The Inuksuk in Canada can represent leadership, cooperation, human spirit, or be a guidepost of a special symbolic location. This month, let’s explore some daily routines or practices that help us be more whole as leaders, embodying the different layers of leadership. For some,”more” whole can mean more balanced; for others, it means showing up a little more fully.
As a Social Eight, my (Catherine Bell’s) energy has a natural outward flow, and through knowing the Enneagram, I can, on occasion, catch myself in the act of being too aggressive, having feelings of rejection, or pulling away to think things through. A number of weeks ago, I started the Presence Process by Michael Brown. One of the processes is two 15-minute meditations where the breath is synchronized with saying, I am here in this. Since starting the process, I have been deeper in my body and, as a result, more real to who I am. I asked Dick Schulte, an EIBN (Enneagram in Business Network) Associate Member and coach about the processes or practices he uses in coaching and in his work with teams to allow authenticity and transformation to bubble up and bubble down.
Here’s what Dick said:
“Much of the work I do with leaders to catalyze authenticity and transformation centers on assisting them in understanding how their behaviors impact others in the workplace. The Enneagram is the perfect place to begin because it creates a platform for clarity around self and behaviors that can hinder performance, which can lead to a genuine desire to improve as a leader. The question for the leader(s) then becomes, what does authenticity look like for me? And, how can I show up with my best self at work so I can be more effective? We then focus them on shifting out of non-productive or ‘being right’ behaviors they may be engaged in at times to authentic ones. Such as:
Being Right Behaviors Authentic Behaviors
Blaming and complaining to… Taking 100% responsibility for themselves
Concealing to… Candor and revealing
Notoriety to… Appreciation and gratitude
Defensiveness and withdrawal to… Courageous collaboration
Comparison and power to… Acceptance and empowerment
Being smart or clever to… Seeking knowledge and wisdom
Resentment and vengeance to… Forgiveness and setting boundaries
From a practice perspective, we ask leaders to then employ a mantra that fits for their particular behavior(s) when they catch themselves (or get caught!) in ‘being right:’ These mantras can sound something like this:
I am grounded and resilient.
I get the job done.
I am an enthusiastic motivator.
I am patient with others and myself.
I appreciate others’ gifts and perspectives.
I take myself lightly.
I trust others to take care of themselves.
I nurture myself.
I choose to collaborate.
I choose to be curious and open.
For leaders, recognizing what authenticity looks like for them, committing to making a positive shift over time and employing a mantra to support their work IS the act of transformation. It begins the process of becoming more human and more effective in their leadership roles.”
What practices and processes would you recommend to individuals of the three different instincts (Head, Heart, and Body)?
What would you recommend as different leadership practices to different Enneagram Types?
What different layers of leadership do you witness in yourself?
To get you started on practices for each Center of Intelligence (based on the three instincts), you can read about and, hopefully, practice some of these ideas, all of which involve accessing more of a center that is not your “home base.“
Head Center Styles | Five, Six, and Seven
Access your Heart Center
Because all three of the Head Center Enneagram styles overwork their mental function (Head Center), trying to use their Head Centers to increase their ability for leadership, cooperation, and increasing the energy of the human spirit is not necessarily going to lead them in this direction. Another way of saying this is that the Head Center is not the starting point for them.
Instead, use your breath to fill your Heart Center with spaciousness and energy by simply breathing fully into your heart chamber, filling it completely and expanding it, holding your breath there for five seconds, and then gradually exhaling. Do fiveheart-breath inhales five times per day. This is best done when you are sitting or standing rather than walking or moving around. Repeat this practice daily.
Heart Center Styles | Two, Three, and Four
Access your Body Center
Because all three of the Heart Center Enneagram styles tend to use their heart function (Heart Center) in limited ways, trying to use their Heart Centers to increase their ability for leadership, cooperation, and increasing the energy of the human spirit is not necessarily going to lead them in this direction. Another way of saying this is that the Heart Center is not the starting point for them.
Instead, it is better to increase access to your Body Center because this will allow you to become more integrated in every way. The body is a gateway to integrating your head, heart, and body. An interesting and enjoyable way to do this is through music that you really like and is not too loud or electric. Find music you love, then listen to it and allow the music to fill all of your body. Engage the sounds, breathe it in, and let the music vibrations vibrate throughout your body. Do this two times per day on a daily basis, changing the music as you prefer.
Body Center Styles | Eight, Nine, and One
Access your Mental Center
Because all three of the Body Center Enneagram styles over-rely on their body function (Body Center) when they also need to be accessing their other Centers of Intelligence, and as a result, using their Body Center to increase their ability for leadership, cooperation, and increasing the energy of the human spirit is not necessarily going to lead them in this direction. Another way of saying this is that the Body Center is not the starting point for them.
Instead, it is better to gain more access to their Mental Centers in a clear and unobstructed way. To do this, first breathe fully into your Mental Center and hold your breath there for three seconds. Do this three times in a row. Next, select one of the mantras – from Dick Schulte’s list above – that you most like and say that to yourself three times, either out loud or in your mind. Say this same mantra to yourself three times and say it in a way that you actually believe it. Do this activity three times per day. You can also make up your own mantra if you prefer.