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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: Significance®

We recognize that communities throughout the United States (and the world) 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 Significance theme want to make a big impact. They are independent and prioritize projects based on how much influence they will have on their organization or people around them." - Gallup CliftonStrengths® Themes Quick Reference Guide -

Burnout Concerns

Those with Significance talents want to be known, heard, and seen. They also think big. These talented individuals often want to take on the big projects that might burn others out. These traits can all be extremely helpful in times of change and disruption. However, it doesn't mean that they can't be burned out. Those with Significance® talents might experience burnout if you:​

  • Think small, plan small, and act small; particularly as we collectively reinvent the world of work. Significance®-talented individuals are ones who will push a team to be successful; particularly when it comes to initiatives that truly move your organization (or the world) forward. If you continually "hold them back", they will burnout or leave; neither option leaves your organization in a good place.

  • Don't recognize their contributions. They will keep working to earn internal and/or external recognition; such respect energizes them more so than most people. If they're passionate about your organization, they may not want to leave so will overwork themselves trying to earn meaningful recognition.

  • Tell them how to do their work. Dramatic moments of change can lead some leaders to begin defining how new initiatives should be carried out, right down to the last detail. Those with Significance talents are "free spirits" who desire leeway to do things their way. They thrive in our new "age of individualization." Pinning them in by defining how to do their work is a sure way to burnout.

Addressing Burnout

In times of change, you need these talented individuals. They can inspire. They can be leading voices. They can help bring credibility to your initiatives because they usually only work with the best. To support them and keep them from burning out while they contribute their best:​

  • Get out of their way. These individuals thrive when they can define their own paths to success. Failure is rarely, if ever, an option, and they will partner with people who are similarly professional and driven. Give them the steering wheel and you will not be disappointed.

  • Provide them with a platform. Allow them to announce and define initiatives. Make them a spokesperson. Just be sure that he or she resonates with the project and the people.

  • Recognize them. Some people may shun the limelight, but for those with Significance® talents, it energizes them and keeps burnout at bay. Each person may wish to be recognized differently, but more likely than not they'll appreciate public recognition.

As with coaching any individual, their combined set of talent themes will effect how their Significance® 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 you are making a difference on right now?

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

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