What is Enneagram Type 1 Like as a Leader? Full Analysis

30 May 2024

enneagram 1 leadership

Enneagram 1 leadership style is characterized by a strong sense of right and wrong.

Type One, also known as the Perfectionist, is driven by the need to improve the world, and therefore, as leaders, they give their best to embody all the principles that they believe in.

In general, the Enneagram 1 leadership style reflects all the key strengths and weaknesses of the One personality type. Let’s see how the Perfectionist manages in a leadership role!

Enneagram Type 1 Leadership: General Overview

A group of people looking at a laptop screen

Enneagram Type One has a strong sense of moral integrity and is led by their ideals of good. They have a clear idea of what needs to be improved and are capable of devising a detailed plan that leads toward their goal. Moreover, they are very organized, punctual, orderly, and responsible, and they aren’t afraid of taking risks.

Ones earn leadership by being accountable, conscious and diligent. Striving to do everything perfectly well, they often become experts in their fields of interest and their expertise is what paves their way to leadership positions. For this reason, they are usually well-respected among their peers.

Moreover, they are reliable, fair, and honest, yet respectful and forgiving toward their subordinates. While they tend to hold themselves and their team to high standards, they also have the ability to guide and motivate their coworkers to achieve those standards. They are great examples of transformational leadership, leading others through their own example.

In addition, Ones aren’t ambitious in a typical sense; they are not into titles and positions. What really drives them is their belief that they can do something important for this world and other people. They are selfless visionaries who work hard to make the world a better place, and their leadership style can be characterized as servant leadership.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that different Enneagram wings can lead to individuals with an Enneagram 1 exhibiting leadership styles that are more typical of Type 2 or Type 9.

Therefore, Enneagram 1 with a 9 wing (1w9) will be more of a spiritual leader, while Enneagram 1 with a 2 wing (1w2) is a great example of heart-centered leadership.

6 Enneagram 1 Leadership Strengths

A business meeting - enneagram 1 leadership

Enneagram 1 leadership strengths come mainly from their strong sense of moral integrity.

Here’s what makes Enneagram 1 leadership stand out:

#1. Accountability

Ones willingly take on the hardest tasks and do their job meticulously, never hesitating to take ownership of the effects their work has on other people. For this reason, they inspire trust and respect as leaders, and people know they can depend on Ones every step of the way.

#2. Fairness

Ones are highly ethical leaders who set a strong example for their teams by embodying the moral standards and values they stand for. They are very careful about providing every team member with equal attention and respect and giving everyone the same chances to prove themselves and use their talents.

#3. Mentorship

Ones are more than leaders. They are excellent, dedicated mentors who inspire their teams to develop, grow and be the best they can be. That’s because they firmly believe everyone can become the best version of themselves and they are more than willing to facilitate and encourage that process.

#4. Attention to Detail

Ones have a rare ability to see both the big picture and the details, which makes them exceptional leaders. Their thorough approach allows them to make very efficient, precise strategies and plans and ensures the high quality of their work. Ones never agree to compromise quality for quantity.

#5. Clear Vision

Ones know exactly what they want to achieve and are led by their vision, which allows them to provide reliable guidance and direction to their team even when they experience difficulties. Moreover, they are excellent strategists who think well in advance and understand the context of every action related to their goals.

#6. Openness to Innovation

Despite their penchant for traditionalism, Ones are open to new ideas and methods because they are always striving to get better. Moreover, they often spontaneously come up with more efficient ways to achieve specific goals, and they readily implement those innovations.

5 Potential Challenges and Weaknesses of Enneagram Type 1 Leadership/as Leaders

Holding a speech in front of colleagues - enneagram 1 leadership

The potential challenges and weaknesses of Enneagram 1 leadership stem from their fear of criticism and mistakes.

Let’s go over some of their crucial weak points:

#1. Unrealistic Standards

Ones are known for their tendency to set the bar too high and project their own high standards onto other people. This prevents them from understanding the real potential of their team, as they are overly focused on upholding standards that are not applicable to everyone.

#2. Unwillingness to Delegate

Ones are prone to insisting on doing things their way, as they believe there’s only one best way to do something. For this reason, they are often distrustful of other people who might want to do things differently. For the same reason, they end up taking on too many tasks as they refuse to delegate, fearing that tasks might not be done as well as they do them.

#3. Perfectionism

Perfectionism is One’s greatest weakness. It often causes one to prolong finishing tasks and reaching their goal as they focus too much on details that aren’t really relevant to the result.

Though they are capable of seeing the big picture, they still often get lost in details because they are afraid that if they miss something, they might make a mistake. Moreover, mistakes are something Ones don’t easily forgive themselves.

#4. Criticism

Ones are very critical of themselves, and they often project their criticism onto other people, too. This may cause dissatisfaction within their team, as they may be perceived as too strict, unfair, or even mean. That’s because they tend to focus too much on mistakes and what’s generally missing than on what’s good, as they seek to improve everything.

Moreover, sometimes, it is not that they are too focused on flaws but that they are not focused enough on praising what’s good. This may lead to a lack of motivation within the team.

How Can Enneagram 1 Improve Their Leadership Style?

Two women talking - enneagram 1 leadership

Enneagram 1 can improve their leadership style by becoming aware of their weaknesses as well as their strengths.

Here are a few essential tactics:

  • Foster self-compassion. Ones need to make peace with the fact that perfection is unattainable and that everyone makes mistakes. Moreover, mistakes will not jeopardize their status but can make them more relatable to their team. Plus, the more self-compassionate they are, the better they will understand other people, which will allow them to connect with their team in a more meaningful manner.
  • Understand your team’s emotional dynamic. Making a team work requires more than just rules and structure. Understanding what motivates other people and offering encouragement and support is just as important as following rules.
  • Allow for flexibility. Flexibility is the doorway to creativity, and creativity makes room for innovation and great solutions. Ones need to understand that there has to be a healthy balance between following the rules, hierarchy, and order and being adaptable, flexible and open-minded.
  • Practice delegating. In many cases, the best way to show trust as a leader is to delegate tasks to the team. It is important for Ones to understand this and to let go of the idea that no one can do something as good as they can.
  • Replace criticism with praise and constructive feedback. It has been proven in many ways that constructive criticism simply doesn’t work. Instead, Ones should focus on providing constructive feedback and praising their team for their efforts, not just for the results they achieve.

How Others Perceive and Interact With Enneagram Type 1 Leaders

Others tend to perceive and interact with Enneagram Type 1 leaders in a very respectful manner. That’s because Ones strive to do everything by the book, so other people instinctively reciprocate by making sure not to cross any lines, visible or invisible. Moreover, people are generally prone to perceiving Ones as highly principled and trustworthy individuals.

In general, dedication, diligence, and a sense of responsibility create an atmosphere of respect and often inspire the best in the team. They are known for their high standards, which may inspire some people to give their best while putting pressure and stress on others.

Moreover, they are usually not regarded as easy to work with because they demand the same level of commitment that they provide. However, they are great mentors, and their team still appreciates the lessons well-executed Enneagram 1 leadership enriches them with.

Other people's interactions with Type 1 leaders are generally positive and full of admiration and respect. One's subordinates are often in awe of their devotion and competence, yet they often stress about meeting their high expectations.

Meanwhile, One’s superiors see One as dependable, competent, and conscious and have no doubt that Type One leader will fulfill their tasks meticulously.

Are you a natural-born leader like Enneagram Type One? Take our free Enneagram test and find out now!

Key Takeaways

Enneagram 1 leadership style is driven by the same principles and values that Type 1s aspire to in life in general. Their commitment, inspiration, and competence make them trustworthy leaders within any kind of organization. Moreover, their selflessness is almost a guarantee of success, regardless of who they are working for.

There’s no doubt Enneagram 1 leadership style is effective, but despite the results they achieve, Ones should keep in mind that perfection should never be their goal and that a bit of empathy can take them further than strict adherence to rules.

Overall, in terms of leadership potential, Ones are among the most exceptional Enneagram types.