Elizabeth Wagele

The Career Within You

How to Develop Leadership Using the Enneagram

For teens with a leading style of the Observer, Questioner, or Adventurer.

Posted May 17, 2016

Drawing by Elizabeth Wagele
Source: Drawing by Elizabeth Wagele

Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to do better. – Bill Bradley

This blog is based on Chapter 10 in The Enneagram for Teens. Earlier chapters help teens discover their personality type and describe typical behaviors of the 9 types.

The Enneagram can help you become a flexible and successful leader by teaching you to perceive your strengths, feel more confident of using them, and identify the skills you could improve.

Successful followers perform well because they trust the leader’s ability to lead, while successful leaders generate enthusiasm and encourage co-operation and healthy conflict. The best leaders are examples others want to follow.

Observers (type 5’s) as leaders:

• encourage their team members to work independently.

• focus on important ideas they want to work on more than on how their team members relate to each other.

• examine all angles of an issue before making a decision and are thoughtful and research-oriented.

How to develop leadership strengths similar to the Observer’s

Fives readily analyze problems and bring their objectivity to a project. They may prefer leading and working behind the scenes and communicating non-verbally. If you want to develop the strengths Observers have naturally, become interested in learning, make sure of your facts, and explore the ins and outs of your project in depth.

Drawing by Elizabeth Wagele
Source: Drawing by Elizabeth Wagele

A teacher asked an Observer teen to head a team learning to do research and write history papers. The Five divided the research subtopics among them and gave them a deadline for submitting what they found. He wanted to write up the final paper himself, however, to be sure the information was clearly presented.

Questioners (type 6’s) as leaders:

• encourage loyalty and are loyal themselves.

• focus on what could go wrong and take quick action when they find a problem.

• are watchful and protect the team members from abuse from outside.

How to develop leadership strengths similar to the Questioner’s

To develop the strengths Sixes have naturally, take a skeptical look at the issues and be safety-conscious. Questioners want to be certain of their responsibilities and often excel under pressure. They can expend a tremendous amount of energy on their tasks, are good troubleshooters, and are loyal to the team.

Drawing by Elizabeth Wagele
Source: Drawing by Elizabeth Wagele

A Questioner teen noticed the railing of a bridge across a creek in her neighborhood was falling apart. Not only did it look bad, it was also dangerous. Somebody might get hurt by falling on the sharp rocks below. She called some experts to see what the bridge would need to be safe, made out a schedule and a list of duties, and asked some of her friends to join her in fixing it.

Adventurers (type 7’s) as leaders:

• are charming, enthusiastic, and convey a cheerful attitude.

• act quickly and have confidence in their plans.

• spread the power out so one person isn’t responsible for everything.

How to develop leadership strengths similar to the Adventurer’s

If you want to develop the strengths Sevens have naturally, work on being optimistic and curious. Sevens like new experiences, want to have fun, and are good at networking. They like to keep moving and doing a variety of jobs.

Drawing by Elizabeth Wagele
Source: Drawing by Elizabeth Wagele

An Adventurer teen was transferred to a new school and wanted to stay in touch with her old friends—so she decided to network. She started a group on Facebook and asked everyone in her former class to join. If they didn’t join within a week of asking them, she would try to persuade them with a phone call. Nearly the whole class joined up.

• See The Enneagram for Teens.