Working with people who see the world the same way as we do might be easier than interfacing with a collection of diverse human beings with their own peculiarities. But imagine a baseball team where all nine players were excellent pitchers, but no one could hit a home run or catch a fly ball. That team wouldn’t have much of a chance of success, and neither will you and your team. So how can we increase our chances of successfully working with the wide range of human beings we will inevitably encounter in our careers? Increased emotional intelligence.
Popularized by Daniel Goleman at the end of the last century, emotional intelligence, or “EQ,” can be condensed to three criteria: self-awareness, the awareness of our impact on others, and the good sense to make better choices as a result of that awareness. Emotionally intelligent individuals and teams produce better results. As anyone who’s worked with other humans can attest, there’s no guarantee that a bunch of high EQ people will form a high EQ team, but it’s a good start. The Enneagram is an extremely powerful tool for increasing EQ. This model consists of nine strategies for getting things done, and the motivations and beliefs that drive people to use those strategies in their work and their life. This tool can reveal aspects of our own behavior that were previously blind spots as well as help us understand the behavior of other people that we might previously have characterized as irritating, strange, or just plain sociopathic.
We humans tend to prefer our own strategies over those of others, and judge other strategies as deficient, or even downright wrong. That’s akin to judging someone inferior because they are left-handed instead of right-handed, something that was common practice in the US a mere 50 years ago. Different doesn’t equal deficient. People use different strategies because they work! We each just happen to develop a strong preference for our particular favorite approaches. There is a bright side and a shadow side to each of the approaches. Everyone can, and does, use each of the nine strategies to some extent.
Raise your EQ by looking at yourself and others through the powerful lens of the Enneagram. This will enable you to navigate the challenges you face in your work and your life with greater ease and better results!by