Below are my leadership strengths as assessed by Gallup’s CliftonStrengths, and descriptions of each.
You are inquisitive. You collect things. You might collect information—words, facts, books, and
quotations—or you might collect tangible objects such as butterflies, baseball cards, porcelain dolls,
or sepia photographs. Whatever you collect, you collect it because it interests you. And yours is the
kind of mind that finds so many things interesting. The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity. If you read a great deal, it is not necessarily to refine your theories but, rather, to add more information to your archives. If you like to travel, it is because each new location offers novel artifacts and facts. These can be acquired and then stored away. Why are they worth storing? At the time of storing it is often hard to say exactly when or why you might need them, but who knows when they might become useful? With all those possible uses in mind, you really don’t feel comfortable throwing anything away. So you keep acquiring and compiling and filing stuff away. It’s interesting. It keeps your mind fresh. And perhaps one day some of it will prove valuable.
You like to explain, to describe, to host, to speak in public, and to write. This is your Communication
theme at work. Ideas are a dry beginning. Events are static. You feel a need to bring them to life, to energize them, to make them exciting and vivid. And so you turn events into stories and practice
telling them. You take the dry idea and enliven it with images and examples and metaphors. You
believe that most people have a very short attention span. They are bombarded by information, but
very little of it survives. You want your information—whether an idea, an event, a product’s features
and benefits, a discovery, or a lesson—to survive. You want to divert their attention toward you and
then capture it, lock it in. This is what drives your hunt for the perfect phrase. This is what draws you toward dramatic words and powerful word combinations. This is why people like to listen to you. Your
word pictures pique their interest, sharpen their world, and inspire them to act.
You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes
and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning. The
process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for you. You are energized by the
steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered—this is the process that entices you. Your excitement leads you to engage in adult learning
experiences—yoga or piano lessons or graduate classes. It enables you to thrive in dynamic work
environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a
lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one. This
Learner theme does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert, or that
you are striving for the respect that accompanies a professional or academic credential. The outcome
of the learning is less significant than the “getting there.”
“Stretch the circle wider.” This is the philosophy around which you orient your life. You want to include people and make them feel part of the group. In direct contrast to those who are drawn only to
exclusive groups, you actively avoid those groups that exclude others. You want to expand the group
so that as many people as possible can benefit from its support. You hate the sight of someone on the
outside looking in. You want to draw them in so that they can feel the warmth of the group. You are an
instinctively accepting person. Regardless of race or sex or nationality or personality or faith, you cast few judgments. Judgments can hurt a person’s feelings. Why do that if you don’t have to? Your
accepting nature does not necessarily rest on a belief that each of us is different and that one should
respect these differences. Rather, it rests on your conviction that fundamentally we are all the same.
We are all equally important. Thus, no one should be ignored. Each of us should be included. It is the
least we all deserve.
You see the potential in others. Very often, in fact, potential is all you see. In your view no individual is fully formed. On the contrary, each individual is a work in progress, alive with possibilities. And you are drawn toward people for this very reason. When you interact with others, your goal is to help them experience success. You look for ways to challenge them. You devise interesting experiences that can stretch them and help them grow. And all the while you are on the lookout for the signs of growth—a new behavior learned or modified, a slight improvement in a skill, a glimpse of excellence or of “flow” where previously there were only halting steps. For you these small increments—invisible to some—are clear signs of potential being realized. These signs of growth in others are your fuel. They bring you strength and satisfaction. Over time many will seek you out for help and encouragement because on some level they know that your helpfulness is both genuine and fulfilling to you.