The Enneagram Desired Work Environment: Head Types

August 18, 2020 Enneagram

What work environment brings out the best in the Mental Center Types (Types 5,6,7)? In the Narrative Enneagram we learn from different Types what work environment best supports them. The Head or Mental Center Types are those who live in their heads and will need to think prior to taking action. Their mental activities—sorting, categorizing, analyzing, synthesizing, strategizing, and reflecting—keep them searching for security and certainty and avoiding a fear that drives this search. Type 5 seeks knowledge and withdraws from interactions to protect their privacy. Type 6 seeks certainty through staying vigilant to and avoiding potential, perceived dangers. Type 7 seeks to keep their options open through staying positive, upbeat, non-committal, and avoiding negative emotions. Here’s what these Types tell us is the best work environment for them.

Stay tuned for next week when we explore the Body Center.












Type 5 works best in a work environment that is predictable with clear boundaries, responsibilities, expectations, and minimal drama. Type 5 thrives in an environment where analytical and fact-finding skills and a need for an “expert” are valued. They prefer to work in private with planned interruptions and need to be invited to participate and share their expertise in a group setting. Given time to think before responding, Type 5’s insights and responses add huge value to a discussion. Drawing this Type out to engage with others while honoring the need for privacy (to recharge) creates a workplace where a Type 5 can thrive.


Type 6 works best in a work environment in which authority is trustworthy, predictable, and consistent. Type 6 thrives in a team-oriented, collaborative work environment where playing “devil’s advocate” is invited during discussions and looking at “worst-case scenarios” helps to inform decision making. This Type asks a lot of questions as a way of engagement and to gain certainty that the project or task is headed in the right direction. Self-doubt can result in procrastination or a “start-stop” behavioral pattern, so having a supportive team or manager helps this Type get out of their head and into action. Type 6’s will be loyal to trustworthy leadership and working for a cause or worthwhile purpose creates high levels of motivation. Their preference is to be a contributing, motivated and engaged member of a team they trust.


Type 7 works best in a work environment that has few rules and regulations, the freedom to create and innovate with people who are positive and upbeat, and as little management as possible. Type 7 loves a fast-paced and constantly changing work environment and life. They are fun and inspiring to be around but difficult to get to commit to or finish a project. They are visionary thinkers who like to come up with the ideas but not be the ones to implement them. They may discount or reframe negative feedback on ideas. They may also check out during conversations perceived as negative or a bore. They enjoy a work environment that values the “big-thinking, visionary” contributions made by this Type. Steady leadership that expects commitments to be made and met and work to be completed will be the best match for a Type 7.