Clifton StrengthsFinder: Strengths in the Workplace

By: Amy Hesting on September 20th, 2016

This is the second in a three part blog series about Gallup’s Clifton StrengthsFinder. Today’s blog focuses on how three business professionals use strengths in the workplace.

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood”

Alan Tio, Senior Vice President, Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership

Top 5 Strengths: Ideation, Strategic, Intellection, Deliberative, Focus

I am encouraged to use my strengths on a regular basis in my position at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. Our organization is seen as a trusted advisor to help our partners solve their problems. So much of what we do is about connecting individuals and companies in new, creative ways. My Ideation, Deliberative, Strategic and Restorative (#8) lend themselves to this work because I like to look for new and different ways to get things done. My Strategic allows me to look for connections that others might not easily recognize. I like a challenge and am not intimidated when confronted with a problem that needs addressed, whether internal to our organization or when assisting our regional partners with situations they’re facing. I was watching a Gallup Theme Thursday recently on one of my dominant strengths and the guest speaker said people like me are “thinkers, do-ers and solid follow through-ers.” I like to think that’s how I operate in the workplace.

When working with my coworkers or with our regional partners it is very important that they understand my Ideation and that I clearly communicate how my Ideation functions… I always have a million ideas. They might not be the best ideas and they’re not necessarily ideas that I expect anyone to actually implement. It’s important that when someone with Ideation is in a leadership role, they clearly communicate when they’re “ideating” and when they’re assigning a specific task to someone. Being explicit about that is a work in progress for me. It’s something I’ve become very aware of and am constantly working to be better at communicating. 

Awareness of my own strengths has helped me find value in recognizing the strengths of my teammates and how I can best work with them. I try to understand how my coworkers approach their work and learn how we can collaborate together to best complement each other’s talents. Working in an organization that encourages coworkers to use and talk about their strengths has helped me follow the saying, “seek first to understand, then to be understood” in all aspects of my work.

“The perfect strengths combination for my work”

Jessica Miller, Public Relations Manager, Parkview Health

Top 5: Woo, Achiever, Positivity, Futuristic, Communication

I have, what I like to think, is a perfect strengths combination for my work in public relations. I am constantly using all five of my top strengths, and until I took the StrengthsFinder assessment, I would have just thought myself to be another chatty marketing go-getter. While this still may be true, my strengths tell me a lot about how I interact with other people, how I tackle new tasks and how I make decisions strategically, based on what I envision happening in the future. I am often collaborating with my co-workers, the media, and other organizations as a PR professional. My Woo has undoubtedly helped me build and maintain relationships with all those groups, while my Achiever has shown them that I get things done.

I think people are most drawn to my Positivity, for two reasons: 

  1. No one likes a Negative Nancy
  2. A natural ability to look on the bright side and offer constructive solutions is an asset people like having on their team. 

My Futuristic strength sometimes feels like a superpower, giving me the ability to imagine how my decisions will impact me and those around me tomorrow, next year or even 10 years from now. I also think this one goes hand-in-hand with Achiever, because we all set goals at work. I have goals - big and small - and Futuristic helps me set them, while Achiever helps me accomplish them. Communication seems like the most important strength in my lineup. Communication is the key to any successful relationship - whether at work or at home - and this strength has helped me the most in the workplace. I constantly strive to make my words and my intentions clear with others and seek their feedback so that we're both on the same page. When it comes to working with the media, Communication is obviously crucial. Not only am I communicating to understand their story and their needs but I'm helping them find the best way to communicate their story to others. Having a clear understanding of my strengths has been incredibly rewarding at work and I'm confident that my strengths will continue to grow and develop as I take on new challenges in my career. 

“Using strengths in a new position”

Lauren Zuber, Air Service & Marketing Manager, Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority

Top 5 Strengths: Activator, Communication, Maximizer, Strategic, Positivity

I am a relatively new employee at the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority and am learning a lot about aviation, an industry that I didn’t have professional experience in prior to working here. Starting a new job is stressful but my Positivity, Futuristic (#6), Strategic and Activator helped me jump into the work with a positive attitude, see what needs to be done and get things moving. The air service work I do directly impacts the health of my organization and the community as a whole so having a positive attitude to help navigate the stress is critical. I am the external communication point for the organization and my Communication makes it easy for me to take in the activity at FWA and distill it into what should be pushed out to the community. I’m very fortunate that my predecessor laid a very strong foundation for me to build upon when I started my new job, and I am using my Maximizer and Strategic to continue the work that was done in the past and to build on it.

Fort Wayne International Airport has a good track record for air service, including our recent addition of service to New York City via Newark Liberty International Airport, and having strengths that take something that’s already good and pushing it to something great enables me to carry on that legacy. This type of challenge is very interesting to me. My natural affinity for Maximizer makes this work exciting and rewarding. As I continue to learn more about air service and my role in my organization, it’s critical that I use my strengths to help me be successful in what I intend to be a long career in aviation. 

As the three professionals mentioned above, one of the most valuable aspects of StrengthsFinder is not only understanding yourself and how you naturally function but appreciating the unique talents of the people around you. StrengthsFinder allows you to be yourself and be celebrated for who you already are, not criticized for who you aren’t. It helps us recognize that when someone we work with acts in a way that may be different from how we would approach something, it’s not necessarily wrong, it’s just different. 

Are you interested in learning about your own unique strengths and those of your co-workers? Visit the Gallup Strengths Center to take your assessment and get started on your journey!