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An Introduction to the Context® CliftonStrengths Theme

Looking to learn more about Context? Whether you want to know more about how to use your Context 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 Context?

Context 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 Context theme enjoy thinking about the past. They understand the present by researching its history.

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

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

You look back. You look back because that is where the answers lie. You look back to understand the present.

From your vantage point, the present is unstable, a confusing clamor of competing voices. It is only by casting your mind back to an earlier time, a time when the plans were being drawn up, that the present regains its stability.

The earlier time was a simpler time. It was a time of blueprints. As you look back, you begin to see these blueprints emerge. You realize what the initial intentions were. These blueprints or intentions have since become so embellished that they are almost unrecognizable, but now this Context theme reveals them again. This understanding brings you confidence. No longer disoriented, you make better decisions because you sense the underlying structure.

You become a better partner because you understand how your colleagues came to be who they are. And counterintuitively, you become wiser about the future because you saw its seeds being sown in the past. Faced with new people and new situations, it will take you a little time to orient yourself, but you must give yourself this time.

You must discipline yourself to ask the questions and allow the blueprints to emerge because no matter what the situation, if you haven't seen the blueprints, you will have less confidence in your decisions.

Context is a theme in the Strategic Thinking domain of CliftonStrengths.

People with dominant Strategic Thinking themes like Context absorb and analyze information that informs better decisions.

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 Context Theme

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

How people with strong Context talents describe themselves:

  • "I am appreciative of my predecessors and prior events."
  • "I need relevant background for discussions and decisions."
  • "I love the retrospective."
  • "I hate when the past is forgotten."
  • "I bring accurate memories and valuable memorabilia."

How to Apply Your Context to Succeed

The most successful people invest in their strongest talents. The only way to develop your Context 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 Context to achieve your goals:

Work With Context: If you are in a role that requires teaching others, build your lessons around case studies. You will enjoy the search for the appropriate case, and your students will learn from these precedents. Use your understanding of the past to help others map the future.

Lead With Context: You recognize that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Probe your friends and coworkers about actions that might have contributed to their current successes so you can help them make better choices in the future. This will help them put their decisions into an overall context.

Live With Context: Remember that your Context talents do not require you to "live in the past." Instead, you can actually become known as an active agent for positive change. Your natural sense of context should allow you to identify more clearly than most the aspects of the past that can be discarded and those that must be retained to build a sustainable future.

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


If You're a Manager With Context

Your Context 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 Context 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 Context

When a problematic situation occurs, ask employees with high Context talents to research and identify the actions and other factors that contributed to the problem. Having learned from the situation, you and the team will be better equipped to make choices that lead to improved outcomes moving forward.

Use the CliftonStrengths Assessment to Discover More About Context

How Strong Are Your Context Talents?

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

How to Work With Others With Strong Context Talents

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