Belief Strength: Get Known For Your Talent
I hear a lot of reflections about how to apply your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Belief to your career.
In this series, you get one strength per post so that you can add to the insights from your StrengthsFinder report and make an even stronger alignment between your current job and your strengths.
- If you’re exploring this concept as a manager, use this series for career development ideas and even new clues about responsibilities you could give a person with this talent theme so that they can show up at their best.
- If you’re exploring this concept for yourself, use this as a chance to build a reputation for your strengths so that you’re more likely to be given assignments that live in your strengths zone.
You’ll get three layers to chew on:
1. Career Branding
2. Red Flag Situations At Work
3. Fresh Application Ideas
Career Branding For The Belief Strength
You probably already have a reputation for what you know. Think about your personal resume, CV, or your LinkedIn profile, I bet it's full of “the what,” which are things like job titles, skills, knowledge, expertise, or the degree you earned. What’s missing is usually "the how,” and this is where your StrengthsFinder talent themes live.
Chances are good that you are a lot like my StrengthsFinder training clients, where you don’t physically see your teammates and customers every day. So many of us work on remote teams. That’s why LinkedIn has become so important for career branding. It’s how your teammates, customers, and vendors go look you up before a meeting - to see who they’re about to talk to. And rather than only telling them what you know, you should also give them a peek at how it is to work with you.
Here are a bunch of adjectives to consider using in your career branding efforts and your LinkedIn profile when you lead through the Belief strength:
- Steady In Values
- Loyal (if values-aligned)
- Consistent Advocate
Red Flag Situations When You Lead With The Belief Strength
These are the cultures, interactions, or situations that might feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the talent theme of Belief. They could even make you want to quit the team if they get really bad. So I’ll give you a couple of these to be on watch for — because if they fester, you might become detached or disengaged at work.
Here are a couple of Red flags for the Belief strength (talent theme):
- The mission isn’t what it seemed. For example, let’s say you joined a medical device company. You joined because you heard the vision of the lives you’d save with this new product that makes people’s pacemakers last an additional 10 years. You were overjoyed by the idea of not putting elderly or weak patients into another risky surgery. A few months into the job, you overhear some people talking about a revenue strategy that makes you think they’re prioritizing revenue over the patient’s best interest. Now, if you lead through any talent and you think something unethical is going on, you’ll probably dislike it. But if you lead through the Belief strength, and you suspect the mission that you joined the company for is a sham, it’s all over. Now I’m giving you an extreme example to make the point clear. Yet if you lead through the Belief strength, be on watch for this. Even in small situations where things are not what they seemed on the surface (or people are not who they seemed to be on the surface), it is difficult to ever get your trust back. When you’re detached and “arms-length” because you’re skeptical, your engagement on the job changes. It can go downhill fast if you don’t get in front of this one.
You have to work closely with your anti-belief. Let’s do another extreme example to make this one obvious. Say that you lead through the talent theme of Belief and one of your life’s missions is to protect and serve animals. You are an active member of an animal activist group, which is something you spend every night on. In the daytime, you work at an advertising agency. Last week, you got assigned to a new client - and they’re a cosmetics company that does extensive animal testing. You try to suck it up because you need the job, but every time you talk to the product manager at the client, she makes your blood boil. If you lead through the Belief strength, you probably can’t just grin and bear it. It’s more than that with Belief. Now, if you take a less extreme example, imagine that you learn a peer at work has a belief or closely held value that runs counter to yours. It gives you a seed of doubt about this person who you used to love working with. These are the moments you need to get ahead of before they derail the productivity you’ve always enjoyed when you work together. This is different for every person and every belief. For you, it may work out by simply finding other shared values so that you can feel rooted in other areas of trust. That can be a way to rebuild mutual respect. For others, it may be that you have to have an open conversation about your value that feels insulted.
3 Fresh Application Ideas For The Belief Strength
These are ways to apply the talent theme of Belief at work, even when the job duties on the team feel pretty locked in. If you’re exploring this concept as a team manager, be sure to have a conversation around these ideas. You’ll both be able to come up with places to apply them.
For someone who leads through the Belief strength, put the talent to good use with one of these options:
Product Evangelist. If you know your team member leads through Belief and they deeply believe in the “why” of the product, it’s on! Unleash them as a product evangelist. Make it a thing to share the features, benefits, mission, and delight with the outside world. In a time when consumers are skeptical about “sales-ey ad copy,” imagine what would happen if your team member ties a life mission to it. That’s a product narrative that your customers will get behind.
You Need An Ethical Rock. Imagine a situation where bribes are common. Or a role where a person is placed in a lot of tricky ethical situations. This might be a great place to bring your ethical rock - someone who leads through Belief. This person’s clarity and convictions around ethics and values will allow that person to shine where others waffle. They will see clear moral standards where other people struggle with gray areas.
Make Some Meaning. Regardless of the task, Belief is considered an executing talent. That means that it helps people get things done. As you can imagine, if you feel so passionate and connected to a topic that you would run through walls for it, then you’d have someone who is going to get some mega-big task lists checked off. Next time you need to apply the Belief talent theme, take time to connect the job responsibility with the bigger purpose. This brings the internal motivation to bring the A-game to the job.
Here's Your Personal Branding Homework For The Belief Strength
- Go take action on your LinkedIn profile with the career branding section. Challenge yourself to write one sentence in the About section of LinkedIn that captures how you collaborate as a teammate at work.
- Then think over the red flags to see if there’s anything you need to get in front of before it brings you down. You might decide to make the situation mean something different, or pre-plan a reaction for the next time it comes around.
- Volunteer your talents through the application ideas. If you’re a manager, have a conversation with your team members about which of these things sound like something they’d love to have more of.
- Dig into the Belief strength all the way. You can really nerd out on the nuances on the Belief Talent Theme Page.
Here's A Full Transcript Of The 14 Minute Episode
You're listening to Lead Through Strengths, where you'll learn to apply your greatest strengths at work. I'm your host, Lisa Cummings and I got to tell you, it's tough to find something more energizing than using your strengths every day at work. I also hear a lot of enthusiasm about how to align your CliftonStrengths talent theme of belief with your work. So, in this series, you'll get one strength broken down per episode, so that you can add to the insights you've already gotten from your StrengthsFinder report, and make a continually better match between your job and your strengths.
Now, if you're listening as a manager, use this series for career development ideas. You can even get new clues about the kind of tasks and responsibilities you would give a person with the talent theme of Belief so that they can show up at their best.
If you're listening for yourself, because you lead through the talent theme of Belief, use this as a chance to build your reputation for your strengths, so that you're more likely to be given assignments that live in the Belief zone.
So today, as you can tell, talent theme of the episode is Belief. And you're going to get three layers to think about. One is career branding. The second one is red flag situations at work. And the third one is application ideas.
So, let's talk career branding for Belief. Now, you probably already have a reputation for what it is that you know. Think about your skills, your experiences, your knowledge areas, your subject matter expertise. It's all over your resume and your CV, and probably all over your LinkedIn profile. But what is often missing from career brand, both in writing and in our minds, is how you operate. You have all the ‘what’ stuff listed but we don't build our career brands around how it is we think, how it is that we interact with others, how we derive our motivations. The ‘how’ tells people what it's like to work with you.
So imagine, it could be really great if you got known for these ways of working because then work would feel more easy and enjoyable. You'd be able to feel more in flow more easily.
So, I'm going to give you a bunch of adjectives to consider using in your career branding efforts that totally align with Belief. Here we go.
Anchor. Stable. Grounded. Mission-driven. Certain. Self-sacrificing. Values-driven. Evangelist. Committed. Principled. Passionate. Loyal (If it's aligned with your values, you would be loyal. If it's not, you probably wouldn't be). Purpose-centered. Altruistic. Purposeful. Consistent. Advocate. Inspirer.
Now think about that list. Which one really resonated with you as something you actually want to be known for? Pick that one and make a goal of using it in your conversations and in your actions all month, because the more you use it, the more you get known for it. And make it practical. Some of these I mentioned, and they can be very identifying for Belief like self-sacrificing, but based on your workplace, that may be a risky thing to attach to your career brand because if you are self-sacrificing in a place that is full of burnout, and way too many worked hours, you may think, - “I don't want people to think I'm self-sacrificing because they'll take advantage of my work ethic.”
So, if you have thoughts like that, don't make that the word that you pick for the month. Make sure it's something you really would love to be known for that it serves both your interests, and you think that it fits your work culture well, as well.
Now let's move to red flag situations. These are the cultures, the interactions, the situations that might feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the talent theme of Belief. They might even make you want to quit the team. So, I'll give you a couple of these to be on watch for because if they fester, you could get the urge to become detached at work and sometimes it sneaks up on you and you don't know where it's coming from or why you don't feel like getting up for work in the morning.
So, first red flag, the mission isn't what it seemed. Let's give you an example. Say you joined a medical device company. You joined the company because you heard the vision. And the vision was about the lives that you are going to be able to save with this product because it makes people's pacemakers last in addition of 10 years, like, already 10 years and it added on 10 more years so you're doubling the lifespan of this thing. You were overjoyed by the idea of not putting elderly or weak patients into another risky surgery because we all know how many people can lose their lives just because they're in surgery.
So, a few months into the job, you overhear some people talking about a revenue strategy and it convinces you that they're prioritizing revenue over the patient's best interest. Now, if you lead through any talent theme, and you think something unethical is going on, you'll probably dislike it. But if you lead through Belief, and you suspect that the mission, the mission that you joined the company for now, you think that that mission is a sham, well, it's all over. Forget it. Now I'm giving you an extreme example there, because I want to make the point clear that this is one of those “you're done” kind of situations when you lead through Belief, often.
Now, what's more realistic in a workplace? Smaller situations. I said that one to be really clear about what it might be like inside the mind of someone who leads through Belief. It's very cut and dried and it's very difficult to get trust back when it's lost. But now let's take a smaller situation, where things are not what they seemed on the surface, or people are not who they seemed to be on the surface. It's difficult to get the trust back, when you feel like you've had to detach yourself a little bit from them, or from the company, or from the team or from what's going on. And you have to put yourself at arm's length, because you're skeptical now. Your engagement on the job changes, and it can go downhill fast if you don't get in front of this one.
So that was number one, The Mission Isn't What It Seemed, or a person on the team is not what that person seemed.
Alright, number two. Second red flag, “you have to work closely with your anti-belief”. So, let me do another extreme example to make this one obvious. Let's say that you lead through the talent theme of Belief, and one of your life's missions is to protect and serve animals. You're an active member of PETA, which is something that you spend every evening on just on your personal time. In the daytime, you work at an ad agency and last week, you got assigned to a new client and there are a cosmetics company that does extensive animal testing.
You try to suck it up, because you need the job. But every time you talk to the client, she makes your blood boil. If you lead through Belief, you can't just grin and bear it. It's more than that with Belief. This is so important to know about yourself if you identify with this when you lead through Belief, but also if you're a manager, knowing these kinds of connections to meaning and purpose and values and how deep it runs for someone who leads through Belief.
Now, let's take a less extreme example of this red flag so that you can make it a little more realistic to the workplace, although that scenario I brought up is absolutely viable. Now imagine, you learn that there's a peer at work that you work with closely. And now you've discovered that they have a Belief or a closely held value that runs counter to yours. And it gives you a seed of doubt about this person. You used to love working with this person. But um, but now something's different. Well, these are the moments you have to get ahead of before they derail the productivity. Maybe you were always really productive with this person when you work together. But now something's different. Well, how to get ahead of this is going to look different for every person. And it's going to look different for every Belief for you. It may work out by simply finding other shared values that you have with this peer, so that you can feel rooted in other areas of trust that can be a good way to at least build some mutual respect back in your mind.
And remember, all the stuff I'm bringing up is from the perspective of your mind. This person that you're working with may not even care if your values run counter to each other. For others, it might just be that you need to have an open conversation about your value, how it feels insulted, and to have an open conversation about it.
So, the solution is going to look a little different for each person. But if you know that this is a thing where you're going to check out and you're going to quit the job anyway, if there's a resolution that could be found if you actually had a productive conversation around it instead, it's definitely worth having one of those difficult conversations.
Alright, let's move out of the red flags and into the application ideas for Belief. These are ways to apply the theme at work, even when the job duties seem like they're pretty locked in. Now, if you're listening as a manager, be sure to have conversation with your team member about this because depending on what you combine Belief with other talent themes, this can look really different. This may not be just absolute appeal to each person.
Now if you're listening and you lead through Belief, put this talent theme to good use. Think about these action items and see where you could volunteer to contribute your talents.
Alright, I'm going to offer them from the perspective of the manager who might be assigning these.
Number one, think about someone who could be a product evangelist. If you know your team member leads through Belief, and you know that they deeply believe in the ‘why’ of the product, it's on. Unleash them as a product evangelist. Make it a thing to share the features, the benefits, the mission, the delight with the outside world. They will love doing that. And they're probably doing it anyway, so why not give it a public voice?
In a time when consumers are smart, they're skeptical about salesy ad copy and things like that, imagine what would happen if your team member ties the life mission to this thing, and they can see the genuine sincerity behind it. That's a product narrative that your customers could really get behind.
So, think about what level or type or application around being an evangelist for your product or company or mission. I mean, imagine if someone feels like an evangelist for your company mission in general, then instead of being a product evangelist, you could apply all the things I said to being someone who would help recruit new team members in who have that same type of verve and meaning.
Alright, number two, use this Belief talent when you need an ethical rock. Okay, so now imagine a situation where your team members, everyone who reports to you, they're coming into contact with situations where bribes are commonplace, or a role where a person is placed in a lot of tricky ethical situations. Well, this would be a great place to bring in your ethical rock, somebody who leads through Belief. This person's clarity and convictions around ethics and values, will allow that person to shine where other people would be waffling. They're going to see clear moral standards where other people are struggling to get through what is gray in what is a black and white area. It will be so much clearer to those who lead through Belief.
[12:03] Okay, number three, what else could you use them for? How about when you need to make some meaning. Regardless of the task, Belief is considered an executing talent. And that means it helps people get things done. So as you can imagine, if you feel super passionate and connected to a topic so much that you had run through walls for that thing, then you have somebody who's going to get some mega big task list checked off for you if they have the Belief and the meaning behind it.
So next time, you need to apply the Belief talent theme, take the time when you're assigning any task or responsibility to them. Take the time to connect it with the bigger purpose. What is the impact they're going to make? Why does this matter? Why does it matter to you? Why does it matter to the team? Why does it matter to customers? Why does it matter to mankind? This will bring internal motivation to help a game come out of that person.
So, a couple of things, a couple of ways you could look at this one as a leader. One is anytime you're assigning anything to someone who leads through Belief, if you can be a meaning maker, you're going to help them execute better because you're going to set them on fire internally if you can connect to something they really care about.
But also, their meaning making on their own as well. They're always asking themselves, - “You know why this matters and how it connects?” So, you could also use them as a meaning maker for others to help them do the thinking about that.
So, there you have it, quick tour for building your career through the talent theme of Belief.
So, the homework is, go take action on career branding, as number one. Challenge yourself, if you lead through this theme, to write one sentence in the About section of LinkedIn that captures how you collaborate as a teammate at work.
Number two, then think over those red flags. See if there's anything you need to get in front of before it brings you down.
And number three, either volunteer your talent that we just talked about through those application ideas, or, if you're a manager, have a conversation with your team members to see which of those things sound like something they would love to have more of.
With that. I'm your host Lisa Cummings from Lead Through Strengths. If you're thinking about doing some team building to kick-off your strengths-based team culture, head over to leadthroughstrengths.com/training and see if your current offerings are a good fit for you.
So, with that, until next time. Thank you for being part of this powerful strengths movement that helps people unleash the awesomeness already inside them.