Monday, January 14, 2008

Enneagram Training

It's late at night and I should be asleep getting precious rest before my appearance on the WLOX morning show to talk about our MLK Day of Service Activities.  Instead, the day's training on the Enneagram personality types swirls in my mind making it difficult to turn my brain off. 

The staff wanted to learn how to communicate better with one another and build a more effective team.  I mentioned this to my boss and she said that Ellen Ferber, one of Points of Light & Hands On Network's Regional VPs, was certified in the Enneagram personality type training.   We all took the test, a batter of 145 binary questions, each answer corresponding to one of the nine personality types identified in this personality framework.  Ellen came down to tell us about the results of our tests and guide us through the process of learning how to use it in our work life. She described each of the types, their characteristics, and how they interact with those around them.

What's neat about the Enneagram method (? is it a method?) is that it provides a framework understanding what you need for personal growth, as well as a framework for understanding interpersonal dynamics.Though your type never changes, I happen to be a 9 - a Peacemaker - your state of personal development does affect the outward appearance of your personality.  When I'm on my game, I appear like the 3 - the Acheiver; I set goals and hit them.  When I lapse into a black state, I go to the bad side of a 6 - The Loyalist - where I become paranoid and paralyzed with fear.  The same holds true for each of the numbers.  There is a flow of energy between the personality types that manifests itself at various times.  There are three triads each with a different underlying energy or motivation.  8, 9, and 1 are in the gut triad, meaning they filter everything through their instinctive reactions.  2 through 4 are in the heart triad and look at things in terms of relationships, while the 5, 6, and 7's filter their experiences through the head.  

I know I haven't done the extensively researched and refined methodology for describing personality all that well, so you should probably go to the Enneagram Institute's website to learn more.  Or call Ellen.  It's all very fascinating and amazingly accurate. Though one method of describing personality is probably as good as another, when you find the one you like, a lot of dynamics and tensions between people can easily be demystified because you now understand what the underlying motivations for folks are. Very exciting.

What's most important to Hands On is that we had the training.  All the staff was present and engaged.  From the anecdotal comments folks gave me, everyone got something from the training.  I think this will help us build a stronger team.  We have a better idea of how each person sees the world, how they interact it, and what drives them to be who they are. 

I've got lots of ideas and I think the rest of the staff does, too.  So, I'm excited.  Thanks, Ellen for a great training!!!  We really appreciate it.

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