Working with 2’s, 3’s and 4’s in the workplace can be both a wonderful experience and a challenging experience. So here are some tips on how to work with each enneagram type, how they respond to conflict and how you can work with them.
2’s, 3’s and 4’s are people who largely operate from the feeling centre. They have ‘warm’ energy and are attuned to the emotions and needs of people, focused don collaboration and authentic expression. This means they rely on their feelings when it comes to making decisions.
Two’s – Relationships matter
Relationships are everything to a 2. They glean their identity through relationships and often define themselves by what they do for others.
So, when working with a 2 they need to know how they have been helpful. They need to feel appreciated and valuable. Words of appreciation are more valuable than a pay rise. Leaving notes of encouragement can be a valuable habit in the workplace.
What do they bring to the workplace?
They are upbeat, positive people and they know how to motivate people. Fantastic listeners they are genuinely interested in the people they work with. Encouragement and praise are often the tools they use to motivate and inspire those around them.
They create spaces where people feel supported and encouraged, where people feel they can share their feelings.
They will always know how every individual in the organization is doing.
Position them where they have to have lots of contact with people.
One of the problems with working with a 2 is that they tend to self-forget. They focus so much on the needs of others that they forget about themselves.
They also struggle to ask for help because they don’t want to burden anyone. For a 2 it is hard to believe that people would be interested in meeting their needs.
2’s can be quite indirect, hinting about what their needs might be. They will blow up if they feel pushed too far which can be quite a surprise for fellow colleagues.
Too much criticism will crush a 2. Conflict can be difficult. Acting aloof, being curt, not being as upbeat or courteous as they normally would be signals of conflict.
How do I handle the conflict?
- Tell them that you are ready to listen to them when they feel ready to talk.
- When they do talk let them vent. Don’t interrupt or present your viewpoint until they have finished.
- Ask clarifying questions because often the facts and the chronology of events will get muddled in their head as their feelings will be quite intense.
- Only have listening and sensing that the two has finished will they be open to listening and then you may find them very easy to resolve the conflict.
Remember 2’s don’t like conflict. They don’t like to feel a burden. So let them vent without judgement.
Be careful with criticism.
Three’s – Work Matters
3’s feel most in their element in their work. They Crave achievement, recognition, results, and success.
In some western cultures they often feel the pressure to prioritise success over substance.
When they are healthy and self-aware, they are go getters who are authentic visionary leaders and extraordinary builders who deserve our admiration.
But when they aren’t self-aware, they are perceived as caring more about doing whatever it takes to get ahead. They worry about titles and who is occupying the main office.
What do they bring to the workplace?
They are phenomenal salespeople. Amazing communicators. They can become whomever the customer wants them to be.
They are very good at juggling, multi-tasking. A 3’s heart is in their work. If you give them a scoreboard, they will most likely achieve it. They want to know the company goals and how to move the organization forward. Hard working they will accomplish what no other enneagram type can accomplish.
3’s can and will bulldoze past the rest of the team if they think they can accomplish the goal faster, and quicker than waiting for the team. This can make other people feel useless, ineffective.
They care most about productivity and efficiency. This can mean they struggle to give time and attention to others. Help them to win but not at the expense of others but so that they see they are better in team. Don’t let them cut corners, don’t let them compromise the integrity of the organization or themselves. Constantly let them know how the organization is moving forwards.
When working with a 3 you need to be very specific about asking how much time and attention you need from them, and you need to ask them to be fully present when you meet with them. Being present needs to be a golden rule with 3’s.
In their pursuit of goals, they can engage in a self-marketing campaign presenting themselves as the perfect employee, perfect partner, perfect parent, perfect community member. This inauthenticity can isolate them from team. Keeping them accountable to authenticity is a big part of conflict with a 3.
Caring for a 3
Help them set boundaries. Don’t let them become workaholics
Encourage them when they are working hard, point out their successes.
Give them a pathway for advancement or promotion. If you don’t you may not keep them.
Help them to win in all kinds of situations.
Give them goals to strive for and to win.
Give them a scoreboard or a prize and they will move heaven and earth to achieve it.
Remind them that their identity and value won’t be found in their work or accomplishments.
Fours – Authenticity and expressing their originality means everything to a 4.
4’s are intricate and delicate people to be in relationship with so it’s important that you know how to communicate in a way that supports and motivates them.
They don’t like mediocrity and can spot a phony from a mile away.
People who are always upbeat, they are suspicious of.
They are drawn to the unconventional, the off-beat, the Avant Garde.
They need their co-workers to accept their feelings both the negative and the positive. When they are down and feeling melancholy, they want their feelings recognised. Never tell a 4 to cheer up.
What do they bring to the workplace?
When 4’s are healthy they make wonderful friends, co-workers. They are hardworking, generous, marvellously creative and can help guide people towards emotional terrain which makes all of us more human. 4’s help us see the beauty in the world, the depth, the richness.
They are wonderful in the workplace so long as they can express some creativity. 4’s want to be able to have their distinct style of creativity recognised in the workplace. You don’t have to utilise all their ideas, but they do want to know they have been seen and heard.
4’s want their work to have some kind of transcendent experience. Work must have purpose, it must highlight their expertise, their depth of feelings and skill.
They can build a climate of collaboration instead of competition, bringing people of like mindedness together.
Conflict will occur if they are given too many rules and are expected to be like everyone else.
They certainly don’t like detail work and will procrastinate if their work is too routine or mundane, or boring. So don’t ask them to do spreadsheets or lots of repetitive work.
They lead by force of personality, and this can be intimidating for co-workers.
If anyone is not real there will be problems. They cannot tolerate people who are inauthentic, shallow, or fake.
Caring for a 4
When they ask, “What do you think of me? They want to hear “You are extraordinary, there is no one like you.”
Don’t put them in detail-oriented roles.
Appreciate them solely for who they are.
Help them understand their work is contributing to a higher purpose.