CliftonStrengths® and Work: Do More of What You Are Designed to Do

Is your job unfulfilling? Do you like the product but not the process? Whether or not you join the “Great Resignation,” make sure you understand your design and start strengthening it. As you can guess, I think that CliftonStrengths is the most practical and applicable assessment a person can take. In my previous blog post, I suggested some simple tools to get you to dig deeper into your talents and how they show up. In this post, I will give you some ideas to help you to grow and use your talents at work.

If the person you report to is worth their salt, they know that the best leaders appreciate the power of dialogue. Start a dialogue with your supervisor with the intent of “leading up” and helping your supervisor lead you more effectively.

How to go from this:

STEP 1: Be prepared. For each of your top five CliftonStrengths think of a word or two that describe that talent in you. For instance, if Competition® is in your top five you might use one of these words: Winner, Champion, Team Player, Captain. Be sure to use a neutral or positive word as your descriptor. After you do this for each of your top 5 talents mash them together in a sentence that describes those talents in you. As a bonus, that may even become your mission statement! It is certainly a clear design statement.

Here are my top five: Input®, Connectedness®, Ideation®, Communication®, Strategic®

My five words: Collect, Collate, Create, Connect (with people), and Conquer. Yeah, alliteration, I know…

That’s what I do. I collect information, LOTS of information, put it into categories and collections, dream up ways to apply the information in various scenarios to solve problems or enhance things, and connect that information with people who want or need it.

You are now prepared to lead up so your supervisor can lead you more effectively.

STEP 2: Know which tasks align closely with your design and which tasks take you “off-road.” 

STEP 3: Know the values and goals of your team and company. This is very valuable information as it helps you to know the types of things that are important to your supervisor and other supervisors. Make sure those things are also important to you.

*If possible have verifiable statistics about the amount of time it takes to do tasks that are in line with your design and not in line with your design. Keep a log of how you spend your work time and the areas where you are most effective.

Step 4: Gather your documentation and get ready for great dialogue with your supervisor about how to make the team more effective and productive. Seriously, when you are working aligned to your design you are more productive, healthier, and happier. All of those things add up to less money wasted and more money earned for everybody. More importantly, they lead to a higher quality of life. Remember, it would be silly and wasteful to take a Ferrari off-road. Don’t do that to yourself, or let others do that to you. At least not regularly.

To this:

Hopefully, your supervisor has weekly or bi-weekly one-on-one meetings with you. If not, request a meeting. During the meeting, share what you have learned about your design and how you can be the most effective. 

When I was asked to be the recruiting director where I worked I had a candid dialogue with my supervisor. I was already doing three jobs so my first question was about priorities. I asked him to clarify how he wanted me to prioritize my workload. I also agreed to keep him informed about my deadlines and whether or not they would be met. Most importantly, I was honest with myself and him about things I don’t do well. I can’t do budgets. Seriously. I got A’s in calculus but spreadsheets do me in. If pressed, I could make my way through it. All other work would grind to a halt. The results would not be great. I would be exhausted and demoralized at the end of the day. Over time, job satisfaction and mental health begin to suffer and a nasty negative domino effect would be in play.

Rather than be a hero, suck it up, or just too arrogant to admit I couldn’t do it I was honest and said, “If I have to do the budget, I will do the budget. I know that is important. That said, it will not go well and all of my other work will suffer greatly. I want the budget to get done and I wonder who else on the team might be better suited to handle that part of the job.”

It was a huge win. My supervisor appreciated my honesty and humility. I communicated that I know it is an important job, I am willing to do it because I am a team player and committed to the team and corporate goals. I just want him to know that for me, budgets are “off-road” activities.

If you want to be successful; if you want to make a meaningful and productive contribution at work; before you join the great resignation know and understand your design through the lens of CliftonStrengths. If you really want to understand your talents at a profound level, I strongly encourage you to investigate CoreClarity®, or as I like to say, “CliftonStrengths on steroids.” CoreClarity really is that good.

Follow the four steps up above. If you want to go deeper, set up a complimentary 30-minute coaching call with me. I’m starting new strengths-based coaching groups every month.

“CliftonStrengths” and the 34 CliftonStrengths theme names are registered trademarks of Gallup, Inc. The graphic elements are copyright © CoreClarity, Inc.

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