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How to Aim Your Strengths at Professional Growth

How to Aim Your Strengths at Professional Growth

by Rachael Yi

Story Highlights

  • Many employees feel like their potential is stifled at work
  • Unhappy employees leave due to lack of progress in development
  • Embrace diverse strengths to drive professional growth

Only 37% of U.S. employees say they have the chance to do what they do best every day -- and those who do not don’t see this improving. The desire for advancement is among the top four reasons employees voluntarily leave their company.

And organizations are doing little to remedy the issue: Just 34% of employees say someone at work encourages their development. Workers feel stuck in jobs that aren’t the best fit for them, and organizations are missing out on productivity and talent that could be unlocked through development.

Organizations have a big role to play in facilitating advancement for their employees, but you can also set yourself up for success using your CliftonStrengths.

Development might feel hard to come by when we focus on talents we don’t have or are stifled by remote work limitations. But working with your strengths allows your innate abilities to come to the forefront.


Strengths-based development uses your natural talents to pursue positive outcomes. You consider what’s important to you, how you want to grow and how you’re naturally equipped to do it.

Because CliftonStrengths focuses on your greatest opportunities for development and success, using your strengths can produce positive results in your career growth, on your team or in your leadership style. You’re committing more to the areas in which you’ll naturally excel.

Understanding Your CliftonStrengths

CliftonStrengths identifies what you’re naturally best at through a research-based assessment that identifies your natural patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. Each of the 34 themes in the assessment is categorized in four domains: influencing, executing, relationship building and strategic thinking.

As you aim strengths at your development, ensure it’s productive by working in a way that aligns with your dominant themes. You start by identifying your strengths, but the next step is understanding them and directing them at your goals. You will build the skills, knowledge and practice to effectively harness your CliftonStrengths.

Two people with different strengths can achieve the same goal. But because people naturally achieve goals in different ways, your role, routine and experiences will determine your development process. There’s not a standard template to building your career. But relying on your strengths can help you feel more motivated and achieve wins in your journey faster.

Example: Same Goal, Different Strengths

Scenario: Two new supervisors want to create more inclusive teams. One leads with relationship building themes, while the other leads with strategic thinking. Both can develop their personal abilities, and teams, using their strengths.

Approach: The supervisor with relationship building themes begins by getting to know their team members and their needs and helps each employee find a trusted partner at work. The supervisor who leads with strategic thinking themes begins with research on effective team dynamics and develops policies that encourage team members to share their goals and ideas.

Aiming Influencing Strengths


People with strong influencing themes thrive in new situations where they’re able to shine in unfamiliar ways. Those with high influencing themes seek to reach a broad audience and rally others to aid them in their growth journey. Consider nurturing connections with mentors, sponsors or other supporters who can advocate for your growth even when you’re not around.

As you develop your career using the influencing domain, consider your natural abilities to reach and motivate a broad audience to gain support for your ambitions. You’ll excel with opportunities to speak your mind and should seek to include yourself in places of influence.

Expand your network by uplifting your peers. Use your willingness to communicate to help others, and they will likely return their support to you.

Aiming Executing Strengths


Those with strong executing themes thrive on getting things done -- and this is where you can prove yourself worthy of development opportunities.

Others rely on you to make things happen. Ensure you’re communicating progress on your work and goals so your achievements shine. Integrate the next steps for growth into your work planning.

Creating routines, processes, rules and procedures for yourself can prove your leadership ability. Expand the reach of your abilities by taking on opportunities to mediate delicate issues or conflicts -- this showcases your leadership and comes to you naturally as someone who considers their core values when accomplishing tasks.

Because you’re so committed to your work, ensure you don’t burn out on your growth journey. Incorporate career development into the effective plans and processes you already have in place.


Aiming Relationship Building Strengths


People with strong relationship building themes thrive in the presence of others, and the pursuit of your development is no different. Prioritize relationships over tasks, routines or structures. These relationships can turn into mentors, sponsors or important contacts who initiate the next step in your career journey.

Your natural desire for high-quality relationships means you’ll be energized as you work toward growth among friends. You excel at bringing individuals together to form a united team -- one that is willing to support you.

Because you relate well to others and inherently see how different people can work together, your leadership abilities will be most visible in social situations. Seek them out.

Include trusted people in your growth process, too. Use your willingness to see each person as a unique individual to learn from their successes and integrate those lessons in your development.

Aiming Strategic Thinking Strengths


A fundamental need for strategic thinking themes is time and space to think, so allocate time for yourself to plan your career growth journey. Daily check-ins can keep your thoughts aligned with your pursuits.

Devote your talents to understanding what you need in order to routinely put yourself in the position to succeed. Analyze the information and resources around you to inform your decisions.

Your creativity and ability to envision innovative ways of working should also be applied to your career growth. Is there a better way for you to spend time, innovate or differentiate? These are considerations your strategic thinking strengths are skilled at answering.

Point Strengths at Growth

Strengths support virtually any role or career path by allowing you to work in ways that immediately position you for success.

CliftonStrengths doesn’t dictate what you do or the trajectory of your career path. But it does empower you to create greater alignment between your talents, your career and how you pursue your ambitions -- allowing you to excel in pursuit of any version of your future.

Find personalized approaches to achieve your goals.

CliftonStrengths® and each of the 34 CliftonStrengths theme names are trademarks of Gallup. Copyright © 2000 Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved.


Rachael Yi is a Content Writer at Gallup.

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