Almost two years ago, I took the Strengths Finder test. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience for me, helping me realize and articulate those things at which I excel and how the combination comes together to form my unique skill set.
My top five strengths are:
- Woo – Winning others over. I love meeting new people and getting them to like me.
- Communication – I generally find it easy to put my thoughts into words (which may seem untrue since this is my first blog post in two months).
- Strategic – I always try to look for the most effective way to move forward in a situation.
- Adaptability – I tend to go with the flow. I don’t freak out very often.
- Activator – I don’t want to talk. I want to do. I get impatient if things aren’t happening.
Seeing the mix of these strengths is incredibly empowering. It informs what I should be focusing my efforts and energies on. It also helps those with whom I work understand that my laid-back attitude isn’t a sign that I don’t care and my impatience can actually be a good thing to help a project move forward.
One of the most important attributes of the Strengths Finder assessment is its focus on – shockingly – strengths. The goal of the assessment is not to uncover those areas in which you are lacking, but those in which you excel. After you take the test, the worst thing you can do is stress about the strengths that aren’t listed. In no way does it mean that you don’t have those strengths, it just means that they’re not in your top five. Just because you don’t have Communication listed doesn’t mean you can’t make presentations. Or if you don’t have Strategic that you’re a bumbling, random fool.
I can’t recommend taking the Strengths Finder enough. If you’re an individual working on your own it can help you identify those tasks that are distracting you from what it is you’re really great at. And it can help you identify partners who can cover some of your potential weak areas. If you’re part of am organization or team, having everyone take the test together and then analyzing everyone’s combination will uncover how to best work together effectively and efficiently.
One note of caution. Make sure that you don’t use the results from the test as a weapon against people. Don’t say, “I can’t believe you didn’t strategic! I’m really surprised/disappointed/worried about that.” Instead, use the assessment as intended. Focus on and celebrate those areas that are represented.