Are you a helper? Maybe you're a reformer or a peacemaker. Or you could be an enthusiast or challenger. These are all personality types on the Enneagram of Personality. It's a typology system that describes human personality, focusing on interconnected personality types. But just how useful is it?
In fact, who exactly uses it? Why is it necessary? It's time to breakdown this personality test and typology system to see if it's something you should be using.
What Is the Enneagram of Personality?
Let's start with understanding a little of the Enneagram. When you look at it, you'll see a nine-point diagram. It doesn't explain much, but each point represents a type of personality. On a basic level, it represents nine different personality types, but when you look deeper there are actually 27 subtypes and you could fit into any one of them.
Enneagram theorists believe that people are born with a dominant type, but that can be shaped and changed through experiences, environmental factors, and more. While the basic personality won't change, not all elements of that personality will be expressed. Different habits or environments will affect the traits shown and can lead to a connection to other personality traits on the diagram.
Understanding Strengths and Weaknesses
While there are many who debate that the test has its flaws, on a basic level, the enneagram test can be useful for self-evaluation and focus. One of the greatest benefits of the test is figuring out the basic personality type. This brings out our strengths and weaknesses.
We can use the knowledge of our strengths to our advantage. Finding jobs that will work with those strengths or finding ways in life that connect to our personality type. We become more aware of how we can achieve goals-and even which goals we should be setting ourselves. This is an excellent tool for self-analysis and improvement.
On the flip side, we get a look at our weaknesses. Nobody likes to look at the negatives of themselves. We want to focus on strengths, right? However, focusing on the things we're not great at is useful for the future.
Knowing our weaknesses helps us to improve. We can see where in our lives we need to work on, elements that lead to failure or struggles. With more self-awareness, we can become better people within work, within family life, and within social circles. You can improve communication, leadership skills, and much more.
With the nine personality types, it can feel like some are more wanted than others. This test isn't a way to say which personality type is stronger or better than others. However, it will depend on the way it's used. This is how it can be less useful.
Using the Enneagram of Personality In a Good Way
The test is for self-analysis. It isn't a test to make you change your personality. After all, with the belief that we all have a dominant personality that we're born with, it's not possible to completely change who we are. Nor should we!
When used in the wrong way, the test can become stressful. This is often the case when there are certain personality traits that are viewed as more beneficial or perfect than others. Some will say that being an enthusiast is better than being a peacemaker. Or being a challenger is better than being a loyalist.
Too many will look at the downsides of a personality trait. There's a focus on bettering the bad instead of using our strengths to our advantage.
There is also the downside of this test being vague. The personality types can be broad or generalized, especially when you only consider the basic personality and not the wings (the two personalities either side in the diagram).
When used as a tool of self-analysis and with the goal of improving, the Enneagram can be excellent. It's important to take the strengths and weaknesses, looking for ways to utilize the strengths while working on those weaknesses instead of completely avoiding them.