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Interview: How Mike Allen Leads With Strengths

Listen to Leading With Strengths on these popular platforms or wherever you listen to podcasts. Gallup Podcast on iPhone and iPad Gallup Podcast on Android Clifton Strengths Podcast on Spotify

About the Leader

Mike Allen

Mike Allen Co-founder, Axios

  • Individualization®
  • Relator®
  • Activator®
  • Positivity®
  • Self-Assurance®

“CliftonStrengths has been in the DNA of Axios from the beginning.”


"We're very good at talking. We're not so good at listening."

Allen believes that listening on an individualized level is a key skill every journalist -- or anyone who wants to succeed -- should develop. He lauds the ability to pay attention to people, to discover what can be learned from them and figure out, as he says, "what makes them tick."


“I'm definitely an optimist.”

As an entrepreneur, Allen approaches the world with a positive and hopeful disposition, but he also cautions journalists that they must portray reality with clinical precision and sanity, not rose-colored glasses.


"Of all the strengths, Self-Assurance is the most contagious."

Allen believes that people want to be led, that they want someone to give them the confidence to take action or follow a certain path. He asserts that people will thank leaders who share their confidence with them. He considers confidence to be so powerful that it can offset any of a person's shortcomings.


"Little things matter."

Allen uses what he calls the "10-year rule" to help guide his Relator. When deciding on a course of action, he asks himself, "What will I wish I had done in 10 years?" This allows him to make choices that are optimally meaningful -- to himself and the people in his life -- even when those choices seem minor at the time.


"Finish strong."

When he's competing, Allen focuses not on how the competition begins but on how it ends. Anybody, he says, can boast, come up with a big idea or get off to an exciting start. However, what matters is following through and "getting the big things right."