Enneagram 3 Leadership: Strengths, Weaknesses & Tips

6 June 2024

enneagram 3 leadership

Enneagram 3 leadership style is characterized by efficiency since Threes, also known as the Achievers, are generally highly driven and strive for positions of power.

Threes’ contagious ambition inspires their team to pursue excellence, which is why they are often very successful at leading in all types of industries. However, they are prone to workaholism and may be perceived as too demanding by personality types who do not share their drive.

Enneagram Type 3 Leadership: General Overview

Enneagram Type 3 leadership is very powerful, which makes Threes a very common personality type among successful corporate professionals who are in charge of large teams. That’s because their drive for achievement is relentless, and they are willing to go above and beyond to reach their goals.

Threes are very charming, communicative, and persuasive and easily win people over. Their ability to attract the attention and support they need plays an important role in the success they achieve.

Moreover, Threes don’t obsess over rules and procedures and will avoid or improvise them to get the results they want faster. While this may not make them a perfect example of morality, it is a practical trait in the cutthroat corporate environment and often gives them an edge over competitors.

In general, Enneagram 3 leadership can be described as visionary leadership. That’s because they are future-oriented and have a clear idea of what they want to achieve and all the implications their success will have.

Furthermore, Threes are innovative thinkers, open to new ideas and unorthodox approaches. Because of this, it is safe to say that the Enneagram 3 leadership style also has many elements of situational leadership, as they are very adaptable and capable of making swift and practical decisions in the here and now.

5 Enneagram Type 3 Leadership Strengths

Chess board - enneagram 3 leadership

Enneagram 3 leadership strengths generally stem from their insatiable drive to succeed. Here are some of their most prominent advantages:

#1. Resourcefulness

Resourcefulness is what makes Threes stand out in many ways, especially in leadership. Thanks to their quick wit and ability to think on their feet, they see opportunities where other people see only obstacles. As a result, people readily rely on them in difficult situations and are happy to accept their leadership.

#2. Organizational Skills

Three’s exceptional organizational skills aren’t a result of the need for structure; they come from their need for efficiency. Threes want to get results as soon as possible and seek the most efficient ways to do so, which leads them to organize other people and work in an optimal manner.

#3. Work Ethic

Work ethic is something Threes develop from an early age. They are exceptionally dedicated to their work and fully committed to their team and goals, thus creating an environment that fosters success. Moreover, their high standards and commitment to quality inspire their team and coworkers to put their best foot forward, too.

#4. Relentless Focus

Though they seem passionate about their work, Threes are actually passionate about the results and achievements that come as a result of it. They never lose sight of their goal and have a very precise and realistic vision of what they want to achieve. Needless to say, such clarity and the ability to articulate their ambition are instrumental in driving success.

#5. Coaching

Threes can recognize other people’s talents and inspire them to develop and use them. They are excellent coaches who identify and nurture the individual strengths of their team members. Moreover, they know how to set a collaborative atmosphere and inspire positive competition within the team.

4 Potential Weaknesses of Enneagram Type 3 Leadership

Potential weaknesses of Enneagram 3 leadership stem from their preoccupation with achievement and the public image related to it. Here are some of the most important challenges Threes needs to overcome as a leader:

#1. Burnout

Threes tend to focus so much on success that they completely ignore their personal relationships, health, and well-being in general. Moreover, they expect their team to follow their example, often judging them if they don’t show the same devotion to goals.

Their workaholism inevitably leads to burnout and may damage their reputation and relationships with team members.

#2. Lack of Intrinsic Motivation

Led by the desire to impress everyone, build an image of perfection and success, and attain social status, Threes easily lose the sense of proportion. Moreover, their reliance on external recognition and validation as measures of success may block their personal and team growth.

#3. Competition

Sometimes, Threes may create a too competitive atmosphere within the team because competition is something they manage well. They may also feel threatened by equally ambitious team members and perceive them as rivals instead of using their ambition to empower the team.

#4. Self-centredness

Threes’ focus on achievement and the need for attention easily overshadow the team. As a result, their team members may feel taken advantage of, while Threes may be wondering what happened to their motivation. The more insecure or unhealthy Threes are, the more they will insist on taking all the credit for the success they achieve with their team.

How Enneagram 3 can Improve Their Leadership Style: 4 Tips

Enneagram 3 can improve their leadership style by reconnecting with their authentic values, needs, and feelings.

Here are a few efficient strategies that can help them elevate their leadership skills:

  • Foster intrinsic motivation. It is essential for Threes to understand that there’s a lot more than public recognition and praise. Recognizing what really motivates them and where their true passion is will have a transformational effect on their leadership style and relationships with other people.
  • Embrace vulnerability. Threes typically perceive vulnerability as a weakness. However, by acknowledging their vulnerability, they can tap into their authenticity. By reconnecting with their feelings, they will also connect better with other people and, as a result, have a greater impact on them.
  • Value relationships. Threes make connections easily yet overlook their importance. They often perceive people as tools for achieving a certain goal, neglecting the value of the connection they make with them. Paying more attention to the relationships they make with their team will allow Threes to inspire and motivate others more efficiently.
  • Establish work-life balance. It is crucial for Threes to avoid experiencing burnout. For that reason, they need to recognize how important it is for them. An Enneagram 3 male often struggles with this, driven by societal expectations to excel continuously.

How Others Perceive and Interact With Enneagram Type 3 Leader

Holding a speech - enneagram 3 leadership

Others perceive and interact with Enneagram Type 3 leaders in a very dynamic and engaging manner. Threes are very charismatic, and people are naturally drawn to them. Their enthusiasm and drive for success inspire others to pursue their passions, so it is safe to say that Enneagram 3 leadership is very impactful.

Confident and charismatic Threes easily gain the respect and trust of other people because they are great communicators who use their charm to get their way. Unsurprisingly, their magnetic personality helps them motivate their team members toward shared goals, creating strong followership.

When it comes to Three's subordinates, they see Three as a role model, while Threes impose their high standards on them, expecting efficiency, competence, and initiative. They value results and reward extra efforts.

When dealing with superiors, Threes strive to present themselves as highly competent, powerful, and successful. They are very image-conscious and know how to impress other people. Moreover, they are also proactive and easily identify and solve problems, offering solutions that align with their superior’s vision.

It is important to note that Enneagram 3 leadership style can vary depending on their subtype or Enneagram Wing.

There are two Enneagram 3 subtypes:

  • Three with a Two wing (3w2), which has some traits of Type Two.
  • Three with a Four wing (3w4), which has some traits of Type Four.

Mixing the characteristics of both the Enneagram 2 and Enneagram 3 types, 3w2s are more prone to servant leadership. Meanwhile, 3w4s gravitate toward transformational one, bearing in mind that Fours never stop learning about themselves and improving the way they lead people.

Identify your Enneagram type by taking our free Enneagram test and master the art of impactful leadership!

Key Takeaways

As you can see in this guide, Enneagram 3 leadership reflects many of Threes’ strengths and weaknesses. Let’s round off by highlighting some of its key aspects:

  • The Enneagram 3 leadership style is pretty future-oriented, as this type is rather ambitious, practical, and focused, never losing sight of their goals.
  • The leadership style of this type includes elements of visionary, situational, and democratic leadership styles.
  • Enneagram 3 leaders have exceptional work ethics and high standards, and they expect their team to give their best.