After nine months of intense work, the team was nearly at the finishing line of a significant project. It was three days before the management presentation. The project lead, Aaron, was exasperated. His team member, Beatrice, refused to make critical changes to the presentation materials and complained about Aaron's poor leadership skills. 

What should Aaron do - assert his authority, explain himself to Beatrice, or get another team member to do the work? 

It is already too late when tensions like this surface at the eleventh hour. The key is to build relationships and create alignment early on, not when things go wrong.

Let's understand this situation using the Neuro-Linguistic Enneagram (NLE) model as a lens.


We are each driven by an unconscious "why" that stems from our personality and model of the world. This "why" carries our positive intentions.

It was always clear to Aaron that his intention was to ensure the team's work yielded a good result. The stakes were high. The presentation had to go smoothly so that management would see that the team was competent.


As we go about our lives, we must express ourselves to get what we want. How we do so inevitably creates impressions on those who interact with us.

 To Aaron, the best way was to be thorough and iron out all possible kinks beforehand. As he saw more creative ways of doing something, he made sure he gave direct and clear feedback and that someone will implement them.


When we create a negative impression, others react or resist us. We feel misunderstood and try harder to express ourselves to convey our positive intentions.

Beatrice felt that Aaron didn't trust her and was micro-managing her. She became stressed. Beatrice started pushing back on the changes, which she saw slowed the team down as they raced towards the finish line. 

Aaron thought Beatrice was slacking off and refusing to deliver to quality. "Doesn't she know how important this is? We have to make this work. It's for all of us!" He doubled down on checking and pushed Beatrice for hourly updates.

See the disconnect?
Beatrice had misunderstood Aaron's best intentions, and the team's efforts were in peril.

Isn't it the same for all of us?
We bring our good intentions to all aspects of our lives and want others to receive the best from us, only to be misunderstood, judged or criticised. This can repeat throughout our lives; many may even label themselves as "having poor people skills" or "unable to communicate well". 

You don't have to be stuck within the limitations of your personality for life. When you learn the NLE, you have a structure that allows you and others to see what's happening and learn to rise above your patterns.

Knowing the NLE helps you:

  • Become aware of the unhelpful patterns related to your personality
  • Express your positive intentions in ways that others with different personalities can appreciate
  • Build your ability to generate and practise Neuro-Actionables to recode and systematically shift your unhelpful patterns into helpful ones

The Neuro Linguistic Enneagram Practitioner certification is a 5-day experiential course. Look up the dates for the next intake and enrol here. Contact us and take the first step to break out of your old patterns:


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