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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: Responsibility®

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 Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty." - Gallup CliftonStrengths® Themes Quick Reference Guide -

Burnout Concerns

​Those with Responsibility talents are keen to ensure they fulfill all their commitments and live by a code of conduct that prioritizes their promises to others. As our world changes and a new "world of work" emerges, these talented individuals can be pushed toward burnout in the following ways:

  • They may become overwhelmed by the numerous new roles (and associated tasks) they are adding to their plates; becoming at-home teachers, cooks, IT trouble shooters, family entertainers, groundskeeper, and home health experts, Each role puts pressure on them to ensure they are doing their best in service of others.

  • New communication channels may have disrupted previous task management processes may leave those with Responsibility talents unclear of what or when they need to move a project forward. It may feel considerably different to walk something down the hall to drop on someone’s desk (old work flow) rather than digitally transfer ownership of a project so the next step can be completed (new world of work).

  • Lack of clarity about what they MUST commit to. For many, the current pandemic has shifted thoughts on what’s actually essential or important. A lack of clarity about such shifts, particularly within their team could leave these individuals mentally exhausted trying to still "do it all," rather than focusing on the essentials.

  • Encountering a lack of resources. Often when a change occurs it can mean there is a change in the amount of resources available to complete a task. It could be time, money, or people. Not having the resources to complete their tasks has a high probability of causing emotional or mental strain as these talented people want to get their tasks completed as quickly as possible.

Addressing Burnout

In times of change and disruption, those with Responsibility talents can be key to a team's success. They rarely forget tasks and can be depended upon to complete what they've promised to others - inside and outside their immediate team(s). To ensure you get the best of these individuals, or to ensure your own sanity if you have Responsibility talents, do your best to:

  • Ensure transparency and shared understanding. Be clear with deadlines, timelines, and courses of action. Doing so will provide the best opportunity for those with Responsibility talents to understand what they have ultimate responsibility for, and what other team members have promised to complete.

  • Ensure they have the necessary resources they need to get their tasks done. Making it easy(ier) to complete and check-off tasks, the easier it will be for these teammates to stay in a state of "flow."

  • Work to understand what else is on their plates. You may only be aware of the workload you discussed during your last Zoom call, but you may not be aware of your colleague’s home-life responsibilities. Work together to find a respectful balance. As you work together make sure they know that saying "no" is acceptable.

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

What do you feel responsible for right now?

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash (notebook checklist)

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

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