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How You Can Productively Aim Your Self-Assurance Talents

How You Can Productively Aim Your Self-Assurance Talents

by Albert L. Winseman, D.Min.

In 2002, former NBA All-Star Charles Barkley penned his autobiography, I May Be Wrong but I Doubt It. This sentiment likely resonates with those who have Self-Assurance in their Top 5, as Self-Assurance possesses a strong internal compass that compels them to lead their own lives without much advice from others.

Those with high Self-Assurance need to be in control of their own destiny, and they take steps to ensure that they are. They are confident in what they do well and are not threatened by others who are talented in areas where they are not. They will recruit and recognize talented individuals, secure in their own abilities.

Those high in Self-Assurance are often viewed as being comfortable in taking risks that would scare away most others. That is the perception, but the reality is -- from the perspective of those with strong Self-Assurance talents -- it only looks risky from the outside. They intuitively know how to get the risky thing done -- and know they will be successful. As a result, what looks risky actually isn't to the mind of Self-Assurance. Self-Assurance is not just about confidence in achieving outcomes. It's also about having a unique appreciation for their one and only life. It's their life and no one else's, and as such, no one else can live it for them.

Self-Assurance: Helps and Hinders

When you coach those with Self-Assurance in their Top 5, helping them claim both the "helps" and the "hinders" of the theme is critical to productive aiming. Some common helps and hinders of Self-Assurance include:


  • You exude confidence in your decisions and guidance, and that instills confidence in others.
  • You have an entrepreneurial approach to your work, which drives you to confidently set out into uncharted territory rather than shying away from risks others may not be willing to take.
  • When you make a decision you know is right, your confidence in the direction you set inspires others to follow.
  • You know what you do well, and you like to surround yourself with others who are as confident in their abilities as you are in yours. You are not threatened by others' excellence -- and this enables you to build world-class teams.


  • You are your own person and set out on your own path, regardless of who may or may not follow. If you find yourself swimming upstream by yourself more often than not, it may be time to re-evaluate your communication and interpersonal skills. As the old saying goes, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
  • Others may often experience your confidence as arrogance. Being self-confident does not mean you have to be unkind.
  • You might not only be perceived as stubborn; you might actually be stubborn. Sometimes the most effective way to create followership is to admit when you've made a mistake. Then, correct your course and ask others for their input.
  • Because you speak with confidence, others might be hesitant to ask questions. Be sure to give people opportunities to ask questions, gain clarity and provide input. While your initial thinking might be on target, the additional dialogue and input will only elevate the outcome.

Self-Assurance: Self-Awareness, Self-Expression, Self-Regulation

In order to productively aim Self-Assurance -- or any -- talents at a particular goal, an individual must have: 1) self-awareness about the theme's power, edge and vulnerabilities; 2) an understanding of how the theme finds expression in day-to-day thinking, feeling and behaving; and 3) knowledge of how to regulate the theme to maximize the potential positive outcomes that can be realized through intentionally applying a strengths-based approach. Coaches can help clients with strong Self-Assurance talents by exploring the following:


  • The Power and Edge of Self-Assurance: Those with Self-Assurance among their Signature Themes have an inner compass and intuitively trust their instincts when deciding which action to take. Their colleagues trust them and rely on them to help achieve a better outcome.
  • The Vulnerabilities of Self-Assurance: Because they trust their instincts, sometimes those high in Self-Assurance will go it alone in the face of resistance -- rather than bringing others along who could enhance the outcome.


Coaches can assist clients in realizing and claiming the expression of Self-Assurance by helping them explore instances in the past when this theme was particularly useful. To facilitate this exploration, coaches can ask the following questions:

  • What makes a great day for you?
  • How does your intuition guide you?
  • What has been your greatest success -- either at work or in your personal life? How did your Self-Assurance talents contribute to that success?
  • When was a time you overcame resistance -- and what was the result?


Self-regulation occurs when individuals know which of their talents to use in particular situations, or know which talents to combine to amplify, accelerate, activate, soften or moderate that talent. For example, those with strong Self-Assurance talents tend go it alone, not ask for advice, and leave others out. This can cause their team members to feel devalued and unappreciated. In situations like these, a coach can help the client find other talents that might yield better results. Also, coaches can help clients explore different theme combinations. Below are some possible combinations that will either amplify or soften Self-Assurance:

  • Themes that tend to amplify Self-Assurance: Command, Activator, Competition, Achiever, Belief, Discipline
  • Themes that tend to soften Self-Assurance: Empathy, Relator, Includer, Harmony, Connectedness, Woo

Self-Assurance: Five Powerful Questions for Productive Aiming

  • How would you describe a great day at work? How do your Self-Assurance talents contribute to those best days? How can you have more of those days?
  • Are decisions being made in your organization that you instinctively believe will take it in the wrong direction? With whom have you shared this feeling?
  • What is the greatest value your Self-Assurance talents contribute to your team? How have you communicated that to your manager or team leader?
  • How do you bring others with you on your journey -- and how do you help them feel valued, respected and appreciated for their contributions?
  • Who has strengths you don't have? What would be the result of partnering with these individuals? How will you make it happen?

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:


Al Winseman's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Ideation, Futuristic, Maximizer, Strategic and Command.

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