Dig into the background, methodology, pros and cons of DiSC and Enneagram to learn which is right for you and your team.
Updated
April 17, 2024

Strengths and Weaknesses of Enneagram vs. DiSC: A Comprehensive Review

Dig into the background, methodology, pros and cons of DiSC and Enneagram to learn which is right for you and your team.

Dig into the background, methodology, pros and cons of DiSC and Enneagram to identify which is right for you and your team.

👉 TL;DR

DiSC and Enneagram are two popular personality tests with distinct approaches. DiSC focuses on four primary behavior styles (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness), while Enneagram identifies nine personality types with interconnected motivations and growth paths. Both tests offer valuable insights for personal growth and improved interpersonal dynamics, with the choice depending on individual or organizational goals.

Looking for a test to understand your team chemistry as a whole? Try TeamDynamics instead.

In this article:

Welcome to the exciting world of personality assessments! Today, we're diving deep into two of the most popular and widely-used personality tests: DiSC and Enneagram. These powerful tools have been helping individuals and organizations alike to gain valuable insights into their personality traits, strengths, and areas of growth for years. But how do these two tests stack up against each other, and which one is right for you? In this blog post, we'll be comparing the DiSC and Enneagram personality assessments, exploring their foundations, methodologies, and applications. Join us as we unravel the mysteries behind these fascinating tools and help you make an informed decision on which test best suits your needs. Let the personality discovery begin!

History and Methodologies: DiSC vs. Enneagram

The DiSC assessment traces its roots back to the early 20th century, when psychologist William Marston published his book "Emotions of Normal People" in 1928. Marston theorized that people exhibit four primary types of behavior, which he labeled as Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance. His work laid the groundwork for the DiSC model, which was later refined and adapted by various researchers and organizations into the assessment we know today.

The DiSC assessment measures an individual's personality traits based on four primary dimensions: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. Each dimension represents a specific behavioral pattern and is associated with distinct characteristics. The test evaluates an individual's preferences and tendencies within these dimensions, ultimately assigning a primary and secondary type. These types combine to create a comprehensive profile that reveals how an individual is likely to react in different situations, communicate, and approach problem-solving.

Wondering what your DiSC communication style is? Want to help your team learn about communicating with different DiSC styles? Check out our FREE downloadable DiSC resources!

The Enneagram, on the other hand, has a more enigmatic history. While its exact origins are debated, the Enneagram is believed to have ancient roots, with connections to various spiritual and philosophical traditions, including Sufism, Christianity, and the Kabbalah. The modern Enneagram system, as we know it, gained prominence in the 1970s, thanks to the efforts of psychologists and spiritual teachers like Claudio Naranjo and Oscar Ichazo.

The Enneagram, in contrast to the DiSC assessment, is a more complex system consisting of nine interconnected personality types, numbered from 1 to 9. Each type represents a distinct worldview, with its own set of strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and fears. In addition to identifying a primary type, the Enneagram also considers "wings," which are the adjacent types that influence one's primary type, and the "direction of integration and disintegration," which indicates how a person's behavior changes under stress or growth. This results in a multidimensional understanding of an individual's personality and personal development.

Practical Applications of Enneagram and DiSC

The DiSC assessment is widely used in professional settings, such as hiring processes, team building, and leadership development. It can help individuals understand their communication styles, identify areas for personal growth, and develop better relationships with colleagues. Organizations use DiSC to enhance workplace productivity, resolve conflicts, and foster a more cohesive work environment.

The Enneagram, while also applicable to professional contexts, has broader applications in personal growth, self-awareness, and spiritual development. It helps individuals understand their motivations, fears, and emotional patterns, enabling them to overcome limitations and achieve personal growth. In a professional context, the Enneagram can help employees and managers develop emotional intelligence, empathy, and improved communication.

Pros and Cons of DiSC and Enneagram

Let's quickly summarize the benefits and limitations of Enneagram and DiSC.

Advantages of DiSC

  1. Easy to understand: The four-dimensional framework makes DiSC easy to grasp and apply in everyday situations.
  2. Actionable insights: DiSC provides specific, practical strategies for improving communication, conflict resolution, and decision-making.
  3. Quick assessment: The DiSC test is relatively short, making it convenient for individuals and organizations to administer.

Disadvantages of DiSC

  1. Limited scope: DiSC focuses primarily on behavioral patterns and may not provide deep insights into an individual's motivations or emotional landscape.
  2. Not ideal for team performance: DiSC offers insights into individual behavior, but it may not directly address how these behaviors interact in a team setting, limiting its effectiveness in improving team performance.

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Advantages of Enneagram

  1. Depth of insight: The Enneagram offers a nuanced understanding of an individual's personality, encompassing motivations, fears, and growth patterns.
  2. Personal growth: The Enneagram is an excellent tool for self-discovery, personal development, and spiritual growth.
  3. Flexibility: The Enneagram can be applied in various settings, from professional environments to personal relationships.

Disadvantages of Enneagram

  1. Complexity: The Enneagram's intricate system of nine types, wings, and directions of integration and disintegration can be challenging for some to understand and apply.
  2. Subjectivity: The Enneagram relies heavily on self-reporting, which may lead to inaccuracies or biases in test results.
  3. Not ideal for team performance: Like DiSC, the Enneagram does not specifically focus on team dynamics, limiting its ability to enhance team performance directly.

While both DiSC and Enneagram have their unique advantages and disadvantages, neither assessment is specifically designed to improve team performance. If enhancing team dynamics is your primary goal, you may want to explore alternative tools like TeamDynamics, which focuses explicitly on team cohesion, collaboration, and productivity. By understanding the unique characteristics of each team member and how they interact, TeamDynamics can provide actionable insights and strategies for fostering a high-performing team environment.

Conclusion

Both the DiSC and Enneagram personality assessments offer valuable insights into individual behavior, motivations, and personal growth. The DiSC assessment, with its straightforward four-dimensional framework, is particularly useful in professional settings and for improving communication, conflict resolution, and decision-making. The Enneagram, on the other hand, delves deeper into one's motivations, fears, and emotional patterns, making it an excellent tool for personal development and self-discovery.

However, it's important to note that neither DiSC nor Enneagram is explicitly designed to improve team performance. For those seeking to enhance team dynamics, collaboration, and productivity, it is worth exploring alternative tools, such as TeamDynamics, which focuses specifically on optimizing team cohesion.

Ultimately, the choice between DiSC, Enneagram, and other personality assessments depends on your goals, preferences, and desired outcomes. Each tool has its unique strengths and limitations, and it may be beneficial to explore multiple assessments to gain a comprehensive understanding of yourself and others. Embrace the journey of self-discovery, and let these powerful tools guide you towards personal growth, improved relationships, and thriving teams.

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