CliftonStrengths in Times of Change
Leveraging CliftonStrengths during Pandemic Challenges
It goes without saying that 2020 has been a rough year for the vast majority of people all around the world and while we have hope for a better 2021, it hasn’t been without its challenges so far. For me, last year and the start of 2021 have been a strange time of uncertainty, anxiety for my family, both from a health and a financial perspective, fear of the unknown, significant change in our organization and what a global pandemic that forced everyone apart would mean for an organization that is built on collaboration and working with people.
I was thinking about how people can leverage their strengths in times of uncertainty or transition. Our strengths are the innate traits that make us who we are, inform how we react to situations and how we navigate through our work. We all respond to situations differently, but we can all respond to them in the best way possible if we intentionally use our strengths to do so. I see these as the tools in a toolbox. The contents of my toolbox are unique to me, and they will serve me in the way that is best for me.
My top 5 strengths are Responsibility, Learner, Relator, Developer and Individualization. I lead with relationship-building strengths with some executing and strategic thinking strengths thrown in for good measure. When I look at the combination of my strengths, my Responsibility strength rules and directs all of my relationship-building strengths. It plays into everything I do, how I feel and how I respond to situations. I am literally always considering other people, what they need and how they’re feeling. I feel an intense responsibility to everyone. Sometimes that’s good and sometimes it’s not so great. But as I look at my strengths, I recognize that I hold a lot of power within myself to manage my way through times of uncertainty and transition.
So, how can I use my strengths to manage through times of uncertainty? I can do this by analyzing the issue that I’m struggling with and choose one specific strength or a combination of strengths to help me intentionally think about how to work through the issue. For example, instead of getting caught up in the worry and anxiety of everything happening today, I will lean on my Responsibility, Futuristic and Belief strengths to help me focus on the region, the work that needs to be done and the hope I feel when I stand back and look at the future ahead of us.
Another example would be that I’m getting burned out on virtual meetings. I think we all are. I’d rather see people in person again but the reality is, we need to wait until it’s safe to do that. So, instead of worrying about leading another virtual meeting and how other people might feel about attending that virtual meeting, I should lean upon my Relator and Individualization strengths and use these amazing connection platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to continue to build relationships.
If you look at my entire strengths profile, you’d see that all of my influencing strengths are at the bottom. This doesn’t bother me. I know that this provides me the opportunity to work with people who have dominant influencing strengths. So, it stands to reason that if I’m struggling to communicate an important topic or advocate for something that needs an influential voice while we’re in this temporary virtual reality, I need to partner with someone who can help with that. Someone who has high Communication, Woo or Command strengths. Let’s be real though. I need that partnership whether I’m working in a virtual space or in normal conditions. And that’s just fine.
And finally, I think we’d all agree that we need to allow ourselves the time to take an intentional break to refuel and focus on self-care.
How are you doing? What are you doing to deal with these uncertain times? If you’re struggling, consider your strengths and how you can intentionally use them to manage through change and make the most of this historic time we’re living in.