I get a whole lot of questions about how to amplify your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Input with 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 a better alignment between your 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 When Input Is Your 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. 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.

So here are a bunch of Input-related adjectives to consider using in your career branding efforts and your LinkedIn profile:

  • Inquirers
  • Collectors
  • Information Sponges
  • Generous
  • Appliers of Knowledge
  • Well-Read
  • Knowledgeable
  • Researchers
  • Investigators
  • Corporate Librarians
  • Archivists
  • Curators
  • Workplace Archeologists
  • Company Archivists

Red Flag Situations For Input

These are the cultures, interactions, or situations that feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the talent theme of Input. 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 quit the job or become detached and disengaged at work.

Here are two Red flags for Input:

  1. Busy work. Because people with Input like to learn and then aim that learning at something useful, it’s really draining to do tasks that seems like “make work.” If you lead through Input and you see this happening, challenge yourself to share insights or document the process to make it useful to someone else. This way, you can still feel like you’re curating something useful to teammates.
  2. Outdated or unsearchable tools. If you lead through Input and you see something like a database or CRM system or customer service tool that is not kept current, it will be draining. You’ll be able to see the huge value in sharing information, and it will be extremely frustrating to find that others don’t value the repository in the same way.

3 Fresh Application Ideas for Input

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

  1. Make information findable. If you lead someone with Input and you want a system for curating, storing, and finding information that everyone can use, send it over to someone with Input. Whether you ask them to make a Wiki or update an intranet page or collect FAQs, the idea of gathering and sharing useful information will light up someone with Input.
  2. Research deeply. When you need someone to do a deep research quest, ask someone with Input. They’ll enjoy looking through archives, learning, and then distilling the important parts down to make them usable to others. The idea of researching and applying is highly energizing for those who lead through Input. And then translating them into usable bits will be a fun way for them to apply the information while being challenged to distill the important takeaways.
  3. Soak up practices from other teams. Basically, ask them to be a sponge and soak up the approaches that others are using. Then they can apply it to your team’s specific situation and make recommendations. The idea of investigating the options by being curious inquirer will be fun. From there, applying it to your team adds to the energy because someone with Input wants to apply the learning to a specific project or situation.

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

Here’s Your Personal Branding Homework

  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. And finally, 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.

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.