How To Support An Enneagram Six At Work
An Enneagram Six wants security. Everything they do is to maintain or gain stability in their lives, for better (and sometimes worse). Today we want to talk about this type and how we can support the Six in the workplace.
An Overview of Enneagram Six
Inquisitive, loyal, and trustworthy, they use their intelligence to create environments of safety around them. They are always analyzing what may go wrong and working to ensure the worst does not happen. This makes them wonderfully supportive and willing to assist the team whenever needed—avoiding negative outcomes for all in the process. But, this constant state of worry is exhausting and can quickly lead to burnout if not addressed.
How To Know When A Six Is Headed Toward Burnout?
Constant, insistent mental chatter causes physiological stress that lives within the bodies of Sixes. They are instinctively slow to trust others (to remain "safe") but also need reassurance from others. Not trusting anyone at first but needing trust from others creates a hole in their support needs.
Here, we will discuss some signs of burnout for this type and how you can help your teammate or colleague.
Enneagram 6 Signs Of Burnout To Look Out For:
1 | They worry about every detail
2 | They become passive aggressive
3 | Blaming others and negative talk become the norm
4 | Shows signs of competitiveness with others
5 | Become fixated on the worst-case scenario
No list is conclusive, but for the Six, when these signs of burnout bubble up, intercept them with some helpful tips for your teammate to avoid burnout.
Give Them Space To Process
When you notice the signs of worry making your teammate overthink or even practice avoidance, give them time to share their fears and anxieties. Our founder, Erin Rocchio, has created a beautiful practice for this in our Enneagram X Burnout Card Deck called, "Creating Space For My Questions." On this card, Erin displays a five-step process to help a Six to confront their concerns head on by asking questions that will reveal r the cause of their worry. This may sound counterintuitive at first. But, by naming the biggest fear of the moment, one can find the source of that fear and begin to evaluate the legitimacy of their doubts or concerns. They make us human, they protect us, and even with fear, the 6 is okay as they are.
Help De-Magnify The Worst Case Scenario
Sometimes our worries feel much bigger than they are. A scenario an Enneagram Six might fixate on could be one that wouldn't cause any damage in the long run. Sometimes, in fact, the worry and stress are more damaging than the outcome. When you notice fixation, it is an excellent time to create space for them to speak with you. It's essential to have an open mind in this conversation. Be inquisitive, and ask questions to get to the bottom of the worry. A complete anxious thought could look like this:
-I am sending out an email to a list of 15,000 people today
-If there's a misspelling, I could embarrass our company
-I have checked the email 12 times and have had a teammate read it over
-We could have missed something
-This could lead me to lose my job
This fixation on the problem could cause the project to delay or not get done. As a leader, hearing these worries could prompt you to offer to read it over or trust that two people have checked for errors. And if an error does occur, ensuring that job loss is not on the line. Removing the major worry could help them get out of the state of fixation and become their supportive and helpful self again.
Open Up A Clear Line Of Communication
When we look at issues like competitiveness and distrust, it can make many of us leaders uncomfortable. But, in some instances, having healthy competition and a mind for details is an asset. When it becomes a problem, though—moving from healthy competition and analysis to distrust and passive aggressiveness—it is a good time to create a space for the whole team to feel supported (while not calling any individual out).
While trust exercises may not be your style, trust within a team keeps your workplace healthy. Instead, find ways for your team to connect in creative ways. For example, create a meal together. This is a beautiful way to enjoy a unifying activity and opens up time for conversation around the table after. In this exercise, each person is trusted with a component of the dish, working together to taste each other's creations and make modifications for the perfect bite. Building bonds and working together on a task outside your normal scope is a great way to create trust.
There is so much to discuss when it comes to workplace burnout. If you want to dive into this work, we have tools for you and your team to help you end burnout in your organization for good.