Know Your Strengths and Learn How to Maximize Them

Oct. 30, 2023
Know your Strengths

212 staff in the CIO Division have Learner as one of their Top Five Strengths. Next is Achiever, in which 173 of us have it as one of our Top Five, and tied for third is Relator and Responsibility, each showing 160 staff having them as one of their Top Five Strengths. (should we put this in a pie chart?)

You have strengths and I have strengths; and out of the 34 defined CliftonStrengths, we all have our “Top Five.” Every member of the CIO Division has taken the Gallop StrengthsFinder assessment, though some of us did this five years ago pre-pandemic. Others of us are fortunate to have taken the assessment more recently. Do you remember what your Top Five Strengths are? Do you reflect on them in your daily work, your individual career path or on big team projects?

No matter how long ago you took the Strengths assessment, you still have an account and can sign in to the Gallop CliftonStrengths website to find out more about your Top Five.

Catherine Zavala is the division’s Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach. She helps each employee become oriented to their five top strengths and learn how to make the best use of the information the assessment conveys. When detailing the reason for understanding your Strengths, Catherine explains, “We want to be happy. Happy individuals make happy employees, make happy customers and make our work successful. So, if you take that bottom line and think about what makes you happy generally, it is because you are spending your time doing things that you enjoy and those things that you enjoy fall nicely within your natural talents and strengths.”

When reviewing our assessed Strengths, we can put vocabulary to who we are and what makes us happy. Knowing your Strengths allows you to better understand where you may have interest and why certain activity allows you to engage in a behavior or a thought pattern that falls into the natural talents that you have. Catherine clarifies, “Think of it as the underlying, driving mechanism for the things that we're naturally drawn to, the things that make us happy.”

There is a lot of talk about remote worker burnout lately. Some say burnout is the result of people working remotely finding it difficult to unplug from their job once the day is done. Perhaps it is feeling disconnected in an environment without hallway talks between meetings and missing a shared purpose. We are working harder. No one will deny that. In our division, as we have fewer employees doing more work, we may be at risk of burnout.

How can leveraging your strengths mitigate the risk of burnout? In a typical work week, you may find yourself predominantly focused on essential tasks. However, being aware of your strengths can empower you to excel in a setting where you can fully utilize your abilities. This, in turn, enables you to approach your tasks more efficiently and effectively as you are operating in your element, your happy place.

Catherine’s insight on CliftonStrengths is helpful when it comes to burnout. “If we understand what our strengths are and what we are successful in enjoying and happy doing, then, when we are feeling a little burned out, we can say, wait a minute, am I really utilizing my strengths in my day-to-day work? Am I applying my strengths? If not, can I make an opportunity to do so? It is the same task. But can I reframe it? Think about it from a different angle?”

Once you know your top five Strengths, you can have a little fun with the Yucks and Yays. Yays are things you would tend to enjoy at work, given your Strengths. Yucks are things that tend to feel like soul-sucking drudgery. You can click through to the dedicated Yuck Page and Yay Page from the Lead Through Strengths website.

Starved and Fed is another fun category to dig into. It is all about perception from others. If your talents are starved, they can be blind spots. If the talents are fed (and are showing up as strengths), you will see lists of ways we can perceive you at your best. Take a moment and click through to the dedicated Starved Page and Fed Page from the Lead Through Strengths website.

Before you end this exploration into your Strengths you’ll want to look at the Honored Page and Insulted Page. This is where you get down to your values as you explore an inventory of cultures and situations. That honor or insult your talents.

If you have not yet had the opportunity to take the Strengths assessment, be sure to contact Catherine Zavala, Information Technology Training Specialist, for additional assistance as she is always excited to help you make the most of your Strengths.

Chat now