The Career Within You

Finding the perfect job for your personality

Famous People - Obama

What is President Obama's personality type?

Obama monks
Drawing by Elizabeth Wagele
Elizabeth Wagele

This is the second in a series on FAMOUS PEOPLE and their Enneagram types. It will continue for several weeks on both my blogs. Last week I featured Steve Jobs.

Many people learning the Enneagram wonder about famous people's types. So I've put a page called Famous People on my web site. When I make a guess, it is not an expert pronouncement. It's only a guess. Ideally, we would be able to find out types from the famous people themselves. This can be a fun way to learn type distinctions, however, a good-natured game.

OBAMA

None of the web sites I looked at that list famous people's Enneagram types included Obama's! He's hard to type. Two types make the most sense to me: he might be a Peace Seeker who also draws on the types next to his (called wings): the Perfectionist and the Asserter. President Lincoln was probably a Peace Seeker as well-with a strong Perfectionist wing. Peace Seekers often don't like conflict, but they can be strong leaders. This is a broad generalization, but many Peace Seekers are interested in ecology and taking care of the planet. Obama isn't doing well on that score. His easy-going, pleasant personality could fit with being a Peace Seeker, however.

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My other choice would be an Achiever who draws on his "arrows," the types connected to his by lines in the Enneagram figure. One arrow is the Peace Seeker, the mediator. The other is the cautious Questioner. The Achiever is charming, competitive and wants to win. The principles he wants to accomplish can take second place to simply winning. Achievers, when extraverted, are usually good at performing in public, as Obama is.

Enneagram figure
Enneagram figure
Elizabeth Wagele

I see Obama taking a conciliatory role more and more and not to his advantage. He doesn't stand up for what he says he wants. He gives in to the opposition. He doesn't present his case passionately. He continued most of the policies of the administration before him. Is he lacking the courage of his convictions or does he not have strong convictions?

World leaders are often Asserters. Obama isn't bold enough in presenting his programs to be an Asserter, in my opinion. But something in him is tough enough to have made it to president.

When he ran for president, many were encouraged by the facts that he spoke intelligently and electing a bright black person could be a symbol that our racial problems were healing. He had a sense of humor and seemed to have the ability to stay stable during a tough pre-election. From his background, he didn't seem like he'd allow corporations and banks to get away with murder.

Whether Obama is a Peace Seeker, an Achiever or another type, he's apparently not convincing voters; he's not getting things done. What is the most important thing to him-winning the next election? avoiding conflict? bringing people together? Does he have any desires for the country so strong he's willing to fight hard for them?

What type do you think he is?

P.S. The most popular page on Wagele.com is the Famous Types page. I list a few movie, TV, and literature characters along with what I have guessed to be their Enneagram and/or MBTI(R) types.

 

Elizabeth Wagele is the co-author with Ingrid Stabb of The Career Within You: How to Find the Perfect Job for Your Personality.

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