Lead Through Strengths

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

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 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.


Today, the talent theme of the post is Positivity.

You’ll get three layers to chew on:

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


Career Branding When Positivity Is Your Strength

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 is usually “the how,” and this is where your StrengthsFinder talent themes live. This is an overlooked use for tools like LinkedIn, which is not just for job seekers.

Chances are good that you are a lot 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 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 adjectives you can use in your career branding and your LinkedIn profile. People who lead through Positivity are often:

  • Upbeat
  • Fun
  • Energetic
  • Hopeful
  • Magnetic
  • Encouraging
  • Optimistic
  • Enthusiastic
  • Warm & Friendly
  • Celebratory

Red Flag Situations For Positivity

These are the cultures, interactions, or situations that feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the talent theme of Positivity. 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 Responsibility:

  1. Devil’s Advocate. If your team has a pessimistic tone where people are awarded for their cynicism or constant reality checks, be on watch. This can suck the life out of you – especially if the team is constantly picking on each other’s ideas with a “that will never work” type of default response, rather than building on each other’s ideas and hearing each other out.
  2. Celebrate For A Nano Second. If you lead through Positivity and you’re in a culture that doesn’t stop to celebrate, regardless of how big the accomplishment, you’ll be constantly drained and baffled wondering why you can’t slow down for a second to acknowledge the accomplishment. Although you don’t expect everyone to give praise as readily as you do, it will drain you if you know it’s getting withheld.

3 Fresh Application Ideas for Positivity

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

  1. Lifting spirits though change. If you have someone on the team who leads through Positivity, call on them when the team is having trouble seeing the silver lining in the situation. Behind the scenes, brainstorm with them all of the things you can think of that are still going well. Also list all of the potential future outcomes this change will enable. You’ll have fun making the list, and you’ll likely come up with ideas that will help you get adoption for a tough change.
  2. Tone setting. When you need someone to pump up a room, consider someone with the Positivity talent. They often light up a room just by walking into it. So next time you have a kickoff event, or you want a moment of levity in a meeting, ask this person in advance to bring a fun segment to the event.
  3. Seeing possibilities. When a team feels stuck, the leader is often reluctant to come in with a rah-rah message about how you’ll be okay in the future (and rightly so). If you want to lead the team through a deep conversation along the lines of “Who do we need to become to make that happen?,” enlist your team member with the Positivity talent in advance. They’re awesome at possibilities-thinking, so they can seed the conversation with believable ideas to get the momentum going in the room.

So there you have it. It’s a quick tour for building your career through the talent theme of Positivity. 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: 081-Positivity.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 2:30am CST