I recently attended the Thurgood Marshall Leadership Conference for students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities throughout the United States.
Each student was encouraged to take the Gallup StrengthsFinder Survey which is used to identify an individual’s personal strengths, encourage life changes and goal setting habits that can promote productivity. Companies are using this method to help encourage employees to utilize their strengths and work well with coworkers. As representatives from our university communities, we were all encouraged utilize this free opportunity to grow professionally.
There are about thirty-four different traits that can be highlighted after taking the survey: Achiever, Activator, Adaptability, Analytical, Arranger, Belief, Command, Empathy, Communication, Competition, Connectedness, Consistency, Context, Deliberative, Developer, Discipline, Empathy, Focus, Futuristic, Harmony, Ideation, Includer, Individualization, Input, Intellection, Learner, Maximizer, Positivity, Relator, Responsibility, Restorative, Self-Assurance, Significance, Strategic, and Woo.
After taking my survey, I was made aware of the fact that my most powerful traits are: Arranger, Consistency, Empathy, Focus, Learner. I thanked my lucky stars that I didn’t get something crazy like “Woo” . . . what in the world is a WOO?
My Gallup Survey Results
Arranger: People strong in the Arranger theme can organize, but they also have a flexibility that complements this ability. They like to figure out how all of the pieces and resources can be arranged for maximum productivity.
Consistency: People strong in the Fairness theme are keenly aware of the need to treat people the same. They try to treat everyone in the world fairly by setting up clear rules and adhering to them.
Empathy: People strong in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others’ lives or others’ situations.
Focus: People strong in the Focus theme can take a direction, follow through, and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act.
Learner: People strong in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.
Looking at my results, I must admit that I do tend to have a strong belief in fairness and honesty. I also have a strong sense of consistency and need to arrange or organize the tasks I undertake—not things I had never noticed before, but it was surprisingly accurate.
The Gallup Survey served as a good eye opener in regards to strengths that I may not have considered “strengths” in the workplace, but I would hardly pay to have a Gallup team come and survey my employees only to tell them what their strengths are. My experience didn’t go very deep into their processes, but my understanding is that they utilize the traits system throughout the organization as a means of creating project teams and when considering performance.
It sounds like a good idea, but I must question how effective it is overall. Couldn’t it be inadvertently hampering some of the workers by failing to include them in projects or activities that could help them develop certain skill sets or knowledge?
What would you say to the Gallup survey system? Do you think it helps employees “find themselves?”
For more information on the other traits highlighted in the StrengthFinder Survey feel free to visit this site.