Team player

I like to watch basketball. One of my favorite Enneagram observations is derived from the announcers describing a player as “glue guy.” By this they mean that he holds the team together, even if he does not make outstanding plays himself. The usual context for this observation is that the “glue guy” makes everyone else a better player.

Glue guys are sixes.

Wise guy

Many people complain that “you can’t trust information you get on the internet.” It is a silly complaint, you can’t trust information from any source if you’re not capable of critical thinking.

But if you don’t want to rely entirely on critical thinking, ask a Five. Fives don’t regularly volunteer information, BUT if you ask them for a critical opinion, you will get the overall picture, as much detail as you have time/patience for and you usually (we should never suspend our critical faculties entirely) will get a well-thought out opinion–especially if it is her field of endeavor.

I’m a style 7, so I love to read books written by Fives bristling with footnotes and graphs and an appendix that looks like they lived in a library. Thus I defend myself against the shallowness we Sevens have to watch out for.

Insightful Four

To illustrate my point, I’ll tell you of an experience of working with a style Four in a corporate setting. We hired a consultant with a PhD in computer science and an MBA. She came to us and spent her first two days just walking around reading the symbols of the place. What cartoons on the wall, how long people spent at the coffee room, how clean the carpets – I don’t know what all she saw. She said the symbols of the place gave her information that was not available on the hard drive.
Because of style 4’s need for and appreciation of symbols, they are most helpful when you need the non-literal, non-non-mathmatical information. When wisdom is more an art than a science, style Fours excel.

When I worked in the corporate world, I appreciated competence to a high degree. We searched for people who could do what they said they could do and we appreciated a job well done.

That’s why I love high functioning Threes. They take their work seriously; they have a heightened sense of responsibility for how the job is done.

I often think Threes understand an Aristotelian dictum that the first consequence of work is the effect is has on the person doing it. Threes do a lot of self-transformation by doing their work well and everyone who counts on them as fellow workers or consumers of their product are not only satisfied but improved a bit.


If you would like to be known, have a healthy style Two as a friend. In a specific way, Twos know us almost better than we knew ourselves. They give uncannily perfect gifts, for example. They may neglect themselves, but they don’t stop attending to you.


Because D. Trump is so ubiquitous I should explain why all the Enneagram folk I know are aware that he is an 8. Here’s why we know:

1) He is preoccupied with winning and losing. This is the battleground model of the universe that eights operate out of. He would refute the other candidates by simply saying he was winning. Winning is the (excuse me) trump card.
2) Healthy eights seek justice. Unhealthy eights seek revenge (which is justice for me but not consideration for you).
3) Powerful energy in the external world. Those who know him personally acknowledge a real charismatic presence. Those who know him personally also describe him as as animal. In either case, the carnal energy is high.
4) His thinking is black and white. When he tries to be gray, he flips from black onto white and back to black. Most of his positions are extreme and contradictory.
5) Eights often have an “my way or the highway” approach to making decisions. His staff tries to modify that (quick publicly) but it doesn’t work. Right or wrong, he makes his decisions (and says so) from his own gut.