I hear a lot of reflections about how to apply your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Belief to your career.
In this series, you get one strength per post so that you can add to the insights from your StrengthsFinder report and make an even stronger alignment between your current job and your strengths.
- If you’re exploring this concept 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 exploring this concept 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.
You’ll get three layers to chew on:
1. Career Branding
2. Red Flag Situations At Work
3. Fresh Application Ideas
Career Branding When Belief Is Your Strength
You probably already have a reputation for what you know. Think about your personal resume, CV, 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 is usually "the how,” and this is where your StrengthsFinder talent themes live.
Chances are good that you are a lot like my StrengthsFinder training clients, where you don’t physically see your teammates and customers every day. So many of us work on remote teams. That’s why LinkedIn has become so important for career branding. It’s how your teammates, customers, and vendors go look you up before a meeting - to see who they’re about to talk to. And rather than only telling them what you know, you should also give them a peek at how it is to work with you.
Here are a bunch of Belief-related adjectives to consider using in your career branding efforts and your LinkedIn profile:
- Loyal (if values-aligned)
- Consistent Advocate
Red Flag Situations For Belief
These are the cultures, interactions, or situations that might feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the talent theme of Belief. They could even make you want to quit the team if they get really bad. So I’ll give you a couple of these to be on watch for — because if they fester, you might become detached or disengaged at work.
Here are two Red flags for Belief:
- The mission isn’t what it seemed. For example, let’s say you joined a medical device company. You joined because you heard the vision of the lives you’d save with this new product that makes people’s pace makers last an additional 10 years. You were overjoyed by the idea of not putting elderly or weak patients into another risky surgery. A few months into the job, you overhear some people talking about a revenue strategy that makes you think they’re prioritizing revenue over the patient’s best interest. Now, if you lead through any talent and you think something unethical is going on, you’ll probably dislike it. But if you lead through Belief, and you suspect the mission that you joined the company for is a sham, it’s all over. Now I’m giving you an extreme example to make the point clear. Yet if you lead through Belief, be on watch for this. Even in small situations where things are not what they seemed on the surface (or people are not who they seemed to be on the surface), it is difficult to ever get your trust back. When you’re detached and “arms-length” because you’re skeptical, your engagement on the job changes. It can go downhill fast if you don’t get in front of this one.
You have to work closely with your anti-belief. Let’s do another extreme example to make this one obvious. Say that you lead through the talent theme of Belief and one of your life’s missions is to protect and serve animals. You are an active member of PETA, which is something you spend every night on. In the daytime, you work at an advertising agency. Last week, you got assigned to a new client - and they’re a cosmetics company that does extensive animal testing. You try to suck it up because you need the job, but every time you talk to the product manager at the client, she makes your blood boil. If you lead through Belief, you probably can’t just grin and bear it. It’s more than that with Belief. Now, if you take a less extreme example, imagine that you learn a peer at work has a belief or closely held value that runs counter to yours. It gives you a seed of doubt about this person who you used to love working with. These are the moments you need to get ahead of before they derail the productivity you’ve always enjoyed when you work together. This is different for every person and every belief. For you, it may work out by simply finding other shared values so that you can feel rooted in other areas of trust. That can be a way to rebuild mutual respect. For others, it may be that you have to have an open conversation about your value that feels insulted.
3 Fresh Application Ideas for Belief
These are ways to apply the talent theme of Belief at work, even when the job duties on the team feel pretty locked in. If you’re exploring this concept 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 Belief, put this talent to good use with one of these options:
Product Evangelist. If you know your team member leads through Belief and they deeply believe in the “why” of the product, it’s on! Unleash them as a product evangelist. Make it a thing to share the features, benefits, mission, and delight with the outside world. In a time when consumers are skeptical about “sales-ey ad copy,” imagine what would happen if your team member ties a life mission to it. That’s a product narrative that your customers will get behind.
You Need An Ethical Rock. Imagine a situation where bribes are common. Or a role where a person is placed in a lot of tricky ethical situations. This might be a great place to bring your ethical rock - someone who leads through Belief. This person’s clarity and convictions around ethics and values will allow that person to shine where others waffle. They will see clear moral standards where other people struggle with gray areas.
Make Some Meaning. Regardless of the task, Belief is considered an executing talent. That means that it helps people get things done. As you can imagine, if you feel so passionate and connected to a topic that you would run through walls for it, then you’d have someone who is going to get some mega-big task lists checked off. Next time you need to apply the Belief talent theme, take time to connect the job responsibility with the bigger purpose. This brings the internal motivation to bring the A-game to the job.
Here's Your Personal Branding Homework
- Go take action on your LinkedIn profile with the career branding section. Challenge yourself to write one sentence in the About section of LinkedIn that captures how you collaborate as a teammate at work.
- Then think over the red flags to see if there’s anything you need to get in front of before it brings you down. You might decide to make the situation mean something different, or pre-plan a reaction for the next time it comes around.
- And finally, volunteer your talents through the application ideas. 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.