How To Support An Enneagram One At Work – Wholeness at Work

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How To Support An Enneagram One At Work

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An Enneagram One at work showing a system to a coworker on a whiteboard. He is drawing out a content system and making notes in the center.

How To Support An Enneagram One At Work

According to research done by Truity, they found that Enneagram Ones make up 10% of the population, and the personality is equal amongst men and women. So, it is likely that you, someone you work with, or someone you love has this personality, and we want to dive into how to help them as they face workplace burnout. 

An Overview of Enneagram One

When it comes to the innate qualities of an Enneagram One, they—more than any—are driven by a code of ethics. Known as The Reformer, Enneagram Type Ones may relate significantly to the definition of their nickname: 

Reformer: a person who makes changes to something to improve it.

That’s the crux of their desires—to improve themselves and the world around them. Their ideals are virtuous, but consistently sacrificing their own personal comforts to improve the world around them can lead to workplace burnout.


How To Know When A One Is Headed Toward Burnout?

The truth is, the Enneagram Type 1 in your life is probably not a big complainer. Instead, when they are feeling down, they are more likely to internalize their emotions to avoid causing distress to others. While that may sound noble from the outset, we often do not know when someone needs help until they tell us. With an Enneagram 1 on your team, you will likely need to be on the lookout for signs of burnout more than some of the other types. 

Enneagram One Signs Of Burnout To Look Out For:

1 | They start to become overly perfectionistic

2 | They become obsessed with their work and overwork themselves

3 | They begin to pick at the imperfections of others

4 | They focus on the perfection of irrelevant things or tasks

5 | They discredit the thoughts and feelings of others

6 | Begin to think that only their way is the correct way

While this is not a comprehensive list, it is undoubtedly an excellent place to start to look for declines in your team. As you see these signs begin to bubble to the surface, it is essential to support your team member as soon as you can so that you can stop burnout in its tracks rather than allow it to take over their feelings. 


Encourage Them To Take Time For Renewal

Since we know Type Ones have a harsh inner critic,  recognize their hard work and encourage them to end their workday at a healthy hour, take their breaks, and focus on themselves. As a leader, you may be thinking about the laws and rules in place in your state to ensure people take their proper work breaks, but we all know the person who clocks out for lunch and continues to work while clicking away at their tasks. Although it’s a personal decision,  this lack of boundaries might create a workload that is out of control. And since Ones internalize their struggles, you might miss the early signs of burnout at work. Pay attention to that and encourage them (and everyone on your team) to truly take time for renewal each day. 

Discuss Their Ability To Look For Areas of Improvement (And How To Relay The Info)

Not everyone on your team wants to hear about the imperfections in their projects. While looking for areas of improvement might be a superpower of the Enneagram One, consistently hearing perceived negative feedback from a One can take a toll on the rest of your team. So, as you work alongside the One, explain to them that you appreciate their feedback and create a system that allows them to discuss their ideas for improvement while not placing unneeded stress on your team. You can also have an open discussion with them about how this feedback can come off as negative, open the dialogue to ensure their needs and feelings are heard, and support them where they need it. 


Discuss Their Core Values And Purpose At Work

More than any other type, Enneagram Ones need a purpose at work. You can often find this personality type working for non-profits, as lawyers, politicians, or in other values-based professions. When a Type 1 begins to show signs of burnout, it could be because they no longer feel that they are working for the greater good. You can discuss this need with them by considering their core values. You may find that their position doesn’t align with their values, and that’s okay. How can you find a place in your organization where they might thrive? Is there an opening in HR that might align better? Is there an opportunity for them to work with a mission-driven client? Could you begin a program for charitable works and put them in charge? By aligning them (and really any team member ) with their values, you may be able to ignite a passion in them that you’ve never seen before. After all, every single one of us has different needs at work.

There is so much to discuss when it comes to workplace burnout. If you would like to dive deeper into this work, we have tools for you and your team to help you end burnout in your organization for good. 

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