Friday, February 24, 2006

The Peacemaker, with a touch of Motivator

Through Mark Lindner's blog . . .the thoughts are broken. . . I came across this enneagram test. Find a good overview here of enneagrams. It's another personality test tool. The test asks in the last question if you know your MBTI type, which I had done about a year ago, so I went looked it up, and put it in. Anyhow, the result, while not what I expected, is eerily accurate in some areas. Get the main page for the stuff here. The idea of the test is that it places you into one of 9 types, but it seems to allow for having a "wing" or what I would see as a secondary type or spread. Anyhow, here we go:

My four highest scores:
Type 9: The Peacemaker, also known as the Mediator. I scored a 7 on this.
Type 3: The Motivator. I scored a 6 on this.
Types 1 and 2: The Reformer and the Helper respectively. I tied with a 5 for these.
Type 4: The Artist, also known as the Romantic. I scored a 4 here.

So, let's see how close this gets.

Type 9: The Peacemaker, the test result defines it as the easygoing, accomodating type. Here is the longer version from the overview:
9s come across as patient people who are good listeners, adaptable and accommodating to others. 9s have an unusual ability to "go with the flow" of their surroundings, and a desire to be connected with their surroundings. This ability is both their biggest strength and weakness; at best, 9s are very accepting and supportive of others as they really are, but at worst 9s forget who they themselves are, passively agreeing with others and afraid to assert their own desires. 9s learning the Enneagram may take a long time to figure out their type because they identify more with others than with their own true selves.
The passivity of average 9s can make it hard for them to assert their needs or make decisions. 9s can have a particularly hard time making painful decisions, like firing someone, because they also see the other person's predicament, and hate to force confrontations. Average 9s may distract themselves from tough problems with soothing but trivial tasks (e.g. web-surfing, aimless chatter). 9s with an 8 wing are less likely to have this problem because the 8 wing has a lust for action and challenge, while 9s with a 1 wing are more likely to become creatures of habit, because of the 1's compulsive qualities. Inertia is in fact a chronic problem for 9s, who often find it hard to get started on things. However, this inertia can also work to their advantage, because once started 9s can make slow-but-steady progress, becoming surprisingly relentless in their pursuits. The old Aesop's fable about the slow-and-steady tortoise who beats the faster rabbit aptly describes the work habits of healthy 9s.

This is fairly accurate. I can be very accomodating to what others may need, and I can be very easygoing. Colleagues of mine have observed that I have a good ability not to let anything phase me, but it can at times work against me as suggested because often I will stay quiet rather than letting someone have it. I do take people as they come. While it is not difficult for me to make a decision, other than painful ones, it can be when it comes to expressing a need. I am the type who will let someone else have something before I ask something for myself. So, in the example they use, I may have a hard time firing someone because I see their predicament, but they will be fired. It's interesting it mentions inertia as a disadvantage because on the one hand, at times, I may do little things to put off a big task. I don't really have a hard time getting started, more like I don't feel like it at that moment, so let's go look over some blogs. However, once I get started, I forget time, lunch, people, etc. until something gets done. I have been known to get up from a desk after a long writing task stiff and suddenly remembering that I am hungry. The overview version calls this type the "withdrawn approval seeker." I am not sure about being too withdrawn, at least given the work I do, but I do know I need my quiet time after being in public so much.

Type3: The Motivator, which the test result defines as the adaptable success-oriented type. The overview gives this information:
Being admired is very important to 3s - they are competitive, and place great value on winning and looking good while doing it. Publicly, 3s project high self-esteem, driving relentlessly toward their career and life goals. But the average 3's craving for external approval may degenerate into superficial and image-conscious behavior, as they work hard to look impressive while neglecting genuine achievement. Despite the high self-esteem they project to others, 3s may privately feel insecure about their self-worth, being as it is so dependent on what others say about them. 3s have an unusually strong inner contradiction; they project qualities of leaders: drive, energy, and success, and yet their definition of success is unusually dependent on the values of the society they belong to. Hence, they are simultaneously leaders and followers.

Healthy 3s often have a "cool" attitude to go along with their accomplishments - they know what is "hot" and what is not, and for better or worse, this contributes to the 3's reputation for being excellent salesmen who can win over the most reluctant audience. Because they place high value on affirmation from others, they may be very adept at reading subtle cues in others, using this information to quickly tailor their message to their audience. However, unhealthy 3s are notorious for being phony and self-promoting. Extroverted 3s can be charming smooth talkers, using their networking skills to augment their image and their career, which may be closely linked. More introverted threes may instead strut their stuff through competence and skillful performance rather than showmanship.
I am not sure about the need to be admired part. There are days when I wish I could be unknown. However, that aside, this is pretty close. Publicly, I do project the high self-esteem and relentless drive. I do project leadership, and in fact, I have some very good leadership qualities, but I think my accomodating nature means that at times I will go with the flow rather than take charge. This is probably why I always say no one will put me in charge of anything. Not because I think I am incapable of being in an administrative position, but more because I would have to make the painful decisions (see above), and I would not like being hated a lot when I make the unpopular decisions. It's not so much being hated as having to worry about rebellions from below (very machiavellian if you ask me). The "cool" attitude thing is pretty accurate, though it is something I feel comes reluctantly. I don't look for it; it just happens. The most accurate of this definition is the part about an introverted type 3. I strut my stuff through competence and skillful performance. In other words, I let my actions speak for themselves.

Types 1 and 2, the Reformer, which the test result defines as the rational idealistic type, and the Helper, which the test result defines as the caring nurturing type. To be honest, I thought my score on the Helper type would be higher. That these two scores tied did not surprise me. Anyways, for Type 1, the overview says:
Reformers. The underlying motivation of the 1 is to be RIGHT, and to avoid being WRONG. Reformers are the most compulsively rational of the types, and the perfectionist is another name for this type. Average 1s are driven by their "inner critic", an inner set of standards that tends to be quite rigorous, and independent of what other people tell them. Hence, the average 1 is very self-critical, and also critical of others when they expect the same high standards of others that they have imposed on themselves. Ones get much of their energy from anger, and at best, this energy is channeled into discipline, organization, a strong work ethic and a love of fairness, justice, and truth. At worst, they become rigid in their thinking, psychologically trapped by their own rules and principles and becoming self-righteous in a way that, although logically correct, is not helpful to themselves or others.

1s like to confront problems head-on, but this proactive energy may not always be immediately apparent to others. Introverted 1s may be extremely prim and proper, even rigid, because they turn their energies inward against their own impulses and spontaneity. However, other 1s can project considerable energy, even becoming abrasive, if their passions turn toward ideals, such as social justice, that involve the world as a whole.
I think this, and the next type, are illustrations of how a person can embody many different attributes. While accomodating, I can also be very perfectionist with my work, and my inner critic is ruthless (can we say "seriously lacking compassion at times?"). The line of being very critical of others because I expect of them the high standards I have of myself fits me like a glove. While I can be accepting of others, I am also someone who tries not to depend on others, and I would rather do things myself. To a large measure this is because I ask myself, "why would I depend on someone else when I know I can do it better myself?" A bit arrogant maybe, but experience has often proved me right. So, how could this translate? Well, put me in a group project, and I will likely go along (accomodate), but I certainly won't like it. I don't get angry often, but when I do it can be explosive, a lot of energy. I can make a nuclear bomb look like a firecracker, but since I tend to internalize, you really get a really long fuse before I get angry with anyone. Internally, I can let anger drive me to get things done. I would fall on the positive in the sense that I have a very strong work ethic, which I expect of others as well, and it really ticks me off when they don't. The negative is not really me. I am not terribly rigid in the sense that I am very easy about euthanizing an idea if it needs it. Now, if we could just euthanize some of those people with a low or nonexistent work ethic while we are it (you see what I mean?). However, after being ticked off, I usually just accept it and get whatever needs doing done. I very much into fairness and social justice, but interestingly enough, I don't speak much of these things. I leave my politics close. Sure, you can probably guess where I stand, but I am not confirming or denying.

For the type 2, the overview says:
Helpers focus their lives on giving and receiving love. This personality is one of the most emotionally expressive, and one of the most focused on human relationships. At their best, healthy 2s bring a special interpersonal touch to almost everything they do, empowering others with their unrivaled desire to make others feel special, important, and loved for simply being themselves. It is uncommon (though not impossible) to find a 2 in high-profile leadership positions, or in a job that emphasizes analysis at the expense of human interaction.

Highly nurturing at their best, less healthy 2s show a darker side of their personality. When unhealthy 2s help others, it is merely to make themselves feel more important. They may offer "help" that seems intrusive and manipulative to others, or may do a "favor", only to subsequently ask repayment. Average twos are often attracted toward two seemingly opposite kinds of people: toward people with power, whose agenda they can support, and towards the needy and the outcast, who most urgently need the 2's caring spirit.

As I mentioned, I thought I would score higher on this, but looking at myself, I can see where the test got it just about right. Empowering others is important to me; it is a big reason why I became a teacher and then a librarian, and it will likely be a reason why I will eventually find myself in director's position or something similar; it would allow me to better help others, even if it means I have to lose a bit (or a lot) of myself in the process (again, this is the Type 9 coming out). I would like to think that I don't have the negative part of the helper, the doing it expecting something in return. In fact, I am extremely reluctant to ask anyone for favors or "call in favors." I am as helpful and nurturing as can be. I hope my work with students shows this. That last line about being attracted to the powerful and the needy is somewhat accurate. Power is something I know is necessary to get some things done, but a part of me wishes we could do without. Now, I am always attracted to the needy and outcasts. Hey, someone has to, and you don't see others doing it. Maybe, that was part of the reason I was so attracted to working at an open admissions university, where many of our students are here taking a chance, for some, the only chance they may have to get an education.

Type 4, which the test result defined as The Artist, an intutive, reserved type. The overview gives this on the artistic type:
More than any other type, 4s seek to understand themselves. They may probe their own emotions to an unusual depth, seeking authenticity of feeling and self-expression. They don't settle for the ordinary or shallow, and are disturbed that most everyone around them does. The importance they attach to their inner feelings makes them highly individualistic and original. 4s are unusually self-aware, sensitive, and intuitive, sometimes painfully so, and often with an intense interest in emotional and spiritual growth. Because of this emotional awareness, fours can show kindness at a very deep level (especially to those in crisis), but also know how to rile people up.

The 4's inward focus gives them an intense need for authentic personal self-expression. This may include conventional art-forms such as writing, and music, or unconventional forms such as tattoos and body piercing. The 4 has a romantic streak, and their relationships often occur at unusually high intensity. At best, this can be deeply transformative to both persons. At worst, this intensity may cause a trail of broken relationships, as the 4 continually seeks the intensity of new romances.

The 4's search for authenticity makes many 4s refreshingly candid, sometimes with a sense of drama and a sharp wit. However, they also have a self-indulgent streak. This self-indulgence typically turns inward, and away from practical reality, which may gets them into trouble with money, health, or other real-world issues. At worst, this may induce despair and brooding, accentuating the original problems and leading into a downward spiral that can be extremely dramatic.
Actually, this goes along nicely with having some of the Type 3 and being critical of others for not measuring up to my standards. I don't settle for ordinary or shallow, and it does disturb me that people often do. This also goes well with the sense of kindness. As for my need for self expression, I keep it in my writing, which is something I enjoy very much for experimenting as well as sorting out things. The body art, I think I will leave that to others.

Well, if nothing else, this has given me an opportunity to take a look at myself. I do like doing that because it helps me learn about myself. As Dirty Harry said, "a man has got to know his limitations." I think it makes me a little wiser when I can learn a bit more about myself. So, this was entertaining and interesting. So, if you are interested or curious as well, why not take a chance? If you do, feel free to let me know how you did.

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