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Enneagram Type 1: Traits, strengths & potential careers


Learning more about a job applicant’s personality can reveal their motivations, fears, strengths, and weaknesses and, therefore, how they behave in the workplace. 

Tools like an Enneagram test offer valuable insights to help you take a data-driven approach to hiring. A candidate’s Enneagram responses help hiring managers identify their dominant personality traits based on nine interconnected personality types. 

In this article, we explain what it means when a candidate is an Enneagram Type One. We take a look at their traits, strengths, and weaknesses in the workplace, ideal careers, and what you can do to support a Type One employee to bring out their best.

What is Type 1 on the Enneagram test?

Type One – also called “the Improver” – is one of the nine personality types identified by the Enneagram test. 

Type Ones are hardworking, responsible, and thorough. They have a strong sense of justice and like to do the right thing. Sometimes referred to as “the Reformer”, Type Ones constantly seek to improve the world around them. They can easily identify ways to make life better and find what they believe is the best way to achieve a certain outcome. 

Type Ones are very purpose-driven in both their personal and professional lives. The main motivations of Type One are fairness, justice, and equality. 

Personality traits of Enneagram Type 1

Common personality traits of a Type One individual include:

  • Rationality

  • Integrity

  • Principled

  • Highly organized

  • Self-disciplined 

  • Perfectionism

  • A strong sense of justice

  • Hardworking 

  • Responsible and true to their word

  • Detail-oriented

  • Focused

Type 1 work preferences

In a work environment, Type Ones generally like to follow the rules. While they will speak up if they feel something is unfair or unjust, they also value order. 

Type One personalities thrive on processes and structures. As highly organized workers, they like to put in place systems to ensure tasks are done the correct way. Deadlines and precision are important to Type Ones. 

Constantly striving for improvement, Type Ones are quick to identify problems or mistakes in the workplace. This can be a useful contribution to help businesses improve their internal procedures, structures, and policies. 

Type Ones also go to great lengths to avoid making mistakes themselves. Working meticulously and thoroughly, they like to get things right the first time, regardless of how long it takes. 

When mistakes do happen, Type Ones believe in accountability as a result of their strong sense of justice. 

Strengths of Enneagram Type 1

Type Ones can be positive agents of change in the workplace. Their strong sense of right and wrong often sees them step forward and advocate for improvements and equality between employees. 

Passionate about their beliefs, Type Ones strive towards a higher purpose, sometimes at their own expense. But this higher purpose isn’t purely philosophical – Type Ones want to make a practical difference and be genuinely useful. Combined with their disciplined nature, Type Ones have the capacity to identify and implement real improvements.  

Type Ones have an orderly approach to work, and perfectionist tendencies mean they typically possess a high level of attention to detail. This makes them ideal for detail-orientated roles. 

Type Ones are also naturally hard workers. They can be ultra-focused and often go above and beyond what is expected of them. Their self-discipline means they see tasks through to completion, no matter how long it takes. 

Weaknesses of Enneagram Type 1

Type One’s desire for perfection may slow them down, affecting their productivity. It can also affect their experience in a work context. Their perfectionist nature means they are afraid of making mistakes and may approach work situations more cautiously. 

Type Ones hold themselves and others to a very high standard. Combined with their intense focus and workaholic nature, this means Type Ones often find it hard to delegate and can be more prone to burnout. This can also result in them being quite critical of their own or others’ actions.

A Type One’s emphasis on thoroughness and doing what’s right can result in rigidity. Their black-and-white view of the world can make it difficult to change their mind about something. 

Coworkers may interpret Type One’s sense of justice and equality as superior or sanctimonious. This is especially true when Type Ones share feedback on potential improvements that can come across as bossy or condescending. 

Strengths and weaknesses of enneagram type 1 the improver graphic

Growth opportunities for Enneagram Type 1

There are several areas of growth Type Ones can focus on to thrive in the workplace. 

They can work on becoming more flexible, for example, by being open to different perspectives and approaches. Combining their desire to find solutions with a more open-minded approach can lead to creative problem-solving. 

It’s also helpful for Type Ones to learn how to provide empathetic and constructive feedback. Type Ones are excellent at identifying problems or mistakes, often much more quickly than others. While this is a useful asset in a business sense, it can sometimes create friction if coworkers feel that Type One is being overly critical. 

Type One’s strong sense of right and wrong may result in them trying to control others to achieve what they believe is the right objective. Rather than controlling, Type Ones should focus on serving and collaborating with others.

How to support Type 1 in the workplace

There are several ways to help your Type One employees achieve their best work.

Firstly, it’s essential to help them identify their function and goals, as Type Ones are purpose-driven. When they know why they’re doing something, they work hard at it. Discuss their core values with them and identify how their standards align with their work and role in your business. 

It’s also important to take Type Ones and their work seriously. Make sure you do what you say you will do. Meet deadlines and start meetings or calls on time. 

Help Type Ones to view mistakes – both their own and others – as learning opportunities. Supporting them to be less judgmental of themselves and others increases their patience and flexibility when working in a team. 

With the potential to be workaholics, ensure that Type Ones have a healthy work/life balance. Encourage them to take breaks, use their vacation leave, and establish healthy boundaries to avoid burnout. 

Potential careers for Type 1

Type Ones are often drawn to purpose-driven careers that focus on improving the world around them, such as:

  • Careers in the legal or justice sectors, like lawyers, judges, or police officers

  • Doctors

  • Journalists or editors

  • Social workers or counselors

  • Activists

  • Roles in nonprofits

  • Academia, teaching, or coaching

Type 1 wings

Wings are the neighboring personalities on either side of a main personality type on the Enneagram. They can influence an individual and modify their core traits, either enhancing or subduing them. A person's wing is determined by which of the two adjacent personality types they score the highest on.  

The personality types that appear next to Type One on the Enneagram are nine and two. 

Type One Wing Nine

While Type One Wing Nines still possess a strong sense of justice, they are usually more open to fresh perspectives and changing their mind than Type Ones. They also often have a more calm, relaxed demeanor. This can mean they take a softer approach to effecting improvements. 

Type One Wing Nines can also be more idealistic and less practical than Type Ones. They are conflict-avoidant and want harmony. They are typically more introverted and observational. 

Type One Wing Two

Type One Wing Twos turn their focus towards improving the well-being of others. They are motivated more by compassion and empathy than by the desire for logic and rationality. This can translate to Type One Wing Twos being less judgmental. 

Action-driven, they are generally more extroverted and outgoing than Type Ones. These personalities also have a strong focus on relationships. 

How to determine a candidate’s Enneagram type?

The best way to discover a candidate’s Enneagram type is to use a specially designed test, like TestGorilla’s Enneagram test

An Enneagram test is an assessment that identifies individuals’ personality types based on a nine-pointed diagram. It’s designed to help explain an individual’s views and core beliefs as well as how they manage emotions. 

An Enneagram test is useful for identifying potential compatibility in the workplace and how to approach building interpersonal relationships. 

While the results of an Enneagram test shouldn’t be the sole basis for hiring (or not hiring) someone, they are a useful piece of the puzzle. 

Combined with other pre-employment tests like cognitive ability and role-specific skills tests, they help you get a full picture of a candidate and who to invite for an interview. 

Identifying your current employees’ Enneagram type also helps you better understand team dynamics and improve your management style.


Incorporating an Enneagram test in your pre-employment assessment is a great way to understand a candidate’s personality, identify potential interview questions, and better understand how they work in a team. 

TestGorilla’s Enneagram test can be used for all job roles. It’s quick and easy for candidates to complete and accessible on our Free plan.

To find out more about how TestGorilla can help improve your hiring process, sign up for a free 30-minute live demo


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