Get to the point. To communicate effectively with Enneagram Type 8 you must be succinct. If they want more details, they’ll ask. Letting them lead the conversation will create the environment for building rapport and trust.
Time for Action
Enneagram Type 8s prefer action to talking. To get to action, if a decision needs to be made, the 8 will be decisive. If the decision takes you in the wrong direction, no worries—just correct course and continue moving forward. Type 8s typically don’t fear making an incorrect decision because they can always change later if necessary. Taking action takes precedent.
As discussed in this 5/8/20 blog, mirroring is one of the most important rapport building skills. The Enneagram Type 8 characteristics to reflect back to your Type 8 teammates include getting to the point, being direct, and acting decisively. Demonstrating these characteristics is an excellent rapport build strategy. Type 8s are the external anger type of the Enneagram—tapping into anger makes this type the most comfortable with confrontation. They respect others with their same style and by reflecting that direct, to-the-point manner you can build rapport with your Type 8 teammates.
Operating on Intuition
Enneagram Type 8s rely on intuition to inform their decisions. When presented with a situation, they will have a gut reaction for how to proceed, often without having to think about it. In fact, thinking and talking may seem like a waste of time to the 8 because they will have already intuited the answer. It is important to respect the instinctive nature of the 8 when building rapport.
Being a Type 6 myself, I want to think things through and ask lots of questions. These behaviors frustrate and anger the 8, so in my interaction with Type 8s I work to check these tendencies. Also, my tendency is to frame my conclusions into context. My typical conversations start with context and end with the conclusion as the punchline. When speaking with 8s, I start with the punchline and only explain the context if asked. Often the 8 will have already intuited the context, and explaining that first is just wasting their time. I’ve found this an important rapport building technique with my Type 8 teammates.
Unlike many other Enneagram types, Type 8s have very little fear of failure. They so trust their instincts that the possibility of failure may not even occur to them. If at some point along the way they sense that things are going as expected, their intuition informs them of how to adjust and carry on. They would not treat that as a wrong decision or a failure, just an adjustment along the way.
If there is an important piece of information that you think your Type 8 teammate may be overlooking, simply tell them directly without making a big deal of it. The 8 will internalize the information and correct course if necessary, usually within a day’s time. A fellow worker dubbed this the “24-Hour Rule.” Also, if there is any bad news, don’t hide that from your Type 8 teammate. They will be direct with you and expect you to be direct with them.
Walking and Talking
Since Type 8s so value action, I find that scheduling conversations while walking or hiking is a wonderful time to build rapport. In this rapport building example, the 8 won’t feel like they’re sitting around not getting something done. Rather, they will be moving and looking forward. A Type 8 friend of mine says that his personal motto is acting now with an eye towards the future. Walking and hiking are literal embodiments of that creed and walking together can create an environment conducive to building trust and rapport with your Type 8 teammates.
When does rapport building take place with the Enneagram Type 8s in your life? What steps to building rapport work for you? What have you learned to avoid?