Empowering Your RD Team with the Enneagram

Empowering Your RD Team with the Enneagram

June 20, 2018
Shari Steinbach
Human Resources

By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor

Managing teams effectively means learning about the personalities of each individual and understanding what motivates them. This process can take a long time but fortunately there are tools to help you better understand employees and foster effective teamwork so more time can be devoted to important work. 

Lisa Coleman, MS RD LDN, leads a team of ten in-store nutritionists at Giant Food in Landover, MD and Sarah Glunz, MS CNS LDN, also manages a similar team for Giant Food Stores and Martin’s Food Markets based in Carlisle, PA. They have utilized the Enneagram to help them manage their teams of in-store nutritionists and shared some insights for successfully using this team management tool.

What is the Enneagram?

The Enneagram is a personality profiling system that describes nine styles of relating to the self and others. Within each type, individuals can fluctuate between healthy, average and unhealthy behaviors. No type is better or worse than another. Every number has its gifts and challenges. The Enneagram helps individuals understand themselves and it helps explain why people act the way they do. The 9 types are briefly described below: 

Type One – The Reformer is responsible, improvement-oriented, critical and resentful.
Type Two – The Helper is generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing, and possessive.
Type Three – The Achiever is adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious.
Type Four – The Individualist is expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental.
Type Five – The Investigator is perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated.
Type Six – The Loyalist is engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.
Type Seven - Enthusiast is spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, and scattered.
Type Eight – The Challenger is self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational.
Type Nine – The Peacemaker is receptive, reassuring, complacent, and resigned.

By learning more about the personalities of each nutritionist, Lisa and Sarah have found several benefits for team engagement, including:

  • Building tolerance and empathy
  • Reducing conflict
  • Improved relationships and productivity
  • Better team communication
  • Less judgement and criticism
  • Fosters the development of talent
  • Helps to build a positive work culture

Here is one example Lisa and Sarah shared for successfully using the Enneagram tool:

Let’s day you are planning a brainstorming session with some of your team members. If you know the type six is security-oriented and uncomfortable with ambiguity, you understand they notice every possible danger and use limiting language like ‘we can’t’ and ‘we shouldn’t’. Is this the best team member to include in brainstorming? How could you better utilize this person? The six is also responsible and good at carrying their share of the work so they may be most effective after the brainstorm to point out potential problems to the team and help to implement new programs.

Since implementing this tool, Lisa and Sarah said that they definitely work more effectively and have a much greater awareness of individual differences. They are also able to assign work more efficiently which saves important time in their busy retail environment. 

For more information visit: Enneagraminstitute.com 

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