Enneagram Four At Work
Who is the Enneagram Four at Work?
The Romantic, The Original Person, The Individualist
In the midst of being ambitious, visionary, driven, and charismatic, the Enneagram Four experiences a tsunami of emotions. Fours tend to focus on authenticity, meaning, and aesthetics. They want to make a connection to their work and to the people around them.Their challenge is to learn to tolerate the mundane aspects of work, to reduce emotional reactions, and to not take things too personally
A Four’s underlying motivation is a need to be special and unique to make up for what they perceive is a fundamental deficiency in their makeup. They can’t name this deficiency- it’s just a sense that “something’s not right about me”.
Enneagram Four Strengths
Fours are masters at describing the inner landscapes of people. A Four can accurately characterize what they’re feeling and what others are feeling. In fact, they will find uniqueness in the depth of their feelings. It would not be out of the ordinary for a Four to think to themselves, “No one feels as deeply as I do” or “No one feels as sad as I do”.
Accordingly, Fours are drawn to causes that empathize with suffering, such as organizations that address marginalized populations like the poor, abused, or neglected. They feel misunderstood, so they are drawn to people who feel similarly.
In order to make themselves better understood, Fours use various forms of expression to communicate their feelings and experiences with others. They want to be original and special and for you to appreciate the uniqueness they bring. A Four fears being “ordinary” and can bring an extraordinary vibe to otherwise common circumstances or situations. Their cubicle will most likely be decorated (and the decor will not match anyone else’s).
Fours have a talent for dealing with big emotions that may scare others away. If someone is grieving or in need of emotional support, a Four has the aptitude to stay with that person as long as necessary. Their bandwidth for handling challenging emotions is both deep and wide.
Enneagram Four Weaknesses
Occasionally, a Four’s need for a certain aesthetic means that style and drama end up being prioritized over that which is possible in reality. They can get stuck mulling over processes and plans which delays a team’s forward progress.
An Enneagram Four can appear self-absorbed if they become so preoccupied with plumbing the depths of their own emotions that they forget that others have emotions, too. If they are in an unhealthy place, a Four will avoid the mundane by stirring up some emotional drama.
The Four feels that there is something fundamentally or tragically flawed within them. They believe that having something unique and different about themselves will allow them to stand out so that, in turn, you will love them for being different.
How to Support an Enneagram Four at Work
The Four wishes show the world how unique and authentic their true self is. They fear being perceived as unoriginal or plain and mundane. If they can be seen and known for exactly who they uniquely are, they will feel fulfilled.
Help Fours find fulfillment by doing or saying the following:
- Communicate how much you see and value their unique insight. Fours go through life with the sense that “Nobody really sees me” or that “No one can understand my inner depths.” Say to them, “Your imagination is incredible.” You don’t have to agree with nor implement what a Four brings to the table- BUT, you better tell them, “I understood what you said. We’re not going to execute it, but I want you to know: I thought it was imaginative, I appreciated the angle, which was different from everyone else’s.” The worst outcome is if a Four feels MISunderstood.
- Help them not over-rely on their emotional world, but to balance their emotions with critical thinking. Fours are idealists; their critical inner voice sees what’s missing in an environment and, consequently, a not-very-self-aware-Four can go through life perpetually disappointed.
- Do not compare a Four to someone else. E.g., “Why can’t you write copy like John or Betty?” Comparison activates envy in a way that will be very unhealthy. Rather than improving their shortcomings, they will spend all day looking at John or Betty feeling envious or bitter.
- Tell them that you appreciate the personal touch that they bring. You see how their uniqueness is adding to the tea.
- Even if their feelings seem overwhelming to you, don’t tell them to lighten up or look to the bright side. Invite them to broaden their focus, zoom out and think more about practical things and less about emotional things. To bring other things in rather than just squashing the emotional things.
- Be authentic. They can see someone faking it from a mile away. Because they seek to be so authentic themselves, they won’t respect you if you’re not being authentic with them. They don’t want you to hide your emotions.
- Don’t fix their sadness- just be in it with them. They want to enjoy some melancholy.
- Let them know that their emotions are not going to scare you away. One of their greatest fears is being abandoned.
- Offer a Four variety in their tasks. Jobs are difficult for Fours if they involve repetition of things that aren’t interesting to them.
Personal Growth Areas
- Take your emotions and intensity and let that move you towards action. Passion needs to take you to movement.
- Instead of focusing on what’s missing (which is natural for a Four), focus on gratitude. Name the things that you DO have.
- Use your curious nature to ask about and reflect on how others might be thinking or feeling. Realize that your tendency is to be tuned into your own feelings and thoughts which can be perceived as being too self-focused.
It helps to talk through what you’re experiencing with someone you can trust. You’ll gain a second opinion, guidance, and the encouragement you need to take action.
If you are in a season where you need a coach, contact Anne via the Contact page.
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