I’m working my way through the list of Clifton strengths alphabetically, a few strengths at a time. That way I can thoroughly process them before I move on to the next group (like the HSP introvert I am!).
Each section in Strengths Finder 2.0 begins with a long paragraph describing the feelings, mindset and behavior associated with the strength under discussion. Next comes a “how it sounds” section, with quotes from several people about their experiences with the trait. I find this section especially helpful, as the language they use is often different from the description paragraph.
Next comes “Ideas for Action,” which lists ways to work with your strength so it doesn’t drive you – or the people around you – crazy. The approach to each strength is relentlessly positive, beginning with the strategy of framing arguably neutral personality characteristics as “strengths” in the first place. However, it is obvious from reading between the lines that each type can be unhappy and/or obnoxious with a mismatched environment or companions.
This brings to mind Marianne Cantwell’s assertion that “a weakness is a strength in the wrong environment,” a reframe which is probably not original to her, but which gave me much hope when I first read it. Gallup (the organization behind the Clifton Strengths system – yes, the poll people) is upfront that their agenda is to encourage people to work with their personality rather than beating their heads against the wall trying to be what they’re not. That’s hard to argue with.
Each strength description wraps up with a few words to the wise for those who find themselves interacting with people who have that trait. Advice is given on what they will be best at, and where to adjust expectations, or allow them some latitude.
The A through B strengths are Achiever, Activator, Adaptability, Analytical, Arranger, and Belief. Achiever is the only one I read last time I had the book, and as I’ve mentioned, it resonated. This left me wondering whether I’d find the other strengths equally easy to identify with. Continue reading