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Leadership agility and the enneagram | part 1

Mary Bast – an Enneagram colleague who is herself a teacher, author, consultant and coach – asked if I had any blogs about the Enneagram and leadership agility. My answer to her was “Not yet,” but the connection seemed like a natural fit, so here is the first blog, based on Forbes Magazine’s concept of leadership agility.

From Forbes Magazine
“For companies to continue succeeding, next generation leaders must be able to handle any curve ball thrown their way. Leading through this new business environment requires the capability to sense and respond to changes in the business environment with actions that are focused, fast and flexible.”

Leadership development, or any development for that matter, can move along a horizontal or vertical access. Horizontal growth refers to new skills, new ways of doing things, while vertical development is about depth of growth and transformation, both psychologically and spiritually. This first blog focuses on leadership agility from a horizontal perspective, while the next blog takes the vertical perspective.

Horizontal leadership agility
Below is a description of the 9 different styles of leadership, one for leaders of each Enneagram type, followed by how this leadership style, while of great value, can have unintended consequences and become a leadership derailer. This is followed by one development action for leaders of each type that will help them become agile, or in the Forbes sense, focused, fast and flexible.

ONE LEADERS
View of leadership | My job is to set clear goals and inspire others to achieve the highest quality.
One leaders’ greatest strength can become their greatest weakness when in their diligent striving for the highest quality and perfection, they exhaust themselves to the point of illness and cause others to feel inadequate, criticized, or micro-managed.
Development action | Replace being right with being effective
Every time you feel deeply critical of someone else, have a strongly held opinion, or believe in the rightness of a specific course of action, challenge yourself with this question: Would I rather be right or effective?
How this development action supports leadership agility | flexible
One leaders can get stuck with needing to do the right thing as they perceive it that they can limit their choices, becoming inflexible and even rigid when being more flexible would allow them to understand that they have more choices available.

TWO LEADERS
View of leadership | My job is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of team members and to then motivate and facilitate people toward the achievement of our organizational goals.
Two leaders’ greatest strength becomes their greatest weakness when in their dedicated efforts to give to everyone else, they lose touch with their own needs to the point of self-neglect, create dependency in others, and end up leaving the ones they most want to help.
Development action | Help the organization become less dependent on you
Empower others to do their jobs, make their own decisions, and think through difficult issues without coming to you for advice, ideas, support and confirmation.
How this development action supports leadership agility | fast
When employees become dependent on the leader for support and guidance, decision-making is slowed down, execution can take longer, and reliance on one another (peers) to address issues quickly can be impaired.

THREE LEADERS
View of leadership | My job is to create an environment that achieves results because people understand the organization’s goals and structure.
Three leaders’ greatest strength becomes their greatest weakness when in the relentless pursuit of accomplishment and success, they can focus on a task at the expense of deeper human issues, including both their own feelings and those of people around them.
Development action | Pay more attention to the impact of your behavior on other people
Your dual focus on goal achievement and efficiency can have the effect of minimizing the human side of work. Conduct a human impact analysis each time you make a decision and take the results very seriously.
How this development action supports leadership agility | focused
Although Three leaders are very focused on results and deliverables, they can be overly focused on the task and under-focused on the human element – individuals and teams – those are the ones who get the tasks accomplished.

FOUR LEADERS
View of leadership | My job is to create organizations that give people meaning and purpose so that they are inspired to do excellent work.
Four leaders’ greatest strength becomes their greatest weakness when in the unending quest for meaning and connection, they become encumbered by interior mood swings, leaving those around them to focus primarily on the leader instead of the work.
Development action | Turn down your intensity
In both what you say and how you say it, cut your intensity level in half. Let conversations end before you want them to do so, don’t feel a need to constantly hold the other person’s attention, and learn to express yourself in less dramatic ways.
How this development action supports leadership agility | focused
For Four leaders, the focus can be, at times, them and their expression of feeling, when the focus needs to be more on the work and the people who accomplish it.

FIVE LEADERS
View of leadership | My job is to create an effective organization through research, deliberation, and planning, so that all systems fit together and people are working on a common mission.
Five leaders’ greatest strength becomes their greatest weakness when in their predisposition to be self-contained and their unending thirst for structured and complete understanding, they run the risk of deliberating too long and not taking action fast enough.
Development action | Stop strategizing and start acting
Thinking is not the same as doing and strategizing is not the same as taking action. Err on the side of action and if you’re not sure what to do, seek the counsel of others whom you respect, but make sure you move to action quickly.
How this development action supports leadership agility | fast
In the age of fast cycle time and increasing complexity, it is near impossible for leaders to know everything before they act.

SIX LEADERS
View of leadership | My job is to solve organizational problems by developing a creative problem-solving environment in which each person feels that he or she is part of the solution.
Six leaders’ greatest strength becomes their greatest weakness when in their tendency to doubt what might happen next or to move forward too quickly with too much certainty, they create a work climate of too little action too late or too much action too soon.
Development action | Learn to manage your anxiety
Manage your anxiety by learning its early warning signs and then de-escalating it (by walking, talking, or whatever works well for you) rather than fueling it with worst-case scenario development. Remember that fretting is not problem solving and taking fast action does not prove there is no uncertainty.
How this development action supports leadership agility | fast
With a fast or slow or fast and slow rhythm of action, Six leaders need to learn how to calibrate their forward movement (or lack of forward movement) by examining but not dwelling on their underlying anxiety.

SEVEN LEADERS
View of leadership | My job is to get people excited and to create innovative ventures so that the organization can take advantage of new and important business opportunities.
With Seven leaders’ great strength in being highly creative and their ability to pursue multiple options, they can move fast in so many directions that their followers may become exhausted, unfocused, and frustrated.
Development action | Follow-through on every task you start, and don’t start a task that you do not complete
How this development action supports leadership agility | focused
The biggest developmental challenge for Sevens, in all aspects of their lives, including leadership, is to maintain their focus and not be easily distracted by that which is new and interesting.

EIGHT LEADERS
View of leadership | My job is to move the organization forward by leading decisively, getting capable and reliable people into the right jobs, and empowering competent people to take action.
Their greatest strength becomes their greatest weakness when, with their strategic ability, authoritative leadership, and belief that they can trust their instincts above all else, Eight leaders can create intimidating, underperforming work environments that move to big action too quickly without considering alternatives paths.
Development action | Consider opposing points of view
Ask yourself every day: Who and what am I not listening to?
How this development action supports leadership agility | flexible
While Eight leaders are strong and forward moving, their immediate and big action is most often based on a trust of their own body-based instinctual responses. Learning that their “truth” is not the only truth adds possibility and flexibility to their leadership.

NINE LEADERS
View of leadership | My job is to help achieve the collective mission by creating a clearly structured and harmonious work environment.
Nine leaders’ greatest strength becomes their greatest weakness when in the effort to foster collaboration, provide clear structure, and stay on top of operational details, they create organizations that avoid conflict, do not respond quickly enough, and have insufficient work delegation.
Development action | Move things off your desk
Make sure you are not an organizational bottleneck by delegating more, moving administrative items quickly from your desk, and spending a specified amount of dedicated time each day for paperwork.
How this development action supports leadership agility | fast
Nines tend to put things off or procrastinate, and this is also true of them in leadership. When they procrastinate, they may shift from what is essential to be decided or done to something more comfortable for them. Or they may take their time and do too much themselves rather than delegate in an effort to not ask too much of others.

Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of four best-selling Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs for professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications, and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit her website: The Enneagram in Business.com. ginger@theenneagraminbusiness.com

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Marg Online
5 years ago

The roles and responsibilities of leaders vary from them handling it single or with other leaders. But all that matters is their commitment and motivation towards their work. Thanks for sharing!!
http://www.margonline.com/marg-corporate/language-training/ | http://www.margonline.com/marg-corporate/managerial/

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