Embracing Strengths

Dr. Donald Clifton, the founder of CliftonStrengths®, asked the question, “What would happen if we studied what is right with people versus what is wrong with people? The CliftonStrengths movement is all about focusing on what we do well, while minimizing our weaknesses.”

CliftonStrengths is an assessment that can be taken (over 19 million people have) to identify your Top 5 Strengths (you can also unlock all 34 of your strength themes). You can then take a deeper dive into your strengths, see where they play out in your life, both professionally and personally. What you will most likely find is that areas where you excel can in some way be tied back to one of your Top 5 strengths.

For example, Relator is my #1 strength. The definition of Relator is, “People who are especially talented in the Relator theme enjoy close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.” Relationships, deep and meaningful, have always been an important part of my life, in general. In my work as an Organization Development Consultant, it is all about developing relationships. This is one of the most rewarding aspects of my work and it is something I enjoy very much.

Another strength, called Woo (winning others over), is defined as, “People who are especially talented in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person.” This is not a strength of mine. Walking into a room of people I do not know is very difficult for me. WOO is #30 out of #34 for me. In those situations, I leverage my Relator and try and meet 1 or 2 people, rather than “work the room” and talk with everyone.

A group of leaders in Hardin County are currently going through an eight-session community leadership development program. This is for adults who aspire to or find themselves in elected, appointed or volunteer leadership roles in their communities. One of the key objectives is to offer educational experiences which will allow participants to explore who they are and how they are uniquely gifted for the work of leading.

For the last two years, Hardin Leadership has included a CliftonStrengths session from the Alber Enterprise Center. According to Kathy Oliver, Chairperson for Hardin Leadership, “Strengths is a perfect fit in the Hardin Leadership curriculum. We offer this session as the third one, just as the participants have become comfortable with the others in the program. They are ready to explore openly. I think these selected comments reveal the value the participants received from the session:

**I found the different strengths very interesting. This helps understand the different thought processes that people have.

**I can’t think of other people’s strengths as weakness just because they don’t align with my strengths.

**How to use my strengths to my advantage and to the team I’m building.

**Knowing others’ strengths can help you work together in a work environment.

**Thank you for the validation!”

There are so many ways to embrace your strengths. According to Gallup, “The highest level of performance comes from those who focus on strengths while managing weakness.” What you will find by taking this assessment is insight and understanding in a way that you most likely have not experienced before. Or, another way to put, you might have a light bulb moment!

 Take the opportunity to get to know yourself in a whole new way. You won’t regret it.

by Anne Johnson, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach

Anne’s Top 5 strengths are: Relator | Responsibility | Arranger | Learner| Belief

To take the assessment, go to: https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com

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