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An Introduction to the Intellection® CliftonStrengths Theme

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

Intellection 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 Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.

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

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

You like to think. You like mental activity. You like exercising the "muscles" of your brain, stretching them in multiple directions. This need for mental activity may be focused; for example, you may be trying to solve a problem or develop an idea or understand another person's feelings. The exact focus will depend on your other strengths.

On the other hand, this mental activity may very well lack focus. The theme of Intellection does not dictate what you are thinking about; it simply describes that you like to think. You are the kind of person who enjoys your time alone because it is your time for musing and reflection.

You are introspective. In a sense, you are your own best companion, as you pose yourself questions and try out answers on yourself to see how they sound. This introspection may lead you to a slight sense of discontent as you compare what you are actually doing with all the thoughts and ideas that your mind conceives. Or this introspection may tend toward more pragmatic matters such as the events of the day or a conversation that you plan to have later. Wherever it leads you, this mental hum is one of the constants of your life.

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

People with dominant Strategic Thinking themes like Intellection 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 Intellection Theme

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

How people with strong Intellection talents describe themselves:

  • "I am conceptual, deep and solitary."
  • "I need time for reflection and meditation."
  • "I love the theoretical because it is the precursor to the practical."
  • "I hate a thoughtless approach to anything."
  • "I bring depth of understanding and wisdom."

How to Apply Your Intellection to Succeed

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

Work With Intellection: You are at your best when you have the time to follow an intellectual trail and see where it leads. Get involved on the front end of projects and initiatives, rather than jumping in at the execution stage. If you join in the latter stages, you may derail what has already been decided, and your insights may come too late.

Lead With Intellection: Deliberately build relationships with people you consider to be "big thinkers." Their example will inspire you to focus your own thinking.

Live With Intellection: Engaging people in intellectual and philosophical debate is one way that you make sense of things. This is not the case for everyone. Be sure to channel your provocative questions to those who similarly enjoy the give and take of debate.

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


If You're a Manager With Intellection

Your Intellection 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 Intellection 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 Intellection

Detailed discussions about their strengths will energize them. People with high Intellection talents will likely enjoy the introspection and self-discovery of talking about their strengths. Help them appreciate the value they bring to the team.

Use the CliftonStrengths Assessment to Discover More About Intellection

CliftonStrengths DNA Strand image.

How Strong Are Your Intellection Talents?

Purchase CliftonStrengths 34 to reveal your complete unique talent profile and learn just how strong your Intellection 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 Intellection

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