by Samantha Stutzman
When going into the work force it is always a good idea to know what are your strengths and what are your weaknesses. Sometimes it can be hard to really pin point on what those are for yourself individually, and that is where StrengthsFinder test comes in. With StrengthsFinder’s little quiz it is able to help you figure out your five top strengths. Not only does it tell you what your five top strengths are but it breaks them each individually down to what they mean, ultimately giving you a better opportunity to understand what field of work would be better for your strengths. I personally was thrilled with the results that I received from the test. It reassured me of strengths I already knew I had, but also showed me new strengths that I did not even think about. With this new information I have began to look at expanding my search in careers to take after college that will benefit my strengths.
My top strength that I received from the StrengthsFinder test was that I am a futuristic person. A futuristic strength means that I am a person that looks towards the long term goals and sees the positives in what tomorrow can bring. People with this as a top trait are seen as the visionaries of the companies they work for. It comes with the ability to know there is always room to improve and there is always something that can be better. Futuristic traits work well with other traits as well and in reality depend on the other traits to guide it. If a person has other traits that lead them in a more personable setting then the futuristic strength will help them inspire people to improve. While if a person who is introverted can focus on using the futuristic strength to help better a product within a company. For me there is a little bit of both the social and antisocial characteristics for my strengths that can lead my futuristic trait in different directions. While having futuristic as a strength has many benefits there are some downsides that can come with it. Being a person who looks to the future can make you sometimes blind to what is going on in the present which is equally important.
I can say that I have already seen the good and the bad that my futuristic strength can have on my life. I have always been the one to look to the future and try to plan what will happen next in my life. Whether it was planning for what college I was going to go to or planning what my future house will look like I have always wanted to think about the future. This has helped in some instances. It makes me very prepared for all types of situations because I think of all possible outcomes, but like I have mentioned before it does have it’s downsides. When you always think about the future you plan for things to go a certain way and when they do not go exactly that way it can be very disappointing. Another fault to always looking towards what is going to happen next is forgetting to live in the present and enjoying what is happening at this very moment. Though the benefits of this trait has always out weighed the bad. I have used this strength all throughout my time at school in planning out my class schedules, what assignments I was going to do, and when I was going to have free time. It took time to master what worked best but like a true futuristic I am always looking to improve on it.
My next strength on my StrengthsFinder test was context. This strength could be viewed as odd seeing that my first strength was looking towards the future and my second strength is looking to the past. Though I can see in my own personal way of accomplishing things that this is completely accurate. Context means that a person looks to the past for answers on what they should do. The point to looking back at the past is to get perspective on what should be learned from mistakes that were made, basically how to improve. People who have high context are usually fascinated with history, which is very accurate for myself. I have always loved history and the stories that it has to tell. It can get frustrating with looking to the past for answers because sometimes there really is no past answer to go off of, it might be something completely new.
My use of context as a strength can also be seen in everything in my life from schooling to my personal life. In school I was always the kid who enjoyed history class and learning on what happened in the class. My parents would always take me on tours of museums or to look at old plantations down in the South when we would go to visit my grandma. My favorite part was hearing the stories of what had happened in a certain time period or what happened in a certain location. When it comes to my personal life I always look to past situations to guide me in what I should do. I use this in helping friends too. If I have gone through something that my friends are now going through I will give them some insight on what to expect and advice on what they could do to hopefully change the outcome.
The third strength that was seen in me through the test was that I am analytical. This means that I am the type of person who does not automatically accept something as being true, but I have to be convinced that it is the truth. It means that I am often to challenge situations and even people that I might not exactly believe one hundred percent with. This also works well with my just mentioned strength, context. These two strengths work together well because they both have the tendency to try and look for answers in situations. With being an analytical person comes with some faults like any other trait, but with this one in particular there can be a lot more disagreements. It can be frustrating for people around you when you are always questioning things. Some people think that I always look at the negatives, but that is not the case. It is important to see all sides of a situation before jumping to one conclusion. Believing something as fact right away can lead to trouble down the road.
I have always been an analytical person, but I have always tried to dull this side of me down when it comes to looking at the negatives though it has helped me out in some situations. From my personal life to work I have used it to make sure that I and people around me are being told the truth and get the best outcome. In my personal life I have used my analytical nature to question what I was being told. From people trying to sell my things in stores to a friend telling me something that happened, I question. This has helped me make smart decisions like when making big purchases to choosing what school to go to. In my job as a waitress this strength came in help many of times. As a waitress you are often told stories and lied to many times by the occasional customers hoping that they will get a better deal. As an analytical individual I questioned these accusations I was being told, made mental notes and supported my side on how I either made a mistake or not. This benefited me a lot not only getting through a problem with bettering my conflict communication skills with others to find a solution.
My fourth strength was arranger, which I could not agree with more and was actually surprised that it was not one of my more higher strengths on the list. The strengths of an arranger are people who take charge in situations, mostly chaotic ones. The see all the different variables of each situation they are placed with and make it work to be the most productive. Though most arrangers thrive on hectic plans it can come down to organizing something as small as a group project. It could be viewed that arrangers have a linking point with individuals who have strength in leadership because arranging sometimes does involve informing others on what to do. The StrengthsFinder also mentions that arrangers thrive in working in teams. This is not too hard to believe when thinking about how much easy it is to change plans or organize something well more people are on board with the idea or share ideas on how it can get accomplished.
Whether it was group projects in school or changing plans, I have always been the go to person to arrange how things were going to get done in the most beneficial ways. The easiest example I can think of this happening is when I was planning to go visit my boyfriend in Hilton Head, South Carolina. When it can to arranging a flight, hotel, and reservations to eat certain nights most of the planning came down to me. It did not take me long to look through different travel websites to find the best deals for flights and hotels, even when my flight was delayed and I missed my connecting flight it was is to arrange the next best option to get me to my destination in a reasonable time.
My fifth and final strength that I received on the test was input. This was another strength that I was surprised was not higher up on my list. Input is not only the want to have feedback from people around you but the willingness to accept it. Receiving input from others can be very hard, especially when it is something that you do not necessarily want to hear but need to hear. By willing to hear input means that you want to know what can be improved upon and what can stay the same. It is more about wanting to know more than to take advice in a way. This often means expanding your mind to new things and wanting to know more. A person high in input is often very interesting in expanding their knowledge. They are the people always looking to try, read, and do new things.
It is hard not to see that in almost all aspects of input I follow to a T. From an early age I was use to hearing input from people around me due to I had to go to many tutors to improve my reading, math, speech, and writing skills. In all that time growing up going to different tutors I had to listen to their input on what I was doing wrong and how I could improve it by making minor adjustments. As I got older and did not need the extra help anymore I never lost my want to receive input from people to how I was doing. Always in the back of my mind I am wondering “did I do that right?”, “is there a better way I could have done that?” With wanting input comes wanting to know and the way of getting to the point of knowing is trying to find it. During the summer I am always on the search for a new book to read or new documentary on Netflix to watch. Just something to expand my knowledge on what I should know about the world.
Looking at my top five traits I can see the pattern that they form. They each seem to follow a similar path that leads in the same direction, and with this similar direction could lead to a pretty interesting leadership style. I can see how taking these strengths into effect could lead to a strong but relaxed format for leadership. With my strengths of context, analytical, and arranging could be the hard backbone needed to support the strength of leadership. While my more laid back strengths of futuristic and input make a more open, relaxed version of leadership. Both sides working together can make for a very effective working environment where not only do people respect what I say to them in leadership form but also know that their ideas are always welcome for discussion.
With my particular strengths I would say that the organization of my leadership would lean more towards the informal side. For one being that having input be one of my strengths means that there would always have to be the chance for people to want to feel comfortable to do so. With that, having a more formalized organization of leadership would not be as beneficial as an informal one. With an informal leadership style people would most likely feel that they could come directly to me with ideas instead of the formal way of going up the chain of command. By coming directly to me leaves lot more time to discuss ideas and plans on how to get the project or idea down, the analytical and futuristic side coming out of me.
All these five strengths play a very good role in making a great opportunity for a informal leadership style. Some of the strengths set up a great base that all leadership should have, those strengths being my context, analytical, and arranging. While my other two strengths, futuristic and input, make for a great structure that makes well for progress and new ideas to be bounced around. All together they make a great setup for leadership that can not only get the task at hand done but is also always looking for improvements on how to make it better.