What Leadership Type Are You?

John Krautzel
Posted by

The best leaders are self-aware and know which personality traits make them most or least effective on the job. Author and psychotherapist Dr. Beatrice Chestnut outlined nine personality types based on the Enneagram model to assess how managers relate to others at work. By embracing your leadership style, you can play to your strengths and get better at motivating and communicating with your team.

1. People-Pleasers

People-pleasers value approval and want to feel important among peers. Dr. Chestnut describes them as empathetic befrienders who pay close attention to others' needs and emotions. Since they're usually afraid to ask for what they need, people-pleasers "give strategically" in hopes of receiving generosity and support in return.

2. Observers

Observers are often introverts who closely guard their emotions and create boundaries to maintain personal space. Driven by intellectual pursuits, observers enjoy thinking and tackling analytical problems. While working independently helps an observer thrive, interacting with others for long periods is draining.

3. Mediators

As natural peacekeepers, mediators care most about preserving team harmony. This leadership style involves listening to different perspectives and giving everyone a voice in team decisions. Mediators are skilled at resolving conflict and creating a positive culture, but a consensus-based leadership style makes it easy to lose touch with personal feelings.

4. High Performers

Performers are motivated by goals and results. Success and efficiency are top priorities, so these high achievers are good at turning ideal objectives into realistic models of productivity. Performers tend to lack self-awareness because they stay preoccupied with work and avoid slowing down for self-reflection, says Dr. Chestnut.

5. Optimists

Optimists are naturally social and bring an upbeat, adventurous leadership style to the workplace. Expect these energetic leaders to create a fun, fast-paced environment where workers have freedom to explore and innovate. Optimists look for the positive in every situation, but they struggle to confront negative or uncomfortable emotions.

6. Perfectionists

Rules and standards mean everything to perfectionists because they used fixed ideals to judge themselves and others. Perfectionists care about quality and integrity, and they feel highly motivated to do everything right.

7. Empaths

Expressive and artistic, empaths embrace what they feel and aren't afraid to emotionally connect with others. Empaths appreciate authenticity and open communication, but they can become too focused on personal emotions or aesthetics and lose sight of more important factors.

8. Contrarians

Contrarians have a strong urge to challenge prevailing opinions and question authority. This distrust might stem from fear or a genuine desire to make things better. Because of their deeply analytical nature, contrarians may be good problem-solvers in some instances and indecisive at other times.

9. Commanders

Commanders have a big-picture leadership style and use power to get results from their team. As they value strength and control, commanders aren't afraid to start conflict or challenge others. Commanders tend to have dynamic personalities that may be impulsive and aggressive or courageous and protective, depending on how they develop their leadership skills.

The Enneagram model can help you recognize the beneficial qualities you wield as a leader. Pay attention to traits that weaken your leadership style, such as controlling, passive or self-centered behavior. Think about how you can learn and grow by studying other personality types. What steps are you taking to improve your leadership skills? Share in the comments.

Photo courtesy of Sebastiaan ter Burg at Flickr.com


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch