Enneagram Six At Work
Who is the Enneagram Six at Work?
The Loyalist, The Trouble Shooter
The Enneagram Six is known for being loyal to the people to whom they have committed. A Six aims to figure out everything that is going on around them to create safety and structure in their environment. Sixes are faithful and dependable; they excel at anticipating problems and creating solutions in advance.
A Six is a worst-case scenario thinker whose unconscious motivation is a need to feel safe and secure in the world. Sixes believe that if they don’t know what the problems are, they run the risk of being caught off guard. Accordingly, a Six wants to anticipate problems so they can get busy working on a plan to avoid or survive the pending problem. They help teams and organizations by always being prepared for the worst-case.
Regrettably, Sixes can devalue themselves- they think they’re common and un-original. A Six’s challenge is to manage their suspicion and doubt so that it doesn’t de-motivate them or other people. Their inherent skepticism allows them to immediately see where the holes are in a plan.
Enneagram Six Strengths
A Six is dutiful when it comes to managing her responsibilities. She seeks to do the right thing out of a sense of duty, whether to her boss, profession, family, or otherwise.
Likewise, Sixes are loyal to the organizations where they work or volunteer. They will follow-through on the things they say they are going to do.
Sixes are extremely thoughtful. They can see many aspects of a situation, both positive and negative. They find trouble spots that no one else notices and assess the risks quickly. Thus, they are great at pumping the brakes to make sure all risks are known and planned for.
What aspect of your number do you experience most deeply?
I have a tendency to catastrophize problems.
How could your coworkers better support you as an Enneagram Six?
Give me the facts up front & give me a moment to collect my questions.
Enneagram Six Weaknesses
When a Six’s ability to see problems goes to the extreme, they can catastrophize problems, meaning their initial response becomes more intense than is necessary. In this mindspace, seeing a problem can lead them down a “doomsday prepping” path.
Their compulsion to expect the worse can block creativity and spontaneity, unintentionally draining a group’s energy. In the same way the Enneagram One has a loud inner critic, the Enneagram Six has an internal committee offering insight- the problem is, the SIx doesn’t know which voice to trust. The volume of this internal committee can make them go outside themselves to find guidance and support. When they are able to focus on their true self and their inner core, they are able to know which one is the right guidance.
While they are creative with problem solving, dreaming can be difficult for a Six due to their self-doubt and the limits they put on their dreams.
Sixes tend to hold things back (such as information) and, in turn, can be overly suspicious of people’s motivations. They wonder, “What are you hiding? What are you not saying?” They tend to assume there is something going on under the surface.
How to Support an Enneagram Six at Work
Sixes desire to be supported and to have security and guidance, while they fear being blamed or targeted. Sixes deal with a lot of internal anxiety and bravely show up anyway. Because of all of the fears that Sixes overcome internally, they can present as being strong and determined. Accordingly, they are ready to shore up others to help them overcome their fears, too.
- Help them take the limits off their dreams. If problems couldn’t happen and you were safe, what would you do?
- Keep your word. They are faithful and loyal once you’ve proved your integrity to them. Sixes wonder, “Is what you are saying matching up with what you are doing?”
- Don’t hide potential problems from a Six. They want to know about potential problems so they can get to work on finding a solution. Sixes will appreciate you for not keeping information from them.
- Share logical and factual information with a Six. They want to mull over information at their own pace. Present the facts to them clearly, then give them the time to think.
- Give a Six the opportunity to shine as a creative problem solver.
- Energize the Six by affirming them and offering them stability.
- Honor their questions by taking them seriously. They love asking questions; this helps them see that you recognize problems, too.
- Be mindful that they are always evaluating the authority figure. Because they doubt themselves, they tend to doubt authority figures until the authority figure proves themselves. Does she/he have a plan in case something goes wrong? Is the authority figure honest? Has she/he shared the whole truth with us? Sixes are excellent at sniffing out someone who is dishonest. Once you’ve answered all of their questions and not dismissed them, you will have earned their trust and thus their loyalty.
- What smells like pessimism to others exists to a Six as realism.
Personal Growth Areas
- Practice using the word “and” instead of “but”. “I see what you’re proposing, and have you considered a plan B for the project should the market forces change?”
- People don’t always have negative motives behind their actions. Learn to trust the motives of people who have been proven trustworthy.
- Experiment with moving to action before you have thought through every possibility.
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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