Tanisha Drummer Parrish

Working towards your strengths

A friend told me to take the Strengths Finder assessment a long time ago and somehow I didn’t get around to it until now. Perhaps, at that time, I wasn’t in a place to reap the true value of this. The book came up again recently during an interview. I walked into the Director’s office and saw all three Strengths Finder books prominently standing up on her desk.  I got excited and we ended up talking for a while about the books and how it was used in the company. I was quite impressed and decided I wanted to take the assessment. The next day, I bought the book and took the assessment. The timing was perfect because I’m conducting a very focused job search targeted for  job roles and organization cultures that are in line with my strengths and interests.

The concept of focusing on strengths is a shift from my last career, where the emphasis was placed on developmental areas. Everyone at every level of the company had developmental areas, so there was a greater emphasis on this than catering to strengths.  While I generally liked my job, I recognized early on that it often caused nervous energy for me. I realized that the nervousness came whenever I was working in an area that wasn’t a strengths or interest for me. My belief is that there is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to developing weaknesses. There needs to be a certain level of proficiency and understanding, but after that time is wasting trying to develop weaknesses into strengths. It’s unnatural and takes away from time spent working in strength areas.

Here are my top 5 strengths from Strengths Finder 2.0 assessment:

  1. Maximizer
  2. Connectedness
  3. Futuristic
  4. Relator
  5. Intellection

This assessment has insight that is valuable to all types of relationships: co-workers, friends, family, mates/spouses, children. I’ll use the Intellection strengths as one example of how dead on this assessment was for me. Here’s a brief description:

Shared Theme Description: People who are especially talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.

Ideas for Action: People may think you are aloof or disengaged when you close your door or spend time alone. Help them understand that this is simply a reflection of your thinking style, and that it results not from a disregard for relationships, but from a desire to bring the most  you can to those relationships.

The Ideas for Action section gives suggestions on how to put this strength to use and things to share with others. I wish I had read this when I was in business school and shared it with my roommate. I remember one day her saying that she used to get offended when I would go in my room and close the door for a while, but after a while she just learned that its what I do and it wasn’t directed at her.  She didn’t understand how I could go in my room and close the door for an hour and then reemerge ready to talk and play.

I couldn’t believe she thought this was directly at her because it was not my intention. When I read the description above, I thought about her. It is dead on in expressing the purpose for needing to be alone…to ultimately be able to strengthen the relationship. While I know these things about myself, I have to remember that others don’t necessarily know these things about me because they have  a different  way of framing things based on their own strengths. This book is a great way to deepen the understand of yourself and foster better relationships in your life.

So here’s to Quita for learning about my strengths the hard way. Thanks for being patient!

© 2023 Tanisha Drummer Parrish – Life Under Innovation