Sometimes it’s easy to take our fellow man for granted. Cut them off in traffic or in line, get cranky on the phone with customer service, walk by without eye contact as if we are not co-existing and co-dependent on this small planet. Sometimes, even with people we know, we may treat others as a difficult or annoying obstacle to our productivity or peace of mind, rather than someone who is also just trying their best every day.
Which is why I love StrengthsFinders. I know, I’ve been blathering on for almost two weeks about it now, I promise I’ll stop after today (or maybe not). It’s not a perfect instrument or tool by any means but the benefits of looking at our strengths are just sooo cool!
Looking at someone through their Top 5 strengths makes everyone look amazing! It’s pretty much impossible to look at someone’s Top 5 strengths and not just say, “wow.”
For example, here is the Top 5 of a loved one: Activator, Analytical, Belief, Relator, and Strategic. Loves to get started and get going, uses information and data to understand and relate to the world, has a strong belief system/is principled, loves to form deep relationships and can quickly see the big picture map of how to proceed. Considering the possibilities in general terms (since the combinations express themselves differently in each person), this person uses details and data to understand the world but can use that information to envision and execute the best plan. The plan will be informed by their principles and beliefs. If he applies those principles to his relationships, then he can potentially form strong commitments and relational roles (husband, father, son, friend, co-worker) with those that he cares about. Whew. Impressive. Doesn’t he sound incredible?
Another loved one: Relator, Adaptability, Ideation, Restorative, Empathy. Equally cool. Loosely speaking, this person loves to form deep relationships with people, is flexible and can adapt quickly to changing circumstances, is creative and loves novelty, a problem-identifier and –solver, and is empathic. Think about the possibilities of someone who is a creative and flexible problem-solver. This skill for personal and professional life seem endlessly useful. Maybe he’d be an excellent disaster manager, principal, or special event planner. Consider the empathic ability to sense others’ emotions along with the desire to build close relationships – this person may love to solve problems of his loved ones and/or enjoy working in close-knit teams. He may also bring creativity to the relationships themselves. How much fun will he be to hang with? How awesome is he?
The thing that has been interesting about these profiles is that both share two of my Top 5 strengths. Since there are 34 strengths, this is statistically unlikely to happen by chance. Yet sometimes we tend to focus on the differences in our strengths, which can become a barrier to mutual understanding and cooperation. Instead, we can focus on our commonality (really! Two out of five!) or appreciate how our strengths compliment each other. We have skills that, together, provide diversity and a wider range of options – if we work together and don’t let them get in our way.
See what I mean? Everyone looks amazing when using the strengths lens. When considering my own strengths, I feel proud and powerful. It’s impossible not to appear as the amazing humans that we are. Now you understand why I’m raving about strengths. OK, I’ll stop now.