Lead Through Strengths

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

You’ll get three layers to chew on:

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

Career Branding When Responsibility Is Your Strength

Let’s start with career branding. 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. Now, what’s missing in most of them is “the how,” and this is where your StrengthsFinder talent themes live. This is an overlooked use for LinkedIn, which is not just for job seekers.

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 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 howit is to work with you.

With that in mind, here are a bunch of adjectives you can use in your career branding and your LinkedIn profile. People who lead through Responsibility are often:

  • Trustworthy
  • Loyal
  • Diligent
  • Dependable
  • Accountable
  • Conscientious
  • Promise-Keepers
  • Honest
  • Committed
  • Responsive

Red Flag Situations For Responsibility

These are the cultures, interactions, or situations that feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the talent theme of Responsibility. 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. Chronically Missed Deadlines. If you lead through Responsibility and your team culture is one that is cavalier with deadlines, it will suck the life out of you. To you, your word is your honor, and you expect other people to honor their commitments as well. So when people miss their deadlines and treat it like no big deal, you’ll likely feel like it’s a place where mutual respect is severely lacking.
  2. Imposed Urgencies. You’re conscientious and dependable. You plan things out diligently so that you can keep your promises. So when other people constantly blow up your day with their lack of preparation, you’re likely fuming. If you work in a place where people tend to launch their hand grenades at you — which puts you at risk of not keeping your promises, this will suck the life right out of you.

3 Fresh Application Ideas for Responsibility

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

  1. The long haul. When you need someone who will consistently chip away at a project over time, assign it to someone with Responsibility. They are self-starters who will diligently follow it through the long term.
  2. Trust. When you need to hand something off to someone you can trust, assign those responsibilities to someone with Responsibility. When you know you can’t babysit the process, the person who leads with Responsibility will keep you posted on timelines, deadlines, and progress without any hand-holding necessary.
  3. Ownership. Think of a project or process that no one has really owned before — one of those things that sort of gets done, but never that well. Change that up by assigning clear ownership to someone with the Responsibility talent theme. They’re great at covering it from soup to nuts when they know they can take charge and bring order to a neglected part of the business.

So there you have it. It’s a quick tour for building your career through the talent theme of Responsibility. 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: 079-Responsibility.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 2:30am CST