Before taking the quiz, I looked at the different themes and highlighted those that I thought were my strengths. Most of the themes I see as my strengths were in Executing and Relationship Building, with only one in Strategic Thinking and one in Influencing.
However, after taking the quiz, I found that I have my strongest strengths on Strategic Thinking and Executing, and NONE in Relationship Building. This came as quite a surprise and I've been struggling with my reaction. To be quite honest, I've always thought of myself as someone who gets along pretty well with others and can use those relationships to help encourage change. But this is now the third time in recent memory that I've been told that I need to work on my relationship-building skills, that I have a tendency to be too impatient with others, or that my attitude isn't quite right for the position that I'm in. As a classroom teacher, I had great relationships with my students and keep in touch with many of them still today (two weddings coming up for former students, one former student who (temporarily) followed in my French-teacher footsteps, several that I travel to see now that they've moved out of state). But it seems that I struggle with my peer relationships. That will need further reflection down the road.
On the other hand, I was pleased with the overall results. None of the themes that appear as my top five strengths upset or surprise me. The first three are easy to explain. I've been accused of having "my nose in a book" since I learned to read and the first thing I do when I have a question is to go find a book or website with more information. I also struggle with self-confidence, so the Restorative theme is a reflection of me constantly trying to be "good enough" based on what I see as my weaknesses. Lastly, I have worked very hard to overcome the challenges that I had growing up and to do what I can to keep others from experiencing those same obstacles. In my opinion, that is the reason for the Achiever theme.
Over the next few months, I'll continue reading and reflecting on my strengths. I will also spend some time reflecting on ways to improve on those themes that weren't in my top five. Quite obviously, I can't be equally successful at all 34 themes. But seeing our strengths honestly is part of what makes a good leader.
Have you taken the Strengths Finder quiz? What were your strengths? Did your results confirm what you already knew or did they surprise you?