Deliberative Strength: Get Known For Your Talent

I hear a lot of curiosity about how to get practical and apply your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Deliberative 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 Deliberative 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 Deliberative strength:

  • Cautious
  • Safe
  • Problem-Averter
  • Observant
  • Careful
  • Serious
  • Private
  • Risk-Manager
  • Forward-Looking
  • Confidence-Keeper
  • Sensible
  • Spotter of Downstream Impact
  • Thoughtful
  • Guardian
  • Threat Mitigator
  • Think 7 Steps Ahead Guy/Gal

Red Flag Situations When You Lead With The Deliberative Strength

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

  1. Ready, fire, aim culture. If you lead through the Deliberative strength, you’ll likely be frustrated if you’re surrounded by hasty decision-making and action. You probably prefer to be careful and considered. You'll often want to get it right rather than to get it done yesterday (if you have to choose between the two). If you’re in a culture where preventable mistakes happen often, you could get extraordinarily frustrated by the lack of prudence.

  2. Lovey, huggy, happy hour culture. Often, those who lead through deliberative are private people. They’re slow to open up personally at work. They often see work as work, and friendships as friendships. Yet as workplaces become more informal, it’s more common to see personal questions, shared emotions, friendships, and hugs. These things could be off-putting to you if you lead through the Deliberative strength. And if you seem like the odd-person-out…wondering, “why are you in each other’s personal business so much” it might drain you as you wonder why they can’t just come in and get the job done.

3 Fresh Application Ideas For The Deliberative Strength

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

  1. Volunteer To Be The Risk Manager. If you lead through the Deliberative strength, you’re likely exceptionally talented at thinking ahead about the potholes the team might fall into. If you play that up on purpose, you can help the team in many situations where they’d otherwise step right into a pile of poo. Be sure to affirm parts of the idea or direction that you support, and that you’re calling out these “watch outs” so that the project or product can be successful and not get unraveled by an unforeseen roadblock.

  2. Find Confidence In Your Judgment. You have confidence in your own judgment, so take action on what you think is sensible, regardless of the impact on your popularity. Know that it’s possible to get labeled as a “Debbie Downer” type if you are the one always coming into meetings as the Devil’s Advocate for someone’s idea. With a slight tweak in your delivery, there’s huge power in this confidence that you see things others may not see. By adding a phrase, “I know it won’t be popular to share an insight that might slow us down, yet it’s worth it to share this insight that might put our goals at risk.” Then share the risks in the spirit of keeping on track to reach your team goals. This is a huge value to the team because it’s easy for most people to get blinded by the glossy, sexy parts of the project - and skim over the potential risks and downsides.

  3. Match Up The Gas And The Brakes. If you take an easy StrengthsFinder metaphor, you could say that the Activator talent theme likes to press the accelerator pedal of the car, and Deliberative likes to pump the brakes. Both are useful for the team. If you lead through the Deliberative strength, you have a voice that needs to be heard on the team. And it’s one that many people miss. If you’ve ever seen head butting on a team where someone wants to slow down and ask questions…meanwhile someone wants to speed up and get the next thing off of their plate, you can see where an inherent conflict might exist. On the other hand, if you consciously partner up and make this a yin-yang thing, you can get the benefits of Activator-urgency and Deliberative-accuracy and risk mitigation. The trick is to go find the yin to your yang before there’s a conflict so that you can appreciate each other’s perspective and bring out the best of the combined approach.

Here's Your Personal Branding Homework For The Deliberative Strength

  1. Go take action on your LinkedIn profile with the career branding section. Challenge yourself to write one sentence in the Summary 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 Deliberative strength all the way. You can really nerd out on the nuances on the Deliberative Talent Theme Page.

 

Here's A Full Transcript Of The 12 Minute Episode

You're listening to Lead Through Strengths, where you will 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 talents every day at work.

Now, I get a lot of enthusiasm about how to align your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Deliberative with your job. So, in this series, you'll get one strength broken down per episode. That way you can add to the insights from your StrengthsFinder report, and then make a really useful match between the job and the strengths.

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

If you're listening for yourself, because you lead through the talent theme of Deliberative, 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 your strength zone. That already live in the place where your brain is naturally going to think, and feel and act.

Today, as you've heard, the talent theme of the episode is Deliberative. And you're going to get three layers to think about. The first is career branding. The second is red flag situations at work. And the third is application ideas.

So, let's first talk about career branding for Deliberative. Now you probably already have a reputation for what you know. Think about your personal resume CV, your LinkedIn profile. It's probably full of the ‘what’. These are things like titles, skills, knowledge, subject matter expertise, the degree you earned the function you perform. Now that is an important part of your reputation. And yet something is likely missing. And what's missing from a reputation is often a carefully crafted ‘how’. And this is where your Strengths Finder talent themes live. The ‘how’ tells people what it's like to work with you, how you think, how you interact, how you make decisions, how you do critical thinking, how you get things done, how you assess risk. Imagine how great it would be if you got known for your natural ways of working things that already feel easy and enjoyable to you.

[2:17] So, here are a bunch of adjectives you can consider using in your career branding efforts to consciously craft the ‘how’ part of your brand: Cautious, Safe, Problem-Reverter, Observant, Careful, Serious, Private, Risk Manager, Forward-looking, Confidence-Keeper, Sensible, Spotter of Downstream Impact, Thoughtful, Guardian, Threat-Mitigator, “Think 7 Steps Ahead” guy or gal.

So, which one really resonated with you as something you want to be known for? This could vary based on the role that you're in, and based on the thing that you want to be known for and you think would be valued in your industry or in your job or on the team.

So, pick that one and make a goal of using that one in your conversations and in your actions this month. Like for example, I could see that if you were a cybersecurity specialist, being private would be highly valued. But if you were a social media manager, then maybe private wouldn't be as much of a thing that would be received well by other people. So, pick the one that works for both you and the role.

Now let's talk about red flag situations for Deliberative. These are the cultures, the interactions or the situations that might feel like soul-sucking drudgery to you. If you lead through Deliberative, they might 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 if they fester, you might get the urge to look for the next role or become detached at work.

So, two red flags for Deliberative. The first one is “ready, fire, aim” culture. Now, if you've heard that phrase before, you've caught the nuance there. It didn't say, “ready, aim fire”. It said, “ready, fire, Oh yeah, aim later”.

[4:14] 

Okay, you know what I'm talking about. Because if you lead through Deliberative, you'll likely be frustrated. If you're surrounded by hasty decision-making or hasty action, you'll likely prefer to be careful and considered, and you probably prefer to get it right rather than getting it done yesterday. If you're in a culture where preventable mistakes are happening all the time, you could get extraordinarily frustrated by this lack of prudence. So that's red flag number one.

Red flag number two, let’s take a totally different perspective. This is more on the relationship side. I'm going to call this the lovey, huggy, happy hour culture. Now, here's the thing about this one. This sounds like it's HR inappropriate. A lovey, huggy work culture? What are you talking about?

Well, if you have the Deliberative talent theme and you're in one of those cultures, where people greet each other with hugs, and they seem to be all close personal friends, that is probably how you would perceive it - that it's like, “Oh, why are they also lovey and huggy on each other? It's just work together.”

So often those who lead through Deliberative are private people. They're slow to open up personally at work. They often see work as work and friendships as friendships, as separate things. And as workplaces are becoming more and more informal, it's more common to see that, “Oh, we have, we ask each other all these personal questions. We share emotions, we share friendships, we share hugs.” And these things could be off putting to you if you lead through Deliberative. And if you feel like you're the odd person out, and you're wondering why are you all in each other's personal business so much, it might drain you as you wonder, “why can't they just come in and get the job done?”

Alright, so those are the red flags that you want to stay on top of. Let's now talk about application ideas for Deliberative. These are ways you can apply the theme at work, even if the job duties feel pretty locked in. Now, if you're listening as a team manager, be sure to have a conversation around these ideas, because depending on what they're combined with, these may resonate well with the person. And depending on what the role calls for, they may or may not resonate with the person. So, talk it over because you'll be able to come up with other places to apply them and get creative with this.

Alright, number one. If you lead through Deliberative, volunteer to be a risk manager. So, if you lead through Deliberative, you're likely exceptionally talented at thinking ahead. You naturally think about the potholes that the team might fall into if they just run straight away into something hastily. And if you play that up on purpose, you can help the team and a bunch of situations where they might otherwise just step in a pile of poo, and they don't know what's coming. So be sure to do this by first affirming the part of the idea or the part of the direction that you do support, and that you're calling out these watch outs so that the project or the product can be successful, and not get unraveled by an unforeseen roadblock.

So, I bring that up because this is all in the delivery. You could say, - “Oh, we shouldn't do that, because…”, but it's really effective if you do this application by making sure that you first call out the parts of the idea or the approach that you're in support of and what this risk pointing out moments are in support of.

Okay, the second application idea. This is, have confidence in your judgment. So, if you have confidence in your own judgment, which you probably do if you have Deliberative, often you have that sense of self-assuredness. So, take action on what you already know is sensible, even when you know it won't make you popular. I know that it's possible to get labeled as the Debbie Downer of the team. This is going to happen if you're always coming in to meetings as the devil's advocate for someone's idea.

So, what am I telling you here? I'm telling you to do this action item that is going to make you be seen as a Debbie Downer. That doesn't seem like it makes sense. Well, here's the thing. With a slight tweak in your delivery, there's huge power in this confidence, because you see things that others don't see. That's why you feel confident. You know. You've seen it before. You see the future when other people don't, all you have to do is add a phrase. It could be something like, - “I know it won't be popular to share an insight that might slow us down. Yet it's worth sharing this insight because it might put our goals at risk.” And then share the insight.

But it's just prefacing it with, - “Oh, I know this won't be popular right now”, or, “I know this is not what any of us want to experience right now when we're so keen on getting this out by x deadline.” It's just making sure they know that, “Oh, you don't do this, because it's a good time to shoot down the ideas or the timelines. But you're doing it now, so that you don't get in trouble later.” It's the, so you don't step in the pool later thing.

Number three is match up the gas and the brakes. So, if you take an easy string spider metaphor, you might have heard before that the Activator talent theme likes to press on the accelerator pedal of the car, and Deliberative likes to pump the brakes. Well, both of these things are actually useful for the team, the gas and the brakes. If you lead through Deliberative, you have a voice that needs to be heard on the team, and it's one that a lot of people miss. And it's a perspective that a lot of people can't see, don't see or won't see. You might even feel like they have their head in the sand, if you've ever been in a moment where you feel like your head butting with someone else, because you want to slow down and ask some questions to make sure you're getting it right.

Meanwhile, somebody else wants to speed up and just get on to the next thing, and you sense that they just want to get stuff off their plate and move through the world really hastily. You can see where inherent conflict might exist there. But on the other hand, if you consciously partner up and make this a yin-yang thing, you can get the benefits of the Activator urgency and the Deliberative accuracy in risk mitigation.

The trick here is to go find the yin to your yang before there's a conflict, so that you can appreciate each other's perspective, make decisions that you're going to be the yin and yang for each other, that you're going to consciously talk to each other at certain phases in a project to bring out the best of the combined approach.

So, the Activator person comes to the person who has Deliberative and says, -

“Alright, before I take action, what am I missing here? Before I press the ‘GO’ button, give me three objections I should be thinking about, or risks I should be thinking about.”

Meanwhile, the person who leads through Deliberative can say, -

“Alright, Activator, I want to wait. I want to wait nine months, because I know there's this risk ahead. Give me the urgency piece. Give me some benefits of going now versus going then or waiting until then or working around.” And then you can negotiate with each other.

But if this is something that you've agreed upon upfront, it won't cause a conflict. It will cause an insightful conversation.

So, there you have it. A quick tour for building your career to the talent theme of Deliberative. Shout out to Joe Darren for content contributions on this episode.

So, here's your homework.

Go take action on career branding. Challenge yourself to write one sentence in the summary section of LinkedIn that captures how you collaborate as a teammate at work.

And then think over those red flags to see if there's anything you need to get in front of before it brings you down. This might mean changing your situation, talking to your manager or it might mean deciding that things are going to mean something else to you.

And finally, volunteer your talents through the application ideas. And if you're a manager, have a conversation with your team members, or even consciously parent those yin and yang people to see which things sound like 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 a virtual or in-person strengths event to kick off your strengths-based culture, head over to leadhroughstrengths.com/training , and see if any current offerings are a fit for you.

Until next time. Thank you for being part of this powerful strengths 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.