• TrueSelf

Enneagram Type 1 — The Moralist

Quality Control Specialist, Reformer, Perfectionist, Judge, Administrator, Rule Keeper, Crusader

Worldview of the Type 1


You are a conscientious, hardworking, and ethical, person who strives to make things better. You are a fair and just person and love to be meticulous. Your attention to detail and careful adherence to protocols and procedures can be great assets to any team. On occasion, your high standards and need for constant improvement may be experienced by others as overly critical and/or controlling. Your keys to growth include recognizing and balancing your high standards with your desire to act fairly and considerately towards others, and seeing what is actually “right” in the present moment.

What You Are Great At

  • Identifying ways that things can be improved and upgraded.

  • Being very aware of what needs to be corrected.

  • Focusing on details and maintaining an eye for perfection.

  • Having strong ethics and striving for continuous improvement.

  • Maintaining high ideals, standards, and principles.

  • Working tirelessly for its own sake and seeing excellence as its own reward.

  • Taking initiative on the job and putting work before pleasure to do the job well.

  • Being well-organized, neat, and orderly.

  • Upholding responsibilities and following through with commitments.

  • Advocating for fairness and justice in the world.

  • Being self-disciplined and personally sacrificing for the greater good, team, or purpose.

  • Being practical, purposeful, proper, professional, well-mannered, and polite.

Core Wiring

You want to be accurate, honest, fair, and objective; but most importantly, you want to be respectable. You want to do what's right, and what you feel is appropriate. You have high standards and are methodical, ethical, and diligently striving for continual improvement. You believe that anything worth doing should be done properly. Under stress, you may show resentment and become angry, nit-picking, and overly critical. At your best, you are wise and noble. You act with integrity and offer sage guidance to the world.

What Drives You

Driven by the need for continuous improvement and high standards, you are diligent and hardworking in order to do what is right and avoid being criticized. You want to be accepted and respected for being responsible and ethical and for having integrity and high standards.

Inner World of the Type 1

Core Fears

Your core fear of being bad, wrong, or incorrect may express itself as being afraid of making bad decisions or being criticized because of your perceived faults and imperfection.

Core Desires

To be good, right, accurate, correct, and above reproach.

Core Needs

You need to know what is expected of you, so you can act accordingly and excel. You want to know what is considered appropriate, do things by the book, and avoid making mistakes. You continuously strive for self-improvement and expect others to do the same. You act in accordance with your high standards, moral beliefs, philosophies, and principles; you don't base your behaviors on another person's rules.

Core Beliefs

Everyone can and should strive to do their best and continually improve. There is a correct way to do things. We should all do what is right and do so properly.


  • Order, high standards, punctuality.

  • When everything has a place and everything is in its place.

  • When others appreciate and follow your good advice.

  • Responsibility, discipline, and working hard.

  • Setting up and streamlining systems and solutions.

  • Creating policies and operating procedures.

  • Everyone following the procedures and protocols.

  • Being responsible and doing your best.

  • Editing and correcting for accuracy.

  • Appropriateness and proper etiquette.

  • Making things better through continuous improvement.

  • Mentoring others to be the best they can be.


  • People that are late or inconsiderate.

  • Laziness, low standards, sloppiness, poor work ethic.

  • People being unprepared and making excuses.

  • Others not appreciating all your hard work.

  • Others not trying as hard as they can.

  • Inappropriate anger or emotional outbursts.

  • Being criticized (especially when the blame belongs elsewhere).

  • Taking shortcuts that compromise quality.

  • Anyone being irresponsible or inattentive.

  • Unfairness.

  • People without a moral compass.

  • Lack of clarity and focus.

Outer World of the Type 1


You adhere strongly to standards and codes of conduct to ensure appropriate actions that evade criticism. You may proactively criticize and judge yourself and others to enforce good conduct.

Impact of Strategies

Everyone notices how hard you work. As a result, they often believe you are correct and follow your orders.

What's Great About You

You are ethical, principled, hard-working, disciplined, thorough, prepared, and accountable. Others see you as someone who is very responsible, fair, and who will do what is right.

Attention goes to...

Your attention goes outward to the environment, to creating improvements, correcting imperfections, and righting what is wrong. In your search for what is perfect, you may become mired in details and lose sight of your original goal and intention. A growing edge for you is to recognize the value of completing a task over waiting for perfection.

Operating System of the Type 1

At Your Best

You are a principled, disciplined, thorough and responsible person who focuses on the ideal in any given situation You have very high standards, which motivate you to be hard-working, meticulous, well-mannered, and professional able to sacrifice short-term pleasures for satisfaction of reaching longer-term objectives. Others can trust you to be honest and accountable.

You may devote yourself to service and eagerly pursue projects that can improve life for others. You can be very dedicated to helping others, sincerely believing that others also want to improve themselves and do things the right way. Your integrity and desire to make things better can make you a gifted teacher, and an asset to any team in the areas of continuous improvement, quality control, and effective systems.

Under Stress

When your focus is so resolutely set on doing what is right you may forget what is needed. Your desire to improve yourself and others can give voice to a strong “inner critic” that never allows you to relax. This can be driven by a core fear of being criticized, or being seen as bad or wrong and can lead to you being overly self-controlled and critical of yourself and others.

You may also feel the need to suppress natural desires to be “good.” This intensive self-monitoring and need for improvement can be exhausting and can be challenging for co-workers or friends.

You may not understand others’ reactions because you truly feel you are doing the best you can for all involved. Your anger may also become a problem if it is repressed, because it may erupt when you are under stress.

What Holds You Back

Resenting others for not doing things properly. Feeling frustrated but not expressing it directly. Being critical of others and feeling the need to correct them. Becoming defensive and blaming others when given feedback. Driven to take what seems the “right” or “correct” action. Believing you are ethically or morally above others. Comparing yourself to others and anticipating criticism. Procrastinating for fear of making a mistake or wrong decision. Expending unnecessary energy correcting minor details and errors. Difficulty acknowledging others for positive actions and contributions. Difficulty trusting inner guidance because of intense self-scrutiny. Difficulty letting go of past hurts and holding on to resentment.

Coping Strategy

To cope with fears of being bad or wrong, you may develop and hold on to internal rules, procedures, and standards. You may rely on your “inner critic” as a trusted guide for good behavior.

Proactively criticizing yourself and blaming others may be strategies to avoid being blamed and punished. Striving to be “good” and “right” may be felt to be the antidote to being “bad” and “wrong.”

Defense Strategy

You use self-control to avoid expressing anger and other “unacceptable” emotions by repressing them and expressing a more “appropriate” emotion in its place. This usually gives rise to frustration and resentment that others are not working as hard as they should.

Hot Buttons & Triggers

  • When your hard work is not recognized or appreciated.

  • When your efforts to improve things are unsupported.

  • Being criticized or given feedback suggesting you could have done better or need to make improvements.

  • Feeling that your positive intentions are misunderstood or unappreciated.

  • Carrying the load for others who seem irresponsible or lazy.

  • Others having fun, playing or relaxing.

  • Others being rewarded or appreciated in ways that seem unfair or unwarranted.

  • When things are out of order or not done properly.

  • Being asked to understand, forgive or accept others’ mistakes or shortcomings.

  • Having to submit to authority figures who seem to lack your high standards.

  • When others are rude or inappropriate.

  • Feeling fundamentally wrong or bad.

Blind Spots

Fearing your own perceived imperfection, you may brush off praise and recognition and disown or overly control your anger, impulses and desires without even recognizing it. It shows through to others in a hint of irritation in your voice and a critical, disapproving look on your face.

Believing your efforts to improve things are correct, you may not see that criticizing others can be alienating to them and your high standards may at times seem impossible to meet. When standards or procedures aren’t met, you can be overly harsh, strict and rigid with yourself and others. You can then be perceived by others as irritable, nitpicking and intolerant. This sometimes makes others think that you are angry or upset.

Mistaken Beliefs / Trap

It is a cognitive mistake to believe that everything can or should be improved, can be framed in black or white terms and that there is only one right way to move forward. This type of thinking can set up impossible standards for yourself and others. It can also create a never-ending cycle of frustration and resentment if efforts toward continual improvement don’t achieve the ideal -- resulting in an even greater sense of failure and imperfection.

Growth Journey of the Type 1

Transformation Journey

Your transformation journey involves:

  1. Recognizing that you are fully good just as you are. You don’t have to be perfect to be worthy of unconditional love and acceptance.

  2. Relaxing the tension and anxiety around what needs correcting and allowing things to exist as they are.

  3. Recognizing that your inner critic is not the voice of a higher authority, but rather a defense mechanism you’ve created in an effort to make yourself a better person.

Under Stress

When the need for perfection and investment in being “good” and “right” are in the driver’s seat, the tendency to be critical and judgmental can override your positive intentions. When triggered, you can be demanding, condescending, and resentful. You may feel the need to voice your opinions about what is “right” and correct others who you believe are “wrong.” In the workplace, others can be uncomfortable if you become impatient, moralizing, or have an air of superiority. Afraid of making a mistake or being seen as “wrong,” you can become defensive and justify your position to maintain a sense of order and control. Relationships can become strained, emotionally rigid, or depleting. You might then withdraw emotionally to feel safe and in control, or focus on work or stimulating projects that offer the chance for achieving high standards.

An Average Day

As you start to see the vicious cycle of holding yourself to impossibly high standards and how they only reinforce a sense of imperfection, you start to relax your demands and judgments. Recognizing that the “inner critic” actually imprisons rather than guides and motivates you, and seeing its negative effects on your work life and relationships, you give it less power and “air time.”

With more energy and space for your positive ideals to express themselves easily and naturally, you may become an advocate for the disenfranchised and a strong support for worthy causes. Placing greater focus on your own inner growth rather than how others need to improve, your self-responsibility and drive for excellence are channeled into self-mastery and ways to uplift others.

In The Zone

Seeing through the illusion of “imperfection” itself, you are able to embrace all of life, from the mundane to the most sublime. The need to compensate for an underlying sense of “bad” and “wrong” no longer drives you because the entire paradigm has been seen to be false. Your strong desires to help others and to make life beautiful are expressed in countless ways for the benefit of many beings. You inspire others through your natural affinity for teaching and your example of higher ideals and possibilities. Your sense of what is good and true is now universal; you see life as perfect in the moment in all its various forms and levels of evolution. Your higher wisdom pervades all experience and you naturally and easily know what is indicated in each moment for the highest good. You are exceptionally creative, accepting, compassionate, generous, inspired, self-sacrificing, and inspired to give to life and others.

Keys to Growth

  • Examine the high standards you are seeking to uphold and where they come from; distinguish what is motivated by fear.

  • Become more conscious of your high ideals and principles and how realistic they may/may not be.

  • Acknowledge your own shortcomings or mistakes; express your position without being defensive or blaming others.

  • Relax your inner critic and focus less on your mistakes and more on accepting what is.

  • Accept “negative” feelings, thoughts, and impulses; allow all feelings through awareness easily and naturally.

  • Practice seeing that there are many different avenues and ways to approach something that can be “good”/ “right”.

  • Notice that judging thoughts are an indication of anxiety, not something “higher” or more moral – really examine this.

  • Realistically assess whether you are doing more than you should or can accomplish in a reasonable amount of time.

  • Determine how your work load was acquired; what in your load was put upon you and what you have taken on yourself (and why). Examine beliefs that others are not carrying their load, see where these judgments come from, and honestly look at whether they are true.

  • Examine your beliefs in duty and responsibility and see how your high standards and “inner critic” prevent you from enjoying life and being in the moment.

  • Notice resentment when others are relaxing, meet any energies in yourself that believe “life is hard,” and practice enjoying the fun others are having.

  • It helps to remember that growth and evolution naturally require constant learning, re-evaluation and exploration along many possible paths and perfection is inherent in each moment in what is actually unfolding. (A rose seed and a rosebud are just as perfect as a rose in full bloom.)

Type 1 In the Workplace

Working with Others

You are hardworking, self-disciplined, attentive to detail, and focused on continuous improvement. When feeling valued and supported, you communicate clearly, offering well-formulated ideas and suggestions for ways to improve products and services. You are creative, passionate, and clever in your areas of expertise. You may also become frustrated when others don’t pull their weight or receive undue recognition or acknowledgment. Your working relationships may become strained when you correct others and fixate on problems.

Ideal Environment

You work best when your talents for perfectionism, attention to detail, organization, ethics, rules and standards, and continuous improvement are valued, such as in quality assurance, accounting, auditing, developing protocols and procedural manuals, developing and enforcing laws, and policies, and managing data.

You have a knack for spotting problems, errors, and mistakes. You work well alone and thrive on taking the initiative. You can also be a wonderful teacher and trainer, genuinely enjoying the chance to help others improve and perfect themselves.

Typical Challenges

You work less effectively in a work environment that is unstructured, unpredictable, does not clearly define roles, or does not follow routines and procedures. You may have difficulty remaining open to others’ suggestions because you tend towards black and white thinking, especially when you have your mindset on a certain outcome or course of action.

You can become rule-bound and miss important opportunities to revise rules that no longer serve their intended purpose. Your team members can feel drained and uninspired when you attempt to hold onto rigid guidelines that are inflexible or do not allow for creative differences and approaches to problem-solving. Meetings can become inefficient when you focus on every minor detail and problem you feel need to be resolved immediately.

Taking Guidance

You may be ambivalent about authority, sometimes wanting to be told what to do but having trouble taking direction from someone who doesn’t live up to your high standards. You may admire an authority figure only to be disappointed when he or she doesn’t meet your ideal of perfection.

You may have difficulty taking constructive criticism for fear of being judged as ‘wrong’ or inaccurate.. Your supervisory relationships may become strained when you defend yourself against suggestions that something you did could have been done differently or better. You may also reject positive feedback, believing that compliments can only be earned through heroic effort and perfect execution.

Leadership Style

As a leader, you can be a shining example of impeccable moral and professional standards, potentially leading others in great crusades and causes for justice and reform. You have a talent for setting up excellent management systems, protocols, and procedures for others to follow.

You can be an inspiring teacher, setting an example of self-discipline and hard work for others. Team members may also feel discouraged if you criticize, preach, correct, or give them the sense that “nothing is ever good enough.” Difficulty acknowledging others for their contributions and expecting perfection can also reduce motivation on the team.

Famous Type 1 Moralists

Hillary Clinton, Nelson Mandela, Julie Andrews, Tom Brokaw, Cesar Chavez, Harrison Ford, Jodie Foster, Barry Goldwater, Al Gore, Katharine Hepburn, Peter Jennings, Joan of Arc, Samuel Johnson, John Kerry, Ted Koppel, Dr. Laura, Laura Linney, Thurgood Marshall, George McGovern, Ralph Nader, Leonard Nimoy, Gregory Peck, H. Ross Perot, Sidney Poitier, Pope John Paul II, Colin Powell, Yitzak Rabin, Ayn Rand, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bernard Shaw, Martha Stewart, Margaret Thatcher, Emma Thompson