TYPE EIGHT: THE ASSERTER
The Eight is a personally powerful type who believes that one must be in control to avoid being dominated by or otherwise vulnerable to others. Consequently, self-reliance, independence, and assertiveness are primary themes. In the workplace, an Eight also believes that:
- the leader is the prime mover of an organization
- an organization is as strong as its leader, or as strong as its leader appears to be
These beliefs reflect an underlying set of values that focus on power, control, inner strength and self-assertion. Eights thrive on challenges, competition, and asserting a leadership role. At high functioning levels, they are powerful advocates for the underdog, who will champion and protect weaker members of society. They are resourceful, confident, and fearless, and will often lead people to achieve more than they perhaps thought possible. Their bold, courageous style is one that can be highly charismatic and motivational to others.
However, when the need to dominate the environment and assert their power becomes an overriding concern, their focus can shift to imposing their will on everything and everyone. While establishing protective boundaries around themselves, they do not hesitate to cross the boundaries of other people. They can be very impatient with people who are unable to keep up with them or whom they perceive as not supporting their approach or agenda. Direct and even blunt in their communication style, they often intimidate others. They value strength in themselves and others and are stimulated by confrontation from a “worthy” opponent. However, this aggressive style can be off-putting to others, thereby undermining their strength and reducing the support they seek. Because they often equate compromise with weakness, Eights will personally avoid showing any signs of it; at the same time, they will seek to identify and exploit weak spots in others to gain an advantage. While this may reinforce their need for control and domination, these gains are usually short-lived, and often fuel resentment.
Eights grow when they learn to develop relationships without any need to establish control. Learning to be more sensitive in their communications with others engenders the support they seek. Further, when they can acknowledge and feel comfortable presenting the soft, caring side of their personality, they become very attractive to others.
At their best, Eights exercise their gift of leadership in a benevolent and magnanimous manner. They display extraordinary courage, protecting all those around them who need their help, and do so in a way that is encouraging rather than dictatorial; others trust them and want them to lead. They work hard for the benefit of others, and can exert a positive and lasting influence that is visionary in its scope.