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How Each Enneagram Type Can Boost Their EQ

10370417_10152774707326551_5582957100565360571_nEmotional intelligence is a key concept in many of today’s workplaces, and has been named one of the decade’s most influential business ideas by the Harvard Business Review. But what exactly does it mean, and why is it important?

Daniel Goleman, who popularized the concept of emotional intelligence or “EQ” (as opposed to IQ), defines it as a set of competencies that encompasses empathy, social skills, self-motivation, and understanding and management of emotions. Emotional intelligence involves skillfully handling your own emotions, as well as navigating the emotional dynamics of the interpersonal world. These “soft skills” are equally crucial for leadership, both for building rapport and for dealing with problems as they arise. As executive coach and Enneagram teacher Mario Sikora writes, “Emotions are often one part of our brain’s attempt to tell another part of our brain to pay attention to something that could be important.”

All of us have the capacity to hone our emotional intelligence, helping us become more skilled and flexible leaders. Here are some tips for each personality type to build more EQ muscle.

Type One: Ones excel at motivating others with a vision of excellence, but run into their EQ blind spot when their critiques don’t take others’ feelings into account. Ones can work on considering the perspectives of others and bringing compassionate levity into their interactions.

Type Two: Twos are skilled at empathizing with others, but awareness of their own emotional needs can be a blind spot. Twos can benefit from deliberately setting aside alone time to reflect and connect with themselves, and acting on the insights they discover.

Type Three: Threes adapt well to varied emotional climates. Like Twos, they can lose touch with their own emotions. A bit of reframing may be helpful here: instead of setting feelings aside to get the job done, consider them important information to take action on.

Type Four: Attentive to their own emotional landscape, Fours may become self-absorbed and neglect important relationships. They benefit from making a deliberate effort to reach out and stay connected, supporting others and listening to their points of view.

Type Five: Fives tend to be even-keeled and nonjudgmental, but have a blind spot around connecting interpersonally with others. Fives can work on staying open to people in their relationships and interactions, and considering the impact they have on others.

Type Six: Sixes do well at building rapport with others, but may put people off by being pessimistic. To up their EQ, Sixes benefit from working on morale-boosting: try adding encouragement to conversations and anticipating what could go right.

Type Seven: Sevens excel at creating a positive and exciting emotional climate. Their blind spot is acknowledging challenges. Rather than reframing difficulties or moving on to the next big thing, Sevens might try building their capacity to stay with the rough patches.

Type Eight: Eights are honest and know how to make an impression, but are not always aware of how strongly they can come off. To boost EQ, Eights might try softening their approach and extending generosity and kindness to other people.

Type Nine: Nines are proficient at creating harmony and putting others at ease, but their own needs can get overlooked as they do so. Nines can grow EQ by making a conscious effort to speak up about their wishes and feelings.

These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot to learn about emotional intelligence, but bringing more attention to your own emotional states and the emotional dynamics present in your relationships is a good starting place for sharpening your leadership skills and boosting your capacity to successfully navigate life’s challenges.