SARAH BRAUD Contributor & CEO Braud Creative
Leadership Style of a Seven
“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.” – Steve Jobs
A notorious leader, Steve Jobs is also listed in various enneagram articles as a Seven leader. This Enthusiast leadership archetype is known, much like Steve Jobs, for their innovation and imagination. Forward-looking planners who are constantly on the move for the next best thing, imagine all the creative possibilities connected to whatever interests them.
Options make Sevens feel good, so don’t try to put constraints on them. They are quick, spontaneous and engaging storytellers, but rarely have the patience to get those stories down on paper; they are much to pre-occupied in collecting, living, and experiencing the next adventure.
As leaders, they celebrate milestones and are enthusiastic supporters of everyone on their team. They make magnificent brainstormers and strategists and their brains are free of the boundaries of reality. In fact, the bumpy road of reality is often where they begin to trip up.
The Problem with a Seven Leader
When life or work begins to throw them difficulties, sevens can escape into the refuge of their imaginations, where nothing but roses and parties bloom eternally. Sevens don’t intentionally avoid uncomfortable truths; they come about their lack of awareness honestly.
As a member of the “head triad,” Sevens are repressed in their emotions. Though they pursue positive emotions with an insatiable thirst, this leader has difficulty identifying the underlying problem if its causing negative emotions.
This is when their need for speed sends them on a chase of the next best feeling. They lack the emotional fortitude to do what it takes to identify problems and work them through to their solution.
[bctt tweet=”When life or work begins to throw them difficulties, Sevens escape into the refuge of their imaginations, where nothing but roses and parties bloom eternally. #enneagram7 #leadership @braudknows
Invitation for Sevens to Grow as Leaders
Invitation: It’s okay to embrace the shadow side of life.
A renowned speaker, activist, podcast host, social media figure, and author, Ruthie Lindsey travels the globe sharing her story, empowering others to find purpose in their pain, to look for beauty in the midst of their brokenness. Her forthcoming memoir, Salvaged, will be available through Touchstone/Simon and Schuster in 2019.
Ruthie, a Seven, says, “I think the reason I can be a leader is because I have embraced the painful side of my life. I mean, I couldn’t really avoid it because of the physical pain. But when I stopped trying to numb it, I learned that my pain won’t kill me and it’s actually the thing that’s made me so much softer, kinder, empathetic and more whole.”
Another Seven leader, Mike Jay, an artist manager and co-owner of Proper Management, has developed one of the most experienced and successful artist/tour management services in Christian music, managing some of the biggest brands in Christian music including multi-platinum selling Casting Crowns, whose album sales have exceeded 11 million albums.
“As a 7, I tend to re-frame nearly everything and maybe try and make a situation look better than it actually does. That can be helpful at times and it supports the idea of keeping everything fun. It might make me appear like the eternal optimist but in reality it is my way of disconnecting from my fear and not feeling pain. Choosing to stay with my fear and pain has made a way for dependence on others and the gift of re-framing can now be used to help the team find the best solution for our clients and help shine a positive light on situations that are very difficult and sometimes pretty dark.
The growth in the team and my trust in their work has allowed me the freedom to step back a bit and focus on the bigger picture. Embracing the fear has offered me a path out of my core sin of gluttony, in order to soothe the pain, and allowed me to refocus that energy on investigating and collecting data that will hopefully be helpful in providing new solutions moving forward.”
– Mike Jay
5 Steps for Enneagram Sevens to Become Better Leaders
- Surround Yourself with Truth Tellers. Friends that aren’t afraid to risk telling you what you don’t want to hear are invaluable for leaders who like to see things the way they want to see them instead of the way they are.
- Slow Down. Begin to watch yourself for the times you really start to amp up. You may be speeding up to out run something you don’t want to face. Our own 7 Leader, Daniel Montgomery, practices mindfulness as a way to slow things down, be in the moment, and not race to future planning.
- Journal. While amazing storytellers, Sevens find it really challenging to slow down enough to put those stories down on paper. This practice forces you to look at things more clearly, slowing your vision down to see what needs more attention.
- Trust your Team. “Asking for and accepting help has always been a challenge for me. But learning to trust and depend on my team, know they have their own unique skill sets to bring to the table, and let them handle certain projects has been a critical part of my own growth. It has helped me move away from controlling and perhaps being critical of a situation, to supporting, guiding and encouraging them through the process.” – Mike Jay
- Leverage your Fear of Missing Out. Do you suffer from FOMO? Remind yourself that experiencing only the positive side of life leaves a whole host of emotions out of your life journey. Embracing the painful side of life is embracing the entire human experience. Don’t miss out and the part of life that leads to resurrection!
Daniel Montgomery, CEO of Leadership Reality, has done a lot of work to become a more integrated 7, elevating his repressed emotions by practicing slowing down, journaling, and gathering truth tellers as friends.
The hero’s journey for the Seven is moving from the propensity to close your eyes to the difficult to seeing all the reality of life, from the future dreaming to the present living, and from the wide expanse of friends and experiences to the deep, richness that comes from a slow intention.
No more planning. Just go complete some tasks, taking in the fresh air of the present while you breathe in and out, listening out for whatever emotions might come.
Further Developing Your Awareness
Books for Sevens
The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
Samson and the Pirate Monks by Nate Larkin
Think You Might Be a Seven?
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@example.com.
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