Lead Through Strengths

I get tons of questions about how to go deeper to align your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Includer with your career. So in this series, I break down one strength per post.

That way, you can add to the insights from your StrengthsFinder report and make a better match between your job and your strengths.

- If you’re reading as a manager, use this series for career development ideas and even new clues about responsibilities you could give a person with this talent theme so that they can show up at their best.

- If you’re reading for yourself, use this as a chance to build a reputation for your strengths so that you’re more likely to be given assignments that live in your strengths zone.

Today, the talent theme of the episode is Includer. You’ll get three layers to chew on:

  1. Career Branding
  2. Red Flag Situations At Work
  3. Fresh Application Ideas

Career Branding For Includer

You probably already have a reputation for what you know. If you imagine your resume or your LinkedIn profile, I bet it's full of “the what,” which are things like job titles, skills, knowledge, expertise, or the degree you earned.

What’s missing in most resumes and profile is "the how,” and this is where your StrengthsFinder talent themes live. This is an overlooked use for LinkedIn. That's why it's not just for job seekers - it's also about shaping your career.

I bet you are just like my StrengthsFinder training clients, where you don’t see your teammates and customers every day. That’s why LinkedIn has become so important for career branding. It's where your teammates, customers, and vendors go look you up before a meeting - to see who they’re about to talk to.

Rather than only telling them what you know, you should also give them a peek at how it is to work with you. So here are a bunch of adjectives you can consider using in your career branding and your LinkedIn profile:

  • Accepting
  • Expander
  • People-Aware
  • Integrating
  • Welcome Wagon
  • Interactive
  • Others-Oriented
  • Warm
  • Barrier-Buster
  • Inviter
  • Tolerant

Red Flag Situations For Includer

These are the cultures, interactions, or situations that feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the talent theme of Includer. They might even make you want to quit the team. So I’ll give you a couple of these to be on watch for — because if they fester, you might get the urge to disengage on the job or become detached at work.

Here are two Red flags for Includer:

  1. Cliques. If you lead through Includer and you sense that the existing tight knit relationships inside of the company are impenetrable, it’s going to feel like a really frustrating place to work. If you think that your industry is filled with good ol' boys clubs, you are going to feel more than left out, you might begin to resent the structure and the idea of being closed off to outside viewpoints. The idea of in-groups and out-groups and exclusion really sucks the life out of someone with Includer.

  2. Loud Voices Always Win. If you work on a team or in a company culture where the ideas that get implemented seem to always come from the most talkative, extroverted, or loud people, you might begin to question the values of the company. When you lead through the Includer theme, you are keenly tuned in to each person‘s contributions and ideas...not just the ideas that are spoken aloud. So if it appears that the only way to succeed is to be a bold talker, you may come to resent this idea. This can be true even if you are extroverted or comfortable speaking aloud. When you have Includer you will be aware of this dynamic on behalf of other people.

3 Fresh Application Ideas for Includer

These are ways to apply the talent theme of Includer at work, even when the job duties on the team feel pretty locked in. If you’re listening as a team manager, be sure to have a conversation around these ideas. You’ll both be able to come up with places to apply them.

For someone who leads through Includer, put this talent to good use with one of these options:

  1. Assimilate New People. A great way to use the Includer talent is to help integrate new people into a team or a culture. You can make them feel part of the group quickly, and help them feel seen and appreciated, even when they are new. And being assigned to this kind of work is the type of thing that might light up the soul of someone with the Includer talent. This could be a new hire or a new team member or even a new customer - this is a fun way to feed the Includer talent theme while also making someone else feel like they’re a critical part of the group.

  2. Interested Party Finder. This one is about uncovering people who are interested in being involved in a project you may not know about. It makes me remember a customer situation where a team I worked with in Malaysia told me they were so frustrated that they were never consulted about the advertisements that were placed in their country by their marketing team. There was a billboard strategy across the company, but they felt that billboards were a waste of money in Malaysia because, living in the jungle, the logos and the text on the billboards constantly got covered up by fast growing trees. This is an example where the locals were contacted for translation, but not genuine localization. This is the type of investigation someone with Includer would be great at. They can find stakeholders who are feeling ignored, and give voices to people with no voice. They can help you prevent vetoes or internal battles that could’ve been prevented with better listening up front.

  3. Turn On The Megaphone. If you have people on the team who seem to never contribute in conversations, assign it to someone with Includer to turn the megaphone on for them. Often, quiet people will give their opinion if they are asked. If a person with Includer gets in the habit of saying things like “Maria you know a lot about advertising in southeast Asia; we haven’t heard from you yet. What do you think?“ You can unleash the power of hearing from people who are used to not sharing their voice. It will be fun for someone with the Includer talent to notice and bring those voices out, rather than being annoyed that the project leader is not doing this.

So there you have it. It’s a quick tour for building your career through the talent theme of Includer. So, here’s your homework:

  1. Go take action on your LinkedIn profile with the career branding section. Challenge yourself to write one sentence in the Summary section of LinkedIn that captures how you collaborate as a teammate at work.
  2. Then think over the red flags to see if there’s anything you need to get in front of before it brings you down.
  3. And finally, volunteer your talents through the application ideas. And if you’re a manager, have a conversation with your team members about which of these things sound like something they’d love to have more of.

Rock Your Talents As A Team

If you’re thinking about doing a virtual or in-person event to kick off your strengths-based culture, head on over to our training page to see if our current offerings are a good fit for you. Until next time, thank you for being part of this powerful strengths movement that helps people unleash the awesomeness already inside them.

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Direct download: 087-Includer.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:30am EDT