Delegating

Enneagram For Group Practices ft. Whitney Owens

 June 8, 2022

By  Uriah Guilford, MFT

minute read

In this episode my good friend Whitney Owens does a podcast takeover to talk about using the Enneagram for hiring and managing in your group practice.

In This Episode, You'll Learn:

  • The basics of understanding the Enneagram
  • How to use the Enneagram for hiring
  • How to use the Enneagram for managing staff
  • The do's and don'ts for using the Enneagram in your group practice

Resources Mentioned In This Episode:

⬇️ Click for full episode transcript ⬇️

Hi, I'm Whitney Owens, and this is a podcast takeover on the Productive Therapist Podcast. Thank you, Uriah, for giving me a day to hang out with your audience and be on your show. When your I reached out to me and said, Whitney, I'd love for you to do a solo show. I thought, what can I bring to the table that fits the audience and helps people save time and money in their practice so they can live out their dreams? And I thought, it's the Enneagram. The Enneagram is a personality tool that we use in our practices, and you can use it in your personal life to help understand yourself, help understand the way that you interact with other people. I have found it to be, hands down, the most effective personality tool that I have ever understood. And so I want to help you understand just a little bit about it today, but really want you to know how it can speed up the process in your practice. And so if you don't know a lot about the Enneagram today, it's just going to be a taste of it. I want to really encourage you to go and learn about it on your own.

You also can connect with me. I have tons of resources on understanding the Enneagram, but I'm also going to talk about how it helps you and your business. So before we get into that, I want to tell you a little bit about me. Like I said, I am Whitney Owens. I'm located in Savannah, Georgia, which is right here on the coast. You can probably hear it in my accent that I am from the south. I specialize in helping faith based practice owners start and grow their practices from a way that aligns with their values and with their ethics. I've been doing this for several years. It all started with me with my own private practice and finding ways to integrate faith in the work I was doing that was appropriate to what worked for me and my values and being able to not only incorporate that in my clinical work with my clients, but as I grew a business and my practice is called Waters Edge Counseling, there are eleven therapists at the time of recording this episode. We are private pay practice, and then I have two admins. I have an office manager. She also takes the calls.

And I have a marketing director that works part time. So when I'm not running my group practice, I love to help faith based practice owners with their practices, and I constantly bring the Enneagram into that process. So I actually use the Enneagram with my clients. I also use it with my hiring, and I use it in my personal life. I also use it in my business consulting, too, because it really impacts the way that we make decisions. So you might be thinking, what does Enneagram mean? Yes, Enneagram is a Greek term for a non sided figure. Okay, grandma is figure. So it's a non sided figure. So there are non numbers that encompass the different personalities of the Enneagram. It has amazed me how with taking the Enneagram test and understanding people, you really can narrow it down to these nine numbers. And when someone first told me all this, I was like, what? That sounds crazy. I saw the picture, it looked weird. But that's definitely not the case. When I first learned about the Enneagram, I was sitting on the sofa with my husband one evening and he says to me, Whitney, I heard about this personality tool called the Enneagram.

It's like, okay, what's that all about? And he says, Well, I think you're a one. And I'm like thinking you can't narrow me down to a number. But I said, A one? What's the one? And he says, well, the one has a critical voice in their mind at all times telling them how the world could be a better place. And I said, doesn't everyone have that voice in their head? He said, no, not like you do. I'm like, oh, goodness. And so that piqued my interest. And then later he tells me, well, ones are really angry at the world for being so messed up. And I'm thinking, I am perfect. I don't get angry because the one is the perfectionist. And then I later realized that, yes, I do have anger issues. And so it was amazing how quickly he could take a number and learn and know so much about me and even knew things about me that I didn't know about myself. But it helped me to know myself. Right. And so the Enneagram, unlike some of the other tests that are a little bit more focused on behavior, the Enneagram focus is more on your motivations, your fears behind the behaviors.

And it's not a stagnant personality tool. It really can be molded and dynamic and move around as you grow. It shows us our places of growth, our places of stress. There are so many aspects to the Enneagram. And so let me talk to you about how I use it in my practice. There is a PDF attached to this podcast episode. If you go into the notes and you can get all the information that I'm sharing here with you today so you don't feel like you have to write everything down. And then when you do download that PDF, it will add you to my email list. And so that way I can hang out with you. We can talk more Enneagram and I can help you, especially if you're a faith based practice owner wanting to grow that aspect of your practice. If you want to get that PDF, you can head to the show notes. But I just walk through kind of the do's and don'ts of the Enneagram and then we'll kind of touch on the numbers. And I'm going to specifically use this episode to focus more on group practice because I have found it to be super helpful for me as a group practice owner.

So here's the do's and don'ts for the Enneagram in your group practice. I want you to use the Enneagram for new hires. Okay, this is fantastic, because when you know someone's Enneagram number, not that we want to put them in a box, because that would be a no no. But we want to understand people better so we can help them more meet their needs, know how to communicate with them more effectively. So when I'm hiring people, if I know their Enneagram number, I'm going to know how to be a better boss to them. And I'm going to be able to get them through the training, get them more acquainted faster, as opposed to not understanding their personality and their background. So let me give you a quick example of this. Just last week we had hired an intern and she took the Enneagram test and she is a nine on the Enneagram, which is a peacekeeper. And so she shares this with me and I had her read a little bit about it. She agreed that is how she sounded. So I know because I love the Enneagram, that the peacekeeper is able to bring harmony to places which is really great for your business.

You want someone who can really see things from lots of different perspectives. Nine also are just in general, peaceful, easy people to be around. So you can understand why you want some of those in your practice, especially if you have some high energy, high intensity hires. More recently, you might want something that's a little more calm and peaceful. But at the same time, nuns do struggle with understanding what they want, and a lot of times they just say to other people what they think they want to hear in a way to avoid conflict. So I was needing the intern to do something for me, but it was a big ask and I knew it was a big ask. So instead of saying, hey, I need you to do this, yada, yada, I knew that it would be very hard for her to say no because she's a nine on the neighbor. So it changed the way I presented the information to her so that I was a little bit more careful to give her an out and more careful to get her to speak her opinion instead of just telling me what she would have thought I wanted to hear.

And this is super important because nines do tend to fall into that trap of saying what they think other people want to hear. And then they neglect themselves for so long that they become angry. They also have the anger that the one has that they ignore their anger and then it blows up. Another example of that is kind of like the Hulk. He holds so much in, and all of a sudden he goes green. Right. So the Enneagram helped me in understanding her. So you can see with other hires how understanding their Enneagram number can help you really speed up the process and improve that communication. And they're going to stick around with your practice likely longer, because you're going to meet their needs in a different kind of way. And so when I'm going through the hiring process to do is have them take the Enneagram. The don't is don't hire just because they're a certain Enneagram or not a certain Enneagram number. We don't want to hire based on their number. We want to use their number to help understand them. Okay. Because all the numbers on the Enneagram are wonderful and they all have great skills to bring.

And when you bring them all together, you have a hole, right. Just like when you see the Enneagram, picture it's a circle with all these little angles on the inside of it and all these arrows. Well, it's the whole of one circle of made up of all the numbers. Right. So you can have a holistic practice if you were to have all the numbers, if you wanted to think of it like that. So you don't want to not hire someone based on the number. But what I really like is if someone doesn't know the Enneagram when they first come in for the interview process, we do the interview and all that stuff. It's actually one of the last things we do is we ask them to take the test. I encourage you to do a paid one if you want to, but I send them a free version. Just get it offline. I have them take it and send me their results. And I specifically say to them, Let me know what you learned about yourself through taking this test. And if they're capable of taking a test, giving me an answer, telling me a little bit of insight.

That's what I'm looking for, right? Because I want to see if they can take the test and they can have insight about their lives. And then we also, while they're at the practice, we continue to talk any aggregate with our team because it helps us to understand each other and helps us to meet one another's needs. And my team now likes to talk to each other. I've actually heard of businesses before having Enneagram numbers outside people's doors so that people know how to interact with them. So I think it's a little over the top. But I also find it really fun but we all know each other's Enneagram numbers here at the practice. And so let me give you another do. Another do is appreciate each other's contributions to the team. Right. So one person might be the peacekeeper, maybe they bring a lot of harmony, but they don't really give their opinion that you want to hear. Right. And so for me, I'm an Enneagram type one, as I said. And so ones tend to be very strict rule followers. And this is something I've had to work on personally. I still have to work on all the time.

I'm very black and white thinking I struggle with the Gray area, and so I'm trying to embrace that. But you can see as a boss how important it is. And I know that. So then when somebody doesn't follow a rule or does something a little different than what I think needs to be done, I can get very upset. Well, that's what the rule is, and that's how we're supposed to do it. Not everyone's going to follow my rules perfectly, right. And maybe sometimes my rules are too harsh. And so I've been able to tailor down how I interact with people, which I definitely think helps my retention with my staff and helps them to enjoy working with me. Knowing my Enneagram number has made a huge difference in the way that I lead my team. And so for another example with the one is ones are very self critical. And so if you have a one on your team, the last thing you want to do is critique them at all in front of people because the one has already been the worst critic. And when you say something they've done wrong, they take it to the extreme.

They struggle because they kind of beat themselves up. So if you're ever going to confront a one, you definitely need to do it in a different place other than in front of a bunch of people. But some of the other Enneagram numbers not that we want to confront people in a group, but some of the other numbers could handle in a little bit nicer than others. Another example is I have a lot of Enneagram twos on my team because twos are the helpers. And so you can understand why a lot of counselors would be, too. One of the things about twos, though, is they feel like they have to do what other people want them to do to receive love. Right. And so they're always serving everyone else to their own detriment. So they're actually similar to none in the way that they don't always know what they actually want. Nines don't know what they want motivation wise, because they're trying to keep them in conflict. Twos don't know what they want because they're worried that if they tell you what they want that they're not going to get love that they have to give to you to receive your love.

And so what happens with twos, though, is over time, they don't tell you what they need, and then they start to get stressed. And when a twos and stress, they start to kind of lash out and say what they actually need, and they communicate a little more strongly than how they need to. And so I've learned that with my twos on staff, I have to really give them time to think about what they want instead of making quick decisions, which I'm prone to is saying, here's what we're thinking about doing. Think about what it is that you need. It's okay to voice your needs instead of moving quickly. And so all these things have really helped me. Another do is be aware of how your type affects your work as a practice owner, which is what I was just telling you about in the don't here is you don't want to make every meeting, every conversation about the NEA gram. So even though we do talk about it in our practice a lot, we're not going to use it to put people in a box. We're not going to make every meeting about it or every conversation about it because it just simply doesn't need to be.

That right. So now I'm giving you some ways that it really makes the process faster for people to get to know one another, for people to get trained at our team. It speeds up my ability to care well for my clinicians. I think it brings higher retention rates to the practice as far as our staff and wanting to stay because I understand how to best meet their needs. I want to give you another example. I have an Enneagram type eight. And after I give you this example, I'll go through the types real quick for you to give you ideas. But the eight is the challenger. And so AIDS do tend to come with a lot of intensity, and they're very to the point. And for most people, if you're not an eight, you're intimidated by an eight. Okay. But the thing is, eight felt intimacy through conflict. Right. When the pandemic was occurring and there were so many things I had to get figured out at the practice, I was stressed. I was trying to make decisions about masks, temperature checks, forms need to be completed, and the list goes on. And my therapist really challenged me on that, like why I'm making those decisions.

And is that what's best for the clients? And I was so intimidated and took it so personally. And then I had to sit down and go, wait. And eight is finding intimacy through conflict. And then I spoke to her about this, and she said, yes, it's when we have discussions about things, it's when we get close to one another. So in her mind, we were coming together. In my mind, we were coming apart. Right. And so me understanding that about her helps me to stay my ground. Eight really want a leader that doesn't get intimidated by them, and that's who they respect. So if you have an aide on your team and they're coming to you with a problem, that means they respect you and you need to stay strong, even if you feel that level of intimidation. So real quick, I want to run through these numbers with you. The Enneagram type one is the reformer. So they have clearly defined roles and expectations. They're hard working, they're ethical. They sometimes have the unrealistic expectations that I told you about, and they often are harder on themselves than others. Number two is the helper.

They are hard working to please authority. Right. So oftentimes they actually compliment their boss a lot and check in on their boss a lot because they think that's what the boss wants and that that's how they're going to receive love and affirmation. I will say twos more than some of the other numbers. Really just love those verbal affirmations. Knowing that they're appreciated goes so far for someone that's a two on your team. They want to stay connected. They're very social people, but like I said, they have a hard time expressing their own needs. Three is the achiever. They want to define clear goals and have a space to achieve those goals. They're highly motivated. Three come off as very competitive. Oftentimes they are the practice owner, to tell you the truth, and they are image conscious. It doesn't take long for a meeting to happen. If the three is leading it because they get to the point. They're very efficient people. They respond very well to traditional workplace rewards. So like a raise or a higher position, give a three on your team, give them those bonuses, give them that title so that they know that they are appreciated and they're going to like that a different kind of way than some of the other numbers.

Four is the romantic. They're comfortable with lots of emotions, make wonderful therapists, can really hold a lot of emotions in the therapy room. They're creative, they're unique, and they want to be appreciated for being unique. So as a business owner, appreciating their uniqueness is very important. But forced to struggle to get mandate tasks completed. So you do have to have a really clear plan for four on your team and helping them get their notes completed and other mundane tasks that occur in private practice. Obviously, investigator projects, competence. They're very professional, they're insightful, reserved. They often want personal space to get stuff done. So if you have a five on your team, they don't want you over their shoulder. They want to have their own space and time. And if you give it to them, they'll be very productive for you. So give them that space. Five are off, then hesitant to share personal information. So you never want to push a file on your team to have to share a bunch of information. Six is the loyalists. They ask a lot of questions, they analyze problems, but they're also very reliable. So it's great to have these people.

They're usually kind of like your risk managers, being able to see different things that you need to be aware of as a business owner. So I think all teams really need to have a six, by the way, because sixes are going to notice the one spots in advance. It's good for them to be a part of a stable organization because sixes are always going for stability. They're not really your risk takers. They tend to be a little slower in trusting others. But once you gain their trust, they are loyal to you, which is a beautiful thing. Seven is the enthusiasts. They want freedom. Okay? So it's a little hard for them to get stuff done at the practice because they want to maintain their own schedule. So you want to make sure that you get those settings as much freedom as you possibly can. The more you tie them down, the more upset they're going to get. They do tend to be optimistic and fun loving. They're just a real joy to be around, to tell you the truth. But they do get easily distracted, so you have to help them stay focused within your private practice.

Eight is the challenger. We already kind of talked a little bit about that. These people were direct. They're confident. They make good decision making. They're quick to decide. They leave their Mark on the world by being active, vital and busy. But sometimes they can be intimidating for their boss and their coworkers. Right? So understanding that those challenges are what brings intimacy and the peacekeeper is nine. They want harmony. They're easy going, supportive, and they can see all sides of an issue and make sure that all voices are heard. Everyone feels like a nine is their best friend, so that sometimes they don't actually say what they mean, right? So they sometimes say yes because they think that that's what they're supposed to say to avoid conflict. So you can see how each of these numbers I'm giving you a very small example here on this episode to help you go and do your own work on it. But you can see how it's helpful to understand all these numbers and these personalities to help your business move forward faster. And so I want to encourage you, if you haven't already, do some work on the Enneagram, take a test for yourself.

One of my favorite books on the Enneagram is called The Road Back to you by Ian Cron. It's a basic, easy read on the Instagram. It's a really good place to start. He also hosts a weekly podcast called Typology. And then remember, this flyer or this handout that I've created for you guys is going to be in the show notes of today's episode. If you want to head in there, you can get that. Enjoy my email list and learn and all about starting and growing a faith based practice. Thanks for hanging out with me today. I love talking about the Enneagram and I'm excited for you to be able to use the Enneagram to help save you time and money in your group practice.

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Uriah Guilford, MFT


Uriah is a group practice owner and the creator of Productive Therapist. He is a technology nerd, a minimalist travel packer, a rock drummer and business development enthusiast.

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