Lead Through Strengths

I hear a lot of curiosity about how to apply your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Deliberative to 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 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 Deliberative 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.

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

  • Cautious
  • Safe
  • Problem-Averter
  • Observant
  • Careful
  • Serious
  • Private
  • Risk-Manager
  • Forward-Looking
  • Confidence-Keeper
  • Sensible
  • Spotter of Downstream Impact
  • Thoughtful
  • Guardian
  • Threat Mitigator
  • Think 7 Stops Ahead Guy/Gal

Red Flag Situations For Deliberative

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

  1. Ready, fire, aim culture. If you lead through Deliberative, you’ll likely be frustrated if you’re surrounded by hasty decision-making and action. You likely prefer to be careful and considered. You probably prefer to get it right rather than to get it done yesterday. If you’re in a culture where preventable mistakes happen often, you could get extraordinarily frustrated by this lack of prudence.

  2. Lovey, huggy, happy hour culture. Often, those who lead through deliberative are private people. They’re slow to open up personally at work. They often see work as work, and friendships as friendships. Yet as workplaces become more informal, it’s more common to see personal questions, shared emotions, friendships, and hugs. These things could be off-putting to you if you lead through Deliberative. And if you seem like the odd-person-out…wondering, “why are you in each other’s personal business so much” it might drain you as you wonder why they can’t just come in and get the job done.

3 Fresh Application Ideas for Deliberative

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

  1. Volunteer To Be The Risk Manager. If you lead through Deliberative, you’re likely exceptionally talented at thinking ahead about the pot holes the team might fall into. If you play that up on purpose, you can help the team in many situations where they’d otherwise step right into a pile of poo. Be sure to affirm parts of the idea or direction that you support, and that you’re calling out these “watch outs” so that the project or product can be successful and not get unraveled by an unforeseen roadblock.

  2. Find Confidence In Your Judgment. You have confidence in your own judgment, so take action on what you think is sensible, regardless of the impact on your popularity. Know that it’s possible to get labeled as a “Debbie Downer” type if you are the one always coming into meetings as the Devil’s Advocate for someone’s idea. With a slight tweak in your delivery, there’s huge power in this confidence that you see things others may not see. By adding a phrase, “I know it won’t be popular to share an insight that might slow us down, yet it’s worth it to share this insight that might put our goals at risk.” Then share the risks in the spirit of keeping on track to reach your team goals. This is a huge value to the team because it’s easy for most people to get blinded by the glossy, sexy parts of the project - and skim over the potential risks and downsides.

  3. Match Up The Gas And The Brakes. If you take an easy StrengthsFinder metaphor, you could say that the Activator talent theme likes to press the accelerator pedal of the car, and Deliberative likes to pump the brakes. Both are useful for the team. If you lead through Deliberative, you have a voice that needs to be heard on the team. And it’s one that many people miss. If you’ve ever seen head butting on a team where someone wants to slow down and ask questions…meanwhile someone wants to speed up and get the next thing off of their plate, you can see where an inherent conflict might exist. On the other hand, if you consciously partner up and make this a yin-yang thing, you can get the benefits of Activator-urgency and Deliberative-accuracy and risk mitigation. The trick is to go find the yin to your yang before there’s a conflict so that you can appreciate each other’s perspective and bring out the best of the combined approach.

Here's Your Personal Branding 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. You might decide to make the situation mean something different, or pre-plan a reaction for the next time it comes around.
  3. 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.
Direct download: 095-Deliberative.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 2:30am CST