Enneagram Type 8: The Challenger – Wings, Fears, Career & Love

The Enneagram is a psychology-based typology system that categorizes people based on personality. The Enneagram type 8, also known as the Challenger or the Protector, is one of the nine personality types first described by G. I. Gurdjieff.

The test results are associated with an individual’s strengths, beliefs, weaknesses, and outlook on relationships. Type 8s tend to be assertive, dominant, and confident. This article will review the many skills and vulnerabilities of Enneagram type 8.

Enneagram Type 8

Enneagram Type 8 Strengths, Weaknesses & Fears – Knowledge Panel

Other names: The Challenger, The Protector, The Powerful, Dominating Type, The Willful


Many refer to the Enneagram Type 8 as the Perfectionist, the Challenger, or the Reformer. This is so because Eights enjoy challenging themselves and others. They are charismatic, persuasive, and have an excellent sense of self-awareness.

This makes Eights perfect for managing teams or leading startups.In addition to that, Eights seek to inspire others and to push the boundaries of what others believe to be possible. Their energy and willpower force them to innovate.

One of the main goal types Eights have is to leave a legacy behind, and their persistence and endurance aids them in achieving this mission


As with all people, Eights have their own shortcomings. They have difficulty accepting authority because of their individualistic worldview. In addition, relationships can be difficult to maintain when they are not in control.

Any and all power must be in the Eight’s control, for they will not feel free otherwise. Their longing for perfection can turn into an obsession. For instance, they will want to be the best no matter what (even if it means destroying the competition).

Fear of: Vulnerable

The biggest fear a type 8 possesses is the fear of being vulnerable. Because this type has a need to be in control, they have trouble with losing power. Rejection, betrayal, and being controlled make type 8s feel lost and purposeless.

Desire and Need to: Be dominant and self-reliant

Eights crave to be important, to dominate an environment, and want to be self-reliant. This makes them skilled public speakers with a special ability to command the audience and remain authoritative. Others may view them as confrontational or loud, but Eights are just naturally outspoken and blunt.

Wings for Eight

Enneagram Type 8 Key Characteristics


Every action an Eight makes is part of their plan, whether it is to dominate the competition or lead a team efficiently.


Eights feel secure when they are in control of their own destiny. This leads them to be independent.


Logic is what fuels the Eight’s decision making process. They emphasize the importance of reasoning over emotions.


Everything has to be done right in the Eight’s eye, for they do not want a weakness to be exposed to their competition. Their need for perfection also makes it difficult for them to give tasks to others when they can do it themselves.


Eights will not do something unless it aligns with their goals, values, and morals.


They trust their instincts and make decisions on the spot. This makes Eights appear as quick-witted in speech.

Enneagram Type 8 Core Values


Eights always desire justice. They wish for the world to be free of prejudice, to be open-minded, fair, and impartial. Acting quickly to remedy unjust circumstances comes naturally to Eights, for they enjoy taking action to better the world.


Challenges keep Eights passionate. In order to leave a mark on society, Eights believe they need to be challenged in some way. They do not believe in taking the easy route in life, and would rather take a meaningful challenge. Doing this both peaks their interest and gives them something to center their energy into.


Eights are extremely loyal in all of their relationships. Once someone has proven to be genuine to an Eight, they will protect that person and standby by them during difficult times.


Instead of wanting to be liked by a group, Eights wish to be respected and acknowledged. Their partners should mirror the commitment that the Eight puts forth in their relationship. Spouses need to be accepting of Eight’s bluntness and should be energetic and passionate.

If one does not have a mission in life, an Eight may see that individual as confused. In friendships, they tend to be strong and would not want others to take power or control away from them.

Enneagram Type 8 Wings

Each Enneagram type has two subtypes called wings. Eights are categorized into the wings of 7 and 9. While all Eights share many of their strengths and weaknesses, key differences exist between the wings.


The 8w7, also known as the Reformer or Nonconformist, is self-confident, outspoken, and pragmatic. They are ambitious and innovative, often finding new ways to solve problems more efficiently. When it comes to conflict, wing 7 is more comfortable with confrontation than the wing 9.

Reformers are more likely to see emotion as a weakness. They avoid all forms of vulnerability and struggle with emotional circumstances. Overindulgence and authority issues are also more common with this subtype. However, they advocate for the rights of others and think creatively. Their biggest fear is losing autonomy.


The 8w9, or the Diplomat, identify with many of the traits with the Reformer but also share traits of the type 9. They are confident, but also more patient, protective, and risk-averse. Diplomats are more gentle and fear being hurt by others.

When compared to the 8w7, Diplomats are more calm and laid back. They are warmer, less reactive, and seek to avoid confrontation. 8w9 also welcomes the input of others, for they are more consensually oriented and less competitive. Although they are less energetic than the wing 7, Diplomats still love to be challenged.

Jobs and Careers Paths for Enneagram Type 8

In a business environment, Eights value autonomy, control, and innovation. They wish to be surrounded by people as focused and passionate as they are. Eights excel in leadership positions because of their rationality and decisiveness. However, monotonous tasks will quickly bore this type. They want to avoid doing the same thing for long periods of time, unless it is absolutely necessary.

List of best jobs/careers for Enneagram Type 8

  • Sales Representatives
  • Government Positions, such as Governor
  • Executives
  • Program Managers
  • Military Personnel
  • Activists
  • Athletes
  • Lawyers
  • Financial Advisors
  • Marketing Strategists

Enneagram Type Eight Development Levels

Healthy levels

At their best (Levels 1-3), Eights are effective leaders who manage risk and delegate tasks efficiently. They are brave and willing to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others.

In addition, they will be assertive, confident, strong, decisive, and protective without being overbearing or arrogant. Eights take rational actions on behalf of the team in order to lead them to accomplishing their goals, making them a leader many aspire to be.

Average levels

The average levels of the type eight range from (Level 4-6). During the fourth level, they are extremely self sufficient and individualistic. Their risk taking and rationality can lead them to deny their emotions. At the fifth level, Eights take competition to an extreme level. They can be overly proud, forceful, and egocentric.

At times, they will demand respect without reciprocating it to others. Being at the sixth level means the Eight will become combative and will not back down, often threatening other individuals. They may use unjust treatment to help themselves get ahead of the competition.

Unhealthy levels

Once the Reformers reach unhealthy (levels of 7-9), they may become violent. At the seventh level, they become dictatorial and ruthless. They will lose all emotional awareness as well. Developing further into level eight, their power will lead the Eight to become delusional and reckless.

Some may go as far as feeling omnipotent. Finally, reaching ninth level results in the Eight becoming vengeful, barbaric, and violent. They will not surrender to anyone and would rather destroy their surroundings. Eights who reach this level are sociopathic and have characteristics of Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Personal Growth Recommendations for Enneagram Type Eight

Personal Growth Recommendations for Enneagram Type Eight

Giving control for building a trusting relationship

Although it can be difficult, Eights need to remember that giving up some control is necessary for building a trusting relationship. It is possible to balance your true desires and need for power with the needs and goals of others. If this seems impossible, it may be a sign that the Eight has reached unhealthy levels of development.

Recognize that others may be more skilled in a certain way

Further, this self reliant type has difficulty depending on others. However, one must remember that society cannot function if everyone had such an individualistic worldview. The Eight needs to recognize that others may be more skilled in certain ways, and thus it would be logical to let that person perform a certain task as opposed to doing it yourself. Alienating oneself can lead to loneliness and lack of loyalty, so it is crucial to remain understanding of others even if they make mistakes.

Emphasize power and control

Eights emphasize power and control in their lives. However, having power, wealth, intelligence, or status is not by itself the key to happiness. It is important to remember that genuine relationships are not based around materialistic goods or power. Rather, they are bonds formed from trust and loyalty which must be mutual.

Constant competition

Constant competition can make Eights feel like everyone is against them. Taking a moment each day to just acknowledge the affection one receives can be a great way to boost the spirit of an Eight, and to energize them for the coming day. It confirms their emotional strength and creates new connections with people in their support system.

Enneagram Eight – Behaviour and Patterns

Action Patterns

Eights will typically trust their instinct and make decisions quickly in order to ensure their projects are advancing. They are direct and blunt, both in their word choice, decision making, and body language.

Cooperation is unlikely with this type, which seeks to lead solo. Anytime chaos occurs, Eights step in to get things back on track. Although Eights dislike weakness being shown in themselves and others, they are extremely protective of those they love.

As long as the person does not act like a victim, Eights will defend them. This type seeks justice and works to correct the wrongdoings of others.

Feeling Patterns

Eights can be easily aggravated or angered. In response, Eights will quickly express their displeasure and try to move forward without dwelling on their emotions.

Eights view some emotions, like sadness, as signs of weakness. To combat their vulnerability, they will often become dismissive of their feelings or use denial as a defense mechanism. Eights express their love through their protectiveness and loyalty.

Thinking Patterns

First impressions are typically lasting for the type 8. Immediately, they categorize people into those who are weak and strong. This often leads to an “all or nothing” mentality. Eights wish to know the truth, even if it creates conflict.

They want to gather as many important details about a project as possible in order to form a clear bigger picture. Their minds tend to gravitate toward their own goals and needs before those of others.

It can also be difficult to convince an Eight to take on a project they are uninterested in, for they do not respond well when being forced or bribed.

Famous Enneagram Type 8 You Might Know

        1. Kamala Harris – politician
        2. Martin Luther King Jr. – civil rights activist 
        3. Serena Williams – tennis player/athlete
        4. Ernest Hemingway – author 
        5. Bernie Sanders – politician 
        6. Mark Cuban – entrepreneur and investor
        7. Alec Baldwin – actor 
        8. Aretha Franklin – singer
        9. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – politician
        10. Roseanne Barr – actress 
        11. Toni Morrison – author
        12. Pink – singer 
        13. Queen Latifah – singer
        14. Clint Eastwood – actor and director
        15. Barbara Walters – journalist
        16. Winston Churchill – politician
        17. Donald Trump – politician
        18. Pablo Picasso – artist
        19. Dr. Phil McGraw – TV personality and psychologist
        20. Franklin D. Roosevelt – politician
        21. Sean Connery – actor
        22. Matt Damon – actor
        23. Denzel Washington – actor and director
        24. Julius Caesar – general

Enneagram Type 8 FAQs

Being the Enneagram type 8 means that you are authoritative, dominant, persuasive, and generally a good leader. You tend to have difficulty giving up power and wish to be in control at all times.

Speak directly to them and be blunt. Do not try to hide the truth and avoid bringing emotions into the conversation. It is also important to remain respectful and reasonable.

Eights wish to conceal their vulnerabilities and avoid showing they are stressed. Instead, they approach the stress methodically and rationally in order to come up with a plan to get back into control. Once in control, the type 8 feels at ease.

Type Eights are moderately rare. According to a Truity study of about 54,000 people, Eights make up 18% of men and 12% of women (15% of the total population).

Final Words

The Enneagram type 8 is one of the most effective leaders out there. They are loyal, rational, decisive, innovative, and efficient.

However, their need for power often creates conflicts in their lives. Thus, recognizing your own strengths and weaknesses is key to the success of a type 8, or anyone in general.

Taking a free Enneagram test is the first step to getting started with self-improvement.

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