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2 Ways to Increase Empathy and Reduce Drama on Your Team

Personality assessments are a great way to increase understanding of others and the way that they approach work and life. As additional benefits, this increased understanding can result in less drama and more empathy toward others on the team. My favorite assessments for this purpose are the Enneagram and the Working Genius. I like them so much that I made the investment to get certified in both!

The Enneagram

The Enneagram is a study of the nine basic types of personality. It explains why we behave the way we do and points to specific directions for growth. The nine types with short descriptions are listed below:

Type One – The Reformer (The Rational, Idealistic Type)

Ones are responsible, thorough, and hard-working with high standards for themselves and others. They want to improve themselves and the world around them.

Type Two – The Helper (The Caring, Interpersonal Type)

Twos are empathetic, warm, caring, and generous. They are motivated by the need to be loved and valued – and to express positive feelings toward others.

Type Three – The Achiever (The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type)

Threes are self-assured, action-oriented, charming, ambitious, competent, and energetic. They want to be productive, achieve success, and avoid failure.

Type Four – The Individualist (The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type)

Fours are creative, authentic, and intuitive. They are motivated by the need to experience their feelings, to be understood, and to be unique.

Type Five – The Investigator (The Intense, Cerebral Type)

Fives are excellent thinkers and strategists. They want to know and understand everything, to be self-sufficient, and to avoid looking foolish.

Type Six – The Loyalist (The Committed, Security-Oriented Type)

Sixes are reliable, hard-working, loyal, and trustworthy. They want security so they focus on creating safety and structure.

Type Seven – The Enthusiast (The Busy, Fun-Loving Type)

Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous – the life of the party. They want to be happy and plan enjoyable activities and avoid suffering and pain.

Type Eight – The Challenger (The Powerful, Dominating Type)

Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. They desire to be self-reliant and strong and to avoid feeling weak or dependent.

Type Nine – The Peacemaker (The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type)

Nines are creative, optimistic, supportive, and go with the flow. They want to keep the peace, merge with the agendas of others, and avoid conflict.

If you haven’t taken the Enneagram before, what type do you think you are at first glance? I’m a Type Two – the Helper which is consistent with feedback from other assessments that I’ve participated in.

Your personality may blend into or be influenced by the types on either side of your primary type – your wings. In my case, I am a Helper with a Three/Achiever wing which means that I am a relationship-oriented, “get er done” type of gal.

This tool goes deep and provides insight into how your type maps to other types when you are feeling secure and when you are under stress. One of the things that I like most about the Enneagram is that it provides insight into development opportunities for each type.

The Working Genius

The Working Genius is Patrick Lencioni’s latest teamwork model. It helps individuals and teams identify their talents and frustrations in the context of how any work gets done – and easily apply this information to be more productive and engaged.

The Six Types of Working Genius are as follows:


People with the Genius of Wonder love to speculate and question. They ask questions like, “Why are things the way they are? Is there a better way?” They love to sit in the ambiguity and imagine the possibilities. People with the Genius of Wonder help create the conditions for Invention.


People with the Genius of Invention get joy from taking challenges and generating solutions. They enjoy innovating from scratch and love a blank whiteboard or piece of paper on which they can brainstorm. Invention is the most commonly recognized genius but all six geniuses are needed to get work done.


People with the Genius of Discernment have a natural ability to evaluate the workability of ideas. They are good curators of what’s going on around them and can recognize patterns. They know how to connect the dots and give people good feedback across a broad range of topics.


People with the Genius of Galvanizing love to get things moving. They are great at pushing people out of their comfort zone and inspiring them to get started. They enjoy rallying people around an idea and getting them moving in the right direction.


People with the Genius of Enablement make things happen. They know how to help, when to help, and can flex to whatever the situation calls for. People with the Genius of Enablement are people-oriented and want to help realize a vision. This genius provides the support needed to move solutions into the first stages of Implementation.


People with the Genius of Tenacity are task-oriented and love to take things across the finish line. They ensure a project is going to have the impact it’s supposed to have and lives up to agreed-upon standards. They don’t respond to the emotional appeal of the galvanizer, but to the need to see the work completed.

Two of our geniuses fall into each of these categories – Working Geniuses, Working Competencies, and Working Frustrations. Our Working Geniuses are activities that bring us joy, energy, and passion. And we are usually very good at them. Our Working Competencies are activities that we find neither completely miserable nor completely joyful. We can do them fairly well and manage to operate in them for a while. Our Working Frustrations involve work that drains us of joy and energy. We usually struggle in these areas and will likely be miserable if we spend too much time doing them.

I like this assessment because it provides insight into how we operate within the context of how work gets done. It’s also quick and easy to explain and understand. And it’s actually more of a productivity tool than a personality assessment.

In Conclusion

Assessments are a great way for individuals to learn more about themselves, with the added benefit of building the team through increased understanding, empathy, and appreciation for the gifts and talents of others.

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