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

01-THE-PERFECTIONIST-1Type One – The Perfectionist

Also known as: Reformer, Teacher World View: Always do the right thing Focus on: Perfection Making what’s wrong right Underlying Fear: Not being perfect Natural Virtues: Fairness, honesty, prudence, justice Natural Coaching and Leadership Style: Visionary

Overview of Type One Enneagram Profile

ONES are known for their strong sense of responsibility, which drives their need to improve the world, ‘get things right’, and strive for perfection in all they do. ONES feel a sense of mission in their life. Their high standards and ideals often lead them to positions of power in organisations. They have an intuitive sense of what is, or could be, right in a certain situation and how things can be made right if they perceive them to be wrong. One of their saying is often “It/you should be ….” They desire their work to be a mirror of their own very high standards and are attracted to others with equally high values. ONES see themselves as honest, objective, reliable, ethical and self- disciplined. They are motivated by the need to be right.

They are often critical of others although they themselves don’t like to be criticised and will do all they can to avoid criticism. On occasions, people may feel as though they are being overly criticized or rejected if the Perfectionist is constantly nit-picking, demanding perfection or sermonizing. Feelings of resentment surface towards those they see as flouting ‘the rules’ and getting away with it, although they try not to show these feelings openly because it ‘wouldn’t be right’. The emotion arises as a seething anger which creates much tension in the body. Healthy aspects of the personality develop when ONES begin to balance their desire to maintain absolute standards with a compassion for the opinions and feelings of others. They become less judgemental of themselves and others and spend time building relationships. They are then much more forgiving of mistakes and more flexible in their approach to realising a vision.

Underlying Issues that arise for Ones

There is a core belief that to be approved of or to be respected one has to do things ‘by the book’, be good and conscientious and live with integrity, and heed the messages of the inner critical voice. The ‘one’ is motivated to live life ‘correctly’, to improve and better themselves, other people and situations.

At their worst (when feelings of apathy, grief, fear, lust and anger arise) Controlling, hyper critical, dramatic, over-emotional, morally rigid, self-righteous, serious, judgemental, perfectionistic, rageful, nit picking

At an average-healthy level (when feelings of pride arise and courage) Structured, objective, reliable, self- disciplined, ethical conscientious, helpful, idealistic, responsible, productive, visionary, committed, meticulous, noble.

At their very, very best (when they are feeling acceptance for what is and completely at peace) Fun, flexible, adventurous, playful, physically active, happy, spontaneous, enthusiastic, encouraging

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, ONES take on some of the characteristics of SEVENS (Enthusiast)
Unhealthy – When stressed, ONES take on some of the characteristics of FOURS (Artist)

Enneagram Type Ones in Relationships

Being idealistic and having high standards and ethics leads the one to have high expectations of anyone they are in relationship with. They are committed and take the relationship seriously and are prepared to make sacrifices, often putting aside their desires and focusing on the ‘higher good’. When relaxed they will engage more of the ‘seven’ characteristics and have a great sense of humour. And, they are very fair minded and are exemplary role models of wisdom, integrity, and patience. When the ‘one’ becomes more entrenched and identified in the pattern and becomes less self-aware, problems can arise. They may find it hard to find a partner because no one quite matches up to high standards of perfection. Nothing seems to match up to their expectations or ideals and they have a constant underlying sense of frustration which can be manifested in a very rigid physiology. They be hypercritical, nit-picking and judgemental and think that there is only one ‘right way’ to do things. Feelings of guilt can arise during ‘free time’ that they should be doing something productive or serious. They have a way of repressing anger and resentment that is communicated through silence or glaring, censorious looks.

Ones at Work

Ones show great attention to detail and are naturally very hardworking and responsible. There is a focus on what’s right / what’s wrong; especially the ‘wrong’ things that need putting right. There is great sensitivity to criticism from others and from the ‘inner critic’. Ones compare their own skills and attributes to those of others, and keep score. There is a strong respect for authority. They prefer rules and guidelines and ‘structure’ and pay great attention to detail. This focus of attention often leads them to point out error in others. There is a focus on efficiency, good processes and organisation and there is a desire to get the job done properly and ‘right’. However, the constant fear of not being perfect can to either not starting things or spending unnecessary amounts of time on a project or activity. Ones have an intuitive sense of what ‘could be better’ in any given situation, which can lead to a preoccupation with always seeking out error to correct and not appreciating what ‘is right and okay’ at this moment and what simply needs to be improved.

The Leadership style of Ones

At a healthy level a ‘one’ leader is focused on perfection and integrity with a strong focus on making sure every part of a process is completed on time.

When relaxed they naturally inspire others with a clear vision and instruction which are delivered to the team in an almost cheerleader type fashion which holistically energizes and focuses the team on the tasks in hand. When stressed one resort to preaching, teaching or telling people how things ‘should’ be done not allowing the team to grow or take personal responsibility for their actions. Their fixation on perfectionism drives a strong internal critic forever on the lookout for what’s not good enough.

Time Management Strategies for Ones

Out of all of the types ones make the most naturally talented project managers. They can create detailed and structure plans of how to realise an ideal vision and communicate them to teams in playful ways which makes the process enjoyable for all.

Too much detail and rigidity however can lead deadlines being missed, unnecessary stress and the failure of a project.

Making a plan is one thing, enjoying the process assists in managing personal stress and tension which limits their performance. They are also wise to create personal and business time management plans which allow them some flexibility and fun.

Enneagram Type Ones as Coaches

Ones make excellent coaches when they take a playful and flexible approach to coaching.

Whilst it is important to have a structure it is also vital that flexibility is developed within the coaching processes. Too much rigidity in a coaching approach simply leads to more resistance from the coachee to being coached.

Also, ones have a tendency to demand perfection from other people when absolute perfection isn’t always necessary. In fact, striving too hard for perfection can be a factor in other people’s failure to achieve goals and objectives on time or even ever.

Asking questions such as, “when is this project good enough” will keep a clearer perspective on what further detailed action if any really needs to be taken.

Ones in Sport

One’s are often drawn to sport which requires mastering of techniques, technical skills and attention to detail. Ones will persist with an aspect of their game or performance until they believe they have achieved perfection. In athletics for example, they will naturally spend more time focused on their technique of starting out of the blocks.

This strive for perfection can turn into an obsession which leads to a build-up of tension in the body and wasted energy in the forms of frustration and self-judgement. Ones therefore benefit from learning to relax unwanted tension from their body and allow themselves to have more fun in improving their technique.

Suggestions for the personal development of an Enneagram Type One

Start to notice:
  • The impact an internal critic has on your state of mind and the state of mind of others?
  • What percentage of the day is taken up and what energy is wasted by the voice of my internal critic?
  • What impact does this really have on my self-confidence?
  • What impact does this have on my behaviour?
  • What does it feel like to perceive myself and others as not perfect enough?
  • Who would I be if I didn’t get it right all the time?
What you can do and ask of yourself:
  • Can I allow myself to accept mistakes and errors as part of the natural order of things?
  • Can I allow myself value differences of opinion?
  • Could I allow myself to forgive errors and mistake made by myself and others?
  • Allow yourself to experience some balance between work and pleasure?
  • Take regular time out daily to just notice and observe your internal critic in action
  • Begin to question your ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’; they may be ‘right’ but are they appropriate?
  • How realistic are your expectations of yourself and others?
  • Anger is a normal, valuable human emotion, and expressing it will not make you less likeable.
  • Commit and schedule pleasurable activities for yourself and have fun with them!

The following information can assist you with identifying people with the same motivational profile as yours. By reading their autobiographies you are more likely to discover winning strategies that best suit your natural approach to tasks.

Famous ‘ones’
with a ‘nine’ wing

Business/Political Leaders
  • Sam Walton (Walmart)
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Mike Gooley (Chairman Trailfinders)
  • Rosemary Conley
Sports People
  • Pirmin Zurbriggen
  • Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Historical Figures
  • Ghandi
  • Pope John Paul II
  • Archimedes
  • John Cabot (explorer)
  • Edward Eyre (explorer)
  • Marco Polo
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Edmund Hillary (first to climb Mount Everest)
  • Ayatollah Khomeini
  • Copernicus
  • Emmeline Pankhurst (English Suffragette)

Famous ‘ones’
with a ‘two’ wing

Current Business/Political Leaders
  • Hilary Clinton
  • Lady Margaret Thatcher
  • Cherie Blair
  • Germaine Greer
  • Ian Paisley
  • Ralph Nader
  • Barbara Cassani (Go)
  • Ellen McArthur (Sailing)
  • Nicole Kidman
  • Meryl Streep
  • Dr Gillian McKeith
  • John Grisham
Historical Figures
  • Martin Luther King
  • Neil Armstrong
  • Frances Drake
  • Franklin D Roosevelt
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe