When you need to get it exactly right, you want a person who is Enneagram Type 1 on your team. Commonly called The Perfectionist, Type 1s are compelled to get things right. What are the rapport building strategies for building trust and rapport with your Type 1 teammates?
As I discussed in this 5/8/20 blog, mirroring is a powerful rapport building technique. Engaging Enneagram Type 1s in sincere conversations on topics that are important to them is a form of mirroring, and these conversations will help you in building rapport and trust with your Type 1 teammate. If you yourself are not Enneagram Type 1, then you’ll have to put yourself in their shoes. Here’s how.
Imagine that there’s an angry voice in your head, and all that anger is directed at yourself. “That’s not good enough.” “You know it could be better.” “You have to try harder.” This voice is the nearly constant companion of Type 1. Knowing this will prepare you for the conversations that you’ll have with your teammate.
Listening to Type 1
In order to mirror, there must be something to reflect. Listening is the most important of rapport build skills. How do you get Type 1s to start talking? How about with this question, “Something wrong?” Since there’s always something wrong, this simple question will get the conversation going. To build rapport as you listen, it’s important to acknowledge the problems the 1 identifies. Don’t object. Don’t correct. Don’t deflect. Just listen and acknowledge.
While Type 1s typically avoid outward displays of anger, their internal, self-directed anger commonly presents as frustration. As you listen to the 1, empathize with their frustrations. Empathy is a form of emotional mirroring, and by empathizing you’ll build rapport. Your conversations allow the 1 to express the root cause of what bothers them—the core of the problem. These conversations done well lead to catharsis which can move the 1 into a different mindset, one open to exploring new possibilities.
The Beautiful World
Once your Type 1 teammate has exhausted their list of problems, your next question is, “How should it be?” “Should” is the operative word. Type 1s have a strong innate sense of how the world should be. Encourage your Type 1 teammate to describe the ideal world, one without the frustrating problems. By clearly defining both the problematic world and the ideal world, your teammate reveals the gap between the two. Remember, this is their vision, not yours. Your job is to listen and understand—doing so furthers building rapport and trust.
Getting from A to B
Thinking about “what’s wrong” and “how it should be” preoccupy Type 1 and will form the basis for conversations to build rapport. When the gap between the two becomes clear, the 1 may signal wanting to talk about ideas to get from A to B. Follow their lead if that’s where they want to take the conversation, but don’t force it until they’re ready.
Occasionally, Type 1s want an escape from their frustrations. Therein lies another rapport building opportunity with your Type 1 teammate. Find out the recreational activities they engage in and partake if possible. Though, be prepared—the Type 1s I know tend to focus on physical activities like cycling, running and hiking, and not in leisurely fashion! They need to work out their frustrations with vigorous physical activity to quiet that angry voice in their head.
What steps to building rapport have you taken with your Type 1 teammates? When does rapport building take place for you? What works well, and what have you learned to avoid?
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