Susanna Savage – Defining My Unique Leadership Style

by Susanna Savage

Taking StregthsFinder 2.0 has not only enabled me to understand my top strengths, but also to ruminate on how I can best utilize those strengths in a group setting. It is often difficult for people to step back and analyze their own behavior, and I am no exception. However, after taking StrengthFinder 2.0 and reading my top five strengths, it is easy for me to recognize the ways in which I exemplify these strengths and can utilize them in the future. The following are my top five strengths.

One: Strategic

People who are strategic tend to be able to see situations from many different angles at one time. They can quickly and efficiently weigh options, consider possible outcomes, and determine the best route of action. They are able to critically examine problems and maximize positive results. Strategic people are creative and lend a unique perspective to group work.

I feel that this trait is very accurate in describing me. I often use my creativity to determine the best solutions to problems. I use strategic planning in my everyday life, planning almost everything that I do out ahead of time. Whether this entails the order in which I run various errands, or the best use of my study time, I am always looking for the most efficient and effective path. As a fulltime student with both fulltime and  part time jobs, I am constantly planning and strategizing in order to maximize my time and ensure that high priority tasks are completed first.

In a group setting, I often make sure that the group spends time planning and weighing options. From the roles that each member will play in any given project, to the steps that should to taken to accomplish a project, it is important to me that as a group we decide what the best course of action is. Additionally, it is important, for the success of the project, that all of the group members understand these plans and the reasons behind them.

Two: Learner

People who are learners are motivated to gain knowledge. They have a passion for the process of taking in new information, and this learning does not always have to be geared towards some kind of end or goal. They do not necessarily feel compelled to learn in order to be rewarded, to gain social standing, or even to use the knowledge that they are learning. Learners enjoy learning simply for the process itself, distinct from any auxiliary benefits.

I firmly believe that it is important for me to gain as much knowledge as I can because it allows me to make educated decisions and to rely less on the opinions of others. It is because of this strength that I am currently majoring in three different areas of study plan to further my education after graduation in a fourth area at law school. It is my love for learning that has motivated me to study so many different areas in such depth. I generally can find interest in any class that I take, regardless of the subject matter, simply because I enjoy the process of learning new things and refining my knowledge in areas which I am already with.

In group settings, being a learner helps me be able to truly listen and understand the ideas of others. I am eager to learn all that I can from each and every team member. With the knowledge that I gain, I can make more educated decisions. This also allows me to look at situations from multiple viewpoints, rather then just one. I take what I learn and put it towards making informed, strategic decisions.

Three: Achiever

Achievers are driven to achieve. Each and every day they feel the need to achieve or to accomplish something. These people are continually looking for more challenging projects to tackle and always pushing themselves to achieve more then they previously had. Achievers are future oriented. Although they feel a sense of satisfaction when they finish a project or make an accomplishment, they quickly turn their attention toward the future and their next achievement.

The need for achievement is a driving force that is very alive in my every day life. I am always pushing myself to constantly do better then I have in the past. I am not motivated to achieve in order to receive praise or recognition, but simply for my own personal satisfaction. This is exemplified in the work that I put towards my GPA. While working full time and taking a full class load it is very difficult for me to maintain a high GPA. Sometimes I have to make sacrifices in my personal life to achieve my goal. Yet, I feel compelled to work towards that goal because I know that I am capable of achieving it.

The same is true for all areas of life. I always try to do the best work that I can possibly do. I like to say that if it can be done then I can do it. When working on group projects I generally act as a motivator to the other members of the group to ensure that the quality of the work that we do is as high as it can be. Although different group members may set lower standards of achievement for themselves then I do for myself, my drive to reach a high standard helps me motivate the others to set similar goals for specific group projects.

Four: Input:

People with the strength of input are interested and curious about the world around them. They enjoy finding and storing information about the things that interest them. They often collect things, such as books, quotes, or facts. Not only are they always searching for the answers to their questions about the world, but they also store the information that they find, hoping that it will one day prove useful to them. They bring with them a lot of knowledge that they can share with others in a group setting. They are also very thorough researchers.

For me, this goes hand in hand with learning, which was my second strength. However, while learning only deals with the process of obtaining knowledge, input has more to do with the storing away and collecting of that knowledge. While I enjoy adding to my mental store of knowledge by doing research and learning about things that interest me, I also enjoy physically collecting knowledge in the form of books. As a college student, I don’t have a lot of extra money to spend on books, but I do frequent used book stores and book sales. I have been collecting books for several years now and I am the proud owner of two large book cases full of books.

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The newest edition to my shelves – a collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury

I also collect other types of information. When I’m working in the Writing Center, I keep record in a notebook of the things that I have learned on the job. I write down tactics that I have found to be successful in explaining complex concepts to students, approaches for dealing with difficult students, or considerations for working with students who speak English as a second language. This gives me a resource to look back to whenever I am unsure how to approach a situation. In group settings, I use this strength by keeping and organizing information that is vital to the goals of the group. I take notes during group meetings and keep track of important handouts, research results and lists. I also keep copies of documents generated by the group. By keeping track of important information I can ensure that the group will always have access to it.

Five: Intellection

People who have the strength of intellection enjoy thinking. They like to process and understand concepts at a deeper level. Because they enjoy thinking, these people rarely make decisions without taking time to consider all the possible outcomes. By taking time to consider before acting, they are able to move smoothly through projects without having to backtrack or change directions. Additionally, they are able to trouble shoot by determining the best route before choosing a course of action.

As part of strategic planning, I take the time to think things through before choosing a course of action. I enjoy exercising and stretching my mind, and the people who I am closest to are ones that I can have stimulating conversations with. In group settings, I have used this strength to ensure that the decision making process is sufficiently thorough and that decisions are not made to hastily and with too little thought. If I feel that a decision has not been fully explored before the group reaches a verdict, I always try to extend that process by asking questions and facilitating further discussion. In the past, this further discussion has sometimes changed the direction of the group and avoided difficulties farther down the road.

Critical Analysis

My unique set of skills work together to make me a valuable group member who strives for excellence both in group efficiency, and quality of work. My skills are relevant to any kind of group work and thus make me an asset to any group that I might find myself in.

The strengths of intellection, achiever and strategic thinking work together to form their own unique skill. The careful and thorough thought that comes from the intellection strength is vital to the ability to think strategically. Without deep thought and contemplation, strategic thinking, which weighs possible outcomes and explores all possible courses of action is impossible. In turn, it is difficult to achieve goals without strategic thought. The drive to achieve that I experience as an achiever is realized by strategic thought and planning. Together those skills maximize efficiency and facilitate choosing the best route to reach a goal.

The strengths of input and learner also come together to form a unique combined strength. The pursuit of learning enables me to find interest in gaining knowledge, and the strength of input motivates me to store that knowledge. Together, they make me a more knowledgeable person, with a stockpile of information from which to draw. Additionally, they enable me to learn and retain new information quickly. This skill is often vital when working on group projects.

Organizations that would most benefit from my leadership style are those for whom quality and efficiency of work is of the utmost importance. Through the combination of my strengths I thoughtfully and strategically work towards achieving the most positive outcome possible. I hope to further my education after graduation from Ashland University at law school. There I believe that my strengths, specifically achiever, learner and strategic will facilitate my learning and development. Later, as a lawyer, the ability to think strategically as well as the input skill will assist me in putting out the highest quality of professional work.

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