The Gallup organization released the original StrengthsFinder assessment in 2001 with the book Now, Discover Your Strengths. It became a New York Times bestseller and sold nearly 2 million copies. Strengths are a combination of talents, knowledge, and skills. People use these traits and abilities in their daily lives to complete their work, to relate with others, and to achieve their goals. But most people don’t know what their strengths are or how to use them to their advantage.
People who do focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs. They are more productive individually and in teams, and are more than three times as likely to say they have an excellent quality of life.
Talents represent a capacity to do something, what makes you exceptional. Knowing, understanding, and valuing your talents is directly linked to achieving in classes, careers, and throughout your life.
A strength is the ability to provide consistent, near-perfect performance in a given activity. Strengths start out as talents, they’re produced when talents are refined with knowledge and skill.
The assessment consists of 34 different themes, but they have little to say about what field you should be in, and only offer some directional guidance on what role you should play within your chosen field.
The 34 themes are; (the underlined ones are mine)
- Achiever – driven; constant need for achievement.
- Activator – Impatient for action; “When can we start?” Must act as soon as decisions are made.
- Adaptability – Live in the moment; expect and respond well to new demands; flexible.
- Analytical – “Prove it”; Insist on sound ideas; objective; Like data and patterns.
- Arranger – Like to be a “conductor”; enjoy managing variables and realigning them to find the perfect configuration; can change mind at last minute if new idea comes up.
- Belief – Enduring core values; Often family-oriented, spiritual, value high ethics; Success more important than money and prestige.
- Command – Take charge; easy to impose views on others; Fine with confrontation; Like things to be clear and up-front; May be labeled as intimidating or opinionated.
- Communication – Like to explain, describe, host, speak in public and write; Take dry ideas and give them life; use examples, stories, metaphors; People like to listen to you.
- Competition – Always comparing your performance to others; Like to win; May avoid contests where winning is unlikely.
- Connectedness – Believe things happen for a reason; Believe everything is connected in some larger sense; Considerate, caring and sensitive; Faith in something greater.
- Context – look at past to understand present; Like to understand backgrounds on people and ideas.
- Deliberative – Careful; vigilant; private; Identify risks and mitigate them; Not effusive with praise.
- Developer – See potential in others; Like to see people develop and grow.
- Discipline – Want things to be predictable, ordered, planned; You impose structure in your life by setting up routines and working on timelines; Detail oriented.
- Empathy – Sense emotions of others; feel what they feel; anticipate others needs; Good at expressing feelings.
- Fairness – Balance is important; treat people the same, regardless of their situation; Don’t believe others should have an advantage because of their connections or background.
- Focus – Need a clear destination; goal driven; stay on task; impatient with delays or tangents.
- Futuristic – “Wouldn’t it be great if…?”; Dreamer; Energized by what the future may hold; People may look to you for hope.
- Harmony – Look for areas of agreement; dislike conflict and friction; Peacemaker; Believe productivity is enhanced by looking for common ground rather than forcing views on others.
- Ideation – Fascinated by ideas; like finding connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
- Inclusiveness – Like to include people and make them feel a part of the group; Not prejudiced; No one should be ignored.
- Individualization – Don’t like generalizations about people since everyone is different; Recognize people’s unique qualities and strengths; Good at building teams.
- Input – Inquisitive; like to collect things; Find many things interesting.
- Intellection – Like to think; like mental exercise; Introspective; may spend time alone thinking of questions and coming up with possible answers.
- Learner – Love to learn as well as the process of learning; Energized by journey from ignorance to competence; Might take classes such as yoga or piano.
- Maximizer – Like to take something good and make it great. Don’t like taking something bad and making it good; fascinated by strengths – your own and others; Focus on strengths.
- Positivity – Generous with praise, quick to smile; always looking for the positive; Might be viewed as lighthearted; Full of energy and optimism.
- Relator – Like to spend time with people you know; Selective with relationships since you would rather deepen your existing relationships than create superficial new ones.
- Responsibility – Feel emotionally bound to complete commitments, or will try to make it up to someone if you don’t complete it; Excuses and rationalizations are unacceptable; Looked at as completely dependable.
- Restorative – Love to solve problems; Enjoy the challenge of analyzing symptoms, identifying what is wrong, and finding a solution.
- Self-Assurance – You have faith in your strengths; Confidence in your abilities and judgment; Always seem to know the right decisions; not easily swayed by other’s opinions.
- Significance – Want to be viewed as significant in the eyes of others; like recognition; Want to be heard and stand out; Independent; Like to do things your way.
- Strategic – Able to sort through clutter to find best route; See patterns; Ask “What if”; able to foresee potential obstacles in advance and select the right path.
- Woo – Stands for “Winning Others Over”; Enjoy challenge of meeting people and getting them to like you; Drawn to strangers; Make connections, then move on to meet new people.
Each person has greater potential for success in specific areas, and the key to human development is building on who you already are.
To excel as a leader you will need to recognize, and then learn to capitalize on, each person’s unique strengths. This will keep your employees productive, energized, and satisfied. This allows you set different expectations for each person so that they can focus on their strengths. When a manager understands their employee’s strengths they can tailor their jobs and work assignments to capitalize on those strengths. When work teams are formed you can put people together that complement each other, ones with different strengths in order to establish a more productive team.
Top achievers build their lives upon their talents no matter what field they are in. They apply their strengths in roles that best suit them and invents ways to apply their strengths to their tasks.
So how do we work on our strengths? First you need to know what they are. Some times what you find easy and take for granted are actually your strengths. I would recommend that you grab a copy of the book Strengthfinders 2.0, it’s less than $20, but don’t buy used, the assessment code will be also be used. Or you can take the free online assessment (it may not be exactly as the Strengthfinders assessment).
If you’ve either done this assessment yourself or with your company, talk to your leader about your strengths and how you want to work more in those areas. If your job doesn’t consist of any of your strengths, you may consider moving to one that does. If you’re in a job that doesn’t allow you to work in your strengths you’ll probably dread going to work, achieve less on a daily basis, have fewer positive and creative moments and could even treat customers poorly.
Once you know, review your top 3 strengths and top 3 weaknesses daily, and think how you can work on your strengths, and manage your weaknesses. Weekly review the Ideas for Action for each of your strengths and how you can implement any of them throughout the week. Monthly reflect on how you’ve improved your strengths and if you’re still being impacted by any of your weaknesses. There’s also tools available online to help you implement the Strengthfinders concept into your life. The last tip, share your strengths with others so they know what areas you’re great at and instead of asking you to help them do something you’re not good at, ask you to do something that you excel in.
You cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who you already are.
Please share your strengths in the comments..
The Clifton StrengthsFinder® 2.0 Technical Report: Development and Validation
CERTIFIED COACHES DIRECTORY
Using the Myers-Briggs® Instrument with the Gallup StrengthsFinder
Understanding Your Talents & Strengths
Take the Workuno Strengths Test Free (Similar to the Stregthfinders 2.0 assessment)
Strengthfinders books by Tom Rath
Example – Strengthfinders 2.0 Results for David Leingang
Strengths-Based Books from Gallup
Strengths Based Parenting (2016) – http://amzn.to/2a4Gss5
First, Break All the Rules (2016) – http://amzn.to/2azSqJE
Strengths Based Selling (2011) – http://amzn.to/2aitYIJ
Strengths Based Leadership (2009) – http://amzn.to/2alSBb2
StrengthsFinder 2.0 (2007) – http://amzn.to/2aisBJW
StrengthsQuest (2006) – http://amzn.to/2aBwmA4
Teach With Your Strengths (2005) – http://amzn.to/2aBwJe0
How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life (2004) – http://amzn.to/2aiuaHR
How Full Is Your Bucket? Expanded Anniversary Edition (2009) – http://amzn.to/2aBwmQO
Living Your Strengths (2004) – http://amzn.to/2aiyQ0n
Discover Your Sales Strengths (2003) – http://amzn.to/2a9A5zz
Now, Discover Your Strengths (2001) – http://amzn.to/2alYUvp