One of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made as a leader was introducing our team to the enneagram. I learned about it back in 2016 at a men's retreat, and let’s just say, it rocked me. If you don’t know, the enneagram is a personality profiling system that shines a light on 9 different ways in which people see the world. It’s an incredible tool to help you show yourself and others grace and understanding.
"The Enneagram opens our eyes to how we constantly try to take matters into our own hands and allows us the space to trust God, and others, like never before."
I currently serve as the program director for a Christian camp in Southern California. We have a small team of 11 full-time staff and I get the privilege of recruiting and working with a seasonal staff of 20-35 college-aged students. A little over a year ago we introduced our full-time team to the enneagram and it’s been a breath of fresh air. I’ve seen more growth in the last year than I have in the four years I’ve been with our organization. I’m not giving the enneagram all of the credit, but I definitely think that it helped lay a foundation for a new culture full of understanding, grace, encouragement, and accountability. As an organization that is committed to pointing people to Jesus and helping them grow in their faith, this has been huge. It’s not just about knowing your type, or even other’s types, but allowing the information found in the enneagram to transform the ways you engage with the world around you. I truly believe it opens our eyes to how we constantly try to take matters into our own hands and allows us the space to trust God, and others, like never before.
I’d like to share with you, not just why I love the enneagram, but 3 reasons why I believe the enneagram is a necessary tool for faith-based organizations.
1. The enneagram provides a gauge of health for you and your team.
Ever feel like you or your team are in a funk and you don’t how you got there or how to get out? I love how the enneagram reveals the red flags or signs that show you when you’re headed into a healthy or unhealthy space. This gives you the ability to recognize when a team member is struggling, and instead of getting upset or annoyed, to pull them aside and show them love and kindness. This type of compassion and understanding will drastically change the day to day atmosphere in an office, and overflow into the efforts of any organization.
2. The enneagram helps you recognize what you pay attention to.
Ever wonder why your team members just don’t respond to your ideas or concerns the way you want them to? Understanding what you and your team members pay the most attention to, or desire the most, can be the best team building aspect of the enneagram. This allows leaders to place team members in the right seats, or positions, on the team. Now the enneagram doesn’t give a clear job description for each type, but one could gather from the enneagram that, for example, a type 7, the Enthusiast, won’t always thrive at a paper-pushing desk job. Knowing and applying the tools from the enneagram will help you lead your team into a deeper utilization of their strengths and gifting.
3. The enneagram helps you understand your team and how to best communicate with them.
Healthy communication is one of the most important parts of a thriving team. We often drop the ball in this department because we think everyone sees, needs, and wants what we do. The enneagram helps us step into the shoes of others and, hopefully, develop a deeper empathy when they do something different than us. It also helps us see the areas where we as individuals are lacking which can strengthen our faith and help us become more dependent on our team members with different strengths.
At the end of the day, we all want to be loved and known. I believe the enneagram serves as an open door to developing a deeper understanding of love and community, which I think are two of the most important qualities of any faith-based organization. I encourage you and your team to dive into the enneagram together with an open mind and continue to learn how you can be the effective and loving organization you were called to be.
Cody Bray is Evrgrn's non-profit & faith-based specialist. He lives in Southern California and would love to talk to you about how your organization can start using the enneagram right away! Reach out by emailing email@example.com