Enneagram is a spiritualist model of nine personality types: Reformer/Perfectionist, Helper/Giver, Achiever/Performer, Individualist/ Romantic, Investigator/Observer, Loyalist/Loyal-Sceptic, Enthusiast/Epicure, Challenger/Protector & Peacemaker/Mediator.

Summary by The World of Work Project

The Enneagram of Personality

The Enneagram is a popular, spiritualist personality test. It contends that there are nine personality types, each of which have distinctive characteristics. These characteristics can be used to gain self-awareness or a deeper understanding of others.

Personalities in the Enneagram include vices, just like Vegas.

The Enneagram differs from other forms of personality assessment in its spirituality. Each of the nine categories that the Enneagram defines have a variety of traits. These traits include: ego fixation, holy idea, basic fear, basic desire, temptation, vice and virtue. We’ll look at each of the nine categories in more detail below.

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1. Reformer / Perfectionist

In line with their “role” as named above, these individuals have the following key factors within the Enneagram:

  • Ego Fixation: Resentment
  • Holy Idea: Perfection
  • Basic Fear: Corruptness, imbalance, being bad
  • Basic Desire: Goodness, integrity, balance
  • Temptation: Hypocrisy, hyper-criticism
  • Vice / Passion: Anger
  • Virtue: Serenity

2. Helper / Giver

In line with their “role” as named above, these individuals have the following key factors within the Enneagram:

  • Ego Fixation: Flattery
  • Holy Idea: Freedom / will
  • Basic Fear: Being un-loved
  • Basic Desire: To feel love
  • Temptation: Deny own needs, manipulation
  • Vice / Passion: Pride
  • Virtue: Humility

Many people like to help others and give them gifts.

3. Achiever / Performer

In line with their “role” as named above, these individuals have the following key factors within the Enneagram:

  • Ego Fixation: Vanity
  • Holy Idea: Hope / law
  • Basic Fear: Worthlessness
  • Basic Desire: To feel valuable
  • Temptation: Pushing self to always be the best
  • Vice / Passion: Deceit
  • Virtue: Truthfulness / authenticity

4. Individualist / Romantic

Finding yourself may take self-reflection.

In line with their “role” as named above, these individuals have the following key factors within the Enneagram:

  • Ego Fixation: Melancholy
  • Holy Idea: Origin
  • Basic Fear: Having no identity or significance
  • Basic Desire: To be uniquely themselves
  • Temptation: To overuse imagination in search of self
  • Vice / Passion: Envy
  • Virtue: Equanimity (emotional balance)

5. Investigator / Observer

In line with their “role” as named above, these individuals have the following key factors within the Enneagram:

  • Ego Fixation: Stinginess
  • Holy Idea: Omnicience / transparency
  • Basic Fear: Helplessness, incapability, incompetence
  • Basic Desire: Mastery, understanding
  • Temptation: Replacing direct experience with concepts
  • Vice / Passion: Avarice
  • Virtue: Non-attachment

6. Loyalist / Loyal skeptic

In line with their “role” as named above, these individuals have the following key factors within the Enneagram:

  • Ego Fixation: Cowardice
  • Holy Idea: Faith
  • Basic Fear: Being without support or guidance
  • Basic Desire: To have support and guide
  • Temptation: Indecision, doubt, seeking reassurance
  • Vice / Passion: Fear
  • Virtue: Courage

7. Enthusiast / Epicure

In line with their “role” as named above, these individuals have the following key factors within the Enneagram:

Sometimes, it’s hard not to be a glutton.

  • Ego Fixation: Planning, anticipation
  • Holy Idea: Wisdom, plan
  • Basic Fear: Being trapped in pain and deprivation
  • Basic Desire: To be satisfied and content
  • Temptation: Thinking fulfillment is somewhere else
  • Vice / Passion: Gluttony
  • Virtue: Sobriety

8. Challenger / Protector

In line with their “role” as named above, these individuals have the following key factors within the Enneagram:

  • Ego Fixation: Vengeance
  • Holy Idea: Truth
  • Basic Fear: Being harmed, controlled, violated
  • Basic Desire: Self-protection
  • Temptation: Thinking they are completely self-sufficient
  • Vice / Passion: Lust (forcefulness)
  • Virtue: Innocence

9. Peacemaker / Mediator

In line with their “role” as named above, these individuals have the following key factors within the Enneagram:

  • Ego Fixation: Indolence (daydreaming)
  • Holy Idea: Love
  • Basic Fear: Loss, fragmentation, separation
  • Basic Desire: Wholeness, peace of mind
  • Temptation: Avoiding conflicts, avoiding self-assertion
  • Vice / Passion: Sloth (disengagement)
  • Virtue: Action

The Enneagram has clear, strong links to Christianity and many Christian interpretations of it are available for purchase online.

Learning More

We’re very conscious that we are not experts in this area at all. We have, though, briefly covered a range of personalty tests in our website. These include Myers Briggs, Discovery Insights, Merrill-Reid, Birkman and the Big Five, as well as some other things like Type A and Type B personalities. Please consider our posts on these topics just a starting point from which to further your reading and understanding. On a side note, you might enjoy reading about the dark triad of personality types as well.

Personality tests can help people improve their self awareness. This is one of the reasons people do them. You can listen to our podcast on self-awareness via the player below, if you wish.

The World of Work Project View

Firstly, we’re conscious that we’ve not explored it as much as other models, nor have we explained it as well as other models. Hopefully what we have included here is helpful as a starting point for those who may wish to learn more about this model on their own.

This model of personality is much more spiritual than other models of personality. While it’s not for us, and it’s not been validated, we’ve included it here because we know that others might connect with it.

In general, we have problems with a wide range of personality assessments. From a personality assessment perspective, the one model we consider worth using is the empirically based “big five” model.

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This post is based on a brief review of a range of sources. If you’d like to learn more about it, consider reading Don Richard Riso and Don Hudson’s book: “The Wisdom of the Enneagram”.

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