Home | Blog | Leadership agility and the enneagram | part 2

Leadership agility and the enneagram | part 2

Mary Bast was the inspiration for my blogs on leadership agility, both this 2nd blog as well as the prior blog. Here I am using Mary’s ideas to illuminate how to use the Enneagram to increases leadership agility through vertical development, going deeper spiritually and psychologically.

“The quality of leadership required in a rapidly changing global environment, being comfortable with emergence and experimentations, what Senge and Scharmer et al. refer to as ‘presencing,’ relying less on competency and past experience and more on a strategic, visionary perspective and innovative thinking, not being bound to the old rules. Not a competency but a trust in the possible.” ~ Mary Bast, Enneagram teacher, author, coach and consultant

In the descriptions that follow, you can read the leadership styles or paradigms of leaders of each type, how these paradigms lead to their leadership derailers, and then the psychological and spiritual work with the Enneagram that leads to their transformation, taking them out of their habitual way of being and into the NOW, where they are more fully present to what actually emerges and what is needed from them as leaders. The psychological and spiritual are fundamentally connected and deeply intertwined in vertical transformation.

View of leadership | My job is to set clear goals and inspire others to achieve the highest quality.
Leadership derailers | reactivity, defensiveness, micromanaging, controlling, judgmentalness
Psychological growth areas
Become accepting, calm, and serene rather than trying to make everything perfect.
Let go of being overly attentive to details and needing to have everything under control.
Become more flexible and relaxed and less judgmental and reactive.
Connection to spiritual transformation
Mental transformation | moving from resentment – paying attention to flaws so nothing is ever good enough – to perfection, the insight that everything is exactly as it should be and that even imperfection is perfect in its own way
Emotional transformation | moving from anger based on chronic dissatisfaction with how things are to serenity, the openhearted acceptance of all that occurs

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.
Leadership derailers | acquiescing to other people, overemphasizing people and relationships, not taking care of themselves or their own needs, becoming overly angry when feeling unappreciated or when others are mistreated
Psychological growth areas
Acknowledge that you have needs and desires; focus more on taking care of yourself and less on catering to the needs of others.
Find an internal basis for your self-esteem rather than making your self-worth dependent on the reactions of others.
Integrate and balance your need for dependence and autonomy in both your personal and professional relationships.
Connection to spiritual transformation
Mental transformation | moving from flattery – gaining acceptance through giving compliments or other forms of attention to others – to free will, the insight that acknowledging yourself and your own needs leads to autonomy and freedom
Emotional transformation | moving from pride based on and inflated or deflated self-importance derived from doing for and being needed by others to humility, being self-accepting and feeling valued without either self-inflation, self-deflation, or deference to the opinions of others

View of leadership | My job is to create an environment that achieves results because people understand the organization’s goals and structure.
Leadership derailers | limited time for human relationships, impatient with own and other people’s feelings, believe that their persona of success and achievement is their real or true self
Psychological growth areas
Deeply explore own thoughts, feelings, and experiences in order to become more genuine.
Go more with the flow of events and experiences and be less driven to try to make things happen.
Learn the difference between doing and being and appreciate yourself for who you are rather than for what you do.
Connection to spiritual transformation
Mental transformation | moving from vanity – the strategic thinking about how to create and manifest an idealized image based on being or appearing to be successful – to hope, the faith that you can be valued and appreciated for who you are rather than what you do or accomplish
Emotional transformation | moving from deceit based on the feeling that you must do everything possible to appear successful, hiding parts of yourself that do not conform to that image, and believing that image is the real you to truthfulness, finding true self-acceptance through acknowledging both your successes and failures and realizing that your image is not your essence or your true self

View of leadership | My job is to create organizations that give people meaning and purpose so that they are inspired to do excellent work.
Leadership derailers | overly intense, difficulty accepting criticism, withdraw and/or become aggressive, absorbed with own feelings
Psychological growth areas
Integrate objectivity with emotionality to find equilibrium between your heart and mind.
Find a deep sense of your intrinsic self-worth without comparing yourself to others.
Focus simultaneously and equally on yourself and other people.
Connection to spiritual transformation
Mental transformation | moving from melancholy – thinking continually about what is missing, with accompanying thoughts of being disconnected or separated from others – to original source, the insight that nothing is missing and that everything and everyone is deeply connected because we all emanate from the same source
Emotional transformation | moving from envy based on consciously or unconsciously comparing yourself repeatedly to others in large and small ways, with accompanying feelings of superiority or deficiency to balance, the experiencing of emotions in such a clear and centered way that thoughts, feelings and actions emanate from your true inner self

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.
Leadership derailers | continuously emotionally detached, overly independent and autonomous, don’t share information readily, need to know everything before taking action
Psychological growth areas
Engage emotionally in real time rather than automatically disengaging from your emotional responses.
Share more of yourself with others, including your thoughts, feelings, and personal experiences.
Become a central part of events, interpersonal interactions and organizations, rather than staying on the periphery.
Connection to spiritual transformation
Mental transformation | moving from stinginess – a scarcity paradigm that leads to an insatiable thirst for knowing and a reluctance to share and to strategizing about how to control your environment – to omniscience, the insight that only through direct personal experience can you truly know anything
Emotional transformation | moving from avarice based on the intense desire to guard everything related to yourself combined with the automatic detachment from feelings to non-attachment, the first-hand experience that detachment is not the same as non-attachment and that you must fully engage and become attached to something or someone before you can truly be non-attached (appreciating something without coveting or trying to possess it)

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.
Leadership derailers | worrying and wary, overly compliant or defiant, project own thoughts and feelings onto other people and situations, immobilized from taking action due to doubt or take action too quickly to show strength in the face of fear
Psychological growth areas
Learn to differentiate between an insight and a projection, something based on your imagination.
Trust your own inner authority rather than looking outside yourself for meaning and certainty.
Recognize that shows of strength are covers for your unexplored anxiety.
Connection to spiritual transformation
Mental transformation | moving from cowardice – thoughts of doubt and worry that cause you to continually create anticipatory or worst-case scenarios – to faith, the belief that both you and others can capably meet life’s challenges and that there is some certainty and meaning in the world
Emotional transformation | moving from fear, feelings of anxiety, deep concern and even panic that the worst will occur, that others cannot be trusted, and you are not up to the challenges that present themselves to courage, feeling of being able to overcome fear through fully conscious action, rather than turning to inaction or to action design to prove you have no fear

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.
Leadership derailers | impulsive, rebellious, unfocused, avoidant of pain and discomfort, dislike routine or anything non-stimulating
Psychological growth areas
Learn to focus mentally, emotionally and physically at will for extended periods of time.
Explore your own feelings more deeply so that you can feel sustained, genuine, and consistent empathy for others.
Accept and integrate the reality of pain and discomfort along with pleasure.
Connection to spiritual transformation
Mental transformation | moving from planning – the mental process by which your mind goes into hyper-gear, moving in rapid succession from one thing to another – to work, the ability to direct the focus on your mental attention to the work at hand and to control and sustain that focus
Emotional transformation | moving from gluttony based on the insatiable and unrelenting thirst for new stimulation of all kinds to sobriety, the feeling of being full and complete that comes from pursuing and integrating painful and uncomfortable experiences as well as pleasurable and stimulating ones

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.
Leadership derailers | demanding, controlling, immediate big action oriented, disdain perceived weakness in others, over-extend to exhaustion
Psychological growth areas
Be more forthright about your own vulnerabilities to yourself and to others.
Allow others to exercise more autonomy and control.
Be more receptive and responsive to input from others rather than moving to immediate, unilateral action.
Connection to spiritual transformation
Mental transformation | moving from vengeance – the process of rebalancing wrongs through thoughts of anger, blame or intimidation – to truth, the ability to seek out and integrate multiple points of view to search of a higher or bigger truth
Emotional transformation | moving from lust based on excessiveness in a variety of forms – for example, work, food, pleasure – as a way of avoiding and denying your own feelings and vulnerabilities to innocence, finding true self-acceptance through acknowledging both your successes and failures and realizing that your image is not your essence or your true self

View of leadership | My job is to help achieve the collective mission by creating a clearly structured and harmonious work environment.
Leadership derailers | conflict avoidant, nonassertive, indecisive, puts things off when stressed or pressured, difficulty prioritizing
Psychological growth areas
Express your thoughts, needs, and preferences even when these oppose the wishes of others.
Explore your own anger and displeasure and become more active and assertive.
Embrace conflict in which you are directly involved, understanding that resolving differences actually brings people together.
Connection to spiritual transformation
Mental transformation | moving from indolence – the process of mentally diffusing your attention so that you forget what is important to you and also refrain from stating your opinions and positions, thereby minimizing your conflict with others – to love, the belief that there is an underlying universal harmony in the world based on unconditional regard and appreciation for one another
Emotional transformation | moving from laziness based on a lethargy in paying attention to your own feelings and needs, thus disabling you from taking the action you most desire to right action, the state of feeling fully present to yourself and others so you know exactly what action you must take

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

0 0 votes
Article Rating
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
7 years ago

Thanks, Ginger, for clarifying each Enneagram style’s potential for leadership agility. In your first blog post you mentioned the Forbes article that defines the key components of leadership agility as being “focused, fast and flexible.” A client just referred me to this article by Nick Horney, et al., which has a table of three key leadership agility skills in each of those categories — a good guideline for leaders, consultants, and coaches:  http://agilityconsulting.com/resources/Agility%20Leader/Leadership%20Agility%20HRPS%20Reprint%20Revised.pdf The acronym VUCA in the title, “Leadership Agility: A Business Imperative for a VUCA World,” refers to the qualities of our global environment that require agility: Volatility… Read more »