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What To Do: Threes

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

So how do you know if you have a bunch of Threes 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:

  • Do people on your team seem to value tasks and productivity above all else?

  • When someone messes up on your team, is there a sense of shame for them?

  • Will your team sometimes cut corners in order to just get things done?

  • Is your team highly adaptable, able to fit themselves to almost any situation?

  • When something goes wrong or doesn't meet expectations, does your team try to tell the story in a different way to make things sound better than they actually are?

  • Do people on your team have trouble not working/taking time off?

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

Threes can really be a gift to a team, especially when there is an ambitious project in front of them. Threes are achievers and want to push things across the finish line. The fear of failure really motivates Threes to make sure the team is producing and delivering on expectations.

On the other hand, though, Threes can sometimes drift off target if they think they might not be able to achieve their original goals. They can also tend to cut corners on things in order to get short-term wins. An insecure Three will often do things for the sake of ego and can become defensive when their ego feels threatened.

Here are a couple of great tips about what to do with the Threes on your team in order to succeed together.

First, Threes are often competitive. They want to be good members of the team and help the team to win at whatever they're doing. Sometimes though, they can get over-ambitious, trying to win everything, which will wear out their team members. You can help a Three to focus my very clearly defining the win for them. Tell them exactly what winning looks like and then turn them loose.

Second, Threes sometimes do whatever it takes to get the job done now, but don't take time to consider what those decisions might mean for the future. You can help them here by reminding them to focus not just on short-term success, but on long-term success. Ask the question, "If we want this to work 5-10 years from now, what do we need to be doing differently now?"

Finally, because Threes care deeply about how they are perceived by others, they tend to lack close, honest relationships. They are afraid that if anyone truly knew their flaws, they wouldn't like them. Encourage the Threes on your team to be honest and vulnerable about their shortcomings, and make sure to not judge them when they actually get brave enough to share.

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


Are you an Enneagram Three? Or do you have several Threes 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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