Difficult People Decoded: The Loyalist
Sixes or loyalists are a relatively new personality type, added to the Enneagram in the early 1970s by a Berkeley psychoanalyst. He identified a particular personality dominated by fear that primarily operated out of the head or intellect. These are the hyper-over-analytical people we know in the office who have a deep phobia bordering on paranoia.
For example, I knew a senior executive who spent at least ten minutes thinking about the order in which he puts people’s email addresses in the CC: box.
Their shadow is fear, specifically a fear of not being supported or guided. Therefore, they have a natural tendency to follow rules or, interestingly, defy them. They make great middle managers.
If Sixes feel that they have sufficient back up, they can move forward with some degree of confidence. But if that crumbles, they become anxious and self-doubting, reawakening their Basic Fear. (“I’m on my own! What am I going to do now?”) A good question for Sixes might therefore be: “When will I know that I have enough security?” Or, to get right to the heart of it, “What is security?” Without Essential inner guidance and the deep sense of support that it brings, Sixes are constantly struggling to find firm ground.
My best friend is a Six so I know their virtues well. Due to their intense loyalty, they will stand by you and are willing to go down with the ship. They have the capacity for incredible courage when they feel safe. They thrive in large corporations that have many layers and an allowance to think through situations thoroughly.
The best practice for someone driven by fear is to work on building trust. Allow time for reflection before you assume everybody is out to get you. More people like you more than you think! By growing trust in a community around you, you can bolster your courage to take action in spite of the fear itself – which is the definition of a hero.
- “I can see lots of problems”
- “Rules were made for a reason”
- Prefers security over success
- Always knowing where the emergency exists are
- Great middle managers
- Avoid the line of fire
- Little interest in leadership positions
Examples: Richard Nixon, Robert F. Kennedy, Princess Diana, John Grisham, Mike Tyson, Bruce Springsteen, Diane Keaton, Mel Gibson, Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Katie Holmes, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Ellen DeGeneres, Andy Rooney, Katie Couric, Chris Rock, Lewis Black, Larry David, Seinfeld’s “George Costanza,” Lord of the Rings’ “Frodo Baggins”
How To Work With A Six:
- Be direct and clear
- Quote a rule
- Listen carefully
- Acknowledge and assuage their fears
- Gently encourage them to new experiences
- Avoid overreacting in front of them
- Do not flatter them