What Are Decision Making Approaches That Demonstrate Effective Leadership?

There are many books, speakers and coaches who want to help your organization practice effective leadership. The difference between the companies that do well and those who struggle are often related to the effectiveness of their leadership. Continue reading

A Fascinating Overview of How the Enneagram Personality System Works

Seven years ago I began learning about the Enneagram Personality System. It has changed my life for the better. I am much more compassionate and forgiving of myself. I have a lot more patience and compassion to work with people who experience the world differently from me. I am a healthier and happier person. It has helped me so much I want to share it with others.

This is a story of how the Enneagram the Enneagram personality system works.

Ennea means nine, and gram means figure in Greek. So together it means a nine-pointed figure. What is its history?  Here is a short synopsis:


The symbol dates back about 2500 years. The actual date of its beginning or where exactly it started is unknown. It is a coming together of the wisdom of many different spiritual traditions. Much of it has come from Christianity, Buddhism, Islam (especially Sufis) and Judaism.

Much of this spiritual wisdom, was forgotten for hundreds of years. In 1875 Gurdjieff re-discovered the symbol in his search for the knowledge of the esoteric religions of the past. He formed a group called Seekers After Truth.  He and his friends traveled through Egypt, Afghanistan, Greece, Persia, and India.

Gurdjieff used the Enneagram as a tool to help his students to find their way in the world through dance and movement.

He explained that the Enneagram has three parts that represent the three central laws that describe divine law which governs all existence.

The circle represents unity, wholeness, and oneness and symbolizes that God is one (Hudson, 1999).

The next symbol is the triangle. In Christianity, this is referring to the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit or in the Enneagram world, the Law of Three. This symbolism found in the Kabbalah, an esoteric teaching of Judaism. The ancient traditions do not see the world as a place of opposites but of non-duality. Hence the world is full of many hues of color rather than black and white (Hudson, 1999).

The third part is the hexad, referring to the Law of Seven. It demonstrates to us that nothing is static. Our world is continuously changing, recycling and evolving or de-evolving. The Periodic Table and the Western musical octave are all based on the Law of Seven (Hudson, 1999).

The modern Enneagram as we know it came to life in California in the 1970’s under Claudio Naranjo.  Naranjo and many others since him have woven psychology into the Enneagram to bring it into the modern age. He used panels of each type as one way to teach the Enneagram.

Today the Enneagram teaches that when you are born into the world, your ego chooses one of the nine fundamental ways to survive in the world. These represent the nine Enneagram types. This is how the Enneagram personality system works.

You could not have survived without the ego type your inner self chose. No one knows why we choose the type we do. It is probably a mixture of genetics mixed with early life experiences.

Our personality can begin to get in the way when we become adults if we do not become aware of the limitations of our nature.  When you are stuck in your personality, you are only using one-ninth of the tools given.

All the things you do without thinking are your personality speaking. When you begin to be aware of your limited pattern (type) talking, you then become open to responding in new and different ways.

I always say to my clients that when you can notice your personality acting out, you then have the option to respond in ways that are more appropriate for the situation in which you find yourself.

The Enneagram is like a map. It shows you when you are healthy, and not so healthy. It points you in the direction you need to go to get healthier. It warns you when you are getting stuck in old habits that no longer serve you.

When you look at most Enneagram images, you will see arrows pointing in the different directions of integration and stress (disintegration).


The Enneagram is never static. The health of your personality is never static. Each day you go up and down depending on how much stress you are experiencing.

There is movement on the Enneagram as you move to ether your integration point or your stress point.

The integration points you toward the functional aspects of another type when you are dealing with life well. When you are integrating, you are living beyond the trappings of your personality.

There is nothing wrong moving towards the stress type. The stress point is a safety valve. It prevents you from moving down to a lower level of health than you have ever been before.

Just to learn the types can be a fun thing to do. It can be a great party conversation. But it is only of use if you commit to learning through this tool through workshops, reading, reflection, counseling, and coaching.

The only person who can tell you who you are is yourself. For many people, it takes time to discern what type you are. It is easy to misidentify when you are not self-aware.

The Enneagram is no excuse to behave in a particular way. The gift of the Enneagram is that it points out to you the personality box in which you find yourself. A healthy person will develop strengths in all nine types. This is how the Enneagram personality system works.

Learning the Enneagram together with someone that knows you well such as your spouse can be a lot of fun. Your partner can help you to see who you are. When we are so close to ourselves, we can easily deceive ourselves into believing our desired image of our self when in reality people around us experience us differently.

The Enneagram teaching is an excellent tool for any group such as spouses, a whole family, congregation or business to learn how to get along better with each other. You begin to understand your differences because of how you see the world through your different lenses.

I expect at some time in your life you assumed that everyone thought the same as you did—until you got a rude awakening.  We all have different ways of seeing and experiencing the world.

You will discover that most people don’t want to annoy you. They just see the world in different ways and have different priorities.

The nine Enneagram types divide into a triad of gut, heart, and head. These are our three energy centers. Your type suggests which one of these energy centers you either avoid or overuse. It just means this is where you are most comfortable but to be healthy, we need to keep all three of these wisdom centers open.

You can also use another triad of assertive, withdrawn and dutiful.

The assertive types of people move out into the world with force and conviction. They are a force to be taken seriously.

The withdrawn types when under stress like to withdraw into themselves to recharge. They are usually great observers of what is going on around them. They are easy to get along with.

The dutiful types when under stress feel responsible for taking care of everyone around them and making sure everyone stays safe. The dutiful types can often feel overly responsible.

The Enneagram is all about finding ways to live with as much presence as possible. Presence is the ability to stay open to the wisdom of your three energy centers: the gut, heart, and head.

The Enneagram is meant to help you move out of the fog of life. When you are stuck in your personality, it is easy to go to sleep to your true self. You live out your image of yourself without any self-awareness. Your life becomes more and more limited unless you find the courage to discover who you indeed are.

Using the Enneagram takes time and intentionality. It is a tool that will give you new things to learn each day no matter how old you are. It is no quick fix.

If someone claims you need fixing with the Enneagram, run away as quickly as you can. These teachers are dangerous!

I love the Enneagram! I hope it can help you as much as it has and continues to help me. I learned that being a type six explained why I had had lots of anxiety issues through my life. I have a lot more compassion for myself. I have learned how important meditation is for me to quiet my mind.

The Enneagram can change the world!

Learning that I am a type six has helped me to acknowledge my strengths such as my ability to look for problems before they become serious.

It has been a blessing in my relationship with my wife, Jen. She is a type five (the investigator). She thinks everything through before she says anything. She finds it difficult to express herself especially when she doesn’t feel that she has enough information.

I am the opposite. I think out loud. I learn through my conversations with others. We have had to learn much. I have learned to give Jen lots of time to think. She has learned that she needs to tell me what she is thinking, especially when it is a decision that affects both of us. We now laugh together instead of cursing each other.


I invite you to try out the Enneagram. It is a productive tool that reflects the complexity and holiness of each person.  It shows you where you are right now and where you need to go to get healthier.

This fantastic tool helps you to find your true self or God self. The Enneagram shows you a way to be aware of your sensations that are full of wisdom. The Enneagram shows you a way to remain open to your emotions through your heart. This is how the Enneagram personality works.

You learn that your feelings shine the light on how you are experiencing the world in each moment. Then your mind, when quiet, helps you to connect with your intuition.

Please join me on this journey to new life. May it be full of surprises, wonder, and hope.


Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families, and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478, or you can email Roland at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com


Originally published at http://www.relconsultants.com/blog

Author: Roland Legge



Would you have Moses over for Dinner?


Would you have Moses for Dinner?


June 22nd 2014


Foam Lake United Church




A Snapshot of Moses:


Would you have Moses over for dinner?  I am not sure if I would.  I would be honoured to get to know him.   To be able to say I actually met him in person would be awesome.  However, I am afraid of how he might mess up my life.  He might just get one of his messages from God that would now involve me.  I am not sure if I want to take the risk.


Moses is probably one of the most influential leaders of the Hebrew People.  Tradition says that Moses was born to a Levite couple.  At the time of his birth there was an Egyptian decree to kill all newborn Hebrew males.  His mother is said to have cast him adrift on the Nile River.  It was Pharaoh’s daughter who finds him and makes sure he is saved.  A wet nurse is found who happens to be Moses mother and so Moses grows up in the midst of the powerful in Egypt.


We know little of Moses when he was growing up.  It wasn’t until his “burning bush” incident that God gets Moses attention to become the leader and liberator of the Hebrews in Egypt.  Moses came up with many excuses to now follow God.  But God always had a comeback leaving with Moses no excuses to run away. 


Moses became the spokesperson for his people. 


To convince the Israelites Moses was told the name of God in the famous and difficult phrase “I am that I am” [Exodus 3:14, also 6:3] and shown a series of wonders he will perform for them: changing a rod into a serpent and back to a rod again; making leprosy appear and disappear from his hand; and changing water into blood.


Harper’s Bible Dictionary General Editor Paul J. Achtemeier Harper San Francisco.  Page 656




Moses job was to convince Pharaoh to free the Hebrew people.  He was also the intercessor between God and the Hebrews.  He managed to convince God a number of times to not be too harsh on his people.


We also know Moses for being the law giver and judge.  He simply passed on God’s law to the Hebrew people.  Today we still take seriously the Ten Commandments which tradition names Moses as the author.


Most of all we know Moses for being a leader.  It was not an easy job because his people would often complain.  They had short memories, quickly forgetting the oppression they faced Egypt.  Moses had to keep encouraging people to move forward overcoming their fears each and every day.   He would re-tell their story of Exodus over and over to remind them of the journey they were on.  Jews do this to this very day when they remember their foundational story of exodus every year.


The story suggests that Moses was 120 years old when he died.    You see 120 years was considered the ideal life span.  He died on Mount Moab viewing the land his people would move into upon his death.


Scholars cannot say if Moses really lived.  I suspect there was a person name Moses, but much of what has been told about Moses is myth.  Myth is story not based on fact but story told in ways that reveal more ‘truths’ than any factual story could ever hope to tell.


The story of Moses whether factual or narrative is still one of the key stories in the world today.  It has influenced many people to this very day in inspiring correct teaching and revolution among the people.




Theme time: The Ten Commandments page 213 Lectionary Story Bible


  • Then make our own Ten Commandments for today




Sermon – February 20, 2011


By Roland Legge


Exodus 3:1 – 12   and 4:1 – 12




Our scripture today focuses on Moses call.  Can you imagine coming across a burning bush that was not being consumed?  Most places this would be a strange sight unless you were at Universal Studios in Los Angeles U.S.A.  Would it get your attention?    How has the Creator got your attention?  What have been your “burning bushes”?




Moses was not unlike most of us when we are asked to do something difficult.  He wanted to run away.  He didn’t think he had the personal gifts and skills to be a leader in his community.  Moses gave God so many excuses, yet the Creator always had a comeback.  Thus, Moses ran out of excuses and new he had to give, this life calling, his best “shot”. 




Our Creator gave Moses a huge and ominous task to lead his, Hebrew, people into freedom from the oppression of Pharaoh in Egypt.  Moses new this was risky business and new he could not do it without God’s involvement. 




He like his people believed that God was part of everything and thus he had nothing to fear.  He believed that whatever would happen would be the will of God.  But this didn’t mean that Moses had to agree with the choices of God.  So there are numerous times when Moses confronts God because of the Creators harsh punishment to the Hebrew people.   Hence it was not unusual for God to change God’s punishment after Moses had interjected on his people’s behalf. 




I wonder how long it took for Moses to be convinced to become the religious and political leader of his people.  I doubt it happened overnight.  I suspect it was a more gradual process. 




What are the “burning bushes” in your life?   For me my separation and divorce from my first relationship was a wakeup call from God as I have shared with you before.  I am not saying that God brought on my divorce.  Rather my life got so bad that the excuses I had made no longer worked.  I could not accept my old life script any more.  My old script was based on my wishful thinking, that if I tried hard enough to make Yvonne love me, our relationship would become harmonies.  You see, once I realized how I had deceived myself, I could no longer stay in the relationship as it was.  There would need to be dramatic change and if not the relationship would have to end.




Why did it take so long for me to come to this point?  I was afraid of what others would think of me if I was to leave Yvonne.  In the end I discovered that many people wondered why I had stayed so long in the relationship.  It took this dramatic “burning bush” event for God to get my attention.  I have since then tried to stay more in touch with the Holy Spirit helping me to live a much more joyful life than I had lived up to that time.




Back to Moses; once Moses had accepted God’s call he now needed to try and convince his people that God had commissioned him to be their leader.  Moses new he was going to need lots of help to make this happen.  So the Creator enables Moses to do ‘miracles’  such as his walking stick turning into a snake, which convinces his followers that YAWEH has chosen him to be their leader.


I can relate to Moses.  It is sometimes hard to convince others that we have been truly transformed by the Divine.  Unless we are church people few people would be open to this Good News.  Even church people may be sceptical.  I would probably be one of those sceptical people.  Would you?  How do we show people that we have really changed?  I think the only way for people to believe that we have changed is by truly getting to know us.  




It can be very hurtful to be not believed.   A few years ago I was at a training event.  At the end we were put into small groups with a facilitator to discern if we were called to this particular form of ministry.  One of the members of the group, new me from some years before; and he didn’t seem willing to be open to possibility that I may have grown in confidence since I had last seen him.  Out of concern for me he swayed the group to block me from getting the accreditation I was hoping for.   When have been the times you have felt misunderstood?




In the end we, like Moses, need to go out and be who we are called to be no matter how many doubters may be out there.




I think the bottom line for Moses was the ongoing task of building community.  This is what he did all his life.  Here are some pointers as to how this community forms and nurtures itself.  I quote from an article called Exodus and Community by Elizabeth McMaster written for Sojourners Magazine in 1986.


  • Community begins in the inspiration or vision that brings people together out of scatteredness and isolation and binds them in one hope.  People gather together in voluntary displacement.
  • It finds its authority in Christ’s mandate, “Remember me,” and Gather together that I might be among you.”
  • It grows through the willingness of its members to conspire or breathe together on behalf of life, which is the proper work of community in the Spirit of God.
  • Like the communities of the ancient covenant, it lives in enfleshing, in enacting its covenant with God and with one another, making visible the power of God in our world.


WWW.sojo.net  Exodus and Community by Elizabeth McMaster.  Sojourners Magazine, March 1986




In this context, God calls us to break down the walls of fear and division, as Moses did so well. How does this inform our own personal and corporate faith journeys?  What do you think Moses would say to us here at St. Paul’s United Church?  I have no doubt he wouldn’t be afraid to tell us what God is calling this congregation to live out.  How God desires for us to break down the walls of fear in our own community. I doubt he would be very popular because he would push into action in ways that some of us would feel very uncomfortable and unprepared!




I wonder what would be the burning issue that Moses would find in Cochrane.  I believe he would want to bring forth justice wherever there is injustice.  Maybe he would push for Anglophone, Francophone, Aboriginal, and Meitei to all work more closely together to make our community a healthier place to be.  What do you think? …………………………………….




Moses was one of the greatest leaders of our faith tradition that encompasses Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  I hope Moses opens us up to having more honest and open dialogue with our Creator; for us to learn the discipline of knowing when the spirit is speaking to us rather than our egos.  I hope we learn from his courage to take on leadership.  How he was willing to take on difficult tasks.  May we find the same intimacy with our Creator.  May we find the same courage to go where the Creator desires us to go.