Thursday, November 12, 2009

Strengths Finder

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Today at work we did a team offsite.  To prepare for this offsite, I was invited to buy a book entitled Strengths Finder.  It is a book written by researchers at Gallup that looks to define your strengths so that you work on getting better at what you are good at. This idea is to leverage what you are already good at so that you can become even better at that, and not waste (as much) energy on trying to be something you are not. I could study all my life and I would never have a knack for obscure maths and chemistry. It just isn't my thing, so there is no reason to try to make myself do that. Instead, I can focus on what I am good at, and that is what is important and can make me a stronger candidate in the workplace.  The assessment took 30 minutes and when I clicked the final continue button, it came up with results that were so dead-on it was scary.

Mine were as follows (in order of strength):

Woo
Instinctively, you are genuinely fond of your teammates. You can see the good in them more readily than most people can. This explains why individuals like having you in their groups. Driven by your talents, you engage life with gusto. Bursting with creativity, you approach assignments, tasks, projects, opportunities, or problems. You like to take the innovative path rather than follow the traditional and tried-and-true ways of doing things. By nature, you typically infuse energy into members of your team. You are apt to enjoy life more than many people do. Why? You choose to concentrate on what is good rather than on what is bad. It’s very likely that you may be known for your ease with language.
Communication
By nature, you very much enjoy the animated give-and-take of a lively discussion. You might choose to be forthright and plainspoken. This partially explains why various people seek your company and want to work with you. Perhaps your words and examples move them to action. Driven by your talents, you really like to be part of a team. Groups are apt to provide you with ample opportunities to voice your ideas or express your feelings. Because of your strengths, you derive much personal pleasure from reading. Because you continually fill your mind with fresh ideas, you probably can enliven formal discussions or season casual conversations with many interesting facts or stories.
Positivity
Because of your strengths, you can help others easily fit into groups. You quickly establish good relationships with just about everyone you encounter. How? You spontaneously notice people’s good qualities. When others hear your favorable comments about an individual, they are much more likely to make the person feel welcome. Driven by your talents, you may be emotionally attuned to what is going on in your own or others’ lives. Perhaps you concentrate on what is good. Sometimes you search for the best in people, experiences, assignments, or situations. Maybe you strive to fill certain individuals with joy. Occasionally you find ways to unburden them of their anxieties, frustrations, sadness, disappointments, fears, or anger. It’s very likely that you easily stir people’s enthusiasm with your cheerful exuberance for life. You have a gift for sharing your complete joy with others. Instinctively, you may feel better about life when you can train, instruct, or tutor an individual or a group. In the past, you might have said to yourself, “I’m a fine educator.” Chances are good that you might feel satisfied with life when your innovative thinking style is appreciated. You might pinpoint trends, notice problems, or identify opportunities some people overlook. Armed with this knowledge, you may devise alternative courses of action.
Includer
Driven by your talents, you likely are described by people as someone who makes a meaningful contribution to the group. You produce your finest results when you can work shoulder to shoulder with teammates. Having to labor all alone for hours, days, weeks, or even months can actually cause you to be less productive. By nature, you may exhibit tender feelings for all sorts of people. The affection you feel for certain individuals may prompt you to draw them into conversations or group activities. Perhaps your kind words or good deeds help you appreciate life a bit more than some do. Because of your strengths, you might strive to find something of value in each person you meet. Sometimes you feel affection for certain individuals whom others label unlikeable, annoying, or disagreeable. Chances are good that you regularly surround yourself with people. You are energized by what you learn about each
one.
Developer
By nature, you might introduce selected people to technical or specialized fields by instructing them in the language used by experts. Perhaps you help people add intricate, elaborate, or hard-to-understand words to their vocabularies. Once trainees have mastered key terms and phrases, they may be prepared to study the subject in depth. As you share your knowledge with others, sometimes you gain insights and make discoveries. This is one aspect of training you might enjoy. Instinctively, you have quick and ready insights into who is and is not fond of you. Being held in high regard by devoted coworkers, teammates, classmates, friends, or family members makes you feel very good about yourself. It’s very likely that you affirm others for who they are. You celebrate their unique gifts. Your encouraging words inspire and embolden people to be their real and true selves. Chances are good that you have a knack for talking to others. You know how to engage people in discussions. You encourage them to share their stories, ideas, and feelings. You have much to contribute to the dialogue. You look for opportunities to express yourself as often as possible. You routinely acknowledge and affirm each person’s comments.
So that is me in a nutshell. I highly suggest the book to anyone who is looking to become better at what they already are. I'm excited by the idea of it, and I think it is going to make me a better communicator, teammate, and person. Exciting!

Note: All of these descriptions are credited to Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath.

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