If you lead others, it is your level of psycho-spiritual development, not your Enneagram type, which determines your effectiveness. Great leaders come in all nine Enneagram personality styles. However, great leadership comes forth from the healthiest parts of those leaders, the parts surrendered to the Divine.
If you think back on what is was like to be in the presence of your favorite mentors, you may notice that there were some profound differences in their leadership styles. However, regardless of the leader’s style, the energy that mentored you effectively was a mature energy. In some way, you were compelled to embrace a truer reality. Contrast that to the ways unhealthy leaders actively pull others into a delusion of some kind. And have you noticed that leaders leading from average psychological and spiritual health often unconsciously (or consciously) encourage others to stay within a comfort zone, catalyzing only superficial changes, or worse, changes that amount to mere conformity to the leaders ego agenda? Great leaders give others enough of a taste of the unknown better, or of life at what Riso and Hudson call the higher “Levels,” that a new willingness to risk truths adventurous, demanding journey arises within people.
Riso and Hudson’s Enneagram Levels of Development are a measuring system for the degree of identification individuals have with their personality structure in a particular phase of life and situation. Their flipping of the Enneagram typology on its side and unearthing of the treasure of the Levels of Development may have pinpointed the central issue of human existence that the insight-rich Enneagram symbol is intended to measure. As these authors often remind their readers:
Everything one can say about Type is Level-sensitive. (Don Riso & Russ Hudson, Understanding the Enneagram: the Practical Guide to Personality Types, Revised Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston: 2000)
These nine Levels of Development are nine realities experienced in the growth path for each type. If youre a leader, remember that type awareness is only one of the gifts the Enneagram gives to your work. The Enneagram is also a precise map to the next Level of Development in the growth path for your style.
At each of the Levels of Development for your type, certain series of movements lead through a psycho-spiritual integration process and out to a breakthrough new experience of reality. That integration process is catalyzed on the horizontal plane of personality type, so awareness work with your type and your Directions of Integration and Disintegration are doors into the journey. However, the actual journey into great leadership is a vertical one: the adventurous climb up the Levels. Your psycho-spiritual health is going to transmit more to your audience, clients, and children than anything else does.
For further study on this important topic:
Check out the Levels of Development discussion on the Enneagram Institute website
Sign up for the August 2007 introductory workshop: Wisdom of the Enneagram