Most of us are familiar with the competitive advantage experienced by companies that focus on diversity and inclusion. Valuing differences in identity, experience, beliefs, culture, and working style increases employee engagement, decreases turnover, and creates novel approaches to problems, all of which increase profits. The challenge I most often see leaders grappling with is how to harness the diversity in their team. How can they create a more inclusive culture? How does their own leadership style create biases about the value of contributions from others? What can they do when a colleague’s voice is not being heard?
The tool that I have found to be incredibly valuable in this discussion is the Enneagram. This ancient map of the human psyche is more than a personality typing system. It describes the conscious and unconscious motivations for our behaviors and the beliefs that limit our experiences. Learning your dominant personality type helps you access the unique gifts of your perspective and learn how to make different choices in the areas where you often get stuck. (You can learn more about the tool here.)
The Enneagram helps us appreciate and understand different leadership strategies through its description of three predominant social styles. Knowing if someone is an Initiator, a Cooperator, or a Soloist can help ensure that the strengths of their approach are utilized. True inclusion comes from creating a platform of expression for each person. High-performing leaders can also use their understanding of leadership styles to consciously compensate for perspectives that may be missing in an unbalanced team.