If you're considering Gallup's CliftonStrengths (formerly StrengthsFinder) for team building in a professional setting, read on for helpful tips and tricks.
Updated
April 17, 2024

Using the CliftonStrengths Personality Test for Team Building at Work: A Guide for Managers Looking to Improve Their Team's Performance with StrengthsFinder

If you're considering Gallup's CliftonStrengths (formerly StrengthsFinder) for team building in a professional setting, read on for helpful tips and tricks.

If you're considering Gallup's CliftonStrengths (formerly StrengthsFinder) for team building in a professional setting, you have come to the right place. Read on for things to consider and helpful tips and tricks.

👉 TL;DR

CliftonStrength's, published by Gallup, is one of the giants of the workplace personality test market. With its emphasis on individual strengths and millions of tests sold, it's likely that you've taken StrengthsFinder at work (or at least know of someone who has). Given how common the CliftonStrengths personality test is, you might be thinking about using it for your next team building activity as a way of better understanding each team member's strengths.

However, if you're looking for a personality test that is specifically built for teams, consider TeamDynamics instead. This modern personality test is built for the realities of how today's teams communicate and collaborate to get work done, and provides actionable insights to help your team level up its performance.

In this article:

In today's fast-paced professional world, the secret sauce to a successful team isn't just in the skills each member brings to the table, but in how well these individuals mesh together to create something extraordinary. Whether you're navigating the dynamic landscape of a tech startup, orchestrating a symphony of ideas in a marketing team, or strategizing the next big move in a consulting firm, understanding and leveraging the unique strengths of each team member can be a game-changer.

Enter StrengthsFinder, a personality test that goes beyond the traditional approach of identifying weaknesses to fix. Instead, it celebrates what each team member does best, offering a fresh lens through which to view your team's potential. Imagine a workplace where every project is a puzzle, and you have the blueprint to fit each piece perfectly, maximizing efficiency, creativity, and satisfaction. That's the power of StrengthsFinder in team building.

But why focus on strengths, you might ask? The answer is simple: when people are aware of their strengths and are given the opportunity to use them, engagement skyrockets, productivity blooms, and the whole team moves forward with a shared sense of purpose. It's about playing to everyone's unique talents and creating an environment where everyone can thrive.

Check out the 5 best alternatives to CliftonStrengths.

As we dive into the world of StrengthsFinder, we'll explore the traits that make up this insightful tool, decode the scoring to reveal deeper insights into your team's dynamics, suggest activities to bring these strengths to life, and weigh the pros and cons of integrating StrengthsFinder into your team building strategy. Whether you're a seasoned manager looking to reinvigorate your team or a newcomer keen to make your mark, this guide is your first step towards building a stronger, more cohesive unit.

Stay tuned as we unlock the secrets to a more productive and harmonious workplace with StrengthsFinder. Let's embark on this journey to not only discover what each team member brings to the table but to create a masterpiece of collaboration and innovation.

Understanding StrengthsFinder Traits: The Key to Unlocking Team Synergy

At the heart of every high-performing team is a deep understanding of each member's unique strengths. This is where the StrengthsFinder personality test shines, offering invaluable insights into the diverse talents within your team. But what exactly are these traits, and how can they serve as the building blocks for unparalleled team synergy? Let's dive in.

What is StrengthsFinder?

Developed on the principle that individuals excel when they focus on what they do best, StrengthsFinder is not just a test—it's a catalyst for growth. By identifying specific areas where each person naturally excels, StrengthsFinder sets the stage for enhancing team performance through the power of understanding and leveraging innate talents.

A Glimpse into StrengthsFinder Traits

StrengthsFinder categorizes traits into four broad domains: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking. Each domain comprises several distinct traits, offering a nuanced view of your team's capabilities:

  • Executing: These are the doers, the ones who turn ideas into reality. Traits like Achiever, Consistency, and Focus fall into this category.
  • Influencing: Individuals with strengths in this domain know how to take charge, speak up, and make sure the team's voice is heard. Traits include Activator, Command, and Self-Assurance.
  • Relationship Building: The glue that holds the team together, these traits emphasize empathy, collaboration, and the ability to build strong relationships. Look for traits like Developer, Empathy, and Relator.
  • Strategic Thinking: Those who excel in strategic thinking are the ones who keep the team focused on what could be. They're innovative, analytical, and visionary, with traits like Futuristic, Learner, and Strategic.

Leveraging Traits for Team Success

Understanding the diverse strengths within these domains allows team leaders to strategically assign tasks, foster collaboration, and ensure that each member is in a position to contribute their best. For example, pairing someone with a strong executing trait with another who excels in strategic thinking can lead to a powerful combination of planning and action.

Furthermore, recognizing these traits encourages a culture of appreciation and respect. When team members understand and value the diverse strengths of their colleagues, it cultivates a positive work environment where everyone feels valued for their unique contributions.

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The Impact on Team Dynamics

Incorporating StrengthsFinder into your team building strategy transforms the way teams operate. It moves beyond the surface level of skills and qualifications, delving into the core of what makes each team member tick. This deep understanding fosters a sense of belonging and purpose, aligning individual strengths with the team's goals to create a unified force of productivity, creativity, and satisfaction.

As we explore the intricate tapestry of StrengthsFinder traits, remember: the goal is not just to identify strengths but to weave them together in a way that elevates the entire team. In the following sections, we'll uncover how to interpret these traits, engage in activities that highlight them, and ultimately, harness their power to build a stronger, more cohesive team.

What are all 34 StrengthsFinder traits?

The StrengthsFinder assessment, now known as CliftonStrengths, identifies 34 distinct talent themes (or strengths) grouped into four domains: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking. These strengths are designed to help individuals and teams understand where their talents lie so they can develop them into strengths. Here's a brief overview of the 34 CliftonStrengths themes:

Executing Domain

These strengths are about making things happen.

  1. Achiever: Driven by a constant need for achievement.
  2. Arranger: Skilled at organizing and arranging resources for maximum productivity.
  3. Belief: Possesses strong values and a sense of purpose in life.
  4. Consistency: Focused on fairness, ensuring equal opportunities for all.
  5. Deliberative: Careful and reserved, taking serious care in making decisions or choices.
  6. Discipline: Prefers routine and structure, leading to high levels of organization.
  7. Focus: Can set a direction and follow through with a clear goal.
  8. Responsibility: Takes psychological ownership of what they say they will do.
  9. Restorative: Loves solving problems and revitalizing projects or people.

Influencing Domain

These strengths help teams reach a broader audience.10. Activator: Impatient for action and can turn thoughts into action.

  1. Command: Takes charge of situations with confidence.
  2. Communication: Uses words to inspire action and educate.
  3. Competition: Thrives on comparison and competition to excel.
  4. Maximizer: Focuses on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence.
  5. Self-Assurance: Possesses an inner compass that gives them confidence in their decisions.
  6. Significance: Seeks to be seen as significant in the eyes of others.
  7. Woo (Winning Others Over): Loves the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over.

Relationship Building Domain

These strengths create strong teams that can work well together.18. Adaptability: Lives in the moment and can adjust on the fly.

  1. Developer: Recognizes and cultivates the potential in others.
  2. Connectedness: Believes in the links between all things.
  3. Empathy: Can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others’ lives.
  4. Harmony: Looks for consensus and areas of agreement.
  5. Includer: Shows awareness of those who feel left out and makes an effort to include them.
  6. Individualization: Intrigued by the unique qualities of each person.
  7. Positivity: Has an infectious enthusiasm that can lift a team's spirits.
  8. Relator: Enjoys close relationships with others, finding deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.

Strategic Thinking Domain

These strengths are about analyzing information and making better decisions.27. Analytical: Searches for reasons and causes.

  1. Context: Enjoys thinking about the past to understand the present.
  2. Futuristic: Loves to peer over the horizon and imagine future possibilities.
  3. Ideation: Fascinated by ideas and able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
  4. Input: Has a craving to know more, often collecting and archiving all kinds of information.
  5. Intellection: Enjoys mental activity and reflection.
  6. Learner: Has a great desire to learn and wants to continuously improve.
  7. Strategic: Can create alternative ways to proceed, quickly spotting relevant patterns and issues.

Each of these strengths offers a unique contribution to a team's success, and understanding them can help individuals and teams leverage their talents effectively.

Scoring and Interpretation of StrengthsFinder Results: A Roadmap for Team Success

Unlocking the full potential of your team starts with understanding the unique strengths each member brings to the table. The StrengthsFinder test offers a goldmine of insights, but interpreting these results and translating them into actionable strategies can seem daunting at first. Fear not, for this guide will serve as your roadmap to navigating the StrengthsFinder landscape, ensuring your team not only understands their individual strengths but also how to harness them for collective success.

Decoding the Scorecard

After taking the StrengthsFinder assessment, each team member receives a report highlighting their top five strengths. This scorecard is more than just a list; it's a deep dive into the core attributes that drive each person's behavior and contributions. Here's how to make sense of it:

  1. Personal Insight: Encourage team members to reflect on their top strengths. Do these resonate with how they see themselves? How have these strengths played out in their work and personal life?
  2. Team Discussion: Share results within the team in a collaborative session. This fosters a culture of openness and mutual respect, vital for team growth.

Interpreting the Results for Team Building

With the scorecard decoded, the next step is to leverage this knowledge for team building. Here's where the magic happens:

  1. Strengths Mapping: Create a visual map of your team's strengths. This reveals the diversity of talents and how they complement each other, highlighting potential areas for collaboration and growth.
  2. Gap Identification: Sometimes, recognizing what's missing is just as important as knowing what's present. Understanding the spread of strengths across the team can help identify areas for development or recruitment.

Ideas for StrengthsFinder Team Building Activities

Transform insights into action with tailored StrengthsFinder activities for team-building that highlight and develop each member's strengths. Here are a few StrengthsFinder workshop ideas for how to use StrengthsFinder for team building at work:

1. Strengths Bingo

Objective: To get team members to interact and discover interesting facts about each other's strengths. This works great as a StrengthsFinder icebreaker!

How to Play:

  • Create bingo cards with different StrengthsFinder strengths listed in each square.
  • Team members walk around, talking to each other to find out who has which strength. When they find a match, they can mark off that square.
  • The first person to complete a row (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) shouts "Bingo!" and wins.

2. Strengths Storytelling

Objective: To share experiences where team members effectively used their top strengths. This can make for a great StrengthsFinder workshop idea.

How to Play:

  • Each team member prepares a short story about a time they successfully utilized one of their top strengths.
  • Stories are shared in a round-robin format, with the group reflecting on how those strengths can be beneficial in the team context.
  • This activity not only helps team members understand each other's strengths but also showcases practical applications of those strengths.

3. Strengths Pair-Up

Objective: To identify complementary strengths within the team and brainstorm how they can be leveraged together.

How to Play:

  • Team members write their top strengths on a sticky note and stick it to their chest.
  • Everyone then mingles, trying to find a partner with a complementary strength.
  • Once paired, partners discuss how their strengths can work together effectively and share their insights with the group.

4. The Strengths Gallery

Objective: To visually represent and appreciate the diversity of strengths within the team.

How to Play:

  • Provide team members with markers and a large sheet of paper to draw or write something that represents one of their strengths.
  • Each member then presents their "artwork" to the group, explaining the strength it represents and why it's meaningful to them.
  • The collection of artworks is displayed in the workplace as a "Strengths Gallery," serving as a constant reminder of the team's diverse talents.

5. Strengths Debate

Objective: To engage team members in a friendly debate about the advantages of different strengths in various scenarios.

How to Play:

  • Divide the team into small groups and assign each group a different strength to represent.
  • Present a hypothetical workplace challenge.
  • Each group argues how their assigned strength would be best suited to address the challenge, fostering a deeper understanding of the value each strength brings to the team.

These icebreakers are not only enjoyable but also immensely valuable in building a team culture that recognizes and celebrates each member's unique strengths. By engaging in these activities, teams can enhance their communication, collaboration, and overall effectiveness.

Leveraging Strengths for Problem-Solving

Put your team's strengths to the test with a problem-solving workshop. Present a current challenge and encourage brainstorming sessions where each member contributes from their area of strength. This not only leads to creative solutions but also highlights the power of diverse thinking.

Celebrating Strengths

Recognition goes a long way. Regularly acknowledge and celebrate when team members effectively use their strengths. This can be through shout-outs in team meetings, written commendations, or awards for outstanding strength-based contributions.

The Path Forward

Interpreting and applying StrengthsFinder results is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Continuously engage with the strengths framework through regular check-ins and reflection sessions. This ensures that the team remains aligned and adaptable, ready to leverage their collective strengths for any challenge that comes their way.

The Pros and Cons of Using StrengthsFinder for Team Building: A Balanced View

In the quest for optimal team performance, the StrengthsFinder personality test emerges as a powerful tool for uncovering the diverse talents within your team. Like any tool, however, it comes with its own set of advantages and challenges. To make an informed decision, it's essential to weigh the benefits against the potential drawbacks. Let’s explore the pros and cons of integrating StrengthsFinder into your team building strategy.

Pros of StrengthsFinder in Team Building

Enhanced Self-Awareness and Team Cohesion

  1. Pro: StrengthsFinder gives individuals a profound insight into their unique talents, fostering a sense of identity and confidence. When shared within a team, it creates a foundation of understanding and respect, enhancing team cohesion and collaboration.
  2. Impact: A team that understands and values each other's strengths can work together more effectively, leading to increased productivity and a positive work environment.

Targeted Development and Growth

  1. Pro: By focusing on innate talents, StrengthsFinder encourages individuals and teams to invest in areas where they naturally excel, rather than spending disproportionate time on improving weaknesses.
  2. Impact: This strengths-based approach to development can lead to more rapid growth and satisfaction, as team members feel more engaged and competent in their roles.

Strategic Task Allocation

  1. Pro: Understanding the diverse strengths of your team allows for strategic task allocation, matching tasks with the team members best suited to them.
  2. Impact: This can result in higher quality work, more innovative solutions, and a more efficient workflow, as individuals leverage their strengths to contribute to team goals.

Cons of StrengthsFinder in Team Building

Cost Considerations

  1. Con: Accessing the StrengthsFinder assessment typically involves a fee for each team member to take the test and access their results.
  2. Consideration: For some organizations, especially smaller ones or those with tight budgets, this cost can be a significant barrier to implementation.
TeamDynamics costs as little as $29 per user, far less than other personality tests.

Potential for Pigeonholing

  1. Con: There's a risk that individuals might feel pigeonholed by their identified strengths, limiting their opportunities to explore and develop in other areas.
  2. Consideration: It's crucial to communicate that while strengths provide valuable insights, they are not definitive labels. Encourage exploration and growth beyond identified strengths.

Overly Focused on Personality

  1. Con: With 34 distinct strengths, the StrengthsFinder test offers a nuanced view of individual talents. However, there's a potential risk of oversimplifying complex human personalities into neat categories, and insufficient recognition of the ways personalities combine in a group setting.
  2. Consideration: Emphasize the use of StrengthsFinder as a starting point for understanding and development, not an end-all-be-all. Encourage ongoing personal and professional development that considers the full complexity of each team member.
TeamDynamics is designed to decode how modern teams communicate and collaborate, helping you build better habits as a team.

Navigating the Pros and Cons

The key to successfully implementing StrengthsFinder in your team building efforts lies in thoughtful application and continuous dialogue. Celebrate the strengths each member brings to the team, but also remain open to the dynamic nature of personal and professional growth. By balancing the insights gained from StrengthsFinder with a commitment to holistic development, you can create a team that is not only aware of its strengths but also resilient, adaptable, and prepared for the challenges ahead.

Implementing StrengthsFinder in Your Team: A Blueprint for Success

Having navigated the rich landscape of StrengthsFinder—from understanding its diverse traits and interpreting results to exploring the pros and cons of its application in team building—it's clear that this tool holds transformative potential for teams aiming for excellence. The journey towards a more cohesive and high-performing team begins with a commitment to leveraging the unique strengths of each member. Here's your practical guide to making StrengthsFinder a cornerstone of your team's success.

Step-by-Step Implementation

  1. Begin with Buy-in: Start by ensuring that all team members are on board with the StrengthsFinder initiative. Highlight the benefits, address concerns, and foster an atmosphere of excitement and openness to discovery.
  2. Facilitate Assessment: Arrange for the team to take the StrengthsFinder assessment. Consider covering the cost as an investment in your team's development and productivity.
  3. Debrief as a Team: Organize a team meeting to discuss the results. Consider bringing in a certified StrengthsFinder coach for deeper insights. This session should be a safe space for sharing, learning, and planning how to leverage individual strengths in achieving team goals.
  4. Integrate Insights into Daily Operations: Use the understanding of each member's strengths to guide task assignments, project teams, and personal development plans. This strategic alignment will not only enhance productivity but also increase job satisfaction.
  5. Monitor and Adjust: Make StrengthsFinder a living part of your team's culture. Regularly check in on how strengths are being utilized and celebrated within the team. Be open to adjusting your approach as your team evolves.

Measuring the Impact

Success doesn't stop at implementation. The true value of incorporating StrengthsFinder into your team building strategy is reflected in the tangible improvements in team dynamics and outcomes. Monitor these key areas:

  • Increased Engagement: Look for signs of higher motivation and commitment to team goals.
  • Enhanced Productivity: Measure improvements in output, quality of work, and the achievement of objectives.
  • Improved Team Harmony: Observe the team's communication and collaboration patterns for signs of smoother interactions and more effective conflict resolution.

The Road Ahead

Embracing StrengthsFinder is a commitment to continuous growth and improvement. It's about creating an environment where each team member's unique talents are recognized, valued, and fully utilized. As you embark on this journey, remember that the goal is not just to achieve better results but to foster a culture of appreciation, understanding, and mutual respect. This is the foundation of a truly great team.

Conclusion

The StrengthsFinder personality test offers a unique lens through which to view and harness the potential within your team. By understanding and applying the insights it provides, you can elevate your team's performance to new heights. Whether you're leading a tech startup, a marketing team, or a consulting group, StrengthsFinder can be your guide to unlocking the collective power of your team's individual strengths. The path to a more dynamic, cohesive, and successful team begins here.

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