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Enneagram Type 8 Description And Key Characteristics

Enneagram 8’s are called The Challenger. They are motivated to be self-reliant, strong, and independent. When healthy, type eights are caring, positive, playful, truthful, straightforward, generous, and supportive. 

Eights excel at taking the initiative and want to be in charge to be free to choose the course of action they feel is right. Type eights have a strong sense of justice and use their instincts to discern if something is wrong. 

Eights desire to be a reliable source for others and like to protect the weak or vulnerable. They are capable of providing strength to those who need support. Type eights are unafraid of conflict and willingly engage in finding solutions. 

Enneagram 8 Strengths

  • Self-confident

  • Bold

  • Direct

  • Decisive

  • Loyal

  • Energetic

  • Protective

  • Strategic

When Eights are secure, they are strong, assertive, and influential. Their growth direction helps them to become more compassionate, warm, and magnanimous toward others.

Development Opportunities for Enneagram Type 8s

Eights can learn to yield to others and be more compromising, remember that the world is not against you. It is helpful for eights to consider that there are many people in their life who

care about and admire them.

Enneagram 8 Blindspots

  • Impatience

  • Combative

  • Controlling

  • Manipulative

  • Lack of boundaries

  • Domineering

  • Impulsive

When unhealthy, eights typically overvalue power. They believe having power, whether through wealth, position, sheer will, or even force, allows them to remain in control, feel important, or even feared. 

An exercise eights can try is to pick an area of their life where they feel especially in control and give others in that sphere of influence the opportunity to take charge.

Identifying your type is not an excuse for specific behaviors. Such as, “well, I just like to get stuff done; I’m an eight.” Instead, eights can consider, “Perhaps I am being controlling and overbearing. Am I reacting to this to feel safe?”

The Enneagram Guide to Healthy Teams in the Workplace Ebook Mockup


Inside this free guide, you'll learn:

Enneagram 8 Wings

An eight can have a seven or a nine wing. 

An eight with a seven wing tends to be assertive. This wing can influence them to take risks and be more social and ambitious. It may also make them impulsive, reactive, addictive, or materialistic during stressful situations.

An eight with a nine wing tends to be more quiet, steady, patient, and supportive. In times of stress, they can become cold and indifferent.

Enneagram Type 8 At Work

Eights bring strength and energy to teams. Natural leaders, eights are great at getting a project started and ensuring that it continues progressing. 

Team members can be challenged by eights if they become domineering and restrict others from having an equal voice that impacts outcomes. Type eights do best in active, “doing” roles and situations where they can express their natural confidence and leadership.

 Did you know that Cloverleaf can help you use your Enneagram results to sharpen your professional development and work environment?

Click here to learn more about how to apply assessment insights to help your team thrive. 

A Coaching Tip to Help Enneagram 8s On A Team

In groups or teams, eights may automatically step up to lead a project or initiative, especially if they sense it needs more direction or structure. Eights need to recognize they don’t always have to play this role. Holding back can allow others to share in the leadership and help the eight avoid burnout.

As a practical tip, eights might consider identifying the types of projects they are best suited to lead or limit themselves to a certain number of initiatives in a given time period.  

Type eights are individually motivated to work hard and pull for the underdog when necessary. Eights should be mindful during challenges or conflicts as others may misinterpret their intensity for anger. Also, eights can appreciate when others challenge their ideas because they interpret it as working toward the common good.

Continue To Grow As An Enneagram 8

The Enneagram is helpful because it identifies fears and challenges related to each personality type. The goal is to recognize and use the insights to experience transformational growth.

Eights can trust that others are not ‘against’ them. With compassion and forgiveness, an eight can increase awareness to intentionally use their drive to serve others in kindness.

Recognizing that the strength of their personality can be overwhelming to others but also can help in getting things done. They can have a tendency to “fire, ready, aim”; however, being open to feedback can prevent mishaps and help ensure they reach their goals. Eights can remind themself that others may interpret their willingness to push for and engage in conflict as lacking self-control or domineering.

Slowing down to wait and not immediately respond can help an eight to think things through and process their feelings. Carefully gathering information in a thorough, non-biased way will often require an eight to seek another perspective before coming to their own conclusion.

Are you unsure of your type or want to validate your number? Take our free Enneagram Test to help clarify your specific type. You’ll also receive an in-depth, accurate report to help you understand your number.

Want to learn about the rest of the Enneagram Types? Read more about the Enneagram: 1,2,3,4 5,6,7, and 9!

enneagram type 8
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Evan Doyle

Evan Doyle serves as the Content Marketing Manager at Cloverleaf. He is an Enneagram enthusiast and creator of Recognized for his insightful writings, his work has been featured in publications such as Truity, Catalyst, and Creative Results Management, touching on topics from leadership and people development to teamwork and conflict resolution. He's also the author of the "Enneagram Career Guide," a digital workbook aiding transformative career changes. Evan is dedicated to helping individuals delve deeper into their self-awareness and leverage their strengths.