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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

Talents & Burnout: Context®

"People exceptionally talented in the Context theme enjoy thinking about the past. They understand the present by researching its history." - Gallup CliftonStrengths® Theme Quick Reference Guide -

Burnout Concerns

Those with Context® talents appreciate the long arch of history. They want to put our current circumstances into a broader picture. They are keen in minding us of our origin story.

Since what we were going through is nearly unprecedented in our modern era, those with Context® talents might be burning themselves out,

  • Trying to understand their present as there is little to compare it to.

  • Trying to rekindle their organizations original plans. With many of their teammates operating off new plans to address new problems, those with Context talents may feel like they are trying to remind people about the old plans and old intentions.

  • Struggling to determine which changes are momentary and which changes are long-arch changes. This leaves them guessing where to place business and cultural changes in the grand scheme and in your organizations standing history.

Addressing Concerns

So what can you, as a leader or teammate, do to alleviate feelings of frustration and burnout in those with Context talents? How can you help them contribute to your team? Try some of the following:

If they are a long-tenured employee, have them share and express how the organization has managed work changes in the past. Having them share their expertise is likely to help them find a role & contribution in our new working world.

If they are a newer employee, help them understand what the company has done in the past:

  • If the company has been around for more than 100 years, have them research and understand how the company behaved during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. Those in 1918 may not have had the technology-infused, interconnected world we now live in, but it is by far the nearest, similar experience.

  • If you're in a newer company, what actions, if any, did they take to address the SARS or MERS epidemics?

Invite them into planning sessions where they can remind people of the original plans; what was your team aiming to do before the pandemic hit? By inviting this insight they get a chance to help the team "reset."

Sharing how the company has (or similar companies have) acted in the face of other challenges can provide more confidence for current courses of action.

Allow them to contribute in the role of "company historian." They will likely appreciate the opportunity to record "what was" and "what is" so that everyone will have a record of how they faced certain changes. This will give them, and those that follow, a point of reference when anyone wants to understand how they got to "today."

​As with coaching any individual, their combined set of talent themes will effect how their Context® talents show up, and how to best manage them. As a beginning, next time you check-in with them, ask,

What past experiences should we be learning from?

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