Well, my friend and business partner @coreybowers came to the rescue and quickly located the definitions I was seeking. While still protected by copyright, I can now link off to each one in a publicly accessible way to provide that context to discussion that makes blog posts like this more relevant and valuable. I urge you to click-through and read the explanations for each term to help my own opinion and thought on the strengths become a bit more clear to you. Before I continue, I will say that I believe Gallup has some confused business strategies, or at best is not enabling the sharing of contextual information like it could from their strengths finder site and is hindering their business more than helping it. Sharing is caring, folks… make it easy to share and your content will spread. Make it difficult and only people like me who are bound and determined to share will find a (legal and ethical) way, the rest just won’t bother.
Without further ado, here are my previously identified strengths with definitions and context behind the links, and further discussion from my own perspective in the bullets below:
- Relator: It is no surprise to me that this was the strength in the first slot. Interpersonal relationship have always been deeply critical for me and a source of nearly all of my success in business and in life. Because of this strength I am often asked my opinion, though I admittedly share it even before I can be asked in many situations. What really spoke to me, however, was the reliance on character and personality than status or job title, a trait I’ve carried with me long before I ever entered the corporate world, and one which while seen as a strength here has also likely cause me problems in advancement, or at least what others may see as problems. Sometimes labeled insubordination, I prefer to think of it as engaged discussion and collaboration between people who hold differing opinion. Still, one of my driving traits is the need and desire to help others succeed in their own goals, which is also one of the key points of this strength.
- Intellection: I’d be hard pressed to consider myself an intellectual, but this particular strength really calls out one of those traits in my personality that can be often misunderstood: my desire to think. Often that manifests in debate as I work to learn by talking through what I believe to be correct, and expect others to show me better ideas by supporting arguments with fact and information. As a Myers-Briggs INTJ/ENTJ, this strength also manifests during my introspective moments needed to either discover my own ideas or recharge from my more extroverted moments. While the thought process is indeed energizing at times, the constant din of thought does feel to me like constant audible conversation may feel to others. I also try to surround myself with people, friends, whom I consider smarter than I am, which also can manifest in misunderstood personality traits of others perceiving me to be haughtier than I am. Specifically I believe if I have figured out something, then surely everyone else has as well since I only surround myself with people who are smarter than I; an obvious flaw in an otherwise pleasing strength.
- Empathy: This is likely the one strength I may not totally agree with. I don’t think I have a talent for sensing other people’s feelings. Often I feel quite the opposite that I have no idea of what others are feeling or thinking. I do, however, think I have a good sense of being able to place myself in a consumer’s role and help see flaws in design or user experiences where others may not have thought about use cases I can see. Given the questions in the assessment, I think my business focus here skewed this result a bit towards more of a social personality trait than I actually exhibit, though I do agree that I can often hear the unasked questions and anticipate some level of need. The downside here is my inclination to not remain silent when at times I should.
- Command: The empathy strength noted I should partner with someone who has a strong command theme. I guess that means me 😉 The first line of this should sound very familiar to my friends, in that they all know I have little compunction with imposing my view on others. I never thought that would be seen as a strength! To me, this plays directly into my preference for open, honest, and transparent communication. And sometimes that does come off as intimidating, or so I’ve heard whisper of. Truly not my intent, but a side effect of combining a mild take-charge attitude with my inclination to use debate as a learning tool from my intellection strength. While I reel at the idea of being intimidating, holding back is even more damaging to me as I work to drive what I believe to be right.
- Deliberative: With empathy being the strength I doubt the most, Deliberative is the one I agree with the most. This one manifests itself as ‘negativity’ or being a ‘detractor’, when in reality it is just my strength at pointing out risks and mitigating factors that I don’t believe had been thought of. I can only smile in agreement when it is pointed out that this strength has me saying what I believe is correct regardless of potential impact upon my own reputation, all too true. In fact, it is the one instance where I likely don’t take the deliberative view and protect myself, but rather push forward for the right thing regardless of the risk to myself. And yes, I rarely dole out praise or recognition; another trait which has likely caused me issue professionally, but one I am aware of and have made deliberate strives towards changing.
The Gallup Strengths Finder is $9.99 to take the assessment and unlock your top 5 strengths like I’ve shown above. With that you gain access to 3 reports containing similar but different information and organized for differing purposes such as action planning and full descriptions of each theme. You also gain access to their action planning tool and certificate generator. For an additional $89.00 you can unlock all 34 strengths and relative ranking which not only shows your top strengths, but your bottom strengths as well. From discussing the full report with others who have accessed theirs, it seems that the access to those bottom strengths can be just as beneficial and helpful as identifying your top 5. Personally, I’m not sold on the benefit to cost ratio of the full 34 report, but feel that the top 5 for only ten dollars was an expense well worth the professional improvement it could provide. If you opt to invest in yourself and open the top five report, I’d love to compare/contrast our results and learn more about each other.