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.
- 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