SE for Managing the Spiral

The world of personality types is no longer flat. Given the developmental aspects of the Structural Enneagram, it begins to approximate the thinking of Spiral Dynamics, with its sequence of value-memes.

The Green-meme way of thinking about Enneagram personality types was simply to value all “types” equally. The Yellow-meme way of thinking is to value all people enough to encourage them to become the personalities that are called for given their particular goals and life situations.

The Greens were, of course, right in their desire to be nonjudgmental about personality types. Just as all people have intrinsic value, all personality patterns are useful in some contexts. But a laissez-faire attitude toward people’s cognitive, emotional, and behavioral capabilities and limitations may not be feasible in today’s world. It’s time to recognize that some people have more evolved personalities than others, and that some people’s personal strengths and weaknesses do interfere with their own and others’ needs.

Although there may be no one-to-one correspondence between Spiral Dynamics and the Structural Enneagram, Yellows trying to manage the Spiral might find this new personality model useful.

Correspondences between Structural Enneagram and Spiral Dynamics

As seen through the Structural Enneagram, the abilities that define personality are acquired in stages. Similar to v-memes, the SE types follow a roughly evolutionary path. The personality’s evolution follows a path away from dependence on others for validation and toward individuation.

Many, if not most, of the world’s current leaders are not individuated, as most are not second tier. In fact, they gravitate to politics and management in order to claim the appreciation and admiration they need in order to calm fear and feel OK. In the past, their thirst to be the alpha has been enough of a reason to put them in positions of power. It may no longer be.

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