Connectedness Strength: Get Known For Your Talent

I hear a lot of reflections about how to apply your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Connectedness to your career.

In this series, I break down 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 Connectedness 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.

We often see two distinct "flavors" of the Connectedness talent theme. You may have one. You may have both. One is fairness in the treatment of people. The other is standardization for processes.

Here are a bunch of adjectives to consider using in your career branding efforts and your LinkedIn profile when you lead through the Connectedness strength:

  • Integrator
  • Idea-Connector
  • Bridge-Builder
  • Comforter
  • Considerate
  • Abundance-Minded
  • Faithful
  • Kind
  • Listener
  • Seeker
  • Perceptive
  • Unifier
  • Caring
  • Nature-Lover
  • Advocate
  • Open-Minded
  • Philosophical
  • Thoughtful

Red Flag Situations When You Lead With The Connectedness Strength

These are the cultures, interactions, or situations that might feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the talent theme of Connectedness. 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 Connectedness strength (talent theme):

  1. Silos. If your company is famous, internally, for a siloed departmental approach, you might be drained by the closed-mindedness. When colleagues refuse to see that issues impact more than one small group, they could seem selfish. If you’re constantly trying to get people to be more aware of the downstream impact of their actions, you might wear yourself out, like you’re walking upstream in a fast-flowing river of non-collaboration.

  2. Experiencing Us vs Them Comments. If you constantly hear the service team complaining about the sales team, or the engineers complaining about product marketers, you’ll wonder how it’s possible to view things with such a self-serving mindset. You’re keenly aware of how we all have a ripple effect on each other. You even realize that disdain that is felt but not spoken has a ripple effect. If this is the vibe on your team, it can really bring you down.

3 Fresh Application Ideas For The Connectedness Strength

These are ways to apply the talent theme of Connectedness 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 Connectedness strength, put the talent to good use with one of these options:

  1. Help People Live In The Matrix. You naturally see connections among people and processes that other miss. If you have a matrixed organization, where people report to 4 managers, take calls all over the world, and connect via conference call and instant messenger all day, it can feel like a sea of disparate transactions. But they don’t seem separated to you. Volunteer your talent by showing the connections and helping your colleagues understand how things fit into the larger picture.

  2. Leverage Your Network. With your strong sense of community, you can connect people to each other to amplify the teamwork in your group. You might be the only one on the team who would realize that Susmitha does the same thing in India that Mateo does in Argentina. Not only can you give them a sense of community with each other, but your insights might allow for some efficiencies that no one else would have seen.

  3. Make Someone Feel Like They’re The Only One In The Room. In a hard-charging, distracted environment, your teammates are probably used to not being seen, heard, and appreciated. You probably have a natural ability to listen and make someone feel like you’re fully present in the conversation. What a great way to spread the ripple effect of kindness.

Here's Your Personal Branding Homework For The Connectedness Strength

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Dig into the Connectedness strength all the way. You can really nerd out on the nuances on the Connectedness Talent Theme Page.

 

Here's A Full Transcript Of The 12 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 is tough to find something more energizing than using your natural talents every day at work.

Now, speaking of that energy, I hear a lot of energy about how to align your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Connectedness inside of all of these dots in your life. So, in this series, you're getting one strength broken down per episode, and then you can make the insights that go into your StrengthsFinder report. And then take that knowledge a little deeper, so you can make a better match, a fuller match between your job, your life and your strengths.

I know if you lead through Connectedness, you see all of this as one holistic thing. So even calling them out as separate pieces, job, life, strengths, you're probably like, - “No, that's not how I think.”

Now, if you're listening to this as a manager, use this series for career development ideas, and even new clues about responsibilities you could give a person with the theme of Connectedness, so that they can show up at their best.

If you're listening for yourself because you lead through the talent theme of Connectedness, 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 strength zone.

Today, with this talent theme focused on Connectedness, I'm going to take you through 3 different layers of that strength. One is career branding. Second, red flag situations at work. And third, application ideas.

So, let's talk career branding first for Connectedness. Now, you probably already have a good reputation for what you know, things like your knowledge and skills at work. Now, if you lead through Connectedness, you know how important this other part of you is, the ‘how’ part, because this is how you interact with people, how you think, you get things done, how you connect ideas, how you are so well-networked, and how you know so many people around the organization.

Imagine how great it would feel if you got known for these ways of working. They already feel easy and enjoyable, and then that would lead people to be more likely to assign you roles and responsibilities that call on these things. So, here are a bunch of adjectives to consider in your career branding efforts.

Integrator. Idea Connector. Bridge Builder. Comforter (not like a blanket, but you know, like you make people feel comfort). Considerate. Abundance-Minded. Faithful. Kind. Listener. Seeker. Perceptive. Unifier. Caring. Nature Lover (not always but it's a pattern I see a lot of, a lot of nature lovers lead through Connectedness, or I should say in the opposite, it's hard to find somebody who leads through Connectedness who isn't a nature lover). Advocate. Open-Minded. Philosophical. Thoughtful.

So, think about that list. Which one really resonated with you as something you want to be known for? And of course, you could see there was quite a range of things, some sound more corporate than others. Some might fit your culture more than others; some might fit you personally more than others.

So, look for that sweet spot based on where you're working, and how you want to be known, and what you think would be received well by other people. And if you can find that sweet spot, it would be a great one to focus your career branding effort on.

Let's move now into red flag situations for Connectedness. These are the work cultures, the interactions, the situations that are going to feel like soul-sucking drudgery to you. If you lead through the talent theme of Connectedness, these are things that might at their worst, even make you want to quit the team. So, I'm going to give you a couple of these to be on watch for because these are the kinds of things that fester and annoy and insult your values. And eventually they could give you the urge to become detached at work.

So, a couple of them that I've really seen get people with Connectedness. The first one is silos. If your company is famous internally for just having a siloed departmental approach, meaning we do our thing, you do your thing, and we kind of keep our work from each other, maybe even are a little defensive of the things that you own, or maybe in your organization, you would call it splitdoms instead of silos.

But I hear the term silo most often. Well, the closedmindedness of that approach could really drain you. So, colleagues are refusing to see that issues are impacting more than that small group, they could seem selfish to you. If you're constantly trying to get people to be more aware of the downstream impact of their actions, and that downstream impact meaning it affects different departments, it affects policies, procedures, people, all of those kinds of things, that's naturally something that you're going to spot and see, but you might have to wear yourself out to help other people open their eyes to that and be interested in it. You might feel like you're walking upstream or one of those fast-flowing rivers of non-collaboration.

So that's something that could really, really drain you, because you'll naturally see all of those important connections. It's almost more like knowing more than seeing. It's just gonna come naturally for you to feel all those connections.

Number two, experiencing “us versus them” comments. Now, if you are constantly hearing the service team complain about the sales team, or the engineers complaining about the product marketers, well, regardless of who's complaining about who, this is the kind of situation and workplace where you'll wonder, -

“How is this even possible to view things like that? It's such a self-serving mindset.” And, -

“How can you see us as “us versus them” when we are all just us? We are all one organization.”

And you would probably even view that in a broader way if you zoom out. We are all just humans. That's more of a Connectedness kind of thinking. So, you would be keenly aware of how we all have a ripple effect on each other. And you'd even realize that this disdain or this contempt that you might hear in other people's words, that it's felt. Even if it's felt but not spoken, you know, that has a ripple effect in the organization. And if that's the vibe that you feel on your team, it could really bring you down.

So, those are a couple of red flags to watch out for: the silos and the “us versus them”.

Let's move to fresh application ideas for you, if you have Connectedness in your top dominant strengths. These are things that you could do to develop and invest in this theme further, so that it's not just a natural talent or a pile of potential sitting there for you. But it's actually aimed in a way that allows you to develop it into a full-blown strength.

Alright. The first one, help people live in the matrix. So, you naturally see connections among people and processes that others would likely miss. And if you have a matrix organization where, you know, you have a reporting manager, and then a bunch of project leads, and you feel like you report to four different managers, and you take calls all over the world, and you connect via conference call and instant messenger all day, and it's not really clear, it's not like you do work for one single manager who sees your results. And that's it. This can be really disconcerting to people; it can feel like a sea of disparate transactions. Hmm.

But if you lead through Connectedness, they're not going to seem separated to you. So, you could volunteer your talent, by showing those connections to your colleagues, by helping them understand how things fit into the larger picture, how one department affects another department, how the difference between translating one language to another is a very different feel than what you get when you're in a giving way, localizing content so that a customer in another region actually understands it from their native position.

These are the kind of things that are going to come naturally to you, but not to other people on your team. So be a great way to volunteer your talent, and contribute through your genius.

Second one, leverage your network. Hey, with your strong sense of community, you can connect people to each other inside the company, or customer to customer. But imagine just inside the company alone how much you could amplify the teamwork in your group. So, you might be the only person on your team who would realize the nuanced details things like, - Oh, your colleague Susmita, well, she does the same thing in India that Matteo does in Argentina. But you can give them a double bonus out of this. You can give them a sense of community with each other because they realize there's someone else in the company who does the same role. We can share best practices and that sort of thing. But also, your insights might allow some efficiencies to happen that no one else would have even seen.

So, leverage your network. Make those connections. A lot of people won't see those. They would have to make extraordinary special effort to be able to see and map those kinds of relationships where you will just naturally know them.

Number three, make someone feel like they're the only one in the room. So, you know, the workplace today. It's hard charging. We have distractions everywhere. Your teammates are probably not used to being seen and heard and appreciated. You probably have a natural ability to listen. I bet if you lead through Connectedness, you make people feel like they're the only one in the room. You make people feel like you're fully present in the conversation because you are, but they're not used to feeling this.

So, what a great way to spread that ripple effect of kindness and care and attention that naturally comes with Connectedness.

So, there you have it - a quick tour for building your career through the talent theme of Connectedness. Shout out to Joe Darren for content contributions on this episode. Now let's get right into your homework.

So, number one, take action on that career branding thing. Challenge yourself to write one sentence in the about section of LinkedIn that captures how you collaborate as a teammate at work.

Number two, think over those red flags. See if there's anything you need to get in front of before it brings you down.

And finally, volunteer your talents through the application ideas. And if you're a manager, then have a conversation with your team members who lead through Connectedness and see if one of those resonates really strongly.

With that. I'm your host, Lisa Cummings from Lead Through Strengths. If you're thinking about how to build a strengths-based culture in your office, then head over to leadthroughstrengths.com/training. See if our live virtual training offerings are a good fit for you.

Until next time. Thanks for being part of this powerful strength movement that helps people unleash the awesomeness already inside them.

About Deena Silverman

Deena Silverman is the Director of Customer Experience at Lead Through Strengths, where she helps teams improve their productivity by focusing on their natural talents. Deena helps leaders pull off seamless strengths-based events that change the culture of their company. One of her greatest joys is studying human behavior and helping others achieve their goals. When she's not using her organizational strengths to create awesome events, you can find her running around with her two special boys and her unique dog, Ranger. Or she might be hunting for Gary, her repeat-escapee hamster with a top talent of persistence. Her Top 5 StrengthsFinder Talents are: Individualization | Achiever | Learner | Input | Activator.