Includer Strength: Get Known For Your Talent

I get tons of questions about how to go deeper to align your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Includer with your career. So in this series, I break down one strength per post.

That way, you can add to the insights from your StrengthsFinder report and make a better match between your job and your strengths.

- If you’re reading 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 reading 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.

Today, the talent theme of the episode is Includer. 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 Includer Strength

You probably already have a reputation for what you know. If you imagine your resume 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 in most resumes and profile is "the how,” and this is where your StrengthsFinder talent themes live. This is an overlooked use for LinkedIn. That's why it's not just for job seekers - it's also about shaping your career.

I bet you are just like my StrengthsFinder training clients, where you don’t see your teammates and customers every day. That’s why LinkedIn has become so important for career branding. It's where your teammates, customers, and vendors go look you up before a meeting - to see who they’re about to talk to.

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 Includer strength:

    • Accepting
    • Expander
    • People-Aware
    • Integrating
    • Welcome Wagon
    • Interactive
    • Others-Oriented
    • Warm
    • Barrier-Buster
    • Inviter
    • Tolerant

Red Flag Situations When You Lead With The Includer Strength

These are the cultures, interactions, or situations that feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the talent theme of Includer. 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 might get the urge to disengage on the job or become detached at work.

Here are a couple of Red flags for the Includer strength (talent theme):

  1. Cliques. If you lead through the Includer strength and you sense that the existing tight knit relationships inside of the company are impenetrable, it’s going to feel like a really frustrating place to work. If you think that your industry is filled with good ol' boys clubs, you are going to feel more than left out, you might begin to resent the structure and the idea of being closed off to outside viewpoints. The idea of in-groups and out-groups and exclusion really sucks the life out of someone with Includer.

  2. Loud Voices Always Win. If you work on a team or in a company culture where the ideas that get implemented seem to always come from the most talkative, extroverted, or loud people, you might begin to question the values of the company. When you lead through the Includer strength, you are keenly tuned in to each person‘s contributions and ideas...not just the ideas that are spoken aloud. So if it appears that the only way to succeed is to be a bold talker, you may come to resent this idea. This can be true even if you are extroverted or comfortable speaking aloud. When you have Includer you will be aware of this dynamic on behalf of other people.

3 Fresh Application Ideas For The Includer Strength

These are ways to apply the talent theme of Includer at work , even when the job duties on the team feel pretty locked in. If you’re listening 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 Includer strength, put the talent to good use with one of these options:

  1. Assimilate New People. A great way to use the Includer talent is to help integrate new people into a team or a culture. You can make them feel part of the group quickly, and help them feel seen and appreciated, even when they are new. And being assigned to this kind of work is the type of thing that might light up the soul of someone with the Includer talent. This could be a new hire or a new team member or even a new customer - this is a fun way to feed the Includer talent theme while also making someone else feel like they’re a critical part of the group.

  2. Interested Party Finder. This one is about uncovering people who are interested in being involved in a project you may not know about. It makes me remember a customer situation where a team I worked with in Malaysia told me they were so frustrated that they were never consulted about the advertisements that were placed in their country by their marketing team. There was a billboard strategy across the company, but they felt that billboards were a waste of money in Malaysia because, living in the jungle, the logos and the text on the billboards constantly got covered up by fast growing trees. This is an example where the locals were contacted for translation, but not genuine localization. This is the type of investigation someone with Includer would be great at. They can find stakeholders who are feeling ignored, and give voices to people with no voice. They can help you prevent vetoes or internal battles that could’ve been prevented with better listening up front.

  3. Turn On The Megaphone. If you have people on the team who seem to never contribute in conversations, assign it to someone with Includer to turn the megaphone on for them. Often, quiet people will give their opinion if they are asked. If a person with Includer gets in the habit of saying things like “Maria you know a lot about advertising in southeast Asia; we haven’t heard from you yet. What do you think?“ You can unleash the power of hearing from people who are used to not sharing their voice. It will be fun for someone with the Includer talent to notice and bring those voices out, rather than being annoyed that the project leader is not doing this.

So there you have it. It’s a quick tour for building your career through the talent theme of Includer.

Here's Your Personal Branding Homework For The Includer 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.
  3. Volunteer your talents through the application ideas. And 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 Includer strength all the way. You can really nerd out on the nuances on the Includer Talent Theme Page.

 

Here's A Full Transcript Of The 11 Minute Episode

You're listening to lead through strengths, where we help work teams apply your greatest strengths at work. I'm your host, Lisa Cummings. And I got to tell you, it's hard to find anything that's more energizing than using your natural talents every day. Now, I get a whole lot of questions about how to incorporate your Clifton strengths, talent theme of Includerr with your career.

[0:26] 

So, in the series, I've been breaking down one strength per episode, so that you can add to the insights that you got initially from your StrengthsFinder report, and then make a deeper match between your actual job and your strengths.

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

If you're listening for yourself, use that as a chance to build your reputation around your strengths, so that then you're more likely to be given assignments that live in your strengths zone. Today, as you've heard, the talent theme of the episode is Includerr. And you're going to get three layers to be thinking about. One is your career branding. The second is red flag situations that you need to watch out for at work. And the third is fresh application ideas for you.

So, let's start with career branding. Now you probably already have a reputation for what it is, you know, think about things like your skills, your experience, your knowledge areas, maybe the place that you have your degree, the industry, the function, this is the kind of stuff that resumes and LinkedIn are full of.

[1:36]

Most people are pretty good at thinking about career branding in those areas that I call the ‘what’. Where many people have this lost opportunity is the ‘how’. Well that's what your StrengthsFinder talent themes are all about. They're how you get work done, how you think, how you relate to people, how you influence others, how you get things done, all of these are differentiators. for you This is where you're different from the world and how you approach these things at work can make a difference in your career, if you'll make them part of what you're known for.

So, with that, let's be thinking about what kind of words you could use to build a reputation around and what kind of words you could put in your LinkedIn profile so that you could give people a sneak peek of how it is to actually work with you. So here are a bunch of adjectives you can use in your career branding, and your LinkedIn profile.

People who lead through Includer are often accepting. They’re expanders. They’re people aware. They're integrating or you could call yourself an integrator. Often, they're the welcome wagon. Imagine new hires, you're the one who wants to make them not feel left out just because they're new. You're interactive. You're likely others-oriented, you're warm, you might be a barrier buster.

[2:54] 

Like, imagine the closed groups where people feel like they can't break in. You could break those barriers for them. You're the inviter and you're tolerant. Pretty cool words to consider. Which ones resonate with you the most? And could you incorporate those into your reputation, or at least the reputation you want to build.

So, let's look at red flag situations. Now this is going to the downside. These are some of the cultures, the interactions, the situations, that would really feel like soul sucking drudgery for you, if you have the talent theme of Includer or these are the kind of things that if they're a big part of the culture, they might make you want to quit the team. They might make you want to detach or disengage at work. And these are the things that fester in your workplace, they would be bad news for you. So here are a couple of red flags to watch out for if you have Includer.

One, let's call it clicks.

[3:46] 

If you lead through Includer, and you sense that the existing tight-knit relationships inside of the company are these impenetrable walls that are put up and it's either an old boys club or something like that, it's gonna feel like a really frustrating place to work. If you think your industry is filled with those kinds of clubs or clicks, you're gonna feel left out. And more than that, you're going to start to resent the structure and the idea that they are closed out to outside viewpoints.

See, it's more than you being left out. It's what it represents this idea of in groups and out groups and exclusion. It really sucks the life out of people with the Includer talent theme. So, any sort of click group, or even if you think about what happens with friendships that develop over time in an office where there has been very low turnover, and it seems like the 10 people that work on that team have known each other for 20 years, then there's the new outsider, that's the kind of thing that the leader is going to be keenly aware of.

Okay, the second red flag. Watch out for the concept, loud voices always win. See, if you work on a team or in a company, in a culture where the ideas that get implemented seem to always come from the person who's the most talkative or the most extroverted or the loudest, you might begin to question the values of the company or the leader of the team, or the leader of that project. See, when you lead through the Includer theme, you're so tuned into each person's contribution and each person's ideas. You know that there are many ideas that are not spoken aloud, unless people are asked, or unless you bring it out of certain people. So, if it appears to you that the only way to succeed is to be a bold talker, you may come to resent that.

 [5:37] 

See, this is interesting, because you can have this feeling even if you are an extroverted Includer. See, you could be the one who's comfortable talking, speaking aloud, bringing your ideas up. But if you see that other people's ideas, seem to be excluded, are not heard or not cared about, you're going to be aware of that dynamic on behalf of other people.

Of course, on the flip side, this means you could let their voices be heard you could offer, volunteer that talent to the team by saying, - “Oh, hey, you know, we haven't heard from you, Joe. What are your thoughts on this?” - and that's an easy way to work around it. But if you sense that that isn't wanted, because they all need to speak up for themselves or they lose, that's when it would bother you.

All right, last section for you. Three application ideas for Includer. These are ways you can take your talent theme, and apply it at work, even if the job duties seem pretty locked in on the team.

And if you're listening as a manager, just be sure to have a conversation about these ideas, because you can come up with more ideas for how to use them specifically, and you can make sure that they would resonate with the person who reports to you.

So the first one is, assimilate new people. So, a great way to use the Includer talent theme is to integrate new people into a team or integrate them into your culture. You can make them feel like they're part of the group really quickly. You can help them feel seen and appreciated even when they're new, and they don't feel like they've accomplished anything yet. And being assigned to this kind of duty is just the type of thing that might light up the soul of somebody with the Includer or talent. This could be a new hire, but also imagine this is something you could do with new customers to really feed the Includer talent to make the customer feel like they're part of something or feel like they're a critical part of this process.

This could even be somebody who's been around the company for a long time, who's an internal team member, but they just joined your project, and you want to make them feel a part of something that has already been rolling along.

Okay, the second application idea, this is called interested party finder. This sounds like a funny title. But what it's about is uncovering people who are interested in being involved in a project. And it might be that they're interested stakeholders, or they're interested parties, but no one knew about them because they were being excluded before.

Okay, to give you an example, this makes me remember a customer situation where I worked with this team in Malaysia, and they told me, - “Oh, they were so frustrated that they were never consulted about the advertisements that were being placed in their country by their marketing team.”

And this company had a billboard strategy across the company, all regions, all locations. But in Malaysia, the locals felt that the billboards were a total waste of money because they live in the jungle. And the logos, and the text on the bottom of all of the billboards, were constantly getting covered up by these trees that would grow really fast. So, this is an example where the locals were contacted for translation, but not genuine localization. When they started talking about their local issues and strategy, they felt like they were being ignored.

And this is the kind of investigation someone with Includer would be great at. They can find the stakeholders who are feeling ignored, and they can give voices to people with no voice. They can also help you prevent some of the vetoes or the internal battles or struggles that could have been presented with better listening up front. So, this interested party finder, or this stakeholder secrets kind of concept is a good action item.

Okay, the third one is called, turn on the megaphone. So, if you have people on the team who seemed to never contribute in conversations, assign that to someone with the Includer to turn on the megaphone for them. So, a lot of times what you'll find on a team, you have these quiet people who will give their opinion if they're asked. Well, a person with Includer can just get in the habit of saying things like, -

“Oh, Maria, you know a lot about advertising in Southeast Asia. We haven't heard from you yet. What do you think that's where that billboard thing could have been found?”

You can unleash the power of hearing from people who are used to not sharing their voice. People, of course, don't share their voice for many reasons. It could be cultural, it could be the personality type. It could be that they're uncomfortable in the room. All sorts of reasons lead people to be quiet.

But if someone with Includer knows that they're volunteering their talent by hoping voices get heard that have been quiet. This is a great way to both use the talent theme of inclusion and also make the person who has the Includer or talent theme not feel annoyed that the project leader isn't doing this thing.

Alright, so there you have it. That's your quick tour for building your career to the talent theme of Includer. So the homework is:

One, go take action on your LinkedIn profile with that career branding section and add some of those adjectives that resonated with you. Or make up your own number to think over those red flags. See if there's anything you need to get in front of before it brings you down.

And then finally, volunteer your talents through those application ideas. And if you're a manager, have a conversation with your team members about which of those things sound like something they'd 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 event to kick off your strengths-based culture, head on over to leadthroughstrengths.com/slash training, to see if our current 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 that they already have 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.