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The Sideline Blog

Just as sports players come to the sideline for rest and guidance, this blog is meant to provide you some insight and guidance as you explore your Strengths journey.

Gallup®, CliftonStrengths®, and the 34 theme names of CliftonStrengths® are 
trademarks of Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved.

  • Writer's pictureChad T. Ahern

Strengths Positioning: Responsibility®

Soccer goalie stepping up to challenge a ball; similar to the way those with CliftonStrengths Responsibility talents step up to ensure everything is handled.
Nothing gets dropped.

Leaders, and colleagues, need to position people on work project teams effectively and efficiently to ensure work gets done and people stay engaged. A lot of leaders often spend too much time trying to guess where to put people because they don't have a point of reference.

What follows is a "scouting report" for those with Responsibility® talents, as identified via the CliftonStrengths assessment.

If you are a leader or a colleague of someone with these talents, consider how you can best position them in the context of your team and your projects. You can also use this as a discussion piece to find out how they see and use their Responsibility® talents.

Each person with Responsibility® talents operates differently. Make sure you're not missing out on their unique contribution.

Disclaimer: The following insights represent the author's opinions based on their understanding of the CliftonStrengths® themes. These are not statements created by or formally endorsed by Gallup®.

Scouting Report

Their commitment to the team and its projects means everything will get done; one way or another.


Ways in which this team member can make a direct and immediate impact. Use these insights to consider where you place them on the team or in an organization.

This talent theme can often offer contributions on "both ends of the field."

  • Guardian. In soccer, there is a position known as the "sweeper" whose job entails being the last line of defense (besides the goalie) and ensuring that any attack by the opponent is quickly turned away or transitioned back upfield into an attack by their team. Those with Responsibility® talents mirror these drives. They are keen to keep their promises and complete what's expected of them. They do not like letting others down. In the workplace, leaders and colleagues might consider positioning these talented individuals on teams handling the most pressing projects, or in a role where they can keep track of all the commitments the team makes to other constituents (other internal teams, customers, suppliers, etc.). They won't let promises go unfulfilled.

  • Finisher. Those with Responsibility® talents may also feel quite at home at the other end of a soccer field, or on the "attack" in the workplace. Because of their propensity to "see things through," these talented individuals will likely want to see projects completed and goals achieved. In this light, leaders and colleagues might be wise to rotate these individuals around to different teams as each team approaches the cusp of completing a goal or project. Those with Responsibility® talents are likely to ensure that every promise is kept and the goal/project is completed by agreed-to deadlines.


Ways in which people with this theme might "overplay" their talents.

  • Can't Say No. Because of their propensity to want to ensure everything is done; those with Responsibility talents have a tendency to say "YES" to every request you make of them. They want to be seen as trustworthy and valued. This can also lead them to take on more than they can handle; often leading to burnout and disengagement. If you lead or work with someone with these Responsibility®-infused tendencies: really consider your request before you make it (do they really have to do this?), be very clear about the expected or necessary timeline, and openly invite them to "opt-out," when possible.

  • Do or Die Trying. As noted above, those with Responsibility® talents tend to take on a lot. They also (almost) never lose track of a commitment; even if that commitment is no longer needed or feasible. This can lead some people with Responsibility® talents to keep trying to achieve a goal or pursue a project beyond its usefulness. If you lead or work with someone with Responsibility® talents, make sure you regularly check-in with them about what they've promised, which promises are (still) critical, and which promises they can "let go of." Helping them regularly clear their plates will help them bring their best energy and focus to the projects that really matter.

Talent Combos / Position Modification

  • Command®: "The King Defender" - In high school I played soccer alongside a guy named Pete Myles who was the most hardened defender I've ever in action. Pete didn't care how big or how fast attacking players came at him; his sole focus was on ensuring they didn't get through to the goalie. He was never afraid of the hard hit or a difficult situation; he just took control and told you what he needed from you. This is the epitome of someone with Command® + Responsibility® talents. In the workplace, these talented individuals are likely to make their best contribution in roles where they are trusted to make tough decisions, stand for their team, and call out team members who need to step up in pursuit of fulfilling commitments.

  • Achiever®: "The Accountable Striker" - Those with Achiever® talents want to get a lot done. Those with Achiever® + Responsibility® talents are likely going to want to get the right things done in the right order. People with this talent blend are likely going to want to prioritize their long list of "to-dos" to ensure everything is delivered on-time an on-schedule. Be forewarned that those with this talent blend are likely going to be driven by activities designed by someone else (promises made), rather than be inspired by their own initiatives. As noted above, these talented individuals are likely be best positioned as highlighted in the "Finishers" contribution section.

Game Film

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