How To Apply CliftonStrengths Activator At Work

StrengthsFinder Definition - Activator

Often people will ask us, "What does it mean to have the Activator Strength?" First, know that StrengthsFinder will help you figure out your potential. We call them natural talents or natural patterns. We know you're here because you want to turn them into superpowers in your career, so here's the gist: People exceptionally talented in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They want to do things now, rather than simply talk about them. Here's the full list of CliftonStrengths definitions so you can check out your other talents as well.

Gallup®, Clifton StrengthsFinder®, StrengthsFinder®, and each of the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are trademarks of Gallup, Inc.

CliftonStrengths Activator - Learn All About It

These 10-15 minute "Theme Overview" videos give you a peek into the awesomeness of your talent theme. They also explore the idea that talent themes represent potential, yet if they are not invested in, they might show up looking raw and unproductive at work.
These “Talent Deep Dive” videos explore the nuance of each talent theme. You’ll learn about its power and edge. You’ll consider potential blind spots. These are useful videos if you have this talent theme at the top of your list, or if you want to learn about a teammate who leads through Activator.

These Career Branding links help you apply your talents to your career. They give you examples of things you might be known for to help your personal branding at work. They also offer some watch-outs to know what situations and cultures can zap your energy.

Your Strengths Will Strengthen Your Performance At Work

In the next section, you'll explore what fuels you up and what drains you. Just like gas (or petrol) in your car, you need to keep your personal tank full to be at your best. Each StrengthsFinder talent theme is energized and drained by different things. When you see the stick figure who looks strong, you can consider how these things fuel you up at work. They're your energy makers. When you see the stick figure who looks weak, consider if these things are draining you at work. They're your energy takers.

Yucks for CliftonStrengths Activator

What's a Yuck?

It's a situation, condition, or behavior you might see at work that zaps your energy. Yucks are also things you see on your calendar or to-do list that make you think, "Yuck, if I never had to do that again I'd be thrilled."

Yuck Situations for Activator

  • Waiting around for projects or people to start what you've been talking about
  • Wasting time when you could be getting things off the ground

Example yuck from client: "My closest co-worker cannot make a decision to save her life. She is paralyzed inside of Excel formulas, and I could have finished the project by the time she's ready to start."

Yays for CliftonStrengths

What's a Yay?

It's a situation at work that boosts up your energy or makes you feel productive. Yays are also things you see on your calendar or to-do list that make you think, “Yay, fill my days with this."

Yay Situations for Activator

  • Getting things kicked off — being the one to press the proverbial Go Button
  • Creating momentum for the team when it has been stagnant

Example yay from client: "Give me a stalled project, and I'll get it moving. I love kicking things off like lighter fluid. Lean on me for forward progress. When people say, 'let's do this,' that's a yay day for sure."

How CliftonStrengths Activator Can Be Perceived When Starved

What's a Starved Talent?

This section describes how you might be perceived when the shadow side of your talent is showing. It’s when you’re overusing, misapplying, or squashing one of your natural talents rather than turning it into a strength. We often see people starve, squash, or ignore their talent when they assume it is not valued in that role or company culture.

Perceptions of Starved Activator

  • You could be viewed as hasty because you're so concerned with starting.
  • You could prompt risk-management concerns if people think you leap before looking as a  conscious strategy.
  • Your impatience for careful people could show up as a lack of teamwork.

How CliftonStrengths Activator Can Be Perceived When Fed

What's a Fed Talent?

This section describes how you might be perceived when the best version of you shows up at work. It’s when you’ve invested in your natural talents to mature them into strengths. You can feed your talent by considering “how” you approach each “what” on the job. When you apply your talents to productive outcomes, you’re feeding them.

Perceptions of Fed Activator

  • You show people that dreams are merely wishes if you don't get started. You inspire them to take the first step, or you model the courage yourself.
  • You are a catalytic spark of energy for the team.
  • As a movement maker, people will often follow your lead because you confidently get things going.

Situations That Make CliftonStrengths Activator Feel Insulted

What's An Insulted Talent?

Usually, talents get offended or insulted by other people who have natural preferences that are different from yours. It also happens if they fail to see their actions have an impact on someone else (you!). You can also insult your own talents if you have a "troublemaker strength" that speaks loudly and overpowers this one.

Things That Will Insult Activator

If you like to carefully weigh every option before taking action, keep a close eye on those who lead with Activator. Dealing with analysis paralysis will be extremely frustrating to them. They get satisfaction from starting things, so every delay and moment of bureaucracy can make them feel like an animal trapped in a cage.

Situations That Make CliftonStrengths Activator Feel Honored

What's An Honored Talent?

Usually, talents feel honored when other people acknowledge your needs and potential contributions. Talents feel honored when someone “extends an olive branch” to help you work at your best. You can also honor your own talents by investing in them, by choosing work that naturally calls on them, or by applying your strengths to performance on the job.

Things That Will Honor Activator

To unleash the A-game of someone who leads through the Activator talent, give the person the opportunity to move fast and get things started as often as possible. They appreciate not getting bogged down red tape and slow decision making. If you need someone to instigate action because the team is stuck, rely on those who lead through Activator.

Personal Brand - 'How' CliftonStrengths Activator Operates At Work

Most people have a good handle on "What" they bring to the workplace. Resumes, CVs, and career development conversations are filled with lists of skills and job titles that show "what" you can do. Nearly everyone misses the "How".

Your Clifton StrengthsFinder talent themes help you communicate "How" you show up. It's how you think. It's how you feel. It's how you act. These are huge differences in each person that are differentiators on the job. Consider these adjectives you might want to consciously put into your personal branding efforts.

We recommend working a "How" description into the Summary section in your LinkedIn profile (if you don't yet use that section, don't worry, most people haven't paid attention to it until now). Of course, make up adjectives or phrases that describe you at your best. Try to avoid words like "motivated, self-starter" because they're so overused that you'll blend in with everyone else. Here are some ideas to spark your thinking:

  • Instigator
  • Fresh Thinker
  • Go Button Presser
  • Initiating
  • Catalyst
  • Movement Maker
  • Brave
  • Just Ship
  • Influential
  • Action-Oriented
  • Propulsive
  • Starter
  • Fast
  • Change-Friendly
  • Early Adopter
  • Spark
  • Gets It Going
  • Momentum Creator
  • Eager
  • Motivator
  • Kick Off Crew
  • Energetic

How To Invest In Your CliftonStrengths Activator Talent On The Job

  • Offer justifications when you request action. Otherwise, people might dismiss you as impatient and label you a ‘ready, fire, aim’ person. Because you like speed, practice writing fast business cases and creating compelling stories that make people want to act urgently.

  • Partner up with conceptual thinkers. Help them move their ideas from conceptual theory to concrete practice. Then everyone wins. You get to spark action, and they get to use more of their headspace for creative and original thinking.

  • Make it a point to have lunch with influential people at least once a quarter to share your ideas. They can support you in your activation and provide critical resources to make your ideas happen.

Tips For Managing Someone Who Leads Through The CliftonStrengths Activator Talent

  • Select a departmental goal and give this person the responsibility for initiating and organizing the launch. Tell them you selected them because they make things happen. Your expectations will energize them.

  • Assign them to startup or turnaround situations. Put them on a team that is bogged down and talks more than it performs. Support their entry in that role by telling that team the person's there to stir action and get things un-stalled.

  • Look at the other talent themes this person can pair with Activator. For example, if they are strong in Command, they may have the potential to sell and persuade effectively. If they are strong in Relator or Woo, they may become an excellent recruiter or closer for you.

What To Consider When Partnering With A Colleague Who Leads Through CliftonStrengths Activator

  • Ask this person to partner with you when you have a can’t-get-off-the-starting-blocks project and you need help getting momentum.
  • When your team is facing a big change that they’re having trouble with, ask this person to persuade coworkers that they can increase productivity, solve problems, launch programs, overcome obstacles, and bounce back from defeat.
  • Call on them when they can make their own decisions and act upon them. Don’t put them in a situation bogged down in bureaucracy.

Turn CliftonStrengths Activator Into A Strength This Month By Making It Your Phone Lock Screen

Activator Talent Theme LockscreenClick on this thumbnail image of your StrengthsFinder talent theme to link to the full size image. Then save it to your phone or mobile device as your lock screen.

That way, you’ll be reminded of your plan to focus on that talent…oh…about 98 times per day when you unlock your phone. What a great way to keep your intention front-of-mind! This will help you remember to invest in this talent theme so you can take the untapped potential and turn the natural talent into a strength.

Who knew wallpaper images could be so valuable to your career?! Here are all of the lock screen images if you want to grab an image for a different CliftonStrengths talent.

Gallup®, Clifton StrengthsFinder®, StrengthsFinder®, and each of the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are trademarks of Gallup, Inc.

Take The 12-Week Strengths Challenge

Get stronger performance at work by using your strengths. The challenge is free. You'll get one email per week for the next 12 weeks with a simple question to uncover more of your hidden potential. If you can get your whole team to join along, you'll get crazy-cool insights about each other.

Note: if you're on this page because you're taking one of our strengths classes, you might also be getting an "Activation Course" with that program. This is a heads-up that signing up for this challenge would give you 2 strengths emails per week if you're already slated for the "Activation Course."

12 Week Challenge - Team Icebreakers

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