Contributor & 
CEO Braud Creative

Leadership Style of a Five

The leadership archetype of The Investigator is one of the mad scientist, expert, genius, the quiet specialist, the observer, detached mastermind.

Five’s are driven by their need to get home before their energy runs out. They work totally independent of others, and measure how much everything will cost them. Safety and security in a future world is as important as not looking foolish or unknowledgeable.

Curiosity may kill some cats, but Five’s come alive when their curiosity is piqued. “Why?” and “How?” are their favorite questions. These folks are conceptual thinkers and rarely have time for the direct implications of them.

Rational versus relational, intellectualize versus romanticize, minimize versus maximize.

These leaders rank the highest in competency.

Fans of The Big Bang Theory will recognize Sheldon as a Five.

The Problem with a Five Leader

As part of their drive to stay safe and conserve energy, the Fives are often detached from their emotions. They isolate themselves and think about feelings rather than feel their feelings.

Since they do not share their personal lives and emotions easily, it’s difficult for these leaders to connect with others on a human level. Fives tend to remove the emotional, non-measurable elements of life when decision-making, assuming everyone else will do the same. This can spiral into feelings of being misunderstood as those Fives interact with can often misjudge their attempts at remaining rational as cold and robotic, which is hardly an ingredient for collaboration, a necessary ingredient for growing a business or leading a revolution.

Invitation for Fives to Grow as Leaders

Invitation: It’s safe to share your resources & yourself with others.

Fives, this invitation is your mantra. As you walk, meditate, or do yoga, let yourself hear this call over and over. It’s safe to share your time, your energy and your resources. There is enough of everything, including you. You are enough.

[bctt tweet=”Invitation for Type 5 Leaders to grow: It’s safe to share your resources & yourself with others. #enneagram5 #leadership” username=”LeaderReality”]

Group Yoga On Beach

5 Steps Fives Can Take to Become Better Leaders

  1. Feel your feels. In her book 9 Types of Leadership, Beatrice Chestnut reminds Fives to “notice when you detach from your emotions and take the risk of staying more engaged with them. Realize that developing the ability to connect with your feelings in the present moment will help you to engage with life more deeply and make connecting with others more appealing and interesting.
  2. Practice collaboration. It’s uncomfortable for you to work closely with others. My close friend Dan Haseltine, the lead singer of Jars of Clay and founder of the nonprofit Blood:Water, is a dyed in the wool Five, which has presented a challenge as a member of a band. All the music he created for years was done collaboratively. I remember in the early years Dan deliberately following Bono’s lead in sharing all writing credit for the music Jars wrote so he would never be tempted to isolate himself from the other guys in the band. The result? An over 20 year run as a professional musician creating music and garnering industry awards including five Doves and three Grammy’s. Bonus: Jars of Clay was mocked on the HBO series Crashing, which I find to be the highest form of flattery.
  3. Acquire more friends, less knowledge. Research makes you feel safe, yet true connection with people is ultimately what you are researching. Instead of going on Facebook, googling articles, or collecting arguments for public discourse, share some personal information that you haven’t shared before with someone face to face. A confession goes much further than an article if your goal is trust building.
  4. Exercise. As a Five, your repressed center is that of doing (The triads of Thinking, Feeling, Doing or Head, Heart, Gut, respectively.) Somatic exercises will help you move from your head to your body, becoming a fully integrated being and a better leader. By staying in the present and reality, you won’t be so easily tempted to remain in theory and actually execute and connect more fully to those around you and your projects.
  5. Push past your fears. Go bear hunting. Remember the old children’s game? You can’t go around it, you can’t go over it, you can’t go under it, you got to go through it. Emotions and intimacy can be threatening. Life is scary, but its infinitely scarier when done in isolation.


True transformation happens when you embrace your strengths and elevate your constraints to match your natural abilities. Dr. Eboni Webb, a clinical psychologist, strong Five leader, and founder of Village of Kairos — a trauma-focused therapy practice, reminds me that growth happens right on the edge of our windows of tolerance. Don’t push yourself too hard and therefore out of your zone (referred to in psychology as flooding.)

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:

Books for Five’s

No more reading. Go play.

Podcasts & Music

The Liturgists (Follow Science Mike on Twitter!)

Think You Might Be a Five?

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

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