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The Restorative Theme: How You Can Productively Aim Your CliftonStrengths Talent

The Restorative Theme: How You Can Productively Aim Your CliftonStrengths Talent

by Albert L. Winseman, D.Min.

Gallup StrengthsFinder Restorative definition: People exceptionally talented in the Restorative theme are adept at dealing with problems. They are good at figuring out what is wrong and resolving it.

When Vanilla Ice rapped the line, "If there was a problem, yo, I'll solve it," he might as well have been describing the predominant attitude of those with Restorative in their Signature Themes of talent. Those with the Restorative StrengthsFinder theme in their Top 5 love to pull a problem apart, examine it from all angles, find the root causes, understand all the aspects and then find solutions.

Some individuals who are strong in Restorative like to fix things -- like repairing a broken appliance, restoring a vintage auto, recrafting antique furniture or fixing a "buggy" computer. Others strong in Restorative like fixing systems and processes. Still others are drawn to "fixing" people -- helping them understand and find solutions to problems they are facing in their personal or professional life and relationships. And for some high in Restorative, it doesn't matter if it's a thing, a system or a person -- they just like understanding and solving problems. And in doing so, they restore -- things, processes, people -- to new life.

Restorative: Helps and Hinders

When you coach those with Restorative 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 Restorative include:


  • You have a unique ability to look past surface-level symptoms to find the root causes of problems -- your solutions are not stopgap, but rather are intended to last.
  • You are a troubleshooter, and in that role, you increase efficiency and reach the goal sooner.
  • Your clear-eyed analysis makes you extremely valuable in crises. You close the loop, restore order and clean up the mess -- and enjoy the process.
  • Your Restorative talents lend themselves well to continuous improvement processes. You find what is wrong, determine how it can be fixed and take things to the next level.


  • Your focus on finding problems could bring you a reputation for being negative -- especially when you find problems that others haven't considered, let alone seen. Help your team members realize you aren't wanting to "rain on their parade," but rather anticipate and avoid problems that would prevent the parade from even occurring.
  • You are energized by examining problems and delving into thorny, complex situations. You may even feel a bit let down when the problem is solved. Because this gives you energy, be aware that you might feel a need to create problems to solve where none actually exist.
  • Depending on the nature of your Restorative talents, you may focus on processes and not people. Give praise where it is due, and don't overly focus on shortcomings -- yours or others'.
  • You may tend to jump in and rescue others when they are dealing with a problem. Be discerning, and resist the urge to solve others' problems for them. More often than not, we learn the most from the problems we face and solve ourselves.

Restorative: Self-Awareness, Self-Expression, Self-Regulation

In order to productively aim Restorative -- 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 Restorative talents by exploring the following:


  • The Power and Edge of Restorative: Those with Restorative among their Signature Themes have a natural tenacity that helps them stay with a problem until a solution is found. Their colleagues trust and rely on them to help them achieve a better outcome.
  • The Vulnerabilities of Restorative: Because they derive satisfaction from the process of solving problems, sometimes those high in Restorative will stick with a problem long after a solution is found -- and will have trouble letting go of the problem.


Coaches can assist clients in realizing and claiming the expression of Restorative 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?
  • What is the most difficult problem you have solved? What did you learn from the experience?
  • What has been your greatest success -- either at work or in your personal life? How did your Restorative talents contribute to that success?
  • Which brings you the most satisfaction: fixing things, systems or people?


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, sometimes those with strong Restorative talents can be so focused on solving a particular problem that they fail to seek out the contributions of others, leading 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 moderate Restorative:

Restorative: Five Powerful Questions for Productive Aiming

  • How would you describe a great day at work? How do your Restorative talents contribute to those best days? How can you have more of those days?
  • If there was one thing you could change about your team to make it better, what would it be? How will you make it happen?
  • What is the greatest value your Restorative talents contribute to your team? How have you communicated that to your manager or team leader?
  • How do you know when a solution is good enough, and that it's time to let go and move on?
  • What areas of your life need fixing? Have you started yet? Whom will you need to enlist to help you?

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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