The Enneagram of Personality is a concept that is found in the annals of business management texts as well as spiritual writings. The foundations and theories of the Enneagram of Personality are taught via the many nationwide conferences, digital media options, print versions, and in-person seminars offered by the Enneagram Institute.
In the context of spirituality, an enneagram personality type is representative of existing patterns and pathways that lead to higher states of being – i.e., enlightenment or nirvana. In the context of business and management, an enneagram personality type offers insightful information that can be used to gain a clearer vision regarding the interpersonal dynamics of workers in business settings.
The real purpose of the Enneagram Personality Test is to assist in the process of self-awareness and personal/business growth, which is valuable in the business world.
In this article we explain what an Ennegram is, how it's used, and the nine Enneagram personality types. We also show you the best free Enneagram tests available online.
What is an Enneagram?
The word Enneagram is a compounded word from two Greek stem-words meaning 'nine' and 'something is written/drawn.'
From a visual perspective, an enneagram is a geometric figure with nine sides that represent the human psyche; each of these sides symbolizes one of the nine potential enneagram personality types. Together, these nine enneagram/personality types create the profile of a full personality profile.
(click on image to enlarge)
The enneagram figure consists of three primary parts –
- A Circle – which symbolizes Unity
- An Inner Triangle – which speaks to the Law of Three
- An Irregular Hexagon – which speaks to the Law of Seven
The lines connecting the points on the enneagram figure reveal the inter-connectedness of certain personality types.
What is the Enneagram Personality Model?
The Enneagram of personality uniquely categorizes the nine personality types that interconnect to create – the impossible to measure (and even harder to understand) the human psyche. The base origins of the Enneagram personality model remain debatable; however, most agree that the more modern teachings are derived from the work of Oscar Ichazo (in the 1950s) and Claudio Naranjo (during the 1970s). Ichazo and Naranjo included the personality teachings from self-development guru George Gurdjieff’s Fourth Tradition.
The Riso–Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) Test
The psychometric Enneagram of personality test is the brainchild of Don Riso and Russ Hudson. The development of the Riso-Hudson Enneagram personality test began in the 1930s. At this time, Riso and Hudson began the laborious task of researching and creating a personality test that could be used as an accurate measuring instrument, with regards to personality types.
What emerged was the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) test. The Enneagram test has been shown through time-tested waters to be an insightful psychometric tool that helps each of us understand ourselves and one another in one’s personal and business world.
The Enneagram Institute, which was established in the mid-1990s, administers the Enneagram Personality Test, plus other insightful measurement tools. Nearly a century after the test was created, the Enneagram Institute continues its refinement and research of this psychometric test to ensure that test results are generated from innovative objective testing methods. The Enneagram Institute offers workshops and coursework dedicated to principles and research of the enneagram personality test.
The Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator ( version 2.5) has been recognized among the world’s top enneagram-type tests. This is because the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator test has been validated by independent scientific sources.
This latest version of the Enneagram test requires the completion of 144 pairs of forced-choice statements. Test-takers generally take about 40 minutes to finish the exam. Test results are accessible through a pdf file and include the test taker’s scores for all nine enneagram personality types. The Enneagram offers
Enneagram test results generate a one-of-a-kind profile of the test taker. These insights highlight the relative weakness (and strengths) of the overall personality, which is a unique combination of the nine enneagram types.
The RHETI® results are delivered via a PDF format. They include scores for each of the nine types of enneagram types. A more comprehensive, full-spectrum test taker portrait is available with the Expanded Type Descriptions of the personality types. A test taker’s top three enneagram type scores are detailed in narratives that exceed 2,500 words.
The Enneagram Personality test measures personality characteristics, which are developed over time through personal experience. Therefore, one cannot study for the Enneagram exam – in the traditional sense. There are ideas and tips to consider for the Enneagram Personality Type Indicator test that help you become more self-aware; to become more familiar with your true inner nature. Consider the following self-observational techniques –
- Be curious and patient with yourself as you begin
- Observe to learn how to better understand people
- Be willing to work on yourself
- Be open, attend workshops.
The Nine Human Psyche Personality (Enneagram) Types
Type 1 – The Reformer, The Perfectionist
A Type 1 Enneagram personality type is perfectionistic and principled. Their actions are measured and purposeful.
Type 1's are honest, meticulous, and fair. They manage their lives with the highest of expectations. While ethical, Type 1's can be quite critical, which is misperceived as controlling too often. Type 1 personalities have a strong drive to make improvements on their way to achieving perfection.
Type 1 is frightened most by appearing wrong or of being imperfect.
Type 2 – The Helper, The Giver
A Type 2 Enneagram personality type is a generous, thoughtful type who tends to be a people pleaser. They can meet the needs of others beyond mere empathy. Type 2’s love to help or cater to others, often forsaking their own needs for those they help. Type 2’s embody the notion of selfless-care.
Type 2’s need to feel needed (and avoid their greatest fear of worthlessness) but become resentful of others when they neglect their own needs.
Type 3 – The Performer, The Achiever
A Type 3 Enneagram personality type is an image-conscious personality capable of tremendous adaptability and drive. Type 3’s are industrious performers that maintain a calm exterior to get the job done. They often meet difficult challenges ahead of schedule. The behaviors of a Type 3 personality speak to their need to avoid being unsuccessful or unambitious.
Type 3's can be self-absorbed and, at times, inauthentic.
Type 4 – The Individualist, The Romantic
A Type 4 Enneagram personality type is a dramatic expressive type who can become temperamental if left unchecked. Type 4’s are romantic and somewhat idealistic in their artistic and creative expressions. They love an aesthetically pleasing and balanced lifestyle. Type 4’s strive to appear accomplished to avoid being seen as ordinary.
Type 4’s fear being anything but special and have a deep fear of rejection.
Type 5 – The Investigator, The Observer
A Type 5 enneagram personality type has a keen sense of perception but can be secretive or even isolate from others due to their need for self-sufficiency. Critical details are processed quickly by Type 5's, who are quick to offer independent solutions and opinions.
Type 5’s have a fear of being dependent. They desire independence and need private time for introspection. But have a deep fear of rejection.
Type 6 – The Loyalist
A Type 6 Enneagram personality type is a highly responsible individual who looks for security in an un-secure world. While a Type 6 is often playful and a great, dedicated, and loyal friend, they tend to focus on what could go wrong, bringing a negative spin which is often counterproductive.
Type 6’s are suspicious and, at times, anxious. They are afraid of fear itself, authority, and being alone.
Type 7 – The Enthusiast, The Epicurean
A Type 7 Enneagram personality type is a versatile sort who often prefers spontaneity to rigidity. They love new ideas and are proficient problem solvers, optimistic industry leaders. Type 5’s can be inspiring leaders offering great vision.
Type 7’s fear of criticism, feeling trapped and being disappointed. They find it challenging to forgive others.
Type 8 – The Challenger, The Protector
A Type 8 Enneagram personality type is a willful type who exudes self-confidence, self-reliance, and self-assurance. They prefer to view themselves as powerful heroes – a champion for underdog causes. While a Type 8 is unafraid of confrontation, they speak the truth despite a directness which often stings.
Type 8’s fear of being perceived as vulnerable or weak.
Type 9 – The Peacemaker, The Mediator
A Type 9 Enneagram personality type is a kind, friendly individual who is accepting, entertaining, and a good listener. They have the skills to process the many sides of one story, which makes a Type 9 a skillful mediator or arbitrator.
Type 9’s seek harmony, which can lead to complacency and inaction. They fear abandonment, separation, and loss and consistently strive for peace of mind and stressless-ness in their life.
Best Free Enneagram Tests
Truity's Enneagram test is free and comprehensive. The test has over 100 questions (105 to be exact) and should take you about 10 minutes to complete. The free version includes a brief report displaying some aspects of your Enneagram personality. A more comprehensive personality report is available for purchase.
The Open-Source Psychometrics Project provides a free Enneagram personality test as well as other free personality tests. Their test will show you 36 statements of opinion and ask you how much you agree with the statement on a 5 point scale. You should be able to complete the test in about 5 minutes.
The TrueSelf Enneagram test is a longer test that will take you about 10 minutes to complete. TrueSelf not only provides you standard Enneagram type - they also provide deeper insights via their TrueType and Instinctual Types.
Other Intelligence and Personality Tests
There are many other tests available to give you more insight into your intelligence and personality. Try these free resources to get started:
- Free Personality Tests - Test-Guide.com's directory of free personality tests
- Wonderlic Test - Used by employer's to evaluate cognitive ability
- IQ Test - Free classical intelligence test