Responding to decisions

Responding to decisions

Responding to decisions made by others isn’t the same for everyone.  The enneagram helps us understand how each enneagram type may respond to a decision made by someone else.  This is invaluable when it comes to working with people.

Ones  – The Reformers

Ones will support a decision if certain criteria are met.  For example if:

a) They trust the integrity of the person making the decision.

b) The rationale and the process behind the decision is good and has been clearly explained.

c) The decision is ethical and good for humanity.

Anything unethical will be a red flag for a One and they will challenge your decision.  If they think you have bent the rule book or broke protocol, or deceived, they will protest.

For a One the ideals behind the process of a decision is important.

Twos – The Considerate Helper

Twos will support a decision if the decision will support and benefit people.

The amazing thing about a Two is that if the decision being made requires them to make a personal sacrifice they will do sacrifice so long as the decision is in the best interests of people.


If the decision doesn’t take into consideration their feelings and the feelings of others they will struggle to buy into the decision.  Twos will find it very difficult to support any decision which threatens relationships. If it does threaten relationships they want to know that you have at least thought about it and considered the pain for others.


Twos are so interpersonal, socially adept and persuasive their enthusiasm is contagious.  If you can win a Two over,  you will have a raving fan.



Threes – The Competitive Achiever

Threes will be guided by practical considerations rather than ideals.  They aren’t necessarily interested in the values underlying the decision but they are interested in how will this decision help us to be efficient in reaching our goal.


Threes want to be seen as successful and they want to be respected and the decision being made must in someway contribute to the achievement of this.


Will this decision clear the pathway for efficiency, and the success of a goal.

Fours – The Intense Creative

Fours will agree or support a decision if it doesn’t require them to compromise their values.

If the decision requires them to compromise their values then they will not support the decision.


An example of this would be a friend of mine is highly creative and wanted to create a mural.  The problem was the mural was so beautiful it was way too expensive.  My friend was willing to lose the job when he was told that he had the job but it needed to come in under a budget.  For my friend he simply couldn’t accept the decision because he wasn’t willing to compromise his values.


A Four will support a decision if you recognise in the moment of rejecting their creative value that you appreciated and recognised their individual contribution.


Sometimes when a Four objects they will say something like, “Don’t put my name on the project, I didn’t agree to this.”

Fives – The Quiet Specialist

Fives want to see the data.  They want to see the research, the facts and they want to know that you have seen the facts and the data.

If they know you have done this and can demonstrate this they will back a decision.  But if you simply tell them on the basis of feelings and intuition you are making the decision they will most likely not accept the decision.

Sixes – The Loyalist

Sixes will be anxious and suspicious that there are ulterior motives.  They do have issues around authority figures.  Until they  trust the person making the decision they will ask a lot of questions.  


It is not disloyalty, it is that they want to know have you thought through all the problems and come up with a contingency plan.  They need to know that you have extinguished all the major problems before implementing a plan.


Second meetings are often good for Sixes.  Coming back to a second conversation allows them to go away and to think and to come back with any unresolved concerns or questions.

Sixes tend to self-question, going over the information and they will want to ask questions and have you answer all the questions.


Sometimes people can think they are pessimistic although they aren’t they are simply realists.  

Sevens – The Visionary Enthusiast

Sevens are very tricky because they will resist any decision which places way too many limitations on them.  If they feel restricted, limited, as though they have no escape route they won’t go along with the decision.  


They want to know, “Do they have to?

Is there any wriggle room?”


They won’t follow a decision if there are too many psychological or emotional stressors.  If they feel they are going to be stuck or bored for too long they probably won’t go along with the decision.


Eights – The Challengers

The eight’s hate anyone telling them what to do.

In general they don’t like it when people try to control them or their environments. 


If you don’t want an eight to do something, tell them to do it.

When they haven’t made a decision they will resist or bite back.  They will fight.


They will comply with a decision made by someone else so long as the decision maker is strong, decisive, knows where they are heading, keeps the lines of communication open and the plan seems sound.


But if there is any waffle, doubt, self questioning or change to the big picture plan the Eights will challenge.


Nines – The Peacemakers

Struggle with making decisions themselves. 


When others make decisions for them they will merge with the opinion of the majority of the group.

If the group says yes we like the decision then the Nine will say yes to the decision.  If the majority of the group says no, a Nine will most likely say no as well.


They have to learn how to find their own voice and to listen to their own gut.   But this is hard because they simply hate conflict and they would never want to be the only contrarian view in the room.


In meetings they can be very quiet and have to be drawn out, identified and asked specifically for their opinion.


Unhealthy Nines can be passive aggressive because they are unwilling to say they are unhappy with the decision.


Nines have this ability to look you in the eye and you think they are agreeing with you but they have never said they agree with you but somehow they communicate in such a way that you think they said yes to the decision.  


Their passive aggressiveness gets expressed through stubbornness.

If you feel like there is a brake on somewhere it is probably a stubborn Nine denying their anger but doing conflict.