Business World Rising
A Deb Boelkes Company Since 2009
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Herspectives

What are your strengths?

June 2019

Do you know what your natural talents are – those nuances that make you unique? As a leader, do you consider yourself to be a natural achiever?

StrengthsFinder 2.0, from Gallup and Tom Rath, is Amazon’s best-selling nonfiction book ever. Its online assessment has been used by millions of people to tap into their talents. This assessment identifies a person’s unique sequence of 34 themes (classifications) of talent and shows people how to succeed by developing them into, what Gallup has rebranded to, CliftonStrengths. According to author, Tom Rath, core personality traits and talents remain relatively stable throughout adulthood.

Gallup Consulting has been a proud sponsor of Business World Rising’s Leadership Vistas Symposiums as well as our (former) Leadership Vistas educational peer-mentoring program for high potential and high achieving leaders at various steps on the leadership career ladder.  

Business World Rising believes a strong sense of self-awareness is important for all leaders. Therefore, as an integral part of our Leadership Vistas peer-mentoring program, each member participated in Gallup’s StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment to discover their CliftonStrengths.

In reviewing each one of our members’ CliftonStrengths “Personalized Strengths Insights” reports, I found it interesting, but not surprising, that over 80% of our Leadership Vistas members, regardless of whether they were in a professional role or any management-level position, had “Achiever” as a top talent theme. 

People with “Achiever” as one of their top five talent themes, which includes me, are described as people who have a constant need for achievement.  If you are one of those people with a strong “Achiever” theme, “You have an internal fire burning inside you. It pushes you to do more, to achieve more…. Your relentless need for achievement … brings you the energy you need to work long hours without burning out….It is the power supply that causes you to set the pace and define the levels of productivity for your workgroup.”  

Gallup tells us managers who focus on each individual team member’s unique strengths drive more engagement. For example, if you are leading anyone with a strong “Achiever” theme, for them, being “number one” or named the best usually motivates them to do even more and better work.

Understanding the strengths of every one on your team can give you, as the leader, a real leg up in understanding how best to uniquely motivate and inspire each individual to be at their best. That’s precisely what heartfelt leaders do and it’s how WOW factor workplaces become just that.

Of course, there are a variety of other assessments on the market that can help people understand their personal traits, tendencies and preferences. One other well-known example is the Myers – Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), an introspective self-report questionnaire designed to indicate differing psychological preferences in how people perceive the world around them and make decisions.       

According to Isabel Briggs Myers, who co-created the MBTI personality inventory many decades ago with her mother, Katrina Cook Briggs, “The understanding of type can make your perceptions clearer, your judgements sounder, and your life closer to your heart’s desire.”

Myers-Briggs defines personality archetypes based on the following main factors: Introversion/Extroversion, Intuition/Sensing, Feeling/Thinking, and Judging/Perceiving.

With this assessment, people are categorized into a “type” based on which of the four traits they practice. For example, I am categorized as an ENTJ, which indicates “Extroversion / Intuition / Thinking / Judging”. In brief, ENTJs are talkative, high energy, and thrive around people. They seek action and tend to involve themselves in events. They prefer not to spend too much time alone. Yep, that’s me, in a nutshell.  

Discovering the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator for each individual member of your team can help you better understand why each one acts and speaks in a certain way. In turn, it can enable you to relate and communicate more effectively with each one and become more inspiring to each individual.

One of my favorite stories about the MBTI assessment came out of my interviewing heartfelt leader, Colleen Barrett, President Emeritus of Southwest Airlines, during my research for The WOW Factor Workplace and Heartfelt Leadership. While chatting in Colleen’s office, she shared this with me about the time she and Southwest Airlines’ co-founder and former CEO, Herb Kelleher, took the MBTI assessment:

“We took the Myers-Briggs test, I don’t know, twenty-five years ago. We took it with our whole department at the time, maybe about twenty or twenty-five people. The lady who administered it said, ‘I’ve been doing this all over the United States. I have never seen two people work as close together and who have rated as far apart as you two have on the last letter. You are 2,006 percentage points apart. I don’t know how you haven’t killed one another.’

“I said, ‘Well, we shared the first three letters.’ I don’t even remember what they are, but I remember the last one. It’s Judgment versus Feeling, and that’s the one we were so far apart on. Everything else we shared. I laughed and said, ‘Well, that’s why we do get along so well.’ I know what my weaknesses are. I try not to show them very often. I think Herb knows what his are, too, and he tries not to show them. So, we kind of shore each other up.”

Yet another example of what heartfelt leaders do and how WOW factor workplaces become just that.

Give one of these assessments a try. You might be amazed, when you learn the results, to see what can happen for you as a leader.

Deb Boelkes