What Are Your Strengths
April 11, 2018
I’m teaching a career exploration class to freshman this term, and I have asked them to read Discover your Clifton Strengths and take the StrengthsFinder 2.0 Assessment. One of the basic tenets of the book, and the assessment, is that we spend far more time trying to develop our weakest skills while passing up on opportunities to further develop our strengths.
This concept resonates with me because there is significant truth in it. While I am an advocate for growth and turning weaknesses into strengths, I have not spent nearly as much time advocating for continuing to nurture and grow our strengths. It is not as if they will wither and die, but spending time enhancing them is also a necessary aspect of our growth process.
I think we all have some idea where our strengths lie, but at the same time, I would also bet that most of us don’t have an in-depth working knowledge of our strengths. After taking the assessment, I was surprised to find being a people person – or using the Clifton common language: Harmony and Empathetic did not top my list. Instead, Strategic, Communication, Input, Activator, and Maximizer topped my list. In digging in deeper, those strengths make sense to me, but I would not have communicated my strengths in those terms a week ago.
So, what do I do with this knowledge? I will Maximize on them (pun intended) and look at what I do each day in and out of the classroom to boost these skills even more. For example, Communication was one of my strengths, and I spend a great deal of time creating written content, talking in meeting, talking with prospective students, current students, etc. and I am good at it, but I also know that I could be even better, so I will focus on enhancing my communication skills. To be more specific, I want to be a better listener. I can practice more active listening to better engage with my different constituencies.
If you purchase the book, the assessment is free and you will receive your top five strengths in a short report. You can pay additional money to rank all of the strengths in order. I did this as well because I was curious how far down my believed strengths fell on the list. There is also coaching available if you are interested. I am not promoting anything other than the book and the included free assessment. It is valuable and it may very offer you a path to greater success if you are willing to shift some of your preconceived notions about yourself.
Anne Converse Willkomm
Assistant Clinical Professor
Department Head of Graduate Studies