Lead Through Strengths

I get a whole lot of questions about how to amplify your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Intellection with your career.

In this series, I break down one strength per post — so that you can add to the insights from your StrengthsFinder report and make a better alignment between your 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 Intellection 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. 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.

So here are a bunch of Intellection-related adjectives to consider using in your career branding efforts and your LinkedIn profile:

  • Philosophers
  • Deep
  • Musers
  • Intense
  • Intellectuals
  • Critical Thinkers
  • Reflective People
  • Contemplative
  • Solitude Seekers
  • Introspective
  • Willing To Be Contrarian

Red Flag Situations For Intellection

These are the cultures, interactions, or situations that feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the talent theme of Intellection. 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 quit the job or become detached and disengaged at work.

Here are two Red flags for Intellection:

  1. Pressure to give answers in the moment. If you lead through Intellection, it will likely be annoying to go to a meeting where someone asks you to make an important decision or give your opinion on something they’ve sprung on you in the moment. You do your best thinking when you have time to marinate on it, so be sure to find a way to communicate to your team that you’ll be at your best when you have time to think about something in advance. This means, watch out for those blank calendar invitations that don’t tell you anything about the meeting at hand. Get the agenda in advance. Know what contribution someone is hoping for. Otherwise, they might pressure you to “talk it out” in the moment, which will likely drain you and frustrate you.
  2. Groupthink. If you lead through Intellection and you’re on a team where people blindly nod along with each other, you’ll probably feel frustrated with the lack of critical thinking. If you’re in this situation and you’re thinking that your team is a bunch of sheep or "Yes Men” or lemmings, imagine how difficult it would be for you to have a deep, trusting relationship with peers. The same goes for teams who seem to skim the surface and then act - while never doing the deep thinking on a topic. Watch out for these situations because they’ll be big energy-zappers for you.

3 Fresh Application Ideas for Intellection

These are ways to apply the talent theme of Intellection 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 Intellection, put this talent to good use with one of these options:

  1. Help me poke holes in my idea. Many roles today are filled with distractions, quick meetings, and instant messenger. This can be efficient, yet it can also keep teams from the deep contemplation needed for important decisions. If someone on your team has Intellection, ask them, “what am I missing here” or “what else should I be thinking of” or “can you poke holes in my idea?” They will appreciate the idea to think beyond the surface.
  2. Contrarians wanted. Just because someone on your team has Intellection, it doesn’t mean that they'll disagree with everything. At the same time, using their critical thinking will unleash their best. Their deep reflection and reasoning skills are valuable to help teams see past the surface. They can see downstream impact that others can’t see. They can see the unexpected consequences that others can’t spot.
  3. A task of solitude. Next time you have a role where someone needs to work from home, or do a seemingly lonely job of traveling and being alone in hotel rooms (or holed up in a remote cabin), see what someone on your team with Intellection thinks. They will often love doing tasks that require solitude because they do their best thinking when they can contemplate alone. This doesn’t mean that they don’t like people. Yet often, they will be private people who need time alone to be at their best.

So there you have it. It’s a quick tour for building your career through the talent theme of Intellection. 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: 084-Intellection.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 9:30am CST