How Can More Empathy Change Workplace Culture?

Where there are humans, there is conflict.

Summary
Transcript

Ian Cron—best-selling author, psychotherapist and Enneagram teacher—explains the value of the Enneagram and the power it has the build empathy and understanding in organizations.

“When you know the Enneagram, what it does is it greatly reduces inefficiencies, because when you understand other people, you're not wasting time on relational conflict or miscommunicating with each other because you don't speak the same language,” he says.

Watch the video to learn more about the Enneagram and how it can help your team.

You ask leaders of major corporations, "What's the No. 1 problem you've got to deal with?" Human capital. It's all about human capital: people getting along with each other, conflict management, all the stuff that goes along with human beings. When you have people who don't know each other very well, don't know how to collaborate, and we live in an increasingly collaborative world. I mean, you've got to know… you've got to understand each other, right? When you know the Enneagram, what it does is it greatly reduces inefficiencies, because when you understand other people, you're not wasting time on relational conflict or miscommunicating with each other because you don't speak the same language.

I was working at a company, a Fortune 500 company, two years ago, and they were skeptical. I mean, they were really, really skeptical. And of course, everybody's busy. And I kept looking at the room, and I've got 200 people there with their arms folded like this. Like, "Seriously, I've got to go do this woo-woo stuff right now? What are we going to do, levitate? We've got money to make, right?" That ended about two hours in. They're all leaning in, right? Because first of all, no one ever gets tired of hearing about themselves. I'm just telling you, you can teach this stuff forever. People are like, "I love hearing about myself."

So they're all leaning in, right? And when I began to describe to them the difference it could make in the cultural environment, then they were attentive. They cared about that message. So I went back about six or eight weeks later for a follow up. I'm walking down the hallway to the HR person's place, and none of the doors make sense to me, because they've all got ... Like, they don't go in number numerically. So I get down to the HR person, and I said, "What's up? I couldn't find your office. These numbers are crazy on the doors." And she goes, "Oh, those aren't the office numbers. Those are their Enneagram numbers." And I was like, "What?"

She said, "Yeah, after you were here, they all learned what their type was, and they have it on their door, so that when they go in, they just kind of, people go, 'Oh, yeah, that’s a six.'" And also, see, what it gives is a vernacular. It gives them a vocabulary, and it gives people a sense of humor. It gives people an ability, too, to talk about their foibles and their gifts. It gives people an opportunity to really encourage each other on the journey toward becoming their best selves.

I don't want to just go to work to make widgets and money. I mean, of course, I want to support my family and do well, but I want my life to be meaningful. And part of that journey should be one toward self-discovery, and your workplace should be a place where you anticipate meaning, at some level, to be found in your life.
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Ian Cron

Ian Morgan Cron is a bestselling author, psychotherapist, Enneagram teacher, Episcopal priest, and the host of the popular podcast, Typology. His books include the novel Chasing Francis, the spiritual memoir Jesus, My Father, the CIA,...

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