The following information provides you with some of the insights we share with the participants of the Natural Superheroes events.

05-THE-GENIUS-1Type Five – The Genius

Also known as: The Philospher, The Thinker World View: I am the master of my private world I am committed to being an expert and master in my chosen field Focus on: Amassing knowledge Underlying Fear: Of being useless Natural Virtues: Non-attachment, inventiveness, understanding Natural Coaching and Leadership Style: Ambitious and in pursuit of control Masters of their field.

Overview of Type Five Enneagram Profile

FIVES are known for their detailed knowledge of their subject matter, their wisdom, their genius, their ability to synthesise knowledge in a new way, their privacy, their emotional detachment and calmness in times of crisis. FIVES seek safety in gaining knowledge. There is a strong desire to learn all there is to learn about a particular subject. They are very analytical, objective, and detailed in their planning and thinking. They have a gift for being able to simply, logically and rationally explain their ideas and theories. They are driven by the desire to understand why things are the way they are. Attention is directed toward the unusual and unfamiliar in the hope that their specialist area is not conventional and others will not come to know more than they do about their field of expertise. Intense focus can lead to making remarkable discoveries and creating inventions that change the world. The emotional detachment extends to their personal life, where they are more comfortable sharing ideas, plans, facts and figures rather than feelings. They dislike intrusions in their life, and would rather spend time alone than in a group. Healthy aspects of the personality develop when FIVES take time out to experience their feelings instead of retreating into thinking all the time. Rarely communicating with people, FIVES likes to be independent and in total control of their time and space. To achieve this, they can spend much time alone.

Underlying Issues that arise for Fives

There is a core belief that the world, their environment and other people are invasive and deplete them of their energy and privacy, and security. To deal with this potential fear of being overwhelmed and feeling useless or inadequate, the FIVE will withdraw, become detached and retreat into intellectual pursuits and begin to amass lots of knowledge about a particular field.

At their worst (when feelings of apathy, grief, fear, lust and anger arise) Cynical, arrogant, negative, critical, alienated, remote, superior, judgmental, isolationist, fragile.

At an average-healthy level (when feelings of pride arise and courage) Tender, insightful, trustworthy, focused, kind, curious, gentle, geniuses, knowledgeable, perceptive, self-starters. At their very, very best (when they are feeling acceptance for what is and completely at peace) Leadership, objective, wise, open minded

Connected Types


These behavioural tendencies are highlighted through the enneagram diagram by the lines of integration (healthy behaviour) and disintegration (unhealthy behaviour). The arrows within the diagram below follow the direction of where the types move towards when they are feeling stressed.

Healthy – When relaxed and productive, FIVES take on some of the characteristics of EIGHTS (Leaders)
Unhealthy – When stressed, FIVES take on some of the characteristics of SEVENS (Enthusiasts)

Enneagram Type Fives in Relationships

With a core motivation that can lead to a craving of privacy, an attitude of non-involvement becomes the habitual stance in relationships, on their guard against being overwhelmed by other’s demands. There may be a tendency to ‘compartmentalise’ relationships which stimulates detachment. Others hear the message “I’m committed, but I can still do without you”. There can be a push pull between wanting more engagement (and a desire for others to initiate interaction and help them engage more) and then a wanting to be alone. Their need for privacy can feel like rejection to another. Having difficulty openly expressing feelings of love or connection, the five often expresses intimate feelings in non-verbal ways. They feel an increase in connection with another when they are alone and can reflect about the relationship. They also question the need for elaborate shows of affection.

Fives at Work

Fives like to be independent and in total control of their time and space and be able to control intrusions from other people and events. They like their own private space and could spend all day alone. They like well-defined boundaries and good structure around their day. They like to know in advance what is to be discussed at a meeting or face or face with someone, and would much prefer to communicate by email, having an aversion to socialising.

Feelings appear to be a hindrance to them and not useful when making decisions. They develop a detached observational stance to people and events. They can appear extrovert when they know exactly what to expect. Unexpected confrontations and situations can produce disproportionate fear. For a five, knowledge is power, and detailed comprehensive knowledge in their area of expertise is a priority. A perpetual focus on detached observation can lead to an unemotional objective power of analysis, but also an emotional separation from one’s own life events and experiences.

The Leadership style of Fives

Healthy five leaders are tremendous visionaries who can hold to a long term vision with great patience and tenacity. Experts at synthesing complex information from a variety of sources, they show genius in formulating concepts and can be very flexible in how to get there. Their expert knowledge is a tremendous influencing tool. The downside of living in this intellectual domain is that the human element can be compromised and at the unhealthy level, the five prefers to lead from behind closed doors, not too keen on face to face contact. This has repercussions in terms of inadequate team development and reduced morale. There is a tendency to hoard knowledge and only pass it on if they absolutely have to.

Time Management Strategies for Fives

Fives desire for unique expression and creativity means they rarely apply any time management processes to their life and work. Time management is mundane. They prefer to express themselves through creativity.

However, at their very best they can apply structure to their day to make the most of the creative time they have available. Resistance to doing any form of time management plan could be why there are so few fours in positions of leadership or business.

Enneagram Type Fives as Coaches

Their ability to move towards the healthy aspects of type EIGHT can make them terrific coaches when they fully understand and are confident with the processes of coaching. Richard Bandler is a good example who can apply his knowledge of NLP in a leadership role.

Fives in Sport

The only sports champions we could find that were of a five tendency were chess champions. Known as the thinkers, chess is the game for brilliant minds.

Malcolm Glazer however, is of this tendency.

Suggestions for the personal development of an Enneagram Type Fives

Start to notice:
  • When have you detached yourself emotionally from others?
  • What do you do to avoid your own and others’ feelings?
  • How often to you withdraw into yourself when others are expressing feelings and emotions.
  • How much do you judge others intellectually?
  • How vulnerable are you and what have you done to hide this from others?
  • How do you use your knowledge and expertise to feel better or superior to others?
  • How do you hide your real feelings from others?
  • How uncomfortable do you feel in a group or social situation when the unexpected might happen?
  • Who would you be without this expertise and knowledge?
What you can do and ask of yourself:
  • Allow yourself to indulge yourself every now and then.
  • Learn to gradually disclose more about yourself to others.
  • Could you allow yourself to connect with your feelings and those of others?
  • Could you allow yourself to more fully engage with other people?
  • Learn to communicate your own needs to others.
  • Be aware of your need to prove you know something and make it into a conversation instead.
  • Practice letting others know you appreciate them.

Famous ‘fives’
with a ‘four’ wing

Business/Political Leaders

  • No clear examples identified

Sports People

  • No clear examples identified


  • John Malkovich
  • Bob Dylan
  • KD Lang
  • Clive Barker (Author)
  • Stephen Fry

Historical Figures

Famous ‘fives’
with a ‘six’ wing

Current Business/Political Leaders

  • Malcom Glazer
  • Bill Gates
  • Richard Bandler (NLP Co-Founder)


  • Anatoly Karpov (World Chess Champion)
  • Bobby Fischer (Chess Champion)


  • Sir Anthony Hopkins
  • Stanley Kubrick
  • Stephen King
  • Gary Larson (Cartoonist)
  • Perter Serkin (Pianist)
  • Cynthia Ozick (Author)

Historical Figures

  • Thomas Edison
  • Albert Einstein
  • Agatha Christie
  • Marie Curie
  • Isaac Asimov
  • Howard Hughes
  • Jacob Brownowski (mathematician)
  • Frances Crick (Co cracker of the DNA code)