The 9 Types of Leadership by Beatrice Chestnut


Today I finished The 9 Types of Leadership: Mastering the Art of People in the 21st Century Workplace by Beatrice Chestnut. In this book, the author talks about Enneagram and how it is relevant to leadership styles. The Enneagram is a system of nine personality types combining traditional wisdom with modern psychology – a powerful tool for understanding ourselves and the people in our lives – with three major applications: 

  • Personal and spiritual growth
  • Successful relationships at home and at work
  • Leadership development, team building and communication skills for business

This nine-pointed diagram (Ennea is Greek for nine) has apparently been used for centuries in esoteric Christian and Sufi traditions as a map of human consciousness and archetypes. The other alternatives to Enneagram model are Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Big 5 and DiSC. 

I first came to know about Enneagram a decade ago when Todd Pierce joined Salesforce as an EVP and introduced it to all of us. In this book, the author talks about how he learned it from an Executive Coach while he was at Genentech and subsequently carried it to Salesforce and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. My personality style looks to be Type 3 based on a few tests I went through.

The Enneagram describes three centers of intelligence and perception: Head, Heart and Body. While every individual has all three of these centers, each of the nine personality types has a particular strength in one of them. 

  • The Intellectual Center: using the mind for language and rational thinking, ideas and images, plans and strategies. Located in the head. Type 5, 6 and 7 predominantly use this.
  • The Emotional Center: using the heart for positive and negative feelings, empathy and concern for others, romance and devotion. Located in the area of the chest and diaphragm. Type 2, 3 and 4 predominantly use this.
  • The Instinctual Center: using the body for movement, sensate awareness, gut-level knowing, personal security and social belonging. Type 1, 8 and 9 predominantly use this.

In this book, the author not only talks about these 9 personality types but also goes in detail about how each of these types has 3 different inclinations – self-preservationsocial and one-to-one. That makes the total number of Enneagram subtypes to 27. However, she doesn’t touch on the concept of wings in this book.


Enneagram Type 1 – The Perfectionist
Core Desire: To be right / to be good
Core Fear: Being wrong / being bad
Wounding Message: “It’s not ok to make mistakes”
Possible wings: 9 and/or 2
Stress Number: In stress, 1’s take on the negative traits of type 4
Growth Number: In growth, 1’s take on the positive traits of type 7
Center of Intelligence: Gut / Instinctual Triad
Description: Type 1’s are honest, dedicated, self-disciplined, responsible, and ethical when at their best and living in healthy levels. When 1’s are in unhealthy levels, stressed, or not at their best they can be critical, rigid, judgmental, resentful, and inflexible.


Enneagram Type 2 – The Helper
Core Desire: To be loved / to be wanted
Core Fear: Being unloved / being unwanted
Wounding Message: “It’s not ok to have your own needs.”
Possible wings: 1 and/or 3
Stress Number: In stress, 2’s take on the negative traits of type 8
Growth Number: In growth, 2’s take on the positive traits of type 4
Center of Intelligence: Heart / Feeling Triad
Description: Type 2’s are selfless, warm, friendly, generous, intuitive, and giving when at their best and living in healthy levels. When 2’s are in unhealthy levels, stressed, or not at their best they can be prideful, martyr-ish, insecure, possessive, flattering, and demanding.


Enneagram Type 3 – The Achiever
Core Desire: To be valuable / to be admired
Core Fear: Not being valuable / not being admired / failing
Wounding Message: “It’s not ok to have your own feelings or identity”
Possible wings: 2 and/or 4
Stress Number: In stress, 3’s take on the negative traits of type 9
Growth Number: In growth, 3’s take on the positive traits of type 6
Center of Intelligence: Heart / Feeling Triad
Description: Type 3’s are confident, efficient, energetic, hard-working, and optimistic when at their best and living in healthy levels. When 3’s are in unhealthy levels, stressed, or not at their best they can be inauthentic, workaholics, self-promoting, impatient, validation needy, and vain.


Enneagram Type 4 – The Individualist
Core Desire: To be authentic / to be uniquely themselves
Core Fear: Not having an identity / having no significance
Wounding Message: “It’s not ok to be too much (or too little)”
Possible wings: 3 and/or 5
Stress Number: In stress, 4’s take on the negative traits of type 2
Growth Number: In growth, 4’s take on the positive traits of type 1
Center of Intelligence: Heart / Feeling Triad
Description: Type 4’s are authentic, creative, expressive, introspective, and compassionate when at their best and living in healthy levels. When 4’s are in unhealthy levels, stressed, or not at their best they can be moody, stubborn, temperamental, withdrawn, and depressed.

Enneagram Type 5 – The Observer
Core Desire: To be capable / to be competent
Core Fear: Being incapable / being incompetent
Wounding Message: “It’s not ok to be comfortable in the world”
Possible wings: 4 and/or 6
Stress Number: In stress, 5’s take on the negative traits of 7
Growth Number: In growth, 5’s take on the positive traits of 8
Center of Intelligence: Head / Thinking Triad
Description: Type 5’s are observant, objective, insightful, independent, and calm when at their best and living in healthy levels. When 5’s are in unhealthy levels, stressed, or not at their best they can be withdrawing, arrogant, cynical, indifferent, and distant.


Enneagram Type 6 – The Loyalist
Core Desire: To be secure / to be supported
Core Fear: Being without support / being without guidance / insecurity
Wounding Message: “It’s not ok to trust yourself.”
Possible wings: 5 and/or 7
Stress Number: In stress, 6’s take on the negative traits of 3
Growth Number: In growth, 6’s take on the positive traits of 9
Center of Intelligence: Head / Thinking Triad
Description: Type 6’s are loyal, witty, committed, prepared, responsible, trouble-shooters, and supportive when at their best and living in healthy levels. When 6’s are in unhealthy levels, stressed, or not at their best they can be anxious, rigid, paranoid, pessimistic, and hyper-vigilant.

Enneagram Type 7 –  The Enthusiast
Core Desire: To be content / to be satisfied
Core Fear: Being deprived / being trapped in pain (typically emotional)
Wounding Message: “It’s not ok to depend on anyone for anything.”
Possible wings: 6 and/or 8
Stress Number: In stress, 7’s take on the negative traits of 1
Growth Number: In growth, 7’s take on the positive traits of 5
Center of Intelligence: Head / Thinking Triad
Description: Type 7’s are adventurous, imaginative, enthusiastic, spontaneous, and positive when at their best and living in healthy levels. When 7’s are in unhealthy levels, stressed, or not at their best they can be unfocused, superficial, restless, impulsive, escapist, and self-absorbed.


Enneagram Type 8 – The Challenger
Core Desire: To be independent / to protect themselves
Core Fear: Being controlled / being harmed
Wounding Message: “It’s not ok to be vulnerable.”
Possible wings: 7 and/or 9
Stress Number: In stress, 8’s take on the negative traits of 5
Growth Number: In growth, 8’s take on the positive traits of 2
Center of Intelligence: Gut / Instinctual Triad
Description: Type 8’s are protective, energetic, decisive, loyal, resilient, and direct when at their best and living in healthy levels. When 8’s are in unhealthy levels, stressed, or not at their best they can be insensitive, manipulative, controlling, intimidating, rebellious, and confrontational.


Enneagram Type 9 – The Peacekeeper
Core Desire: To be at peace / to be harmonious
Core Fear: separation / loss of conflict / conflict
Wounding Message: “It’s not ok to assert yourself.”
Possible wings: 8 and/or 1
Stress Number: In stress, 9’s take on the negative traits of 6
Growth Number: In growth, 9’s take on the positive traits of 3
Center of Intelligence: Gut / Instinctual Triad
Description: Type 9’s are amiable, open-minded, optimistic, nonjudgmental, supportive, and peaceful when at their best and living in healthy levels. When 9’s are in unhealthy levels, stressed, or not at their best they can be conflict-avoidant, indecisive, unassertive, passive-aggressive, stubborn, and insecure.

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