Strengths Finder is a great assessment tool for your personal growth and development, but it is important that you know how to use it. When they developed this tool and assessment, they wanted to focus on what was right with people and so they looked at people’s talent or raw potential and created language around 34 talent themes.
It is important to recognize that this is not an aptitude test like one you might have taken in high school. Strengths Finder will not tell you what your college major should be or what career path to pursue. It will help you see and identify areas where you have a natural talent or raw potential. These are most likely areas where you do something effortlessly. Your strengths are energy giving instead of energy draining and the more we arrange our work environments, responsibilities and relationships around those strengths, the more energetic and fulfilled we will be.
So how do I use this tool and assessment for growth?
First, this tool can give you a general sense of who you are…are you more relational or task oriented? Are you a detailed strategic thinker or more of a big picture person? Are you a problem solver or do you prefer maximizing something that is already successful? Understanding where your top strengths lie can help you narrow in on work environments and even roles that will be more energy giving or fulfilling.
Second, this tool can put words to some needs you have as a unique individual…do you require time to process internally before you communicate externally? Do you need a supportive team environment to achieve your best work? Do you perform better with a detailed list of tasks or do you need to know where you stand on the sales chart in order to bring your best? Using the language of Strengths Finder can help to articulate needs you have both in the workplace and in other relationships.
Finally, this tool can help create a plan for dealing with your weaknesses. The goal here is not to make our weaknesses a strength, but to use the power of our strength to leverage strategies that help bolster us in our weaknesses. Let me give a brief personal example. My top theme is Relator and Relators love going deep in just a few relationships, so large gatherings where I have to be social and connect with lots of new people can be very energy draining for me. Many of the jobs I have had required me to participate and lead sessions at retreats where I often only knew about 20% of the attendees. I would turn on my WOO for the weekend, but I knew this would be draining for me. To combat that, I always arranged to drive to and from the retreats either alone or with just one or two very close friends. This was my strategy to fill up my Relator tank on the drive because I knew the retreat itself would drain every last drop. Since I know this about myself, I could create a plan instead of spending the week after a retreat exhausted without really understanding why. This is why these personality assessments are helpful for our personal growth and development…they help us to know ourselves better, understand why we work, think or behave the way we do and then position ourselves for intentional growth and development.