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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: Positivity®

We recognize that communities throughout the United States are working hard 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 who should be celebrated and supported, regardless of their skin color or national origin.

"People exceptionally talented in the Positivity theme have contagious enthusiasm. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do." - Gallup CliftonStrengths® Themes Quick Reference Guide -

Burnout Concerns

Those with Positivity® talents have a unique ability to keep a positive attitude even in the face of less than ideal situations. This ability can often serve these individuals, and their teams, quite well but it also has the potential to push them toward burnout given the emotional and mental dis-continence between their attitude and their environment. Consider the following:

It might become harder and harder to maintain a positive outlook in light of everything happening and keep the idea that "things will get better" in front of mind.

  • With the number confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths continuing to rise it might be harder to think our social and work lives will return to something we'll recognize.

  • With social and racial tensions coming to ahead, how will our country ever resolve our history with slavery and moving toward a more equal treatment of all citizens.

Those with Positivity® talents may also get frustrated by those around them who continue to focus on the bleak picture and data. If they are the only ones focused on the positive, they could feel like they are on an island by themselves.

Positive moment events and celebrations may be harder to come by as colleagues are laid off, or business deals fall through; leaving those with Positivity® talents fewer opportunities to remind their colleagues things will be okay.

Addressing Burnout

Those with Positivity® talents can be team treasures as they have a special ability to keep team morale up and moving forward; particularly in times of change and challenges. As a leader and/or team member you can help those with Positivity® talents continue to offer their best, and avoid burnout by:

Helping them emphasize the bright spots or progress being made in spite of changes and challenges. This could take several shapes:

Within our COVID pandemic, it might be:

  • celebrating front-line workers, non-profit volunteers, or our healthcare workers as they serve others

  • noting organizations contributing resources to those less fortunate

  • the collaboration between researchers trying to find a cure

With the #BlackLivesMatters / racial justice effort, it could be:

  • the beginnings of essential & difficult conversations

  • communities coming together to support and stand with our African American neighbors and co-workers

Encourage them to share silver linings discovered within their (or your) new work paradigms, for example:

  • the absence of a lengthy commute,

  • more time with your kids,

  • more time to exercise or be outdoors,

  • newly gained experience with digital tools

Help them make a big – but genuine – deal out of even the smaller team and organizational victories. Doing so will alleviate feelings of being on their own “positivity island.”

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

What are doing right now to share your ​positive outlook with others?

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

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