SRU business professor leading Enneagram workshop Nov. 7


Enneagram on a blachboard

John Golden, assistant professor of business at Slippery Rock University, is hosting a leadership development workshop, Nov. 7, using the Enneagram, a model of the human psyche that helps define personality types.

Oct. 23, 2018

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - John Golden, assistant professor of business at Slippery Rock University, often paraphrases business author Stephen Covey's quote, "the deepest need of the human soul is to be understood," while teaching and consulting.

In recent years, Golden has been asked to serve as a guest lecturer in Organizational Behavior classes at SRU to discuss emotional intelligence. One tool he uses to help people understand themselves and others is the Enneagram, a model of the human psyche that helps define personality types that has ancient origins but has been used in management since the mid-20th century.

No longer limiting his shared research to business majors at SRU, Golden is leading a workshop, "How to Use the Enneagram to Become a More Effective Manager and Leader," 1-3 p.m., Nov. 7 at SRU's Leadership Development Center.

"What makes a good leader is soft skills and being able to understand what emotion you are feeling and being able to identify traits in another person," Golden said. "I tell my students that if there are two (job candidates) coming out of school both with 3.5 GPAs and good experience, employers are going to choose a (candidate) who they think has better people skills or emotional intelligence."

The Enneagram, through accompanying personality tests developed by contemporary psychologists, helps people understand nine interconnected personality types, visualized on a circular figure with arrows and wings pointing to numbers that correspond to types, such as The Reformer, The Helper and The Peacemaker.

"In management you can see that the Enneagram is a very useful tool for recruitment, team-building, assessment or project management," Golden said. "If you're looking for someone who has to do very meticulous work with little room for error, then you may want the perfectionist personality type. If you're looking for someone who is more of a group leader or who has to deal with conflict in the work place, then you may pick someone who is a more harmonious type."

Golden stressed that personality assessments, like the Enneagram, Myers-Briggs or Clifton StrengthsFinder, are not intended to stereotype people or "put them in a box," but rather raise awareness and help them cope with their surroundings.

"This is about bringing your personality type to your consciousness," Golden said. "Because once you've recognized what your coping mechanisms are then you can make a conscious effort to say, 'Well, I may have this worldview,' or 'I identify with this number on the Enneagram and I really want to work more toward my wings (interconnected types) and develop skillsets in those areas.'"

According to Golden, the workshop will be a fun and informal discussion about the basics of the Enneagram and attendees will be invited to answer a series of questions to determine their personality type. He also wants to get feedback on the validity of the results from participants.

"From studying it, I think it's uncannily accurate," said Golden, who first learned about the Enneagram from his sister, Joanne, and his other sister, Janine, a retired business professor at USC, who wrote a paper about mentorship citing the Enneagram. "This is about being able to identify what you're feeling, owning it, and being able to identify it in another person. (Most) everyone has to work in groups or has to have these skills as a manager."

For more information about the Leadership Development Center, click here. To register for professional development programs, including the Enneagram workshop, contact Erin Strain at: 724.738.4334 or The Enneagram workshop is free and open to the public.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 |