Associate Director of Development at Gemini Observatory, Scot Kleinman, is an Enneagram Type 3 leader. Scot shares insights about his personal journey of growth and how he uses the Enneagram in a work environment with people who are predominantly scientists.
Check out Scot’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2lJ7RdBBowLLON762LQ6Qg
Matt Schlegel: Thanks for joining me in conversations with leaders who are using the Enneagram as a leadership tool and a tool for personal growth and development. Today, I’ll be speaking with Scot Kleinman associate director of development at Gemini Observatory on the big island of Hawaii. Scott’s been using the Enneagram for about 10 years, and will share some fascinating insights about Enneagram type 3. If you enjoy these conversations, please click on the thumbs up button and subscribe to the channel. And now for our conversation.
I am delighted to have Scot Kleinman here with us today. Scott is the associate director of development at Gemini Observatory and previously managed instrumentation at the Subaru Telescope, and before that, nighttime operations for the first Sloan Digital Sky Survey. He has a PhD in astronomy and a master’s of business administration. His research interests are stellar pulsations, white dwarf stars, and large scale surveys. Besides building and managing telescopes and observatories, he writes a blog about astronomy management, and develop and leads a number of short courses on efficient work habits and leadership. He lives in Hawaii with his wife and 11 year old daughter, he has a couple of German cars, some surfboards, a water ski and a unicycle. And Scot is also a college buddy and dear friend, and I remember him riding his unicycle back and forth to class in college. Scot, welcome.
Scot Kleinman : Thank you, Matt.
Matt Schlegel: Well, I am so delighted to have you here with us today. You’ve attended a couple of workshops I’ve conducted in which you’ve shared your insights about your journey of understanding your Enneagram type and all of the epiphanies that you’ve had along the way. And it’s always been so fascinating to hear you explain that to the group. And so, I just want to start and ask you, how did you come to know the Enneagram?
Scot Kleinman : So, I had this crazy friend in college who you might know, who came to me one day with this great discovery in that he learned this sort of system that allowed him to better predict what other people were doing, which had allowed him to sort of control things and then wake up sort of a little less anxious because he kind of knew how people were going to behave. And so, he brought this thing to me and I said, “Wow, this is great, I can learn about people and get them to do more work for me.”
Matt Schlegel: So, what type would like to get more work out of people?
Scot Kleinman : Exactly right, I mean, the irony of our different initial buy-in right to the Enneagram, it didn’t really occur to me until later, right. To me, this was a new tool I could use to get more work done. And yes, I’m an Enneagram type 3. So for me, it started off really as that sort of a tool, I can better organize my team, better assign tasks to my team members, et cetera, by knowing what their motivations and drives are. And then it’s expanded since then in how I see things and how I use things, that’s really how it started. So, thank you, Matt, for bringing this to my attention.
Matt Schlegel: Yeah, well, I am so glad that you got so much out of it and you have embraced it both in your work and personal life. And speaking of that, so as you were getting to know the Enneagram, what did you discover about yourself that you may not have really understood as well before?
Scot Kleinman : That’s a continual and ongoing process, I think. So, I can tell you some of what I’ve learned so far. I think the most surprising thing was when you described… You said since you were six of feeling anxiety so strong that the only way to deal with it is just to suppress it and go on. Now, I mean, eventually you learn to bring it out and accept it, right?
Matt Schlegel: Right.
Scot Kleinman : But it was just really intense anxiety, and so you just can’t function. And you said, “Hey, Scott, 3s are like that with emotion.” And I’m like, “Okay, fine.” I understood that analogy and the Enneagram says this, but it never really felt real because I was still suppressing my emotions.
Matt Schlegel: Sure.
Scot Kleinman : And so, it wasn’t until I finally started to bring those out and deal with… My mental analogy is I had this sort of box with a lid, and any strong emotion that I had heard since a fairly young age, I think, got stuffed into that box. It was in there with its feeling, but not necessarily with its attachment, but what it was attached to. Occasionally those would leak out and I’d feel something, like there’s nothing for it to be associated with. And so, I really had to go into that box, open it up, feel all those things, and then there was another message behind that, which was the sense at a fairly young age that I was not feeling enough. I could not feel enough to relieve the suffering and the feelings, the bad feelings of others. And I interpreted that as something wrong with me, that I couldn’t feel enough to do good, and bad things were still happening in life, and I wasn’t able to affect that.
So, sort of when that came out, I realized that I do have very strong emotions, despite the fact that most of my life I acted as if I had no emotions. And so, now I understand that analogy that you presented to me years ago with anxiety and emotion, because I would not have said, “No, I don’t feel emotions deeply,” but I do, I very much do. And so, that was really one of the biggest discovers is doing it. And then figuring out how do I exist within that rather than continuing to bury them, right? How do I live with that and function? That’s sort of what’s been going on since that discovery.
Matt Schlegel: Oh, that is so fascinating. Hey, and another thing that struck me there is that analogy between the suppressed anxiety and the suppressed emotions, and sometimes my natural style also is to press the anxiety, and sometimes the anxiety comes out, and I too may not know what that is attached to.
Scot Kleinman : Right.
Matt Schlegel: But now just being aware of, “Oh, here comes the anxiety,” it allows me to understand that it’s coming out and then start to be able to figure out, “Okay, what is it attached to?” Have you also been able to have a better understanding of what the emotions that are coming out are attached to?
Scot Kleinman : Yeah, so certainly in the moment, so new emotions, I’m much better able now to experience as they arise and be more emotionally present in the moment. This sort of past backlog that was just a really strong backlog of overpowering emotion, and it would just be overwhelming when it would come out. And that was kind of a core feature of just my existence, was these occasional overpowering emotions that would come out, and I would usually have to stuff back down again because I wasn’t ready to be overpowered by emotions. And that’s gone now, and I got rid of that just by sitting with them for a while, spending some time sitting with those emotions, and just feeling sad or lonely or whatever.
And then I got some of these other messages. There’s a lot of shame, there was shame and guilt, I think, for not being emotionally available. So, every time I felt that emotion or a connection from somebody and didn’t respond emotionally, not only did I stuff that emotion in that box, I also added a new emotion, which was guilt or shame for not being emotionally present in that moment. No idea any of this was going on, but when I sat with these emotions and started to figure what they were telling me, that was one of the things they were telling me. I felt really bad as I was an incompetent person for not responding and being emotionally connected with people.
Matt Schlegel: Oh, wow.
Scot Kleinman : In terms of, did I learn what they were talking about? Yes, and that was one of those messages that came out as I sat with them, was my process.
Matt Schlegel: Right, that is so insightful, Scot, thank you for sharing that, that’s amazing. So, just shifting gears a little bit, where have you been able to or how have you been able to use the Enneagram in the workplace and as a leader?
Scot Kleinman : So, I can get more done from my staff.
Matt Schlegel: Getting stuff done, that’s what 3s do.
Scot Kleinman : Yeah, so there’s a few different things, I’ve sort of taken different approaches. One I was just thinking of the other day. There was a seven on a team that I inherited, and for a long time I never could quite figure out what to do with him. I liked him, friendly guy, knowledgeable, but I couldn’t go into his office and say, “Can you write me a report on this?” A, he was never in his office, and if he was, was on the phone or listening to music too loud and disturbing everybody else. So, he just wasn’t the kind of guy who you can sit down and write [inaudible 00:10:57] on something.
Matt Schlegel: Right.
Scot Kleinman : And if I wanted just to solve a technical issue, he wasn’t that kind of person either who was going to roll up his sleeves and solve something, and he was never around. So, I just kind of couldn’t quite figure out what to do with him. And then, as I sort of thought about it and realized the strengths of a seven the connections. He knew everybody.
Matt Schlegel: Right.
Scot Kleinman : And he also knew the big picture because he knew how all the pieces fit together. If you ask him how each little piece was constructed, he may or may not know. But he knew enough about each piece to you know how they were connected, and that this piece over here depends on this piece over here. He had that network, both technical and social just on tap. And so, I started realizing that is his super strength, and that’s where I can use him.
So, now I talk to him about a project maybe that’s not going well and figure out what’s going on, or, “We’ve got a lot of different ways we can attack this particular problem, can you sort of figure out what’s the best payoff and talk to people and figure out how we’re going to approach this?” Or, “We’ve got a problem, we need to build a team, can you give me some suggestions on how to do it?” Fantastic at those things.
Matt Schlegel: Right.
Scot Kleinman : This helped me in that example, but the different types as well is to appreciate someone whose strengths are not mine, and to not only appreciate them, but then value them because they’re not my strengths. And this is that person’s super power, which is a super power I don’t have, and that’s how that person is happy, and that’s how I get more work done, [inaudible 00:12:39].
Matt Schlegel: Right, oh, that is such a great example, that’s wonderful, thank you for sharing that. Yeah, sevens, they really are such great networkers, and they love that interaction with people, and they get bored so easily with that kind of detailed work that doesn’t allow them to be interacting. And so, just knowing that and focusing them on what they’re great at, and what they love, and keeping them away from the things they don’t love, it’s magic, right?
Scot Kleinman : Yeah, because I would have thought this person was just kind of this useless FTE, and now I have a whole slew of stuff that I’d like this person to help us with.
Matt Schlegel: Right, oh, perfect. So, just one final question, Scot, what advice would you give for other leaders of your Enneagram type, type 3?
Scot Kleinman : So, I’m always torn, I don’t know how much of my personal experiences are me and how much is a 3. I know there’s obviously a blending, but for me, the real key to growth has been just using the Enneagram as personal discovery, and embracing my emotional side, and backing off from that constantly wanting to impress people for what I do, learning to react to people. I think, you asked in one of your workshop, “How do you get along with a 3?” And the simple answer is, “Praise a 3 for something they’ve done, 3s love that.”
And yes, I eat that up, but then I think back in my life, “Where are the interactions that are really memorable?” And there are those rare occasions when I’ve let people in and heard the message that they appreciate me for me, that it doesn’t matter what I do, or maybe it’s despite what I do, they appreciate me for me. And those were key moments. I didn’t quite realize why until later on when I went through that, but that allows me to stop and relax, instead of constantly judging my interaction with you, “Is this going over well or do you like me? How is this going? Do I need to adjust my approach and be a little bit more like this, or maybe a little bit more like this in order to get that appreciation?” It allows me to relax, and that’s a huge relief.
So, I think just understanding that 3s, I think, one of their super powers when they get over that initial hump, is authenticity, it’s emotional authenticity, and you can’t do that unless you’re willing to go through that work yourself, and be vulnerable yourself, and start offering some of those emotional connections that I traditionally shunned. I would never go into an employee’s office and say, “Hey, how was your kid’s basketball practice?” I would say, “How’s that report?”
Matt Schlegel: Right.
Scot Kleinman : Because that’s what I needed, right? And so, you’re learning that not only does that work for other people, but it also works for me. And so, that made me feel more comfortable, and it allows the more emotionally adjusted staff than the non-immature 3s, it allows them to connect and feel better. So, I think really going through that process and understanding the power of your own emotions really, for me, that’s just been a whole eye-opener, a world life changer.
Matt Schlegel: Oh, that is amazing, Scott, and thank you for sharing that, and I think that everybody can really benefit from just having the self-awareness that comes out of really exploring your Enneagram type in depth, any Enneagram type, but I think that’s brilliant that that worked out so well for you.
And I just want to say that I appreciate you for you being you, I have for years and years and years, and I just value our friendship so much and all the time that we’ve spent together over the years, and thank you so much for coming here today and sharing your stories, and hopefully you’ll come back again in the future and share some more of your insights.
Scot Kleinman : Well, thanks, Matt, that means a lot to me, and glad I could join you today.
Matt Schlegel: Thanks for watching. If you found this helpful click on the thumbs up button, subscribe to the channel, and get notifications of future episodes. If you have a question, please leave it in the comment section and I’ll get to it as soon as possible. Thanks again.