Chad T. Ahern
Strengths Positioning: Significance®
Updated: Nov 9, 2021
Example of excellence.
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 Significance® 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 Significance® talents.
Each person with Significance® 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®.
Position: Finisher / Forward
Provides the example of excellence for others to recognize the exceptional. In doing so, they set the tone for success.
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.
Setting the Tone. Those with Significance® talents are driven to be the exception. They want to excel beyond anyone's expectations. They may seem to do it for their own reasons, but their impact is one that usually shows a team that more / better is possible. These team members are also not likely to stay around a mediocre team so they are very likely to push those around them to raise the amount of effort and output. On the soccer pitch, we might see these sorts of behaviors in the Captain if he/she goes out and does more practice reps than the rest of the team. In the workplace, these individuals are already mastering their talents and using them to maximum effect. If you lead someone like this, consider how and where they can help you move a team from mediocre to excellence.
Reset the Bar. These talented individuals are not, nor will not, be satisfied with their past efforts. On the soccer field, if they scored 20 goals last season (and were recognized for it), then 20 just became "average." In what might seem selfish, they want to be recognized for going above-and-beyond. When they keep upping the expectations, it continually sets anew the level at which they believe the rest of the team can and should be performing. Their drive to be seen as exceptional at a personal level is likely to get the team to see themselves as capable of the exceptional.
Ways in which people with this theme might "overplay" their talents.
Self-Centered. Those with Significance® talents want to stand out; be heard, seen, and recognized. With that can come a drive for personal glory; potentially at the expense of others. Left unchecked and uncoached, these talented individuals have significant potential to ruin a team's positive dynamic by making it "all about them." The team is no longer important unless it's serving the goals of these individuals. If you lead such a person, be sure that their need for personal recognition is also tied to team performance and recognition. Ensure that their need to feel important might also be fed by being seen as a valued & important coach/mentor/teacher to the team.
Impatient. These talented individuals want to be associated with people who are credible & professional. If they deem the team is not up to their standards, they may try to coax them along. However, if the team doesn't "shape up" as quickly as they like (but they still like the company or the work), they can start to get short & impatient with their fellow team members. This can destroy team morale. Instead, consider helping them become a more effective coach to their respective team. Being seen as a valued coach will "feed" their Significance talents, and improve team performance.
Talent Combos / Position Modification
Achiever®: "The Working Forward" - Individuals with Achiever® talents are often driven by how much they can get done. Those with Significance® talents are usually driven by external validation of their successes. Those with this Achiever® + Significance® blend are likely to be driven by recognition that celebrates quantity, not just quality. In soccer, we might notice this person as someone who's on a championship team, and is recognized for the most miles run during their season games, the most assists, the most goals, and pass completion rate. In the workplace, leaders would be wise to keep these individuals very busy, but be sure that their projects are notable and (frequently) publicly celebrated.
Developer®: "The Coaching Captain" - Those with Developer® talents are keen to see others grow and succeed. Individuals with Significance® talents want to be out front and recognized. People who possess this unique Developer® + Significance® talent blend tend to want to be seen and recognized for assisting in the accomplishments of others. On the soccer pitch, it might look and read like this story about Juan Mata who's a star in his own right but is now also developing the next generation of Manchester United players. In the workplace, leaders might be wise to position these talented individuals on teams that are responsible for onboarding new team members -- they will set & expect high standards, and will also possess the patience and growth-mindset to help others over the long term.
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