How to maximize the strengths in your team

strengths-finderThere are a few things you do exceptionally better than others – i.e. your talents and strengths – and the same principle applies to teams. When we look at individuals, we consider their individual talents and strengths, yet when viewing a team’s activity, it is often helpful (and fascinating) to view the “strength domain” in which the team works.

What are the four strength domains?

Gallup’s research has identified four distinct domains of strength: Executing, Influencing, Relationship building and Strategic thinking. According to the research, a total of 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder themes naturally cluster into these four domains of strength.

Here’s a quick look at the four strength domains and their defining themes or characteristics.

Executing domain: Achiever, Arranger, Belief, Consistency, Deliberative, Discipline, Focus, Responsibility, Restorative. Teams skilled in executing strengths focus on delivery. They get things done with speed, precision and accuracy. These teams put ideas into action.

Influencing domain: Activator, Command, Communication, Competition, Maximizer, Self-assurance, Significance, Winning others over (Woo). Influencing teams sell the team’s ideas. They speak up and take charge. This is your team when you need to reach a broader audience or meet a bigger goal.

Relationship building domain: Adaptability, Developer, Connectedness, Empathy, Harmony, Includer, Individualization, Positivity, Relator. These teams instinctively take the human component into the equation. They make strong relationship connections that bind a group together around a cause, idea or each other.

Strategic thinking domain: Analytical, Context, Futuristic, Ideation, Input, Intellection, Strategic, Learner. Strategic thinking teams create new and fresh ideas, solve problems, and look for the best way to move forward.

How to leverage your team’s strength domain

Focusing on team strengths and leveraging those of individual members will lead to your greatest success. While a team with little or no relationship building themes is still certainly capable of having meaningful and fulfilling relationships, identifying the operating domain will raise awareness about the need to partner with those who possess stronger relationship building skills.

Awareness of the areas that are not your greatest strength – and knowledge of team members who possess strengths in that area – will enable you to partner in new ways, allowing each team member to do what they do best.

Let’s use an example of a sales team that skews heavily in relationship building, yet is not strong in influencing. Today they sell to customers they know well: They renew contracts and work on building and growing current customers. What happens however, when they are asked to sell to new customers or influence others with a different set of strengths? There are several options. The team can look to individual members, to see if high influencers exist in the group. They could also add new team members who display high influencing talents. Or, they could partner with another team that demonstrates strong influencing skills. Or finally, they might consider moving the new selling requirements to a different group altogether.

The beauty of viewing teams through the lens of the four strength domains enables you to make strategic decisions based on your team’s greatest strengths. It also empowers you to change tactics when the absence of key strengths could impede future success. By assessing team strength this way, we are better equipped to address areas where a team naturally does well, and also where they need to take an alternate approach.

The concept of strengths is a fascinating subject for all, one that generates great conversation. Learning and growing are vital to each team member’s success, both personally and collectively. We look forward to sharing more insights as our strength journey continues!

Compare individual strengths within your team’s strength domain. What insights could you apply to boost team performance?

Donna is a Gallup certified strengths coach and Head of Business Services. She can be found at Linkedin.com/dgoudie.

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