Have you ever wondered how to manage gender expectations as a female leader, even if your Enneagram type’s gifts don’t align with gender norms? Look no further! We spoke with Kelli Thompson about how to harness your powers and excel as a leader, regardless of your personality type.
To find out all about Enneagram types and women leadership, watch our podcast with Kelli Thompson below:
Kelli Thompson is a keynote speaker, writer and leadership coach. She has delivered talks, webinars, and workshops for many organizations including the Young Professionals Summit, Executive Women International, Medical Solutions, Management Women Inc, and more. She has over 10 years of leadership experience for financial services and technology organizations, and is certified in Reality-Based Leadership, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and the Enneagram. Kelli is actively writing her first book, The Clarity Effect, to be released in 2022.
We begin our conversation with some background on how Kelli became a leadership coach and what drew her to using Enneagrams in her coaching. As Kelli describes, she started in sales before moving on to marketing. Marketing is all about psychology, and as Kelli was always into personality tests – like the Meyers-Briggs test – it was a natural fit. She soon discovered another form of personality categorization, the Enneagram. Kelli states that an Enneagram is different in that it’s not just about what your personality is; it’s also why or how you developed to be this way.
If you’re not familiar with Enneagrams, Kelli gives a useful overview here. The name comes from Greek, meaning nine personalities. Indeed, with Enneagrams, there are nine fundamental types. (Kelli mentions that there are actually 27 types, but we don’t get into quite that much detail here!)
The Enneagram Types
Kelli offers a helpful run-through of what each of the nine Enneagram types are like and what their fundamental desires are. How does one find their Enneagram type? As Kelli states, there are numerous online tests available. A word of caution, though: Not all online tests are created equally, so consider taking a few to get a clearer idea of what your type is. Longer tests are more able to give more accurate results. Okay now you know what your number is… Is it possible to change your Enneagram type? In a word: Yes! Kelli affirms that it is very possible to use this information to evolve and move into a new type. She describes how on our podcast.
Are there “better” Enneagram types than others for the workplace or certain roles? Kelli assures as that all types are good, but it’s important to understand yourself and know how to work with what you have. Some types are more naturally associated with certain roles. For example, 3s are often leaders and 4s are often artists. However, all types can be good in leadership or sales roles, for example. It’s about knowing yourself and using that in your career.
From here we pivot to gender expectations. Women, and especially women leaders, face a double-edged sword. We’re supposed to be seen, not heard. We’re expected to be emotional and caring. But if we’re not like that – if we’re more direct or assertive, for example – we’re often seen negatively. This is in stark contrast to men, who are generally rewarded for those same personality traits.
How can one manage gender expectations as a woman when her Enneagram type doesn’t align with stereotypically “feminine” qualities? As Kelli describes, certain Enneagram types – 2s and 8s – are associated with women. Other types, such as 5s, are seen as more “masculine,” and it can be hard for women of those types to be seen positively. However, remember that these are stereotypes and all of us, regardless of gender identity or Enneagram type, should feel comfortable in our own skin. We need to smash the patriarchy, and we can start by feeling confident in who we are and not apologizing for it or trying to change ourselves to fit others’ expectations.
Listen to our podcast with Kelli to learn all about Ennegram types in work:
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