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The best of each Enneagram type (+ types at their unhealthiest)

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Many companies today use the Enneagram test in their hiring and team-building efforts. The Enneagram test is a psychological assessment tool that determines an individual’s personality type based on their motivations, desires, and fears. It gives you insight into how applicants will fit in with your company’s culture and helps you support their transition into their new team. 

There are nine Enneagram types, each with unique traits and characteristics. But these traits can manifest in both healthy and unhealthy ways. Thus, you need to be able to identify which individuals are exhibiting their healthy versus unhealthy traits and support them appropriately.

In this guide, we look at each Enneagram type and how their attitudes and behaviors differ at their best versus their worst. We also share best practices for helping individuals be the greatest version of themselves. 

When do Enneagram types exhibit “healthy” and “unhealthy” traits?

factors that can influence whether an individual exhibits the healthy or unhealthy sides of their Enneagram graphic

At their best, individuals exhibit the “healthy” side of their personality type. This means they’re harnessing all their strengths and functioning at their full potential. 

At their worst, however, individuals display the “unhealthy” side of their personality type. They let internal and external stress bring out their weaknesses and hinder growth. 

Several factors can influence whether an individual exhibits the healthy or unhealthy sides of their Enneagram Type. Some of these are listed below. 

1. Self-awareness and emotional intelligence 

People who are introspective and in tune with their emotions are more likely to keep a check on their attitudes and behaviors and portray healthy traits. Conversely, those who can’t recognize unhealthy patterns and what triggers them are more likely to exhibit the worst of their attributes. 

2. External circumstances

Sometimes, stress or triggers in an individual’s external environment can be a tipping point and bring out the worst in them. 

On the flip side, when life is great and things are going their way, individuals are more likely to harness the positive side of their personalities. 

3. Personal effort and mindset 

Engaging in mindfulness or therapy can help individuals control their emotions and attitudes, making it easier for them to retain their healthy traits even in tough times. 

In contrast, individuals with a negative mindset tend to spiral and let their unhealthy side take over. 

Now, let's take a look at the each Enneagram type at their best and worst.

Type 1 – The Improver

the improver graphic


Type Ones tend to be rational, morally principled, and conscientious. They have a strong sense of right and wrong, holding themselves and others to high ethical standards. They’re disciplined, diligent, and strive for perfectionism.

Healthy Type 1s 

  • Strive to act with high integrity in all their endeavors, and inspire others to do the same

  • Have high attention to detail but understand that mistakes are bound to happen 

  • Highly responsible, hard-working, and reliable at work

  • Maintain good work-life harmony by making time for their personal interests

  • Balanced, thoughtful, and fair, making the world a better place and defending what’s right

Unhealthy Type 1s 

  • Can be overly critical of themselves and those around them 

  • Obsessive, controlling, and tend to micromanage

  • Difficult to give open and honest feedback to – and don’t accept it

  • Can be hypocritical, justifying their actions while being unforgiving of others 

  • Manage time poorly and disrupt progress in their search for perfection

How to support Type 1s at work

  • Establish a clear set of goals and deadlines for Type Ones who tend to prefer structure

  • Recognize and appreciate them for their hard work and integrity 

  • Provide feedback that’s constructive and specific

  • Keep emails, calls, and meetings focused on key topics and ask them for their input

  • Involve them in the company’s mentoring, volunteering, and philanthropy efforts 

  • Encourage them to focus on self-care and work-life balance to prevent burnout 

  • Provide them with coaching on trust, empathy, and stress management   

Learn more about the Enneagram Type 1

Type 2 – The Giver

Type 2 the giver graphic


Type Twos tend to be empathetic, generous, and compassionate. They thrive on creating strong connections and meaningful relationships both in and outside of work. They’re sensitive to others’ needs and go out of their way to help them.

Healthy Type 2s 

  • Exceptionally giving and nurturing

  • Care for people unconditionally

  • Highly intuitive and recognize the needs of those around them  

  • Good at being generous to others while still looking out for their own needs

  • Dedicated to their work and support others in their growth and success

  • Create a warm and inviting atmosphere for everyone to thrive in 

Unhealthy Type 2s

  • Obsessed with the need to feel validated and appreciated by others 

  • Manipulate people by making them feel inadequate and then  “rescuing” them  

  • Guilt others into feeling indebted to them by reminding them of their flaws and past offenses

  • Possessive and needy in work and personal relationships

  • Struggle with boundaries and sacrifice their own needs to please others 

How to support Type 2s at work

  • Place them in roles that enable them to support others, such as a manager or mentor

  • Recognize them for their generosity and helpfulness 

  • Help them recognize their intrinsic value by showing them what they bring to the table as an individual contributor

  • Be sensitive while providing them with feedback

  • Avoid being overly critical

  • Keep emails, calls, and meetings engaging and conversational

  • Encourage them to focus on self-care through meditation and mindfulness 

  • Coach them in empowering their team members to grow independently of them

Learn more about the Enneagram Type 2

Type 3 – The Go-getter

Type 3 the go getter graphic


Type Threes are ambitious, enthusiastic, and productive individuals who strive for excellence and recognition. They’re adaptive and versatile across different groups and environments. They come across as well-presented, charismatic, and charming. 

Healthy Type 3s

  • Highly motivated and determined to achieve their goals

  • Secure in themselves and their own needs

  • Driven by personal fulfillment rather than external validation 

  • Excellent at networking and building relationships with others 

  • Can motivate and inspire those around them 

  • Accept failure as a natural and inevitable part of growth

Unhealthy Type 3s

  • Extremely image-conscious and obsessed with wanting to be admired 

  • Prioritize success at any cost, even over their personal relationships 

  • Play a character in every situation and are perceived as inauthentic and deceitful

  • Tend to become workaholics and neglect self-care 

  • Highly competitive and envious of others’ success

How to support Type 3s at work

  • Set challenging and high-stakes tasks for them 

  • Appreciate their hard work and success through recognition and praise

  • Use the “sandwich method” when giving feedback – start with positive feedback, share areas of improvement, and end with positive feedback

  • Keep emails, calls, and meetings brief and focused 

  • Help them realize their intrinsic value rather than focus on external recognition

  • Encourage them to practice mindfulness and prioritize work-life balance

  • Provide them with opportunities for growth and progression

Learn more about the Enneagram Type 3

Type 4 – The Contemplator 

Type 4 – The Contemplator  graphic


Type Fours are creative, expressive, and emotionally sensitive. They’re highly introspective and seek depth and meaning in their lives. They value authenticity and focus on finding their own unique identity that differentiates them from others.

Healthy Type 4s 

  • Highly self-aware, empathetic, and intuitive about others' emotions

  • Look for inspiration, meaning, and depth in relationships and experiences 

  • Are very secure in their uniqueness, sense of self, and personal values 

  • Highly creative and bring beauty and aesthetics into any environment they’re in

  • Inspire others to transform their lives through self-reflection and introspection

Unhealthy Type 4s

  • Self-absorbed and overly focused on their desire to be extraordinary 

  • Struggle with self-doubt, self-pity, and self-loathing, constantly feeling like they’ve failed 

  • Withdraw and isolate themselves from others, especially people they envy

  • Tend to indulge in melancholy and victimize themselves, which hinders their personal growth

  • Prone to moodiness

  • Resist help from those around them  

How to support Type 4s at work

  • Put them on creative projects with a diverse set of tasks 

  • Place them in roles that balance independent work but allow the opportunity to build connections with others

  • Recognize them for their unique contributions at work

  • Be specific and objective with feedback to prevent them from taking it personally 

  • Involve them in the company’s wellness and well-being practices 

  • Encourage them to share their feelings in emails, calls, and one-on-one meetings

  • Offer space and time to practice introspection and mindfulness at work

Learn more about the Enneagram Type 4

Type 5 – The Pioneer

Type 5 – The Pioneer graphic


Type Fives tend to be curious, independent, and highly observant individuals. They strive to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the world. They’re likely to be introverted and tend to value autonomy, self-sufficiency, and personal space.

Healthy Type 5s

  • Highly knowledgeable in their areas of interest 

  • Remarkable insight and ability to see the big picture, able to form connections others can’t 

  • Extremely innovative and make revolutionary breakthroughs in their field 

  • Self-assured and accept that they don’t know everything

  • Compassionate and humble

  • Help others by providing them with valuable advice and insight

Unhealthy Type 5s

  • Isolate and withdraw themselves from the outside world, antagonizing anyone who tries to connect with them

  • Go into “analysis paralysis” when faced with an overwhelming amount of information

  • Feel incompetent and are filled with self-doubt about every thought and decision

  • Out of touch with reality and prone to overthinking, delusion, and self-destruction

  • Resist sharing knowledge, helping others, or accepting help from them

How to support Type 5s at work

  • Place them in roles where they can utilize their technical knowledge and ability to innovate

  • Let them work independently – giving them space to strategize, plan, and work systematically in their own way

  • Show appreciation for their intellect and abilities through praise or rewards

  • Provide them with opportunities to upskill and increase their knowledge 

  • Be open, honest, and direct when providing them with feedback 

  • Keep emails, calls, and meetings direct and free of small talk 

  • Coach them on emotional intelligence and working with others 

Learn more about the Enneagram Type 5

Type 6 - The Devoted

Type 6 - The Devoted graphic


Type Sixes are highly loyal, committed, and hard-working individuals. They place a high value on safety and security and tend to behave responsibly. They focus on building stable and trusting relationships with those they can rely on for reassurance. 

Healthy Type 6s 

  • Deeply loyal, reliable, and highly dependable

  • Excellent leaders who know how to foster a sense of safety and stability for those around them 

  • Strong advocates for close people and causes they believe in 

  • Have a knack for identifying potential problems and risks and focus on preparedness and contingency planning 

  • Are self-reliant and confident in their decisions

Unhealthy Type 6s

  • Prone to intense overthinking and worry – enough to disrupt their ability to concentrate and perform at work

  • Need constant reassurance and validation from trusted authorities

  • Can become overly skeptical and distrustful of others

  • Fear of stepping out of their comfort zone hinders their ability to grow 

  • Indulge in self-hatred and self-punishment 

How to support Type 6s at work

  • Provide a clear set of goals and expectations with little to no uncertainty

  • Encourage them to participate in mentorship or buddy programs 

  • Place them in a stable and positive environment with a supportive manager

  • Recognize them for their loyalty to the company and commitment to their roles

  • Be gentle when providing them with feedback and focus on constructive criticism

  • Clarify and stick to the purpose of meetings, calls, and emails

  • Avoid small talk when communicating with them

  • Encourage them to get help from an employee assistance program or mental health resource if they’re experiencing anxiety 

Learn more about the Enneagram Type 6

Type 7 – The Cheerleader


Type Sevens are adventurous and spontaneous individuals with many varied interests. They crave new experiences and want to feel content and satisfied with their lives. They’re highly energetic, optimistic, and upbeat and enjoy forming new connections.

Healthy Type 7s

  • Live life with a sense of profound joy, openness, and gratitude 

  • Quick at problem-solving and out-of-the-box thinking 

  • Highly versatile and can excel in various roles and projects 

  • Adaptable and flexible

  • Inspire, encourage, and motivate others around them with their positivity

Unhealthy Type 7s

  • Always distracted and scattered, looking for pleasure everywhere but struggling to feel content

  • Leave tasks or projects unfinished and are perceived as flaky and unreliable 

  • Struggle with commitment, thus losing out on important relationships and jobs

  • Extremely impulsive and make decisions – often destructive ones – without thinking them through 

  • Rationalize other people’s negative behaviors at the cost of their own needs and feelings 

How to support Type 7s at work

  • Provide them with diverse and stimulating projects that let them harness their creativity

  • Place them in roles that are non-repetitive and not bound by strict rules and schedules 

  • Offer flexibility and freedom but hold them accountable for following through

  • Provide constructive feedback that clearly highlights where they can improve 

  • Keep emails, calls, and meetings casual and ask for their ideas but ensure they don’t go off on tangents

  • Include them in planning and organizing team socials 

  • Offer regular opportunities to acquire new skills 

Learn more about the Enneagram Type 7

Type 8 – The Master

Type 8 – The Master graphic


Type Eights tend to be assertive, self-reliant, and powerful. Often considered natural leaders, they’re courageous and not afraid of making difficult decisions. They seek to defend and protect themselves and others – especially the underdogs.

Healthy Type 8s

  • Faithful and courageous and advocate for justice

  • Go out of their way to protect the vulnerable or wronged

  • Excellent leaders who offer guidance and a sense of security to others

  • Humble, kind-hearted, and modest 

  • Help people unconditionally 

  • Inspire and empower their team members to achieve their potential

  • Highly resilient and comfortable making difficult decisions 

Unhealthy Type 8s

  • Power-hungry, controlling, and manipulative 

  • Make ruthless decisions as a way to punish those that defy them 

  • Avoid vulnerability and weakness at all costs 

  • Intolerant towards acts of empathy or softness 

  • Can’t accept criticism and won’t admit mistakes

How to support Type 8s at work

  • Place them in mentorship and leadership roles

  • Involve them in company decisions, especially those that require an objective viewpoint 

  • Encourage autonomy and offer them more control over their work

  • Be respectful and constructive when providing feedback 

  • Keep emails, calls, and meetings straightforward 

  • Encourage them to find a few people they can be open and vulnerable with or to seek guidance from a licensed coach or therapist when needed

  • Train them on delegation, empowerment, and leading with empathy

Learn more about the Enneagram Type 8

Type 9 – The Agreeable 

Type 9 – The Agreeable graphic


Type Nines tend to be easygoing, adaptive, and agreeable in their behavior. They strive for peace and harmony within themselves and the world around them. They’re great mediators and bring stability to others. 

Healthy Type 9s

  • Are at complete peace and harmony with their inner selves, surroundings, and those around them 

  • Great listeners and mediators, able to help with resolving conflict between others

  • Highly adaptable and can see things from multiple perspectives

  • Resilient and rarely flustered, able to handle situations with confidence and dignity

  • Bring inclusion, fairness, and cooperation to groups 

Unhealthy Type 9s

  • Too far removed from their own needs, feelings, and desires

  • Unhappy and unproductive 

  • Refuse to come to terms with problems, conflict, or negative emotions

  • Passive aggressive in expressing their frustrations 

  • Procrastinate and avoid making difficult decisions or taking on challenging tasks 

  • Feel overlooked and resent people for not appreciating them

How to support Type 9s at work

  • Place them in small teams where they can best bring harmony and cooperation

  • Check in with them regularly to ensure they’re communicating openly and honestly 

  • Encourage them to view debate as a healthy and beneficial part of growth and ideation

  • Keep room for small talk in emails, calls, and meetings while still focusing on the purpose

  • Discuss growth areas but don’t be overly critical or negative when providing feedback

  • Create an environment in which they feel safe, heard, and valued 

  • Coach them on managing difficult conversations and delivering tough messages

Learn more about the Enneagram Type 9

How to determine an individual’s Enneagram Type

The quickest and most reliable way to find an individual’s Enneagram Type is by having them take TestGorilla’s Enneagram Personality test

With only 45 questions, the test takes less than 10 minutes to complete. It’s easy to interpret the results, too. You’ll receive a comprehensive report with insights into test-takers’ core attributes, motivations, and working preferences. There’s also information on how each type can communicate and collaborate effectively with the other Enneagram personality types.

The Enneagram test shouldn’t be the only tool you use during hiring. It’s best to use it alongside TestGorilla’s other pre-employment screening tests that assess candidates’ job-specific skills, technical expertise, cognitive abilities, and more. This way, you’ll have a complete picture of your applicants before hiring them. 

Want to learn more about how to deal with each Enneagram type? Go to our guide on the most common Enneagram type (most to least popular)

Get started with the Enneagram Test

The Enneagram test is a popular personality assessment tool companies use during hiring. The test helps determine candidates’ dominant personality type from nine Enneagram types, keeping you well-informed of their working preferences, interpersonal relationship styles, and more.  

While finding an individual’s Enneagram type provides great insight into their core traits and characteristics, it’s important to remember that each type can manifest in good and bad ways. You need to understand if an individual is functioning as healthy or unhealthy versions of their personality type so you can provide them with the right support at work. 

Sign up for a free TestGorilla plan today to conduct an Enneagram test with your candidates or current employees.


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