Enneagram Two At Work
Who is the Enneagram Two at Work?
The Nurturer, The Helper, The Giver, The Loving Person
The Enneagram Two is the most interpersonal type on the Enneagram. A Two wakes up thinking about relationships and goes to bed at night thinking about relationships; basically, life for a Two is ALL ABOUT seeing through the lens of the relational sphere. Twos are energized by feeling loved and appreciated, and by being around people.
The Enneagram Two is positive and people-oriented; with “empathy” as their superpower, the Two can walk into a room and immediately know with certainty and accuracy what other people feel and need. Excellent communicators, the Two will support the best interests of the organization.
Twos can find it challenging to practice good personal boundaries; it is not uncommon for them to feel frustrated from time to time when their offer to help is turned down or goes unacknowledged. Twos may find that they need to choose more carefully when and how they help others. Because they see all these needs, they sometimes have a difficult time discerning what is theirs to do.
The unconscious motivation of the Two is a need to be loved, needed, and appreciated.
Enneagram Two Strengths
The Enneagram Two makes an awesome First Lieutenant in that they excel at leading from behind with encouragement. As personal assistants, they keep the key leader in line and on task. Their relationship-building skills allow them to get along with a wide variety of people and they can bring different powerful people together. Twos are very compassionate & value their teammates. They wonder, “Is the team getting along? How can I help make it better?”
Twos are very customer-driven; they tend to want to exceed the customer’s expectations. In fact, it is not uncommon for a Two to know a customer’s needs and wants better than the customer him/herself. Twos are friendly, open hearted, and full of enthusiasm and praise.
Enneagram Twos are motivated to receive love by helping. They will do whatever they need to do for you to get that feeling of love. A Two can become codependent when they need others to feed that love to them.
What aspect of your number do you experience most deeply?
All of this description really strikes a cord with me, especially the part about taking criticism personally. I’ve always really struggled with that because I try so hard to not make waves. I know that no one is perfect but I try very very hard to pay attention to detail and not make mistakes. For example, we had our yearly reviews at work and there were so many positive things my teammates had to say and the two areas I needed to work on felt like such personal blows (I cried telling my husband about it that night because I was so upset by it). It was all I took away from the review even though my boss said not to, and reiterated how many positive remarks were given. The part about making time for yourself and having alone time really stuck out as well. I had to learn the power of the word “No”. And I’m still uncomfortable with creating those boundaries, but I have to. Or I take on too much and do too much for others and burn myself out. And then I’m no good to anyone, least if all myself!
How could your coworkers better support you as an Enneagram Two?
I’m lucky enough to work with an amazing team! We really have awesome systems in place that encourage and require us to communicate any issues or concerns. And the flip side is we also communicate praise and encouragement just as easily. That being said, not everyone fits that work environment and some team members are less enthusiastic about giving out positive feedback. I feel as if those team members could put themselves in others shoes more, and try to look at the big picture. It’s difficult to work with someone when they’re only looking at things through their perspective, because they miss seeing all of the issues everyone else is dealing with day to day.
Enneagram Two Weaknesses
A strength overdone is a weakness; in this sense, a Two can be manipulative by using their intuitive knowledge to get others to do what THEY want done. Meanwhile, a Two can play the martyr- if they don’t have healthy boundaries, they may over-do for others, then feel resentful that people don’t do as much as they do.
A Two wants others to understand their needs as much as they understand others’; feelings of frustration bubble up for them when they don’t always know or understand that others don’t have their fine-tuned skills at intuition. A Two doesn’t always know what they want or need because they are so concerned with others’ wants and needs. They grow agitated, bossy, and aggressive when they are seeking more and more but don’t know what they’re looking for.
If a Two knows what someone else needs and they don’t serve them, then they criticize themselves for being selfish. This emotion compels them to move in and insert themselves to help 1) to prevent being rejected, and 2) to hear, “You are wanted and loved.” They long to hear others’ appreciation and gratitude but they believe that they have to earn it.
How to Support an Enneagram Two at Work
An Enneagram Two’s core longing is to be wanted, loved, and appreciated. A Two sees love as conditional or something they have to earn; they think: “If I am not showing you love, and I’m focusing on myself at all, then you’ll think I’m selfish and you will reject me.” Accordingly, the Two fears being unloved, unwanted, unappreciated, dispensable, or disposable. We can help the Two in the workplace by the following.
- Geography matters. Position Twos in a place where there is a LOT of foot traffic. They will die on the vine unless they are leaning into their superpower, which is attunement to other people’s feelings. Twos need to be able to empathize, be present to other people, and meet their needs.
- Twos make an excellent first touchpoint for your customers. Both relationship-focused and image conscious, Twos will not let you down in this role.
- Say, “I see you, and I SO appreciate you.” Pause, then say it again. And again.
- Be gentle in sharing critical feedback. They take criticism PERSONALLY; the relationship feels threatened. If they feel a relationship is experiencing some kind of disturbance or rupture, they get very anxious or worried.
- In a performance review with a 2, dial back the energy. Lead by affirming the relationship and assuring them that your relationship is stable- “… and, here’s some feedback on things I’d like to see you work on.”
- Communicate face-to-face. Twos want personal interaction; they thrive on feeling the warmth of eye contact & the connection of relationship.
- Keep things positive. This will keep them engaged.
- Help them discern their own needs. Twos will appear to not have any needs of their own; encourage them to consider what’s important to them so they don’t make a habit of neglect themselves. Surprise them by meeting some need that they may have (without them asking).
- Remind them that they are loved just for being themselves. They don’t have to earn our love by constantly serving us or others.
Personal Growth Areas
- Learn to say no. As a Two, you love to be needed and love to help others; practice saying “no” from time to time and see what happens.
- Schedule solitude. Being around others keeps your focus on others’ needs. Schedule some time to get back in touch with your own needs. It will feel uncomfortable as you start to notice feelings that don’t usually have the time or space to come up, such as sadness or anger. Treat these feelings as clues to where your actual needs are.
- Learn to recognize when your communication crosses boundaries. People don’t always need help or advice.
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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