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What To Do: Ones

Many different teams are dominated by a specific personality type. If you have multiple Enneagram Ones on your team, this article is for you!

So how do you know if you have a bunch of Ones on your team? If your team hasn't looked into the enneagram and you don't know for sure, here are a few questions to help you determine for yourself:

  • Does my team struggle with perfectionism?

  • Do the people on my team sometimes come off as very critical of each other?

  • Are my team members really hard on themselves?

  • Do my coworkers always seem to be trying to tweak and improve systems when they aren't absolutely perfect?

  • Are many people on my team stubborn? Do they have trouble letting it go when someone messes up or does something wrong?

  • Is my team usually super-organized and dependable?

If you answered yes to 4 or more of those questions, odds are you've got some Ones on your team.

Ones can really be a gift to a team, especially fast-paced idea-driven teams. It's not that Ones are necessarily good at those things, but that they can be a good balance to them. Ones typically think in terms of systems and policies. While they might not enthusiastically get on board with every one of your ideas, they will probably help you see how you can execute your ideas for years to come without burning out or ending up breaking a bunch of rules/laws. In other words, they may not be your rocket fuel, but they'll make sure your rocket doesn't blow up before it reaches the destination.

On the other hand, though, Ones can be harsh and critical when things don't line up with their definition of "right." When this happens, they can quickly disengage and even bring down the mood of your entire team. They can also often make others feel like they can't do anything right because when they do, the One always comes behind them to "fix" their work. 

Here are a couple of great tips on what to do with the Ones on your team in order to have success together.

First, ones are usually good with one-on-one meetings and like to be given information straight. When processing something with them, specifically ask them what they think about something, what holes they see in the plan, and how the team can make it sustainable for the long-term. They'll usually have really good thoughts around these things, and when you permit them to express them, they can do that in an acceptable way (as opposed to blowing up your team meeting).

Second, when giving guidance to Ones, encourage them to catch people doing things right. Ones are pros at catching people doing things wrong, and that can get them a bad reputation with others. But if they can learn to catch people doing things right, and point it out, Ones can end up actually being pretty encouraging team members.

Finally, know that Ones are extremely sensitive about their integrity. When giving them feedback or correcting them on something, make sure they know that you don't think they meant to do something wrong. Otherwise, they can easily mistake your leadership and insight as a direct assault on their integrity. 

Leading Ones, like any number, can be challenging. But when done well, they are a critical and impactful part of any team. A healthy One can help your team thrive in every season!


Are you an Enneagram One? Or do you have several Ones on your team? We would love to hear your thoughts on this article. Reach out to us on social media or email us directly at 


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