SARAH BRAUD Contributor & CEO Braud Creative
The Character of a Two
By nature, the Two Archetype of a leader is warm, nonjudgmental, giving and kind. Beatrice Chestnut, a leadership expert, offers seven characteristics that define the Helper’s style of leadership — each one containing positives and the potential for negative when found in overabundance: Charm and warmth, empathy and emotional sensitivity.
There is no better example of an unhealthy Two Leader than a stereotypical, overbearing mother. Other names for Two’s are The Servant or the Hostess. The mother in the television show Everybody loves Raymond or Howard’s mother, Mrs. Horowitz, from Big Bang Theory. These types of leaders want to be needed. They live to serve. While outwardly the service looks like generosity, the darker shadow is the part that requires something unspoken in return.
It’s no accident that we don’t ever see Mrs. Horowitz in the show as these archetypal leaders aren’t in it for the recognition. However, they are as generous as they are co-dependent. Two’s don’t often seek out leadership and this type of leader is not often in the executive suite by intention. Bishop Desmond Tutu, one of the greatest archetypes of a Helper, said, “I am a leader by default, only because nature does not allow a vacuum.” Like Tutu, these archetypes are as warm as they are self-sacrificial.I am a leader by default, only because nature does not allow a vacuum. - Desmond Tutu #servantleader #enneagram2 Click To Tweet
Invitation for #2 Leaders
It’s okay to ask others for help.
This is an invitation for you to consider. Do you ever ask for help? Can you see that your inability to receive help is hindering the growth of others around you? What are you protecting them from by not asking for help?
Being needed is a double-edged sword. It is equal parts generosity and co-dependence. By keeping others from growth in order for them to continue to need you, no one wins.
Calls to Action for #2 Leaders
- Delegate. Enable Others to Act. In their workbook, from The Leadership Challenge workshop, Kouzes and Posner write, “Think about ways in which projects are planned and decisions made in your organization. Then come up with several actions you can take to involve others in the planning and decision making process.” The best leaders trust others with the load.
- Say no. It’s always easier for you to do what’s being asked. Saying yes to fulfilling other people’s responsibilities is limiting your organization. Instead, practice saying no. Maybe give yourself a goal of 3 no’s a week and then build on that. You may be surprised by the results.
- Create a sacred space for your emotions. Not everyone on your team can handle all your feels nor do they want to share all their feels. Honor your feelings by designating a time and place for greater acknowledgement. This isn’t a waspy cry to stuff your feelings or to reinforce the business culture’s lie that it’s not personal. However, this is a call to give your emotions a balanced amount of attention. Two’s tendencies are to feel first, do second, and think last. By creating time away from feeling all the feels, you give yourself permission to elevate your thinking.
- Use your words. Like we teach in The Leadership Challenge’s Model the Way leadership practice, make certain that people adhere to the principles and standard that have been agreed upon. Don’t pout, use passive aggressive strategies to recruit others — both your direct reports, managers, and clients —to behave appropriately. Tell them what you expect, then tell them when they have not met those expectations.
- Accept offers for help or ask for volunteers. You have needs and you are naturally adept at getting people to do what you want, though it is particularly through manipulation. Beatrice Chestnut describes this as “a more benign shifting things around behind the scenes for a particular purpose.” Benign shifting to Direct Asking.
By accepting the invitation to ask for help, you can transform from a co-dependent leader to a leader that enables others to act. And what could be better than a nurturing leader that let’s go of the reins while also calling you to a higher standard of behavior?
You’ve always heard that it is more blessed to give than to receive. In this case, that is the opposite of truth. Reality for the #2 leader is believing that it is more blessed to receive.
Further Developing Your Awareness
If the enneagram interests you, several sources are available for developing a deeper understanding of your type. Here are just a few we here at Leadership Reality love:
9 Types of Leadership by Beatrice Chestnut.
Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner
The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr.
The Road Back to You: by Ian Cron & Suzanne Stabile.
Think you might be a Two? Sign up to take the Enneagram Test with Leadership Reality and know for sure. If you’d like your team to hear an overview about the enneagram and how it can be used to improve their leadership skills, consider at Lunch & Learn Enneagram Workshop for Your Team! For either request, email us at [email protected]
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