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Called to Coach
Activator®: How to Feel More Energized at Work
Called to Coach

Activator®: How to Feel More Energized at Work

Webcast Details

  • What do people with Activator bring to their roles and workplaces?
  • How can you bring energy and motivation to work as you apply your Activator talent?
  • How can managers with Activator create more of an energized, thriving culture on their teams?

Below are audio and video plus a transcript of the conversation, including time stamps.


Productive employees want energy, motivation and drive to characterize their work life. Managers want their teams to possess these in abundance. And organizations envision an entire engaged, thriving workforce that overflows with these qualities. How can individuals high in Activator bring energy and motivation to their workplaces? And how can managers high in Activator® foster a work environment that is energized, motivated and thriving? Join Gallup's Jim Collison and Dr. Jaclynn Robinson and discover how, using your Activator theme, you can bring new energy and motivation to your role, your managing, your coaching.


[Activators] can take ideas and start driving them towards action.

Jaclynn Robinson, 7:07

When ... you're encouraging your team members to take this proactive initiative -- whether it's related to the impact they can create, problems they can solve, actions they want to take -- you're empowering them.

Jaclynn Robinson, 13:32

Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and this is The CliftonStrengths Podcast, Season 3, recorded on November 10, 2023.

Jim Collison 0:21
In this CliftonStrengths® Podcast series, we'll look at how to feel more energized and motivated to work one theme at a time, and today's theme is Activator. If you're listening live, we'd love to have you join us in chat. Or if you want to email us your questions after the fact, send those to us: Dr. Jaclynn Robinson is our host today. She works as a Senior Learning and Development Consultant and joined me for both Season 1 and 2 of The CliftonStrengths Podcast, where we looked at Wellbeing at Work -- that's the book -- and our CliftonStrengths role-based reports (that was Season 2). Jaclynn, always great to see you. Welcome back!

Jaclynn Robinson 0:53
Hello! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Activator: Questions for Individuals

Jim Collison 0:56
Great to see you, Jaclynn. We're talking this season about bringing energy to work with your themes. Today, we're talking about Activator. Let, let's think about that from an individual perspective first. What are some ways an individual with Activator can feel more energized, specifically by focusing on their basic needs?

Jaclynn Robinson 1:16
Tracking your activities and accomplishments each day or even the week, depending on what your outlook is, to see what's been initiated and what's been completed. So you might like it daily, as an Activator, for, you know, the purposes of just wanting to see what you've got started. At the end of the day, you just look and go, OK, what did I actually get done? Did I stay on course? Or did I activate on something completely different than I should have? So I think a tracker would be a good way to just create that clarity and keep you moving forward.

Jim Collison 1:45
I think oftentimes -- Activator 5 for me -- I think sometimes my best days are when I get a lot of things going. Like you were talking about that review process -- a review process not to feel guilty, you didn't get things done, but to see the progress of things, and sometimes to say, I started this, but then I got into it. And I realized it's not scalable, or I realized it's not going to work, or I didn't even like the idea. That happens so frequently to me, where I, it sounded like a great idea at 9 a.m.; by 10 a.m., it's the worst idea I've ever had. Right? Right? And giving myself the ability to forgive -- that's probably not the right word -- but to get past a bad idea, right? Because we have a lot of them, and say, sometimes, and say, yeah, no, actually, I started it. It didn't work. It's already, I've already, I've already let it go. Would you add anything, would you add any, would you add anything to that?

Jaclynn Robinson 2:45
Interesting, too. Yes. I was gonna ask you if you see your, your Ideation showing up in your Activator a lot.

Jim Collison 2:52
For sure.

Jaclynn Robinson 2:53
With the, with the ideas, the --

Jim Collison 2:55
Ideation 7.

Jaclynn Robinson 2:55
Tracker of just ideas that helps you go, What do I want to throw away? What did I start? And maybe I'll continue to track my progress.

Jim Collison 3:03
Definitely an influence, right? We have to remember that, right? These themes don't live in isolation. And so that Activator is absolutely 5; Ideation® coming in at 7; and Positivity® sandwiched in the middle. So I'm OK with that. Like, yeah, you know what? I was thinking today I was gonna go paint the shed; it just didn't work out. It's OK. You know, it's not an Achiever® thing. It's OK. I'll get it another day. Or will, I just won't do it at all, right. And so having that freedom to know you can start, think through it from a basic needs standpoint, and then not necessarily having the guilt behind it, to always have to finish those kinds of things allows me to continue to bring that energy to work. Let's talk, let's talk about this idea of, of development, then. What are some ways that Activator can feel more energized by focusing on their individual strengths and development? Talk a little bit about that.

Jaclynn Robinson 3:57
Yeah. Well, there -- hmm. So when I think about that one, it's that try-and-fail approach that Activators love. And so I think, to a degree, too, it's, it's pausing for a moment to say, What do I want to, you know, what's the developmental goal for me? And it could be as simple as, I want to engage in a new project, or maybe there's a new responsibility that I want to try out because it sounds fun, sounds engaging, gives me a, puts a little fire behind me. And then it's, OK. And I'm going to be comfortable with trying and failing until I, until I get it right. But in that try-and-fail process, it could be really helpful to, to jot down what worked. I think that could support this studying of success, so that you, you continue to, to drive towards excellence within that particular developmental opportunity.

Jaclynn Robinson 4:52
And I say that because, as an Activator, it's easy to just get caught up in the doing, you know, or I should say the, the starting, but what I mean is, even when you're starting it, it's, you like to iterate. You like to kind of just manipulate, try and fail, try and fail. And we might forget what worked. So it can be helpful to just jot down, Oh, this worked. And then in your one-on-one conversations with your manager, you've got that side note to say, Well, I recognize when I was in X project, or when I was conducting X responsibility, this is where I found the most success. So that you can be consistent with it in the future, as you start to integrate it more into your, your overall career plan.

Jim Collison 5:31
For me, yeah, very, very much so. Yeah. I think, as I was listening to what you're saying, with, with Activator, I think sometimes that development comes on the back side of. And it's maybe even taking advantage -- you didn't know this was gonna, you started something and had no idea where this was gonna go. And you learned some things through the process that on the backside, you didn't intentionally do it, thinking, like, Oh, yeah, I'm going to learn these things. No, you started it, and then went, Oh, what, or Oh! Right? Those two, those two reactions both happen. And then that learning and development comes in on the back side.

Jim Collison 6:11
And I think, for Activators, being OK saying, I don't know what I'm going to learn. But I'm going to learn something. I'm, it's going to change something for me. Each one of the seasons that we've done of what was Theme Thursday, now The CliftonStrengths Podcast, has been a learning opportunity for me. And now third season for you. You, you and I both sat down, and we said, Hey, what have we learned? And how do we, how do we put this into the next season? What you're hearing now in this season is a direct result, for me anyways, the influence that I have, of what we've learned in the past. What are some ways that an Activator can feel more energized by building partnerships? I think, maybe alluded to this in what I just said, but building partnerships and finding purpose within their role? How can they do that with Activator?

Jaclynn Robinson 6:56
This is fun. So I think the way that they, the way an Activator can help encourage partnerships or just naturally blossoms with them -- they can take ideas, they can take ideas and start driving them towards action. So there might be somebody on the team that has a really great idea. But maybe they're slow to start. That actors -- that Activator's gonna say, Yeah, let's go! Let's, let's get it moving! So they can really be a catalyst for, you know, bringing people together with the ideas they have and putting it in action. They might not come to completion with it -- that's not where the energy is gonna be -- but they're gonna get it started. So they're not just gonna be sitting ducks around a table, you know, talking about something; they're gonna say, OK, let's go. And people can be really inspired by that, because they go, Wow, you know, you know, I just love the kind of energy and enthusiasm you, you, you have with getting something started -- especially if you might have a partner that's more Deliberative® in their approach, and it's going to maybe take a while for them to get started. They might appreciate, to some degree, having somebody that says, Well, it's OK. What's the worst that can happen? Let's just at least try it.

Activator: Questions for Managers

Jim Collison 8:07
Yeah, and be that inspiration. Yep. Yeah, to be that inspiration, to say, hey, cause sometimes, people just need a partner to go along with them. They won't do it on, they won't do it -- I'll do stuff by myself all the time. Like, that's just the way I'm built. But others need, who don't have that, others need, sometimes need that person. Well, that's thinking from a team dynamic. As we think about managers who have Activator, right, How can a manager with Activator support others with their basic needs? Talk a little bit about that, because this has taken it from me to we.

Jaclynn Robinson 8:42
I think a big thing that Activators can do is they can break the barriers and frustrations that are getting in the way of team success. They can break that barrier down, so they're not being derailed from whatever assignment or responsibility or project they have. Meaning, if the team comes to them and says, Hey, you know, we don't have access to, you know, a file on the intranet, that manager, because they have Activator, it's like, OK, well, let's get it done. And they're gonna go, and they're gonna flag IT right then and there. And it can be solved much quicker than if they didn't have that theme. And, you know, maybe they say, well, I'll get to it, or I'll put it on my list. You know, it's like, let's just do it. Why can't we do it right now?

Jim Collison 9:26
Yeah, I love that phrase, "Why can't, why can't we just do that right now?" We think, we, we just earlier had been talking about Achiever, but I think as a manager with Activator, this is one of those things that separates it out is, yeah, it sounds like Achiever, but in that phrase that you used, "Why can't we do that right now?" is I think one of those powerful manager phrases that -- and it's not appropriate in every situation, but in some, it is. Like, let's, there is this need. Why can't we do it right now? And I love, I love that Jaclynn. That's a great --

Jaclynn Robinson 9:59
That responsiveness is, is just so great when, especially when it comes to barriers and frustrations. And that translates to burnout, if there's barriers and frustrations for too long. Activator can just cut through that. So I think that's such a golden gem that this theme has.

Jim Collison 10:17
Yeah. And for some, a refreshing, like, "Oh, like, I've been struggling with this for a while. We could solve it today?" type situation. So I love that. How, so how can a manager with Activator then help others feel seen, heard and valued as an individual?

Jaclynn Robinson 10:36
When they see a team member contribute something of value, you know, anything they've done -- it could have been a contribution to the team in terms of, Oh, I'll, I'll take that responsibility off the plate, or everyone's overworked. No one has space in their calendar. And then someone, you know, takes it upon themselves to get X, Y or Z done. This person, they, with that Activator, they can recognize an individual right away -- for the contribution, the workload, whatever value they created. And that ability to immediately recognize somebody motivates them. It gives them that sense of accomplishment. It increases their engagement. So I think it's just using it to say, Oh, when I see someone in action, do something of value, let me -- going back to the "right away" phrase -- let me recognize them right away.

Jim Collison 11:30
Yeah, well, there's, there's power in that, right, of not waiting; of saying in the moment, from a manager's perspective, you have this ability and this power to see it. Say it. This is, when I was riding the Tube in London, they would say, See it. Say it. Sort it. Right? It was this idea of, and I think that, that Activator has that responsibility as a manager to, in those moments, oftentimes call it out for, for what it is. And maybe this will build into it. What else can a manager do to build trust, inspire and deepen team collaboration, as well as community?

Jaclynn Robinson 12:06
Yeah. They could foster a culture of proactive initiative within the team, meaning they can inspire employees to take the lead in identifying and solving problems relating to -- and if we want to go to the inspiration piece -- to the company mission. So if the team recognizes something they could do better that really impacts the customer more, what are the ideas that you've got? And let's just try it out. Let's put it in action. Or if there's a barrier to their success that's impeding on their ability to, you know, create impact for the customer, well, let's i, let's identify a problem, and let's start putting an action in place. You know, we might not be able to solve for it today, but we can get one step closer. So I think that the key words to touch on there is that proactive initiative, and then you can guide them so they can, they can feel more empowered to do things that are going to create long-lasting impact.

Jim Collison 13:02
How do you think that fits into the trust model, then? As we, cause we, we ask this question build trust. So that's happening. Back that into trust for a second. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Jaclynn Robinson 13:13
Yes. Yeah, one of the key ways that a manager can build trust is by empowerment. So it's delegating work to team members or enabling them to come up with ideas or enabling them to, to solve for problems. And so when you're encouraging that -- you're encouraging your team members to take this proactive initiative -- whether it's related to the impact they can create, problems they can solve, actions they want to take -- you're empowering them. You're, you're, you're saying, Hey, I trust you. I know you've got this. And I'm here for you along the way. I'll be that, that guide or that facilitator for you. So yeah, great question, and how that relates to it.

Jim Collison 13:56
Yeah, and I think sometimes we think about building trust in the context of relationships, but, but we can also build trust from an organizational standpoint of I trust, I feel safe on this team. And I trust this team, right. And so, oftentimes, the manager can have a big, we know it has a big part, right, that 70% can, that, that trust coming from the manager can then, can kind of permeate through the team perspective, and the team can begin to trust each other. Thoughts, thoughts on that, Jaclynn?

Jaclynn Robinson 14:33
Yes. And when the team trusts each other, what do we see is more ideation, because they're starting to use each other to bounce ideas off of one another to identify resolutions. They do that for that thought partnership. And how inspiring when you have new ideas that are sparked all the time, and a, a manager that enables you to, you know, go forth and try it out. Because Activators going to the heart of, you know, that theme are comfortable with failure. It's, you know, going back to the iterative approach, let's try and fail and try and fail until we get it right. It's fine. And so there's -- I know we're getting into development in a moment, but it helps develop people to know that, Oh, it's OK if I, if I fail. I can just get up and try again, you know. And for the team, it's the same. We can come up with ideas, and we can try to put it into action. And if we fail, it's OK. Manager's got our back. He trusts us. They trust us.

Jim Collison 15:30
Yeah. And we trust each other in that, right?

Jaclynn Robinson 15:33

Jim Collison 15:33
Let's, with that, with that final question, let me, let me ask it: What can a manager do with Activator to support growth, then, in each of the team members? We've alluded to it, so maybe put a bow on that, as we think about that team helping the, helping those, the growth of each team member.

Jaclynn Robinson 15:49
Yeah, and I can even kind of shift gears just to add a new layer into that. But they can help team members break down their learning, their learning objectives into smaller actionable tasks. And that's going to align with that Activator theme of, you know, wanting to take steps quickly. If we go back to what we had just talked about, maybe the team has some ideas that can, you know, impact the purpose that they have for the customer more. They can help them, say, OK, What's the, you've got this idea. What's the first step that we can take? You know, but for developmental purposes, I always think of, What's the idea or the plan that that individual has for themselves? And how can the manager help them just start to break it into fast, fast-acting, quick steps, so they can celebrate those quick wins along the way?

Jim Collison 16:42
I'm gonna ask you here in a second to wrap the theme. But as you were saying that, it got me thinking, the positive side of Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Right. Oftentimes, we use that as a negative analogy for our children on a trip. But for a manager who is constantly checking in with their individual, those they're managing, using that Activator talent to say, Are you there yet? Are you there yet? Are you there yet? Right, that positive checking up to see, Are you there yet? What's in the way? Are you there yet? What's in the way? Right? Where we take that and make it positive, that's what, that's, that's the analogy that got me thinking. Jaclynn, take a second and wrap this theme up for us.

Jaclynn Robinson 17:24
Yeah, so I'd say if you have Activator, one of the big kind of taglines that you could think about is, Am I promoting a culture of, of proactive initiation, of immediate execution, in terms of recognizing people, supporting them with their, you know, developmental plans? And then, individually, you could also internalize that for yourself and say, Am I promoting a culture myself of immediate action? Where am I slow to move, and why? Because it might not be giving you energy, whatever that task is that you wanted to start. So going back to your point earlier, you can kind of release it. Or if it's work related, talk to your manager and say, you know, I love getting things started, but I'm really dragging on this. And I'm recognizing it's because I don't like it, or I thought it was a good idea, and it isn't. Can we let this go? So yeah.

Jim Collison 18:22
Love that. Great way to wrap it up. And, and with that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we do have available -- more of these and more of this available,, if you want to log in -- that's Gallup Access. Log in and look for those resources. For coaching, master coaching or to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, you can send us an email: We'll send you more information around that. Love to have you join us for our 2024 Gallup at Work Summit. If it's 20 -- if it's past June of 2024, it's OK. We probably still have another one scheduled and ready to go. You can check out all the details: Gallupatwork -- all one word -- Stay up to date with all of our future webcasts by joining our Facebook groups, and you can join us on any social platform by searching "CliftonStrengths." I'm contractually obligated to say Like and Subscribe, because that's what the kids are doing on YouTube these days. So no matter where you're at, Like and Subscribe. We'll appreciate that. And it just feels good when you do, so activate on that -- Like and Subscribe -- right now. Thanks for listening today, and thanks for coming out. For those listening live, stay around for a little bit of a postshow. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Jaclynn Robinson's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Achiever, Strategic, Maximizer, Positivity and Relator.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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