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An Introduction to the Activator® CliftonStrengths Theme

Looking to learn more about Activator? Whether you want to know more about how to use your Activator theme to succeed, or how to help someone harness theirs, you've come to the right place.

You'll find definitions and descriptions made popular in the international bestseller StrengthsFinder 2.0, plus ideas for how to better understand and use this CliftonStrengths theme.

What Is the Definition of Activator?

Activator and the rest of the CliftonStrengths themes are comprised of natural talents that Gallup has identified through decades of research.

People exceptionally talented in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They want to do things now rather than simply talk about them.

People complete the CliftonStrengths assessment to learn which of the 34 themes, like Activator, are strongest in them.

The following theme description highlights the thoughts, feelings and behaviors you are likely to experience if you have strong Activator:

"When can we start?" This is a recurring question in your life. You are impatient for action. You may concede that analysis has its uses or that debate and discussion can occasionally yield some valuable insights, but deep down, you know that only action is real. Only action can make things happen. Only action leads to performance.

Once a decision is made, you cannot not act. Others may worry that "there are still some things we don't know," but this doesn't seem to slow you. If the decision has been made to go across town, you know that the fastest way to get there is to go stoplight to stoplight.

You are not going to sit around waiting until all the lights have turned green. Besides, in your view, action and thinking are not opposites. In fact, guided by your Activator theme, you believe that action is the best device for learning.

You make a decision, you take action, you look at the result, and you learn. This learning informs your next action and your next. How can you grow if you have nothing to react to? Well, you believe you can't. You must put yourself out there. You must take the next step. It is the only way to keep your thinking fresh and informed.

The bottom line is this: You know you will be judged not by what you say, not by what you think, but by what you get done. This does not frighten you. It pleases you.

Activator is a theme in the Influencing domain of CliftonStrengths.

People with dominant Influencing themes like Activator take charge, speak up and make sure others are heard.

Each of the 34 CliftonStrengths sort to one of four domains -- Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building and Strategic Thinking. These domains help you understand how to use individual CliftonStrengths to succeed when you join, create or lead a team.

Learn more about the CliftonStrengths domains

How to Better Understand Your Activator Theme

Making the most of your Activator talents starts with gaining valuable insights into what you naturally do best.

How people with strong Activator talents describe themselves:

  • "I am impatient with inactivity."
  • "I need less discussion, more action."
  • "I love initiation, instigation."
  • "I hate waiting, wasting time."
  • "I bring a catalytic sense of urgency."

How to Apply Your Activator to Succeed

The most successful people invest in their strongest talents. The only way to develop your Activator talents is to use them every day -- at work, at home and everywhere else. The following are a few ideas for how to apply your Activator to achieve your goals:

Work With Activator: Consider partnering with focused, futuristic, strategic, or analytical people who will lend their direction and planning to your activation, thereby creating an opportunity to build consensus and get others behind the plan. By doing this, you complement each other.

Lead With Activator: You possess an ability to create motion and momentum in others. Be strategic and wise in the use of your Activator talents. When is the best time, where is the best place, and who are the best people with whom to leverage your valuable influence?

Live With Activator: You learn more from real experience than from theoretical discussions. To grow, consciously expose yourself to challenging experiences that will test your talents, skills, and knowledge.

Check out our in-depth videos from Gallup experts for more ways to use Activator to make the most of your potential.


If You're a Manager With Activator

Your Activator talent makes you stronger. Lead with your strengths so both you and your team can succeed. A strengths-based approach to management will lead to:

  • better conversations
  • stronger partnerships
  • higher team engagement
  • greater collaboration

For manager-specific insights and strategies, check out your CliftonStrengths for Managers report and explore your top 10 themes and how you can use them to reach your goals.

Managing Team Members With Strong Activator Talents

Discovering the collective talents of your team using the CliftonStrengths assessment is just the first step.

To successfully manage or lead others, you must individualize your approach. You must understand what makes each of your team members unique. And you must lead meaningful conversations about performance that focus on what each person naturally does best.

An Example of Managing Team Members With Activator

Their perceived pushiness might intimidate others. To avoid conflict, help them hone their approach to getting things started. Providing a solid explanation for why action is needed will help others understand the logic and value behind new initiatives.

Use the CliftonStrengths Assessment to Discover More About Activator

CliftonStrengths DNA Strand image.

How Strong Are Your Activator Talents?

Purchase CliftonStrengths 34 to reveal your complete unique talent profile and learn just how strong your Activator talents are. You'll get personalized insights into your CliftonStrengths results and ideas for maximizing your potential.

Group of people at work discussing their strengths.

How to Work With Others With Strong Activator Talents

Gallup offers resources and products you can use to help others succeed by developing their Activator theme and all their CliftonStrengths.