Enneagram and Politics: Are “The Perfectionist” of the Enneagram, the perfect politicians?

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Enneagram and Politics: Are “The Perfectionist” of the Enneagram, the perfect politicians?

Seven days to go ’til the most anticipated election day. It is rather an interesting time given that we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. Compared to the previous elections, each voter is only given a 2-hour window to cast their vote. I can only hope that this would not affect voters count and citizens will still exercise their right to suffrage.

Going back to our topic at hand – are Type 1s a.k.a. The Perfectionist a great candidate for public office? We uncover the strengths, weakness, and gifts of this type on what they could offer as a leader.


 Understanding Type 1’s Essence

Type 1s strive for perfection (the Enneagram community also refer to this type as “The Idealist”). They believe they can discern what is truly correct and right, living by these rules and maintaining a high level of honesty and integrity. A Type 1’s worldview is: “There is a right way. Let me teach you. ”

Not only do they strive perfection within themselves, but they ought to share this trait with everyone. They hold themselves and others accountable to high standards. They are meticulous, ethical, organised, detailed, disciplined and committed.

They’re also deemed as a “Reformer”. They have an eye to see what needs improvement and positive change.

Having all these remarkable characteristics, I would bet that most people would want a Type 1 as a Leader. However, working alongside a Type 1 could be very challenging for some as they could appear to be inflexible, controlling, and over idealistic in their efforts to keep things on track.

At their best, Type 1s have a clear and developed set of morals and values – and are focused and motivated to make a difference which this nation could really benefit from.


Type 1 Strengths:

  • An eye for what needs improvement. As they seek out for the right (and best) ways to do things, they naturally have an eye for what needs improvement/reformation. They are able to pick up even the most minute errors what would miss many other’s eyes.
  • Awareness of and attention to details. As they crave perfection, there’s no room for any error for a Type 1. When working with a task at hand, they will carefully check all the details making sure there is no mistake.
  • Deeply motivated by internal moral compass. Type 1s life is about adhering to strong personal values and internal standards. This makes them self-motivated individuals who naturally seek what’s best for the community.
  • The ability to connect to and care for their community. With a high-mastery, Type 1s are able to relate to their environment with grace and understanding. When they no longer cling to their perfectionistic ways, they can be tolerant and accepting of themselves and others while speaking the truth and being authentic.


Type 1 Weaknesses:

  • The tendency to be perfectionistic. They can be rather hyper-critical of themselves and others. People working with Type 1 may feel judged and criticised by their regular tally of right and wrong. This type has a strong inner critic that assists them in making sure everything measures up to their expectations.
  • Difficulty in negating in the greys. Type 1s are driven to see the world and themselves to be perfect. However, not everything in life is so simple as black and white. Thus, they may get impatient with themselves and others while navigating within the greys.
  • Being highly critical of themselves and others. Type 1 people are very hard-working, they take pride in following their schedules and organise each day with a sense of purpose. And because of this, Type 1 thinks that people who aren’t like them are “lazy” or unmotivated. They’re also prone to criticising themselves harshly. Depending on the environment, this can become an extremely challenging problem for Type 1s and those working closely with them.
  • Possibility of becoming a hypocrite. Being a perfectionist, they want (almost) everything to be done right. However, as human beings, no one can keep up everything. Thus, they may have the tendency to cover up the imperfect portions of their lives, which may be a form of hypocrisy by itself.


What are the gifts a Type 1 politician brings to the table?

Having a good moral compass puts a Type 1 in a great position in becoming a good leader. There’s no denying that politics can be really dirty and having more Type 1s as leaders will balance out the good and bad in this complicated arena. With power comes great responsibility and a Type 1 will be your best bet to use this power in the right way.

In a world that loves to point fingers and cast blame, Type 1 reminds us that the first person we ought to concern ourselves with is ourselves. They exemplify a sense of personal responsibility that the world at large has a great deal to learn from. As leaders, they would remind us that any great changes we want to see in the world should- and need to- start with us.


Examples of Type 1 Leaders

Of course, these leaders have never done our Enneagram Tests. Still, they’re believed to be Type 1s by many Enneagram teachers based on their beliefs, values, traits, and actions through historical and interview records.


From left to right: Al Gore, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton


Do you recognise the similarities of these leaders? They’re greatly respected by their peers and people around the globe for fighting what they stand for.

We will continue to explore another Enneagram Type and what they can bring into the political arena tomorrow.




Curious about your Enneagram type? Here’s a quick overview of the 9 Types. I know reading through these descriptions can be confusing. So save yourself from second-guessing and figure out your type with the help of our online test.


Cindy Leong
Cindy Leong
Cindy Leong is a sought after bilingual (English and Mandarin) Enneagram Personality Coach and Corporate Trainer in Asia, who can help you make sense of your professional and personal relationships. She is a member of International Coach Federation (ICF) and Singapore Psychological Society (SPS). Besides a Bachelor Degree in Psychology (majoring in Communications), she also has a Diploma in Business and has done in-depth research and studies in the areas of Organisational Behaviour and Gender Communications, both in Singapore and Taiwan. Through her expertise in corporate executive coaching, personal development, and relationship coaching, she has helped many professionals in their walk through challenging times, particularly in the areas of identity searching, relationship building and career breakthrough. Aside from being a published author of 2 books, she has also been invited by several radio stations and magazines as an expert guest speaker to provide insights into Enneagram, workplace conflicts and relationships.
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