In the Narrative Enneagram we learn from different Types what work environment best supports them. This week we look at what work environment brings out the best in the Body Center Types (Types 8, 9, 1). The Body Center Types are those who process information and interactions through their body and their gut instincts. Body Types know, in the moment, what they like and dislike. That initial hit may or may not serve them well. The three Body Types have in common the energy of anger, yet how anger is expressed varies. Type 8 seeks power and control and expresses anger outwardly and openly. Type 9 seeks peace and harmony, denies anger, and avoids conflict through mediating and avoiding taking their own position. Type 1 seeks to be correct and avoid errors. They push down their frustration (but really anger) at not being able to be perfect by being critical of themselves and others.












Type 8 works best in a work environment where leadership, power and control are well defined. This Type wants to be able to control his/her destiny and if leadership falls short, this Type will step in to fill the void. The fewer rules the better for this Type as they often believe that rules don’t apply to them. They have boundless energy, can be angry and explosive, and often are told they are intimidating and bossy. They want others to be honest and direct with them and will shun those who appear weak and don’t tell them the truth, although this can prove difficult for others to do because this Type isn’t always approachable.   Providing clear direction yet giving this Type the freedom to get to an end goal their way creates the best work environment for a Type 8 to thrive at work.


Type 9 works best in a work environment that seeks to build consensus by gaining input from others. They prefer a workplace where there are clear boundaries, lines of authority, guidelines for how to deal with disagreements and conflict, and expectations and deadlines. With these in place, this Type can be productive and focused.  Type 9’s are great mediators of conflict, yet they avoid their own conflicts. They tend to express their anger by being passive-aggressive or stubborn. They see every priority as equal and may conform to everyone else’s agenda, forgetting their own.  Helping them break down projects into smaller steps, prioritize work and set deadlines keeps their attention and energy focused on their agenda. The best workplace for Type 9 is one where their effort and input is valued and appreciated.


Type 1 works best in a work environment that is ethical and non-judgmental with acknowledgment and appreciation for high standards, accuracy, and continuous improvement. This Type prefers clear lines of authority and responsibilities, and while they hold themselves to very high standards, they expect leadership to do the same of others. When others do not meet these standards, this Type can be critical, and others often feel they can never meet this Type’s standards or expectations. Type 1’s are disciplined, organized, and methodical in their approach to work. Their black-and-white thinking may come across as rigid and righteous. A workplace that appreciates striving for excellence while tolerating error as a means for continuous improvement will position this Type for success.