Enneagram personality tests claim to measure your behavioral reactions to your environment by finding out your enneagram type. There are nine enneagram personality types and each one is influenced by other in one way or the other.
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According to enneagram concept of personality, we are born with an “essence”. Each type of essence is denoted with a number given upon circumference of a symbolic circle. The modern experts express these numbers with their respective dominant characteristics. It remains constant throughout our lives.
Our personality, as per the enneagram personality tests, is nurtured by our environment, education and culture. It may either be in opposite or in consonance with our natural essence. When opposite, our personality is unhealthy and when in harmony, we are considered healthy enneagram personality type.
Your growth occurs when you remove these extra influences and bring your personality in harmony with your essence.
The experts of the enneagram personality tests believe that this model has roots in the philosophy of Pythagoras, a Greek mathematician. However, it follows zero and decimal systems which were not known before 10th to 14th century.
The first renowned figure in the history of this model is G.I Gurdjieff (1870-1949). He claimed that he had learnt the system in his mystical trance under the influence of different angels. However, he didn’t write anything in this regard but taught it throughout his life. His prominent students including John. G. Bennet, Ouspensky and Oscar Ichazo not only propagated his tradition but also expounded upon it.
In 1970s, Helen Palmer, a student of Oscar Ichazo, wrote a book entitled "The Enneagram; understanding Yourself and the Others in Your Life" and mixed the system with the current day psychological ideas. She was the first person to describe the nine points as 9 enneagram personality types.
In 1990s, Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson added the model with their ideas of levels of personality development, wings, and points of disintegration and integration. The modern day enneagram personality tests follow expounded theories of these two big names.
In early days, the model was used only to develop your essence. However, the flavor of psychology has turned it into a psychological instrument which different organizations and corporations use for different purposes including:
1- Human Resource Development
2- Human Resource Motivation
3- Human Resource Management, and
4- Improvement of Skills and Capabilities of employees
There is no evidence that employer organizations are using this model for screening purposes. However, the frenzy for the ‘right person for the right job’ may soon qualify it for hiring and firing purposes. It is advisable to go through the structure and mechanism of enneagram personality types before they start it.
You can find your enneagram
personality type by taking paid or free enneagram personality tests. However, a
much better way is to learn the system yourself. It seems complicated but it is
Ennea-gram is a Greek word where ennea means nine and gram means a diagram. It is comprised of the following basic elements...
A Circle and 9 Points
This model follows a symbolic circle containing nine points (1-9) equidistantly on its circumference. The circle shows unity. Each point is expressed with a characteristic which is considered dominant for that type.
The enneagram personality tests believe that the most important numbers are 1, 3 and 7. When you divide number 1 by 7, you shall get an infinite series of numbers 142857. Just connect the numbers in this direction and you shall get a hexagon.
The numbers 9-3-6 can be divided with 3 for whole numbers. Connect them with lines and you shall get a triangle.
Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson suggest that no pure type is possible to exist in the human world. That’s why you may have shades of different types and express different behaviors in different situations.
Development levels, in enneagram personality model, means your level of harmony between your essence (nature) and personality (nurture). When your personality is harmonious with your spirit, you are considered enneagram healthy type. However, when your personality has got characteristics entirely opposite to your essence, you are considered enneagram unhealthy type. In between stages are called average level of development. These levels explain why and how you may behave differently than your essence.
Every type at circumference of the circle has close relation with the types on either side. They are called your left and right wings. Suppose you are enneagram five type. You may have shades of characteristics given for enneagram four type or enneagram six type or of the both. Some enneagram personality test exponents don’t agree with the concept of wings.
Directions of Disintegration and Integration
Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson further suggest that you express different behaviors in different situations. In stress or under feelings of security you may express personality characteristics which are not specified for your type. However, it doesn’t happen randomly.
In stress you follow the direction of disintegration that is 142857 and 639. In other words you start behaving as the next type in the sequence suggests. It is called your stress point or direction of disintegration. When you feel secure and well, you follow just the reverse direction to express different behaviors.
Suppose you are enneagram five type. You shall express behaviors specified for the enneagram seven type in stress and become an enthusiast investigator. But you shall go for personality characteristics given for enneagram eight type in security and challenge the environment with your investigated results.
The 9 enneagram types are expressed with their nine related dominant qualities. They are as under:
1- Enneagram one type is called as the reformer
2- Enneagram two type is named as the helper
3- Enneagram three type is identified as the achiever
4- Enneagram four type is entitled as the individualist
5- Enneagram five type is termed as the investigator
6- Enneagram six type is described as the loyalists
7- Enneagram seven type is named as the enthusiast
8- Enneagram eight type is identified as the challenger9- Enneagram nine type is termed as the peacemaker
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