The InsideOut Leader: CEO Lynne Sedgmore Type 8

Case Study

To bring alive my experience using the Enneagram in a professional context, how I brought it into my organisation, and the results of our investment, I share the following case study.

What was the situation?

Over a period of weeks, an individual member of staff, a senior manager, was struggling to compose herself in meetings and with colleagues. She had walked out of an interview for a promotion and was in conflict with several of her peers and with me, her line manager. Whatever we did, she seemed unable to respond and was in severe danger of being disciplined. Although she could be a prima donna at times, she had never behaved this way before to the extent that her work and role were at risk. Support, challenge, and discussion seemed to be of no avail. She was derailing but was unable to see it herself. It had become apparent at board level, so I knew that I had to intervene.

What was going on in your organization that you wanted to change or transform?

I wanted the senior manager to see that her shadow (her unconscious and habitual reactive patterns) was leaking out in the workplace, affecting her work, her relationships, and perceptions of her, and I wanted to assist her to return to balance, right relationship, and her high performing self. This was not a case of incompetence or the need for skill development.

Why did you choose the Enneagram as part of your intervention?

I felt the Enneagram would give me deep insight into what was going on for her, particularly in working with her shadow. I used Enneagram methods to clarify that she was probably a Type 2 and planned an intervention. Prepared with the knowledge of my own predispositions as a Type 8, I went into her office and approached her in an open and transparent manner, inside her space, not mine, and invited her to work with me, in confidence, to assist her. My tone was gentle and calm. I explained that I thought she needed space and time to explore a map that could help us both. I listed all the things I had done that may not have helped her, and said that I was at a loss but was open to doing whatever it took to make things better because I valued her so much. I spent considerable time explaining how valuable she was in the organisation. To my immense relief, she was able to trust me and was prepared to learn about the Enneagram, and she admitted that she was in pain and confusion. It mattered to her that I had come to her, in her space, and not called her into my office.

How did you use the Enneagram?

We read the same book on the Enneagram and shared our Types. She identified as a Type 2. We explored every aspect, and looked at why and how our Types were clashing, along with her fixations and how she could transform. She asked me to give her feedback about her behaviour and she could see the patterns of her Type. She began to talk with other members of the team and opened authentic conversations with them, which instigated a broader awareness and interest in the Enneagram.

What were the results? 

To her credit, she began to make improvements within the first three weeks and soon began to reflect skillfully on her behaviours and reactions. The main message she fed back to me was that she stopped feeling “so awful” when she could see herself as a Type in the Enneagram context, and could share who and what she was with others. She was able to see perspectives other than her own. She felt that she had a map to do things differently. Within six weeks she was performing well, beyond her previous performance before all the issues had begun. Her relationships were better than they had ever been. There was another result. The chairman and board were impressed that she and I had been able to resolve such a “difficult situation,” and they agreed to fund me to train and certify in the Enneagram to use it more broadly across the organisation. They said that, “the changes were in the realm of the miraculous.” The whole of my senior management team decided to work with the Enneagram to depersonalise conflicts and difficult issues. We undertook a programme of training in the Enneagram that enabled us to work even more effectively as a senior management team, drawing on the aspects of our Types to “call” difficult behaviours. When we worked with others, they often commented on our “numbers language”—the reference to our different Types—and noticed that it seemed to help us gain clarity when tensions arose. I brought an external Enneagram facilitator to a two-day session that 30 staff members attended by invitation. Several of them formed a Quality team to understand their Types. They moved from mediocre to high-level performance in six months. They had a large chart of their Types on their staff room wall, and when asked how they had changed so much, they explained that they now understood each other much better. For example, some of them had been “irritated” by a team member. When they saw a video of her Type, they understood the contribution she could make and reorganised team roles to utilize her positive reflection and her analytical and questioning skills. The Enneagram allowed us to see the blind spots of the team, composed of two Type 8s, two Type 1s, and one Type 3. We were moving too fast with insufficient reflection. Feedback from our staff of 1,000 let us know that there was too much action, and too many changes emanated from the "top." To change our collective style, we did the following:
  • Introduced a pace and space charter, which encouraged a slower pace and more space for reflection
  • Brought a Type 5 onto the team—someone with reflective, different skills who challenged us
  • Worked together on a management charter to articulate rights and responsibilities—that is, what we offered to staff and what we expected in return
  • Opened dialogue with Types not on our team to understand the impact we were having on others
Our work led to meetings where different perspectives were raised and debated. Staff members who were aware of their Type used them as points of reference and understanding. When I left and a new CEO came in, he learned the Enneagram because it had become part of the organisation’s leadership culture.
The InsideOut Leader: CEO Lynne Sedgmore Type 8
Case Studies

The InsideOut Leader: Leslie Type 7

Leslie: Type 7 Leslie identifies as a Type 7, the Enthusiast. After learning about the Enneagram, she felt a strong connection to Type 8, the Boss. She is aware that she doesn’t want to be controlled or to take orders from anyone. Over the course of several years, Leslie received direct feedback (invited and uninvited) from family members, friends, colleagues, job reviews, training programs, and 360-degree reviews, saying that she could be pushy, bossy, and demanding, and seemed to want to get her way. She is also known to take charge and make things happen. Working with her coach, she was able to address this feedback by learning to adapt her style to the situation and employ her Type 8 Wing in a conscious way. Leslie was less aware of being cautious and skeptical of others’ agendas, as well as of her lack of trust in her own ability to be decisive and forge ahead with her life—aspects of Type 6, the Loyal Skeptic. Through a process with her coach, she was able to see these aspects of herself as well. This came as a surprise to Leslie, who thought she really knew herself. With this new information and some work, she has been able to become more confident and trusting of herself and others. These are some of the dynamics at play that make up the internal workings of Type 7.
The InsideOut Leader: Leslie Type 7
Case Studies

The InsideOut Leader: Type 6 & Type 4 Tango

Pia: Type 6 Leader

Pia (Type 6, the Loyal Skeptic) manages Jacques (Type 4, the Individualist). Jacques likes to have a lot of room to do his work in his own unique way, is more of an individual contributor than team focused, and likes to be left alone to do his work with the necessary supports. He is known to be a bit temperamental and moody. Jacques also tends to find ways to draw attention to himself, either through how he dresses, by being provocative in meetings, or through his moody outbursts.

Pia tends to look for what can go wrong and sees worst-case scenarios. It is important to her that people be team players and not lone wolves. She has a hard time trusting others and is known to play the devil’s advocate. People can be exhausted by her need to drill down and thoroughly understand until she feels comfortable. She is also very loyal to her company and feels a strong sense of duty.

Jaques: Type 4 Leader

If Pia learns to appreciate and accept Jacques without trying to make him conform, she will get the best out of him. Although Jacques may want to do things in his own way, he has excellent people skills and a strong work ethic; he invests in what he’s doing, is sensitive to others, and has a creative approach to his work. However, when Pia doesn’t respect Jacques’s need for space and need to have his own unique expression, or she starts to look for what could go wrong, it can create conflict between the two.

Pia’s need to know and understand may be a benefit to her relationship with Jacques. Her tendency to stay with an issue until she feels comfortable may fill Jacques’s strong need to feel seen for who he uniquely is and to be understood. Jacques has a need for authentic self-expression, and if Pia appreciates this about him, it will solidify their ability to work together. Jacques’s desire for authenticity will help build trust with Pia.

It will be important for Jacques to keep Pia informed about what he is doing and his progress; to participate more fully on the team; and to ask for the support he needs, in order to successfully manage his relationship with Pia.

The InsideOut Leader: Type 6 & Type 4 Tango
Case Studies
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