What Is The Best Personality Type For Project Managers?

Eamonn McGuinness
By | Updated October 24, 2016 | 4 min read
personality type

I recently introduced the nine Enneagram personality types and their impact on leadership styles. It is worth spending some time reading and considering the nine types before deciding which best describes you.


Read more about leadership in our free project management handbook


Understanding your strengths and traps, or healthy and unhealthy behaviors, can positively affect your management and communication style.

It is also worth remembering that self-awareness is key to emotional intelligence, an increasingly valuable skill for collaborative project management.


Find Your Enneagram Type

You are very likely finding yourself in many of the nine personality types. To help you a little bit on this quest, your type goes to the root cause of why do you do what you do.

I might appear extremely helpful to others and perhaps this is because I am a two (the helper/giver).

Or maybe it is because I am being paid to be helpful and I want to be successful, so I am acting as a three (the achiever/motivator). I might spend hours cutting the trees in my front yard to a perfect height because I am a one (the perfectionist/reformer).

Or, perhaps I do this because today it appeals to my artistic side (the romantic / individualist).

Picking your personality type may not be as simple as expected!

Is there a best Enneagram type? Absolutely not. The real value of the Enneagram is to know yourself, to be more self-aware, and as a result act, out of a healthier and happier place. Life is very short and self-awareness is one of the tools that will help you make the most of your life.

Words of warning: please do not assume you know what Enneagram type someone else is and please do not judge someone even if you do.


The Best Enneagram Type for Project Management

Let us review the management perspectives from the nine types to see if we identify the best type for the role of the project manager.

  1. I am a very diligent manager who strives for the highest quality possible.
  2. I am a servant leader. I enjoy being in the service of others.
  3. I have a relentless drive for project success, and to deliver or exceed the goals.
  4. I strive to lead so that we all experience real meaning and our true purpose.
  5. I and we need to research, think and know everything and then we will be more effective on the project.
  6. I like to make sure the team all feel involved so we can overcome all the obstacles that I see.
  7. Let me help the project find new and exciting stuff.
  8. I am a decisive, take-charge manager who likes strong people in key roles. Just follow me, have no worries and we will be fine.
  9. If we all get on really well and are nice to each other, the project will get delivered so much quicker.



Can you spot the perfect project manager? I am thinking not. I assume you can see positive leadership and management qualities in each of the nine types. In many ways, the ideal manager would be able to deploy any of these fine qualities on a collaborative project.

You will find that some types (e.g. one, two, three, and eight) more often end up in management positions. However, when any of these types are acting from the unhealthy place of their personality type, the project will likely be challenged.

It is rare enough that personality type is checked before appointment to project management, so you will find all nine types in charge of projects and in management positions. The key is to know your strengths and traps and match them to the context of the specific project, team, and situation.

For example, as a type one, you strive for perfection. How much perfection is needed on this project? As a type two, you will want to help everyone. Do you have time to help everyone with this project? As a type six, you can be indecisive. Is this hurting the project? And so on.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from our free book, Collaborative Project Management: A Handbook


Eamonn McGuinness
Eamonn McGuinness

Éamonn McGuinness is the CEO and founder of BrightWork. From 1995, Éamonn has been involved in the development of commercial software products on Lotus Notes, Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365, with the same basic product mission (process-driven and people inspired collaborative project management).

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