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.

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  • Chad T. Ahern

Talents & Burnout: Intellection®

We recognize that communities throughout the United States are going through massive upheaval in trying to address longstanding, systemic racial inequality and injustice. Even as we join in the efforts to support such initiatives, we also believe continuing to share perspectives via this #talentswithoutburnout series can help people better understand one another as unique, talented individuals that should be celebrated and supported, regardless of their skin color or national origin.



"People exceptionally talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions." - Gallup CliftonStrengths® Themes Quick Reference Guide -

Burnout Concerns

Calm. Quiet. Reserved. Thoughtful. These traits are just some of the hallmarks of someone who likely possesses Intellection® talents. Most of the time they find great pleasure in deep thought and mental activity. For them, thinking is doing. In these same traits and behaviors we can also find seeds of burnout; particularly in times of great change. Those with Intellection® talents can become be pushed toward burned out in the following ways:


Not enough time. These talented individuals often need time to think and contemplate. If changes around them require them to take action before they've had a chance to ruminate and process they may start to burnout trying to keep up.

Information overload. They’re trying to assess and consider the rapidly increasing AMOUNTS information. Most change initiatives bring vast amounts of new perspectives, new policies, and new data. While those with Intellection® talents love and need mental activity. You can burn them out asking the to process it all.

  • In the context of our current pandemic, those with Intellection® talents might become burnout from trying to digest new regulations, changes in company policies, health guidelines, industry changes, and software packages.

Snap decisions. Asking someone with these talents to go along with an on-the-spot decision, without giving them time to assess the full ramifications is a recipe for instilling burnout. ​


Crowded houses. Be aware that those with Intellection talents might be struggling to find time to themselves as they manage multiple roles in their home. Their roles at caregiver, parent, teacher, summer camp counselor, and spouse/partner may be instilling feelings of burnout because they can't "get away from it all."


Addressing Burnout

Those with Intellection talents can be godsends in times of change if they are appropriately supported. Their ability for deep thinking often means they may have already considered multiple approaches and outcomes before change even occurs. They also possess an amazing capacity for mental activity and an uncanny ability to process data into knowledge. As a team leader or teammate to someone with Intellection talents, help them avoid burnout and bring out their best by:


Giving them time. When possible, provide what time you can to allow these individuals time to consider changes or requests. Even a window of 24 – 48 hours could provide some needed “pondering” time.


Modify your scheduling. Try not to schedule meetings at the very beginning or very end of the day. Those with Intellection® talents will likely appreciate having those time slots to either ramp-up (morning) or process (end of day) their day.

Provide space. These talented individuals often need time alone to do their best processing and thinking.

  • In the context of our current pandemic, it may seem puzzling to list this. For those with Intellection® talents, the time away from meetings and social gatherings has been a welcome respite. To keep getting their best, take care not to rush these individuals back into reopened offices and networking events.

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


What big, new idea would you like to discuss or present?


Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash


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

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