How the Enneagram Can Enhance Your Work: A Q&A with Ian Cron

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The Nashville Institute for Faith and Work and Lipscomb University's Spark Idea Center are excited to partner and present a weekend Enneagram seminar with Ian Cron, author of The Road Back to You and host of the podcast "Typology." Ian will help participants investigate how the Enneagram, a powerful ancient tool for understanding personality type, might inform us of our specific wirings and giftings to better understand the work we do and inspire us towards more fruitful work and workplaces. Join us for this Friday evening (5:30-9 p.m.) / Saturday (8 a.m.-4 p.m.) workshop. Read below to see a few thoughts Ian has offered as a preview for his talk in April.

Q: In what ways do you see that the Enneagram can help enhance the workplace?

A: The Enneagram offers amazing insight into how our personality types engage in relationships with partners, friends, and coworkers and what we most need and fear from those interactions.  It’s the best tool I know for cultivating self-awareness. Self-awareness means knowing your strengths and weaknesses, what your triggers are, and how you make decisions, among other things. It’s the ability to monitor and regulate your thoughts, feelings, and actions, and the effect they have on others. How does this translate to the workplace? Well, a leader who knows the inner workings of their personality type and those of the people they lead gets way ahead of the curve. They learn to understand their coworkers and use different techniques to motivate their team members based on their different personality styles. It changes the dynamic of the workplace when you can identify the different strengths and challenges of your coworkers by allowing you to move from a space of mindless reactivity to mindful responsiveness. You can really transform a workplace when coworkers learn to take a moment to pause and ask themselves, “What’s happening in this moment? And how do I need to regulate my response to actually bring about the healthiest, best outcome in this situation?” It improves the communication skills of your entire team and reduces conflict in the workplace.

You can really transform a workplace when coworkers learn to take a moment to pause and ask themselves, ‘What’s happening in this moment? And how do I need to regulate my response to actually bring about the healthiest, best outcome in this situation?’

Q: In what ways do you see that the Enneagram promotes dignity and flourishing for all?

A: For centuries great Christian teachers have insisted we can't really know God until we FIRST know ourselves. For instance, Calvin said, "Without knowledge of self, there is no knowledge of God” and St. Augustine prayed, “Lord let me know myself, that I may know thee." As we develop self-awareness and self-knowledge we learn to accept that grace requires nothing of us. We are all worthy of honor and respect just for being our authentic selves. Inside each of us is a hidden gift that reveals something about God’s heart. So, when we are tempted to prosecute ourselves for the flaws in our own character, the Enneagram helps us pause and remember that each type is, at its core, a signpost pointing us to travel toward and embrace an aspect of God’s character we need. Growing in this understanding promotes dignity for each of us and opens the door to true transformation. The Enneagram is a tool that helps us awaken both self-compassion and our compassion for others. When we learn self-compassion and allow our hearts to expand we can stop trying to change people and simply love them for who they are.  And, that’s when we truly begin to flourish.

We are all worthy of honor and respect just for being our authentic selves. Inside each of us is a hidden gift that reveals something about God’s heart.

Q: Do you have any specific examples of ways you've seen or experienced more fruitful work due to incorporating the Enneagram into the workplace?

A: On the most recent episode of Typology, I interviewed a band with 12 members (including staff). They tour together on one bus with 12 bunks for months at a time and are with each other day-in and day-out. For them, studying the Enneagram has reduced conflict among the group by giving them a new, common vocabulary that has helped them to understand where each other are coming from. They can better understand each other’s strengths and challenges and have used that knowledge to pause and act intentionally toward each other rather than mindlessly. They are learning to see themselves in real-time and self-regulate when speaking with each other. The Enneagram has given them each a new starting point for communicating with each other in a more empathic and compassionate way. And they are better able to see each other’s vision for the band and then take that knowledge to make decisions as a group that improve their performance at each show.


Ian Morgan Cron is a bestselling author, nationally recognized speaker, Enneagram teacher, trained psychotherapist, Dove Award-winning songwriter and Episcopal priest. His books include the novel Chasing Francis and the spiritual memoir Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me. Ian draws on an array of disciplines—from psychology to the arts, Christian spirituality and theology—to help people enter more deeply into conversation with God and the mystery of their own lives. He and his wife, Anne, live in Nashville, Tennessee.

You can register for the April seminar HERE or register for any of our other upcoming events HERE.

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