The Type 1, Perfectionist and the Type 8, Leader might seem like opposite personality styles at first blush because their habits of attention point in very different directions.
Type 8s seek power and focus on power dynamics whereas Type 1s seek improvement and focus on getting things right. Sometimes described as the Pirate and the Schoolteacher, these two personalities have very different approaches to life, but if you dig a little deeper you’ll find many similarities, and I often see people struggle to find themselves because both of these types resonate. Let’s take a closer look.
Both Type 1s and Type 8s have a strong internal compass and a clear sense of right and wrong. Their inner guidance may or may not align with standard conventions, rules, and regulations, and both types may rely on their own judgment when making tough decisions.
Both types can be controlling and may be described as “control freaks” by others. They may be inflexible about the details of how the home is arranged, the way the car is parked, or how the finances are managed. Both can get frustrated when other people don’t do things their way, and both may have an intolerance for dissenting opinions. Both can be hardworking and tenacious with a no-frills, low drama attitude. They focus on achieving their goals with tremendous energy and determination.
Energetically, both can feel tightly wound, like a volcano about to erupt, and both may openly and directly express criticism, irritation, or anger. There can be an energetic intensity to both types.
Despite these similar external behaviors, if you were to drop into the mind of a Type 1 and a Type 8, you would see very different mindscapes.
Type 1s are focused on efficiency, productivity, and getting things right. Their high standards and exacting preferences lead them to micromanage and focus on the details. Their idealism may drive their decision-making, and their harsh inner voice may push them to work relentlessly as they feel they have a never-ending, ever-refreshing to-do list that must be addressed. In most instances, Type 1s truly want a better world and much of their behavior may be fueled by this idealism.
Type 8s are focused on power and power dynamics. They have broad, expansive thinking with an awareness of who is in control and who may need protection. Their moral compass can be more emotionally driven, and their desire to feel strong and powerful is often fueling their hardworking nature. Their controlling nature is often linked to trying to establish dominance and avoid vulnerability, and they can miscalculate how their assertive communication style impacts others. They typically want to be in positions of power in order to use this power to attain their goals, either altruistic or otherwise.
Not sure if you are a Type 1 or a Type 8? Ask yourself these four questions:
1) Do you have a continuously harsh inner voice?
Most Type 1s will allude to an almost relentless sense of self-criticism. Their inner voice is harsh and critical, pushing them to do things correctly and to avoid mistakes. Many Type 1s talk about how this inner critic is exhausting and so intense, it sometimes holds them back from making decisions.
Type 8s may have moments or periods of self-criticism, but it is rarely an intense, ongoing theme. They are more able to recover from bad decision-making and can move on from their mistakes faster. Because of this, Type 8s can usually decisive and confident, knowing they can bounce back if they’ve made a mistake.
2) Do you think of the world as a battlefield or a classroom?
Type 8s seek power and avoid vulnerability. This can leave them feeling like the world is a battlefield, and many Type 8s communicate using war time metaphors. They may describe people as friends or enemies, they may reference “going into battle” if they have an important meeting, and they may describe their various sources of power as weapons. Most Type 8s think of the world as a potentially hostile place they must defend themselves against.
Type 1s view the world differently. They see the world through the lens of potential with an eye to how it could be improved. They may see the world as a classroom where it is their job to educate others or model correct behavior.
3) Is your anger like a laser or a bomb?
Both Type 1 and Type 8 are body/instinctive types sharing the same center of intelligence with a sensitive issue around anger. The expression of anger, however, can look very different.
Type 1s tend to repress their anger, expressing more often criticism or irritation. When they do reach boiling point, Type 1s unleash their anger intensely and with laser focus. It is as though they sear through everything in their narrow path.
Type 8s tend to overexpress anger and can blow up over seemingly small infractions. This anger is experienced more like a bomb, and the fallout can be highly destructive. A Type 8 may misplace their anger, damaging the relationships around them. For example, a Type 8 may blow up at their assistant after an unrelated meeting that went poorly. For the Type 8, once they have expressed their anger, they may move on quickly. However, for those on the receiving end, the recovery can take quite a bit longer.
4) Is it hard for you to delegate work?
A common theme for Type 1s is that they find it hard to delegate work. This is because they have high, exacting standards, and they often feel that no one will do the work as well as they will. Delegation is often a long, slow process, and micromanagement can be a Type 1 issue.
Type 8s typically have a much easier time delegating because they prefer to focus on the big picture and expansion plans. Because Type 8s do see the world as a battlefield, they need to have a high degree of trust in the people they are delegating to, but once this is established, they often report they enjoy delegating work to others. Micromanagement typically only becomes a Type 8 theme if they feel vulnerable or if they sense their power may be in jeopardy.
It is worth touching on the subtypes to see which Type 1s and Type 8s often get mistyped.
Intimate (one-to-one/sexual) Type 1s, called Zeal, are the most likely to wonder if they are Type 8s because this personality accesses anger more easily than the other Type 1s.
With a passionate personality and an intensity that may demand change in others, this person often identifies with the anger themes of Type 8. However, when they sit with their motivation, they often realize they are demanding improvement more than striving for power and control. This person can also typically show their vulnerability, a characteristic Type 8s often avoid.
All three Type 8 subtypes may, at moments, wonder if they are a Type 1, it is often the social Type 8 called Solidarity, who misidentifies the most. This Type 8 has a more muted relationship with anger and may seem idealistic, particularly in support of a group or team. However, when they deeply examine their motivations, they often recognize the desire to protect others is part of the habit of attention of Type 8 and linked more to power and vulnerability than improvement.
While some shared behaviors can lead to confusion and misidentifications, at the core, Type 1 and Type 8 have very different superpowers they bring to the world.
Type 1’s superpower is improvement and working to make things better. This may be themselves, society, or those closest to them.
Type 8’s superpower is decisive leadership, resourcefulness, and protection of the vulnerable. This can manifest as leadership in a family, a company, or society.
If you are still not sure about your Enneagram type, consider scheduling an Enneagram typing interview.