Old-school job interviews often included a question asking the candidate something like, “What are some of your greatest strengths?” This question was often followed by, “And what are your weaknesses?” In recent years, however, the tide has turned. More people are realizing that, while it’s important to recognize areas in which you can improve, investing time and effort into developing our strengths brings far greater rewards. That’s where the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment developed by Gallup comes in.
It’s said that those of us who have opportunities to use our strengths daily are more confident, perform better at work, and are more effective at developing ourselves and others. In order to use your strengths, you must first identify what they are. That way, you can put your assets in action. That’s one of several factors that differentiates the StrengthsFinder from other personality- and career-based tests like Myers Briggs, Colors and The Animal In You test. And it’s one big reason that the StrengthsFinder has been popular — instead of dwelling on potentially negative facets of your personality or your work habits that you might want to change, the StrengthsFinder focuses on the positive and what, specifically, you have to offer in the workplace.
The StrengthsFinder assessment is one of the simplest and most effective ways to pinpoint your strengths. This online tool presents pairs of statements from which you make a selection quickly and without too much thought as to which applies to you most. Based on your responses, you’re presented with your top 5 strength “themes.” For example, are you someone who feels a strong need every day to achieve something tangible to feel good about yourself? You may be strong in the Achiever theme. Maybe you’re someone who feels that the more you share with another, the more you risk together. And the more you risk, the more you find genuine caring, which is a step toward real friendship. If that describes you, it’s likely you’re strong in the Relator theme. Or maybe you’re strong in the Strategic theme, which means you have the ability to sort through the clutter and find the best route.
There are many ways to use the StrengthsFinder assessment. Often it’s done as a team-building exercise to help team members create awareness about their own strengths, and those of the people they work with. It’s useful for both new project teams and groups who’ve worked together for a time but would benefit from greater understanding. Individuals can also benefit from the assessment. You might want to learn your strengths in order to help you plan your career or consider changes in your career. There’s even a version called StrengthsQuest that’s ideal for college-bound high school seniors.
A recent policy change has made Gallup’s StrengthsFinder more affordable, too. The company has reversed a longtime policy and no longer requires the purchase of a book that contains an online assessment code. Instead, for a much lower fee, you can purchase a code online, which makes this a more accessible evaluation tool for students, coaches, leaders and individuals.
Have you taken the StrengthsFinder assessment? If so, how are you using it to help in your career development or to help your organization?