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Enneagram Type 8: Traits, strengths & potential careers

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The Enneagram personality test categorizes human behavior into nine distinct personality types. By understanding the personality types of your job candidates, you can make better hiring decisions, selecting people who will thrive within your team dynamics. And by understanding the Enneagram types within your existing team, you can unlock new strategies to maximize their potential and enhance overall productivity.

One of the Enneagram personality types is the Enneagram Type Eight. These individuals are independent and assertive, with a strong sense of justice. However, they can also have trouble following rules and can sometimes intimidate others. 

This article will discuss this personality type’s key traits, motivations, strengths, and potential career choices.

What is Enneagram Type 8?

Enneagram Type 8, or the Master, is one of the nine Enneagram personality types. Sometimes known as the Challenger or the Protector, Type 8s are natural leaders, thriving in situations where they can take charge. They champion fairness and justice and aren’t afraid to push boundaries when they believe it’s necessary. 

Type 8 individuals prefer autonomy and aren’t particularly fond of rules. With their inherent boldness, they can often come across as intimidating, especially when things don’t go their way.

Personality traits of Enneagram Type 8s

  • Justice-oriented and protective: Type Eights are focused on equality, fairness, and justice. They have a strong desire to protect others.

  • Assertive and direct: They’re confident in expressing themselves and their opinions clearly and directly. They have no trouble asserting themselves and typically communicate in a straightforward way. 

  • Natural leaders: They possess inherent leadership skills, and their assertiveness and ability to make quick decisions often leads them to take charge. 

  • Bold and independent: Type Eights are self-reliant and unafraid to tackle challenges head-on. They value their autonomy, dislike depending on others, and aren’t easily influenced by outside opinions.

  • Potentially intimidating: Their assertiveness, intensity, protective nature, and boldness can intimidate or overpower others. 

Type 8 Wings

Often, people don’t just fall into one Enneagram personality type. Each Enneagram type has two neighboring types on the diagram. These are known as “Wings.” The Wings for Type 8 are Type 7, the Cheerleader, and Type 9, the Agreeable. 

Some Type 8s may lean more towards the Type 7 traits, so their Enneagram type would be 8w7. This means that while predominantly Type 8s, they also exhibit some characteristics associated with Type 7. Other Type 8s may be more influenced by Type 9 traits and thus would be an 8w9 type. 

Let’s look at each of these types in a little more detail.

Type 8w7

Type 8w7s blend the strong leadership of Type 8s and the energetic nature of Type 7s. 

8w7s are typically more extroverted and social than Type 8s. Their powerful personality, combined with an affinity for excitement, often means they’re the life of the party. They’re ambitious and action-oriented but also have a zest for life that makes them engaging and likable.

Type 8w9

Type 8w9s combine the assertive nature of Type 8s with the peace-seeking quality of Type 9s. 

8w9s are usually calmer and more composed than other Type 8s, but they can still take decisive action when needed. This balance often makes them influential leaders who promote harmony while ensuring that tasks get done. 

They’re also protective but patient, making them well-liked and respected by others.

Enneagram Type 8’s strengths

The strengths of Enneagram Type 8s lie in their strong decision-making and leadership skills

They have a unique ability to assert themselves in all situations, which makes them excellent at steering teams and projects toward success. 

Type 8s are also fantastic at quick, decisive action, making them invaluable in roles requiring effective resolution. This decisiveness extends to how they interact with others. ​​They’re fair and logical, often leading with an unbiased hand.

Additionally, Type 8s’ fearless advocacy for others makes them respected figures within a team or organization. Their innate drive to protect and defend can create an environment of trust and camaraderie, ensuring each team member feels safe and heard. Their presence often boosts team morale, fostering a more productive and harmonious work atmosphere.

Strengths and weaknesses of enneagram type 8 the challenger graphic

Enneagram Type 8’s weaknesses

Type 8’s intensity and determination are strengths, but they can also be weaknesses in the workplace if left unchecked. Their desire for control and tendency to dominate can make them seem intimidating, potentially causing others to feel uncomfortable.

Type 8s might disregard others’ opinions and feelings, which can lead to conflict or misunderstandings. They also might rush into decisions, not taking the time to consider other perspectives.

Their difficulty following rules or orders can also lead to tensions in a structured environment. Type 8s often attempt to take charge, even when it’s not their place, creating potential clashes with existing leadership.

In addition, their fear of appearing vulnerable may prevent them from admitting when they need help or support. This reluctance can slow down progress on tasks and projects and may leave co-workers feeling shut out.

Ultimately, Type 8s’ independent nature can sometimes isolate them from their team, undermining their ability to build strong, collaborative relationships.

Type 8 work preferences

Type 8s have a natural inclination towards leadership roles. They prefer environments where they can take charge and implement their ideas. Known for their assertiveness and advocacy for fairness, they stand up for themselves and their team, making tough decisions when necessary.

Type 8s thrive on autonomy, meaning they dislike being controlled or micromanaged. They may feel stifled if they’re not in a leadership role. They appreciate workplaces that value their opinions and respect their independence. 

That said, Type 8s sometimes need help following rules or orders – especially if they perceive them as limiting or unfair.

Their intense and protective nature often translates to a powerful drive to maintain a safe, just work environment for their team. This makes them highly effective in crisis management situations – as does their ability to make quick, decisive choices.

Growth opportunities for Enneagram Type 8s

Type 8s have several growth opportunities that can improve their performance and relationships at work.

For starters, they can work on being more receptive to others’ ideas and opinions. This will require active listening and a genuine willingness to value others’ contributions.

Type 8s should also consider expressing their feelings more openly. Although this may challenge their fear of vulnerability, it will help them build more meaningful, trusting relationships with their co-workers.

Another growth opportunity for Type 8s involves recognizing when to step back and allow others to lead. This will not only foster a more collaborative team environment but also help them learn from others’ strengths and perspectives.

Finally, understanding the value of vulnerability can help Type 8s build trust with their team and strengthen their relationships. They should learn to ask for help and lean on team members when needed.

How to support Type 8s in the workplace

When supporting Type 8s in the workplace, being upfront, direct, and respectful is important. They appreciate honesty and open communication.

Encourage Type 8s to share their ideas, but challenge them to consider others’ perspectives. This can help them feel valued while also promoting a more inclusive environment.

Respect for their autonomy helps as well. Avoid micro-managing Type 8s. Instead, provide them with opportunities to lead and make decisions. This will help them feel trusted and respected, boosting their engagement and performance.

Understanding their fear of vulnerability can also help when providing feedback. Offer it constructively, with care and respect. Challenge their actions when needed, but be open to hearing their side of the story.

Lastly, help Type 8s see the value of vulnerability and show them that needing support doesn’t equate to weakness. Encourage them to express their feelings and needs, as this can lead to stronger, more trusting team relationships.

Potential careers for Type 8s

Type 8s are often drawn to careers that allow them to exercise their leadership skills and sense of justice. They may excel in roles such as:

  • Lawyer

  • Business owner

  • Politician

  • Marketing strategist

  • Sales director

  • Director

  • Advertising executive

  • Financial advisor

How to determine a candidate’s Enneagram type

Uncovering a candidate’s Enneagram type can provide valuable insights into their work style, strengths, and areas for improvement. An easy, effective way to determine a candidate’s Enneagram type is by using TestGorilla’s Enneagram Personality test.

This 10-minute test is specifically designed to identify a candidate’s primary Enneagram type, providing a comprehensive understanding of their personality. Results come in the form of detailed candidate reports with tips on communicating and working effectively with each personality type. 

Our test is also easy to administer. Candidates can complete it from their mobile devices with no login required. 

When combined with other pre-employment tests like mental aptitude and role-specific skills tests, Enneagram tests help you gain a fuller picture of the candidate and make a more informed hiring decision.

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Enneagram Type Eights are characterized by their strong will, independence, and protective nature. They have a natural talent for taking charge and inspiring others, making them exceptional leaders. However, their desire for control can make them appear confrontational or intimidating. When supporting a Type 8, provide them space for leadership while gently reminding them of the importance of collaboration and respecting others' autonomy.

Including the Enneagram test in your recruitment process can give you a deeper understanding of a candidate’s personality. It provides insights into their motivations, strengths, and areas for growth, helping you identify the best fit for your team. 

TestGorilla’s Enneagram Personality test is a reliable, easy-to-use tool that offers valuable insights into a candidate’s personality. To see how it can enhance your recruitment process, watch our free demo or sign up for a free TestGorilla plan today.


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