Do you have an opportunity to use your strengths every day at work? The Gallup Organization interviewed 1.4 million people on 50,000 teams over the course of 10 years and found that teams where people say that they use their strengths, consistently out-perform teams that say that they don’t. The answer to that single question predicts most directly and consistently whether you will be on a high-performing or a low-performing team. Sadly, only 2 out of 10 people feel their strengths are in play at work. This directly impacts productivity, customer service, engagement, retention, and overall team performance.
Finding ways to regularly work in our areas of strength contributes greatly to our overall job happiness and satisfaction. Throughout my career, I’ve been blessed to have jobs where I could work in my areas of strength more than not. However, I was very proactive about helping my executives and team members understand my strengths, and the type of work environment I perform the best in, so they could engage me in ways that benefitted all of us. My personality and strengths profiles were a key component of my professional portfolio that I shared during interview situations. And I would go over my assessments with my executives after I was hired to reinforce these insights. I even purchased the StrengthsFinder 2.0 book for several executives so they could take the assessment and share their results with me. It’s powerful information for both of you as you form and build a strong business partnership.
Two assessments that I love for learning more about your strengths are the StrengthsFinder 2.0 and Standout. StrengthsFinder (also called CliftonStrengths) identifies your top five themes from 34 possible themes. The Standout assessment measures how well you match nine roles and reveals your lead role and secondary role. These top two roles are the focal point of all your talents and skills, and your instinctive way of making a difference in the world.
Once you have this information, it’s important to share it with those you support. Here’s how you can use strengths-based profiles to demonstrate your value at work.
StrengthsFinder 2.0 Assessment Results
My Top 5 Themes
Excerpts from my profile reports:
Activator: People who are especially talented in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.
What makes you standout?
- You rely on facts and reason to support your ideas.
- Driven by your talents, you trust your expertise and knowledge of special topics to guide your decision-making.
- You act quickly when your choices directly relate to your areas of mastery and past success.
- It’s very likely that you inspire enthusiasm in people with your words and deeds.
- You are eager to set directions, make decisions, and assume responsibilities.
- Chances are good that you may be described as a “what you see is what you get” person.
Application in the workplace:
Ideas for Action:
- You can transform innovative ideas into immediate action. Look for creative and original thinkers, and help them move their ideas from conceptual theory to concrete practice.
- Look for areas that are bogged down by discussion or blocked by barriers. End the stalemate by creating a plan to get things moving and spur others into action.
- Seek work in which you can make your own decisions and act on them. In particular, look for start-up or turnaround situations.
- At work, make sure that your manager judges you on measurable outcomes rather than your process. Your process is not always pretty.
Discipline: People who are especially talented in the Discipline theme enjoy routine and structure. Their world is best described by the order they create.
What makes you standout?
- You have a special knack for streamlining repetitious activities.
- You aim to handle every detail, requirement, or deadline efficiently and without any hassles.
- Prior to starting a task, you usually define the rules or procedures that those involved are expected to follow.
- Seeking precision and exactness, you are inclined to review results numerous times to be sure everything is in its correct place.
- Your fascination with details allows you to sequence the steps of processes, procedures, or regulations.
Ideas for Action:
- Increasing efficiency is one of your hallmarks. You are a perfectionist at heart. Discover situations in which time or money is being wasted because of inefficiency, and create systems or procedures to improve efficiency.
- Timelines motivate you. When you have a task to complete, you like to know the deadline so you can plan your schedule accordingly.
- Exactitude is your forté; you enjoy poring over details. Seek opportunities to peruse contracts, important communications, or financial documents for errors. You can save yourself and others from making costly mistakes and looking foolish.
- Others may confuse your Discipline talents with rigidity. Help them understand that your discipline helps you pack more effectiveness into a day – often because you prioritize your time. When working with others who are not as disciplined, ask them to clarify deadlines so you can adjust your workload to accommodate their requests.
Significance: People who are especially talented in the Significance theme want to be very important in the eyes of others. They are independent and want to be recognized.
- You possess an inner drive to attain your high standards of excellence.
- Satisfying work and a passion for accountability fuel your zeal to do things very carefully.
- By nature, you routinely choose the company of people who exhibit a sound work ethic and produce excellent results.
- You probably realize you can influence individuals to think much better of themselves.
- Driven by your talents, you exhibit a deep-seated desire to succeed. You intentionally and unapologetically strive for promotions, fame, or financial gain by showcasing your natural or acquired abilities.
- You often perform special tasks with apparent ease. Instinctively, you persevere in your efforts because you believe diligence is rewarded.
- Reaching your goals spurs you to toil with even greater purpose.
Ideas for Action:
- Leading crucial teams or significant projects brings out your best. Your greatest motivation may come when the stakes are at their highest.
- Choose jobs or positions in which you can determine your own tasks and actions. You will enjoy the exposure that comes with independence.
- Your reputation is important to you, so decide what it should be and tend to it in the smallest detail.
- Share your dreams and goals with your family or closest friends and colleagues. Their expectations will keep you reaching.
- Stay focused on performance. Your Significance talents will drive you to claim outstanding goals.
- You will perform best when your performance is visible. Look for opportunities that put you on center stage. Stay away from roles that hide you behind the scenes.
Individualization: People who are especially talented in the Individualization theme are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. They have a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively.
- Instinctively, you are keenly aware of people’s unique traits. You notice characteristics that distinguish each person from everyone else.
- By nature, you not only buy books or check them out from the library; you also read them. Your investigative mind is restless until you have collected lots of information about factors that produce various outcomes.
- It’s very likely that you frequently work without much rest.
- You typically want to pinpoint useful and intriguing facts. You likely have a need to explain why various events unfolded as they did. This information undoubtedly permits you to produce more and better results.
- Chances are good that you frequently examine the factors leading up to an event. Therein you discover the reasons why things happened the way they did.
Ideas for Action:
- Select a vocation in which your Individualization talents can be both used and appreciated, such as counseling, supervising, teaching, writing human interest articles, or selling. Your ability to see people as unique individuals is a special talent.
- Help others understand that true diversity can be found in the subtle differences between each individual — regardless of race, sex, or nationality.
- Figure out what every person on your team does best. Then help them capitalize on their talents, skills, and knowledge. You may need to explain your rationale and your philosophy so people understand that you have their best interests in mind.
- Make your colleagues and friends aware of each person’s unique needs. Soon people will look to you to explain other people’s motivations and actions.
- Your Individualization talents can help you take a different approach to interpreting data. While others are looking for similarities, make a point of identifying distinctiveness. Your interpretations will add a valuable perspective.
Responsibility: People who are especially talented in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.
- You characteristically are a dependable person.
- You often know the right thing to do in a variety of situations.
- Your methodical thinking and thoughtful nature usually influence your words and deeds.
- Instinctively, you are determined to be victorious. As much as you yearn to be “number one,” you know cheating is unacceptable.
- You probably experience remorse when you unintentionally take unfair advantage of anyone. You likely think finishing first counts only when you have followed all the rules just like everyone else.
- Because of your strengths, you often stand out as notably mature.
- You are reasonable in your thinking.
Ideas for Action:
- Emphasize your sense of responsibility when job hunting. During interviews, describe your desire to be held fully accountable for the success or failure of projects, your intense dislike of unfinished work, and your need to “make it right” if a commitment is not met.
- Tell your manager that you work best when given the freedom to follow through on your commitments — that you don’t need to check in during a project, just at the end. You can be trusted to get it done.
- You naturally take ownership of every project you are involved in. Make sure that your capacity to own does not keep you from sharing responsibility.
- Push yourself to say no. Because you are instinctively responsible, it might sometimes be difficult to refuse opportunities. For this reason, you must be selective. Ask for more responsibility in only the areas that matter most to you.
- Responsible individuals like to know they have “delivered” on their commitments, so create metrics and goals to gauge how effectively you meet your obligations. Also, make sure you have explicit and concrete expectations so that there is no question regarding quality outcomes and so that you can hit the mark as promised.
Standout Assessment Results
The Standout assessment provides detailed descriptions for your lead and secondary roles, and how you can make an immediate impact in the workplace. It’s the combined roles that provide insights into the greatest value you bring to the team, and how you can be successful as a leader, manager, and more.
Here are some excerpts from my Standout assessment:
- Role 1: Teacher: You are thrilled by the potential you see in each person. Your power comes from learning how to unleash it.
- Role 2: Connector: You are a catalyst. Your power lies in your craving to put two things together to make something bigger than it is now.
- Your comparative advantage as Teacher / Connector.
- The greatest value you bring to the team: Your penetrating questions – they deepen your understanding of yourself and the value of your ideas. You have an insatiable curiosity.
- You’re the one who actually loves reading everything that comes across your desk, and you make instant, relevant connections regarding how and whom every idea can serve. Finding the right article, sending it to the right person, knowing that it will help him or her solve a current issue or stimulate the next move: this is you in your element.
- You are the first person people think of when they are looking for the best resources or research on any given subject. A day without investigating or learning something new is like a day without water for you. You need the stimulation to survive, and you’re not fussy about the subject matter. You just need to be able to apply it practically in service of others.
- Your Ideal Career: You are the quintessential career coach.
- How to win as a leader, manager, in client service, in sales:
- You take the time to understand things from team members’ perspectives. You are in touch with people’s everyday experience.
- You are at your best in a crisis. Your team knows they will never be left in a lurch, because you know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone who can get the job done.
- You reward with opportunity. If a team member achieved something important, they can count on you to present them with a special project or mission to augment their skills. This focus on their growth shows them that you really care about their long-term development and ultimately, fulfillment.
- You deal with problems head-on. You are a resourceful person who will be able to nip problems in the bud, or who will know just who to call to help solve it.
- If there is a shortcut or workaround for an issue, you can find it. When you have advice on how someone might use your products or services more effectively or efficiently, you share it. This learning breeds loyalty.
- Potential clients like it when you come around and visit. You’ve always got something going on, some news to share about what your company is doing or what it going on in your industry. Your network offers them access to valuable resources.
Strengths profiles are extremely important in demonstrating the value you bring to your executive, team, and company, and showing what you can offer to a potential employer. Just mentioning strengths to a well-informed interviewer is sometimes enough. But I recommend keeping the profile, along with an extra copy, in your professional portfolio so you can share it in an interview or directly with your executive. And once you have the job, make sure to go over your profiles with your executive so he or she knows how to best utilize your talents. Then as you encounter projects or activities that allow you to work in your areas of strength, draw attention to it by thanking your executive for the opportunity.
When you understand what fuels you to be the best you can be, you’re able to articulate that to others and begin attracting more opportunities that are a perfect fit for your personality, strengths, and expertise. You’ll feel more invigorated at the end of a workday. Your enthusiasm for your work will improve. And you’ll bring even more value to the executives and team members you support!
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures.