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My client leaders often ask me, “How do I harness the many different strengths of the people on my team?” The best way to answer that question is to give you an example of a team of medical professionals I recently trained who’s collective top 5 Strengths are  Achiever®, Learner®, Responsibility®, Relator®, and Restorative®. This combination of talent themes comes from three Domains of Leadership – Executing, Relationship Building and Strategic Thinking

Signature Talent Theme Leadership Domain Description
Achiever® Executing Driven, diligent, intense, self-motivated, productive, ambitious, independent
Learner® Strategic Thinking Curious, interested, inquisitive, open-minded, studious, passionate, competent
Responsibility® Executing Diligent, conscientious, judgmental, loyal, driven, dutiful, dependable, serious, self-sacrificing, committed, responsive, independent
Relator® Relationship Building Friendly, caring, authentic, genuine, intimate, transparent, truthful, revealing
Restorative® Executing Problem-oriented, driven, investigative, weakness-oriented, responsive, unintimidated, insightful

Achiever®, Responsibility®, and Restorative® are Executing themes and indicate that the team brings a strong ability to manage a sizable caseload, takes ownership and accountability for doing what’s expected and effectively fixes what’s broken. The Strategic Thinking theme – Learner® – indicates that quite a few team members are motivated by the continuous improvement that comes from life-long learning and on-going professional and personal development. Competency and mastery are driving forces. The Relationship Building theme – Relator® – reflects the social depth that exists in the department. There’s a high value placed on authentic, honest relationships to help build deep trusted connections.

As important as it is to know the value that each of these 5 Signature Strengths bring, it’s equally important to know what to watch out for if they become unproductive. 

It’s easy to recognize Achiever® when it’s unproductive.  You might see someone who is overwhelmed, burning the candle at both ends, and frustrated when others aren’t working at their pace or level of intensity.  When you see this, start by appreciating what a hard worker they are then encourage them to take a break and delegate work to others where possible. 

Learner® becomes unproductive when knowledge or expertise isn’t shared or used to develop others. When you see this, create opportunities for the Learner to teach what they know so the whole team can improve. 

When Responsibility® becomes unproductive there’s a tendency to over-commit and feel irritated that others don’t have the same level of ownership or accountability. Remind those who have Responsibility as a Signature Strength to always check their schedule before taking on a new request. Responding with “not now” rather than “no” may be easier for those who lead with Responsibility. Responsibility partners well with Discipline or Focus for help to not become overloaded. 

An unproductive tendency for Relator® may be to avoid investing time and energy into new employees, or those outside of their existing professional circle.  No one likes feeling like an outsider. Be intentional about integrating new team members and associates into the department. Those who lead with Woo®, Communication® or Includer® may make a good partner for Relator®.

Finally, when Restorative® becomes unproductive there may be a tendency to myopically focus on what’s broken and feel the need to try to fix everything. Remind those who lead with Restorative® that they’re on a team and can partner with and depend on others. A few helpful questions to ask might be, What’s the best way to fix this?” “Is this a top priority?” “Who else can help?” 

Combining any of these talent themes, when they are expressed productively, will help create better outcomes.  Look for ways to apply the power and edge inherent in all the strengths on your team and watch how performance on all levels improves.

Copyright © 2023 Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved. Gallup® and CliftonStrengths® are trademarks of Gallup, Inc.

Sara Harvey

Founder & President, innertelligence

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