The Career Within You

Finding the perfect job for your personality

President Obama: Enneagram Type 9, Part 1

If there’s one thing that is consistent with Obama throughout his life, it’s his desire to see all sides of issues. This and his desire to be fair, especially, indicate that he is primarily a 9-Peace Seeker. Read More

He should never be President

Type 9's don't have a backbone. He should be a cabinet member, not someone defending us from enemies.

Thanks for this comment on

Thanks for this comment on Obama, Elizabeth. It concurs with my own sense of the guy. It's up for discussion whether his approach does ensure more peace in the world but hey I'm a One and know what it feels like to be less than perfect.

Thanks for the clear observations

This is congruent with my take on Obama. I'll be interested in part 2. Presidents carry so many of our projections and so I appreciated your teasing through distinctions with examples.

Some of the commenters reveal some commom misunderstandings about Enneagram type (ie. that 9s don't do war as they are "peacemakers." It's not true as many leaders who've been involved with and initiated wars are 9s and every other type). Liz, all more reason to continue writing, continue educating and continue focusing on motivation underneath the behaviors.

In understanding the Enneagram, intent is actually far more crucial in typing than behavior.. The Enneagram is not about moral assessment...that role is for the ethicist. Another reason I appreciated this article as you maintained your role as an observer and you looked for motivation. Your focus on the 3-6-9 triad was spot on as all three are observable in Obama.

I've heard the narcissist accusation before and have found it interesting as it seems to be a running narrative and mostly a projection along with some cultural assumptions about how men of color should behave. I don't see as much narcissism which is about trying to be mirrored positively as much as I see a tendency to appease, disperse attention (as you said, trying to see all sides of the issue) and a resistance to taking clear, focused action when dissenting voices come into view.

I can also see the anger and an understandable quality of defensiveness. It's been pretty brutal from the get go and I've oft wondered how any one human being handles this level of both vitriol and expectation. I watch the cruelty leveled at Bush as he begins to paint in his retirement and think, "who'd ever want to sign up for this job?" (I guess that's a whole other psych article on power).

Reply to Leslie

Thank you for your intelligent comments. I agree that many get stuck in overly rigid views of what the Enneagram is. I see bits of almost all the types in Obama, another trait most 9s share. Yours truly, Elizabeth

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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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