very empathetic and caring and have a strong sense of loyalty and commitment to those they care about. They are also highly sensitive and often put the needs of others before their own.

They are often found in jobs where care for others is required. Those are the people who come over to your place and always bring something, a gift, flowers, or whatever. They hardly come emptyhanded. They are very love-giving. Be aware that you give love back to them.

Helpers are Caring, interpersonally oriented, Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive individuals.

They have a natural knack for connecting with others and offering assistance and empathy. They are valuable assets in any team because they bring warmth, reliability, and understanding.

Enneagram Type 3,

Also known as the Achiever is known for its ambition and drive to succeed. They are often highly motivated and goal-oriented and have a strong desire to be seen as successful and accomplished. They are also highly adaptable and can quickly adjust to changing circumstances.

They are natural leaders and often are managers or entrepreneurs. They know what their goal is and are working to achieve that goal. Even if they need to cut some corners here and there.

Achievers are Success-Oriented, Pragmatic, Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious personalities.

They are driven to accomplish difficult tasks and they relish the feeling of success that comes with achieving their goals. They appreciate order, structure, and recognition from others.

Enneagram Type 4,

Also known as the Individualist is known for its strong sense of individuality and creativity. They are often highly sensitive and emotional and have a strong need to express themselves and be understood. They are also highly introspective and often have a deep understanding of their own emotions and motivations.

They can't hide their emotions. when they don't like something you can read it in their face.

Individualists are Sensitive, Withdrawn, Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental people.

They are fiercely independent and prefer to rely on themselves for solutions. They value general knowledge about personality development as well as knowledge about enneagram types.

Enneagram Type 5,

Also known as the Investigator is known for its strong need for knowledge and understanding. They are often highly analytical and have a strong desire to learn and explore new ideas. They are also highly independent and often prefer to work alone, and have a strong need for privacy and personal space.

Those are the people at work who work silently behind the computer and hardly talk to anyone.

Investigators are Intense, Cerebral, Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated individuals.

They are extremely logical thinkers who enjoy examining complex information to draw logical conclusions. They like working alone to achieve personal goals.

Enneagram Type 6,

Also known as the Loyalists is known for its strong sense of loyalty and commitment. They are often highly responsible and reliable and have a strong need for security and stability. They are also highly analytical and often have a strong need to plan and prepare for the future.

They often know the risks and threads of a subject, even before the meeting has started.

Loyalists are Committed, Security-Oriented, Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious individuals.

They prioritize security and stability in their lives and enjoy working in teams or close relationships. They can be very supportive of those around them.

Enneagram Type 7,

Also known as the Enthusiast is known for its strong sense of optimism and enthusiasm. They are often highly energetic and adventurous and have a strong desire to experience new things. They are also highly independent and often prefer to work alone, and have a strong need for freedom and autonomy.

They tend to find everything new interesting but quit when it gets boring.

Enthusiasts are Busy, Fun-Loving, Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, and Scattered personalities.

They are highly social and enjoy interacting with others. They may take on multiple projects at once without seeing them through to completion.

Enneagram Type 8,

Also known as the Challenger is known for its strong sense of justice and fairness. They are often highly assertive and have a strong need to protect and defend those they care about. They are also highly independent and often prefer to work alone, and have a strong need for control and power.

Challengers are Powerful, Dominating, Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational personalities.

They are natural leaders who strive for excellence in everything they do. They can be demanding at times but their determination is inspiring to those around them.

Enneagram Type 9,

Also known as the Peacemaker is known for its strong sense of peace and harmony. They are often highly empathetic and have a strong desire to maintain relationships and keep the peace. They are also highly adaptable and often have a strong need to go with the flow and avoid conflict.

Peacemaker: The Easygoing, Self-effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent.

They have the tendency tend to minimize their feelings to avoid conflict. Avoidance behaviors when they find situations upsetting. Find themselves being passive-aggressive rather than facing their problems head-on.

What type am I?

Not sure what type you are, perhaps the following table can help you.

enneagram type table

For example, if you are very assertive and you are very instinctive in choosing your actions then you're probably a type 8.

Or, if you are very dutiful and choose your actions using your heart, then you're probably a type 2.

Enneagram and communication styles.

How do you recognize the different Enneatypes in their speaking style and communication? What's characteristic? How can you ensure effective communication? How can you effectively communicate with the other?

Type 1: Reformer

Communicates: deliberate, rational, demanding, meticulous, not wasting time,

improving, judgmental.

Tip for effective communication: Realize that you can come across as stern and formal.

Smile more and lighten up a bit.

How can you connect with a type 1 in your communication: Be polite, reliable and


Type 2: The Helper

Communicates: consultative, flattering, attuned to others, warm, accommodating, holds everything spinning.

Tip for effective communication: Be a director and express yourself more without inner censorship.

How can you connect with a type 2 in your communication: Be professional, show

appreciation, and interest, and tune in.

Type 3: Performer

Communicates: recruiting, inspiring, positive, competitive, taking action, impatient, practices express.

Tip for effective communication: Take more time to listen to the other person and talk less rapidly.

How can you connect with a type 3 in your communication: Keep conversations to the core, go for its success, and be efficient.

Type 4: Individualist

Communicates: passionate, involved, intuitive, attentive to emotions, wistful, dramatizing.

Tip for effective communication: Let go of your inner focus and check regularly to others whether they understand you.

How can you connect with a type 4 in your communication: Be involved, be respectful of their feelings, and listen.

Type 5: Investigator

Communicates: rational, analytical, logical, collects data, impartial, investigates

explaining the consequences of alternatives.

Tip for effective communication: Try to be less distant and enter to contact.

How can you connect with a type 5 in your communication: Provide facts and preparation time, and respect privacy and distance.

Type 6: loyalist

Communicates: maps all risks and makes the problem common, contact-oriented, stable, caring, and eye for the other.

Tip for effective communication: Use the word 'and' more instead of 'yes but'.

How can you connect with a type 6 in your communication: Build trust, be clear,

keep your word, and give context.

Type 7: Enthusiast

Communicates: innovative, free, indulgent, light-hearted, brainstorm about solutions.

Tip for effective communication: Be more open to the needs of others, and go less of yourself.

How can you connect with a type 7 in your communication: Offer options and freedom, be flexible and positive; use humor and laughter.

Type 8: Challenger

Communicates: direct, directing, confident, challenging, mobilizes people.

Tip for effective communication: Keep your judgment to yourself more often and listen openly

How can you connect with a type 8 in your communication: Say what you want, and be clear, assertive, and straightforward.

Type 9: Peacemaker

Communicates: collects opinions, smooths things over, works according to the agreement, connects opposing views, monotonous, elaborate.

Tip for effective communication: Also dare to express your dissatisfaction and your doubts, be more yourself.

How can you connect with a type 9 in your communication: Be calm and predictable, move

don't pressure him, ask his opinion and ask questions.

Pitfalls of the enneagram types

A pitfall is a character trait that is an overshot form of a core quality

and is also called deformation. You can also interpret it as 'too much of a good thing'

of core quality. In stressful situations, when someone is put under pressure, the

natural reaction of a person is to use his core qualities more, with the risk of

shooting into the trap.

Type 1, Reformer: overly critical, normative, aloof, fussy, dogmatic, obsessed, demanding, rigid.

Type 2, Helper: indirect, self-sacrificing, manipulative, circumspect, pushy,

soothing, hypersensitive, and difficult to receive.

Type 3, Performer. shortsighted, compulsive, selfish, opportunistic, vain, arrogant, superficial, and irritable.

Type 4, individualist: navel-gazing, focusing on differences instead of similarities, melancholy, dramatic, lost in themselves, jealous.

Type 5, Investigator: aloof, solitary, socially awkward, intellectual superior, closed, critical and arrogant, unwilling to share information, avoid commitment.

Type 6, loyalist: doubter, 'yes but', suspicious, fearful, complaining, cynical, accusatory.

Type 7, Enthusiast: impulsive, restless, capricious, selfish, rebellious, chaotic, irresponsible, runs away from problems.

Type 8, Challenger: provocative, confrontational, aggressive, selfish, dominant,

blaming, judgmental, disqualifying, insensitive, doesn't listen.

Type 9, Peacemaker: hesitant, procrastinating, easily distracted, stubborn, careless, lazy, passive, indecisive, and slow.

Enneagram types are a powerful tool for understanding yourself and others. Knowing your type can help you better understand your motivations, strengths, and weaknesses, and can help you develop more meaningful relationships with those around you.

I didn't find my type, now what?

I told you something about the basic types in the previous chapter. It is possible that you don't find your type or that several types comply with your personality. That's ok. You need to understand that everybody is unique. It will help if you see it this way. Every number in the star has a lightbulb. Some lightbulbs just shine brighter than others. There is just one dominant personality and by knowing your type, you'll have the benefit.

To learn more about your enneagram type you can do an enneagram type test.


1. What is the Enneagram, and how does it relate to personality typing?

  • The Enneagram is a nine-pointed figure used in a system of personality typing. It categorizes individuals into nine distinct personality types, known as "enneatypes" or "Enneagrams." Each type reflects specific traits, motivations, values, and behaviors associated with that personality.

2. How can the Enneagram be useful for personal growth and understanding others?

  • The Enneagram provides insights into unique personalities, motivations, strengths, and weaknesses. Understanding one's Enneagram type and those of others fosters better self-awareness, team dynamics, and relationships, contributing to personal growth and improved interactions.

3. What are the nine Enneagram types and their characteristics?

  • The nine Enneagram types are Reformer, Helper, Achiever, Individualist, Investigator, Loyalist, Enthusiast, Challenger, and Peacemaker. Each type has distinct traits and tendencies, influencing how individuals approach life, work, and relationships.

4. How can I determine my Enneagram type?

  • The text suggests looking at specific characteristics and behaviors associated with each type. Additionally, it recommends taking an Enneagram-type test to gain a better understanding of one's dominant personality traits.

5. What are some communication styles associated with each Enneagram type?

  • The text provides communication tips for each type, highlighting how individuals of each Enneagram type tend to express themselves. For example, a Type 1 (Reformer) may communicate as deliberate and rational, while a Type 7 (Enthusiast) may communicate as innovative and indulgent.

6. What are the potential pitfalls or challenges associated with each Enneagram type?

  • The text outlines potential pitfalls, describing them as overshot forms of core qualities. For instance, a Type 2 (Helper) might become indirect or self-sacrificing under stress. Understanding these pitfalls can help individuals navigate challenges associated with their Enneagram type.

7. What if I don't find my Enneagram type or identify with multiple types?

  • The text assures readers that it's okay not to find a perfect match and emphasizes individual uniqueness. It suggests that everyone is unique, and even if several types seem to align, there is likely one dominant personality type.

8. How can the Enneagram be a powerful tool for personal development and relationships?

  • The Enneagram serves as a powerful tool by offering insights into motivations, strengths, and weaknesses. Understanding one's Enneagram type facilitates personal growth and helps build more meaningful relationships by recognizing and appreciating individual differences.

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