Connecting Strengths to Type®

I am a great believer in strengths-based development.  As a matter of fact, a colleague and I attempted to start a “Strengths Revolution” a few years ago.  (Let me say, the proposal did not garner a lot of upper management support … but we certainly had the revolutionary passion!)  I believe that we gain much more productivity through focusing on strengths – as opposed to trying to correct weaknesses.  As a matter of fact, I believe that your weaknesses are nothing more than your “strengths on steroids.”  So, strengths-based development allows you to understand how your strengths can turn into weaknesses … therefore resulting in awareness and improvement of weaknesses.

Reading the strengths-related works of Marcus Buckingham, Curt Coffman, Donald Clifton, Paula Nelson, Tom Rath and Barry Conchie are well worth your time.  And I particularly enjoyed taking the assessment in the StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath.  The result was a detailed analysis of my top five strengths:  Activator, Strategic, Adaptability, Connectedness, and Futuristic.

I am also a believer in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®.  I have often used this assessment to help with individual self-awareness, team building, and organizational effectiveness improvement.  I always find enjoyment in the discovery process as I watch workshop participants come to the “aha” moment where they say, “Yes! That really is me.”  I enjoy pairing opposites and allowing them to share their differences, thereby reinforcing their learning about Type® and preferences.  I am an ENFP.  For those unfamiliar with Type®, that would translate to Extravert, Intuition, Feeling, and Perceiving.  In short, I get my energy from the external world, enjoy seeing the big picture, initially think about the human impact when making decisions, and can be open-ended and spontaneous.

Knowing what I know about my strengths and knowing what I know about my Type®, I have been wondering – is there a correlation between the two?   I believe there is.  Let’s see if you agree.

  • The Activator strength is described as one of action. Activators make decisions, take action, look at the results, and learn.  As Rath says, “action and thinking are not opposites.”
  • I correlate this strength with my Extravert preference.   In Introduction to Type®, Isabel Briggs Myers describes the MBTI® Extraversion preference as one where people learn best through doing or discussing and readily take initiative
  • Rath describes the Strategic strength as a perspective that allows one to see patterns where others simply see complexity.  As Rath states, “Mindful of these patterns, you play out alternative scenarios, always asking, ‘What if this happened?’”
  • The person with an Intuition preference in the MBTI® is continually asking, “What if?”  Myers listed “Focus on the patterns and meanings in data” as one of the characteristics of the Intuition preference.
  • Adaptability focuses on living in the moment and being flexible – one “who can stay productive when the demands of work are pulling you in many different directions at once.”
  • The MBTI® Perceiving preference results in similar descriptors:  flexible, adaptable, changing course, feeling energized by last-minute pressures, liking things loose, and being open to change.
  • StrengthFinders 2.0 lists Connectedness as one of my strengths.  Rath relates connectedness to human connections.  “If we are all part of a larger picture, then we must not harm others because we will be harming ourselves. … Your awareness of these responsibilities creates your value system.”
  • Reflecting on the Feeling preference, one with this preference is guided by personal values, strives for harmony and positive interactions, and always assesses the people impact of his/her decisions.
  • Finally, Futuristic.  As the word implies, the future is the focus of this strength.  Being a dreamer, seeing visions of what could be, and describing those visions in vivid terms – those are the descriptors Rath used.
  • Again, we turn to the Intuition preference as a comparison.  With an orientation to future possibilities and imagination coupled with verbal creativity, the Intuition preference seems to mirror the Futuristic strength.

So – in short – yes, I do see a correlation between my strengths (as defined by StrengthsFinder 2.0) and my Type® (as identified through the MBTI®).

How about you?  Have you taken each of these assessments?  Do you see a correlation between your results?

Let me know if you find a connection between the two.  I look forward to your thoughts.

References:

  • Myers, Isabel Briggs (rev. Linda K. Kirby and Katharine D. Myers). Introduction to Type®, Mountain View, CA:  CPP, Inc., 1998
  • Rath, Tom. StrengthsFinder 2.0, New York, NY:  Gallup Press, 2007
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