Enneagram Personality Type Six – LAB Profile Through The Levels

Healthy Six at level 2 and 3

Motivation Traits; External, Away-from, Procedure, Sameness

Working Traits; Specific, Proximity

As healthy Sixes at level 2 “begin to look for security outside themselves” they are shifting into the External behavioural trait. Security, safety, anticipating problems and dangers are all Away-from motivations. Sixes are possibly the most Away-from types. Hence, their label of The “Trouble Shooter”.

Sixes also seem to like procedures, an element of “guidance” (although they may not always follow the one somebody gives them) There is also a Proactive element as they “live by the boy scout motto, be prepared” But as we will see as Sixes drop down the levels, this will be one of the “flip-flop” traits that Sixes exhibit.

Sixes are “solid dependable and reliable people” the trait of Sameness. T
hey are also more Person orientated in the healthy range.

Combined with Proactive and Proximity (they “want to feel secure and safe with people around them”) “they go out of their way to establish rapport with others”

At level 3 a shift towards Co-operative begins as the “feeling they belong somewhere and can count on others is very important to them – being part of a family, community, company or team is natural”
The Proximity approach of having some specific area of responsibility, becomes less important, or maybe even less appealing as it possibly exposes the Six to criticism by their peers. Hence Sixes “become fully Co-operative –co-equal partners”.

Dominant Sixes are frequently refer to ‘We’, in referring to decisions or points of view. (This can become a defence mechanism at lower levels, and be used without conferring with others – which can also get them into problems as others may challenge the ‘assumed inclusiveness’ of the remark or decision)Type Sixes are more Specific orientated.

They “can attend to details” and “some good analytical skills”. The diligence and “excellent discipline” and the ability to be “highly effective at organising and running things” points to a flexibility that requires good Procedure approach, as well as the Options and Away-from to deal with any problems that occur during the running of things.

Average Six
Motivation Traits; Mainly Reactive, Away-from, External (False Internal) Procedure, Sameness

Working Traits; Specific, No/My

Shifts; oscillations between – Reactive vs. Proactive Person vs. Thing

It’s no wonder some people find Sixes difficult to understand. From here on down, the flip-flop oscillations and ambiguous messages become apparent as Sixes insecurities deepen, the more they drop down the levels.

At level 4 average Sixes feel comforted by the Sameness as they “become organisation people and traditionalists“. But “ once committed to a person or group they become afraid of rocking the boat and seek stability”

Their External / Away-from (rocking the boat) drives “getting guidance and reassurance from others” which “relives doubt and anxiety” The first signs of false Internal manifest as “all new input must be questioned and tested to see if reliable”.

Whilst this make appear to the provider of the information as an Internal trait, The average Six is referring to the External guides they have Internalised. These are previously admired gurus and mentors who Sixes have put on some internal pedestal as their source of inner guidance and have formed their beliefs around. And because ”once they arrive at certain answers and beliefs, they do not want to change them” ( more Sameness) they start can become defensive and “question any views that call their own previous beliefs into question”.

Under these conditions, average Sixes pattern of Procedure / Sameness can be fuelled by a shift towards Proactive and exhibit No/My rules, as they can “become attached to procedures and protocols” and the “traditions from which they derive a security”.

The No/My rule structure is associated with the Middle Management Jobs Worth attitude.

Its saying I don’t know what to do that is best for me to improve, but I can ( and will) tell you what’s best for you!

At level 5 their Sameness / Away-from quest for stability becomes a source for mixed messages.
They “do not like ambiguity in their relationships” and yet they can be very ambiguous to others as they “want to assert their independence and begin to assert themselves”.

Thus begins the apparent flip-flop oscillations between Independent vs. Cooperative, Internal vs. External, Proactive vs. Reactive, Towards vs. Away-from

The real key driver of this behaviour is External because they are now “at the mercy of their inner committee”

At level 6 they try to “prove they are not anxious” by a shift to Proactive, they “let others know they cannot be pushed around or taken advantage of” and pretend to be Internal by “asserting their opinions more forcefully” Powered by Sameness and Away-from they are “ suspicious of outsiders and anyone different from themselves”

Unhealthy Six

Motivation Traits; Reactive vs. Proactive, Away-from, External

Working Traits; No/My

At level 7, “they may turn again to allies and authority figures”. But now the External, Reactive , No/My patterns stagnate as they are “unable to make decisions or do anything without guidance”

The negative thoughts and anxiety become more intense.

At level 8 “everything becomes a crisis”. A flip to Proactive becomes the drive for such axioms as “Good fire fighters make good arsonists”.

The fear driven, “over reacting” trouble shooting Six starts “creating a crisis” as “the price they pay to have their anxiety reduced by someone else’s intervention”

At level 9 unhealthy Sixes turn the Proactive, Away-from focus on themselves, and “out of the frying pan into the fire” they begin “punishing themselves by somehow bringing about what they fear”.

They “do not take pleasure in the suffering they bring on self – but hope it will elicit pity and protection from someone( External) who will save them”

Healthy Six at level 1

The key shift for Healthy Sixes at level one is when they become truly Internal.A quiet mind silences the opinions and judgements of the inner committee.

They feel valued within themselves, without reference to others or external measurements.

The future orientation, once fueled by an away-from motivation, causing fear and anxiety, is in equilibrium with the Toward motivation.

There is no direct LAB profile for what replaces it; Trust and Faith.


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