How To Apply CliftonStrengths Discipline At Work

StrengthsFinder Definition - Discipline

Often people will ask us, "What does it mean to have the Discipline Strength?" First, know that StrengthsFinder will help you figure out your potential. We call them natural talents or natural patterns. We know you're here because you want to turn them into superpowers in your career, so here's the gist: People exceptionally talented in the Discipline theme enjoy routine and structure. Their world is best described by the order they create. Here's the full list of CliftonStrengths definitions so you can check out your other talents as well.

Gallup®, Clifton StrengthsFinder®, StrengthsFinder®, and each of the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are trademarks of Gallup, Inc.

CliftonStrengths Discipline - Learn All About It

These 10-15 minute "Theme Overview" videos give you a peek into the awesomeness of your talent theme. They also explore the idea that talent themes represent potential, yet if they are not invested in, they might show up looking raw and unproductive at work.
These “Talent Deep Dive” videos explore the nuance of each talent theme. You’ll learn about its power and edge. You’ll consider potential blind spots. These are useful videos if you have this talent theme at the top of your list, or if you want to learn about a teammate who leads through Discipline.

These Career Branding links help you apply your talents to your career. They give you examples of things you might be known for to help your personal branding at work. They also offer some watch-outs to know what situations and cultures can zap your energy.

Your Strengths Will Strengthen Your Performance At Work

In the next section, you'll explore what fuels you up and what drains you. Just like gas (or petrol) in your car, you need to keep your personal tank full to be at your best. Each StrengthsFinder talent theme is energized and drained by different things. When you see the stick figure who looks strong, you can consider how these things fuel you up at work. They're your energy makers. When you see the stick figure who looks weak, consider if these things are draining you at work. They're your energy takers.

Yucks for CliftonStrengths Discipline

What's a Yuck?

It's a situation, condition, or behavior you might see at work that zaps your energy. Yucks are also things you see on your calendar or to-do list that make you think, "Yuck, if I never had to do that again I'd be thrilled."

Yuck Situations for Discipline

  • Chaos and confusion about what outcomes are expected
  • Flying by the seat of your pants

Yays for CliftonStrengths Discipline

What's a Yay?

It's a situation at work that boosts up your energy or makes you feel productive. Yays are also things you see on your calendar or to-do list that make you think, “Yay, fill my days with this."

Yay Situations for Discipline

  • Creating and following a plan
  • Meeting deadlines

How CliftonStrengths Discipline Can Be Perceived When Starved

What's a Starved Talent?

This section describes how you might be perceived when the shadow side of your talent is showing. It’s when you’re overusing, misapplying, or squashing one of your natural talents rather than turning it into a strength. We often see people starve, squash, or ignore their talent when they assume it is not valued in that role or company culture.

Perceptions of Starved Discipline

  • Resistant to change
  • Rigid

How CliftonStrengths Discipline Can Be Perceived When Fed

What's a Fed Talent?

This section describes how you might be perceived when the best version of you shows up at work. It’s when you’ve invested in your natural talents to mature them into strengths. You can feed your talent by considering “how” you approach each “what” on the job. When you apply your talents to productive outcomes, you’re feeding them.

Perceptions of Fed Discipline

  • Precise manager of details
  • Maximizer of limited resources

Situations That Make CliftonStrengths Discipline Feel Insulted

What's An Insulted Talent?

Usually, talents get offended or insulted by other people who have natural preferences that are different from yours. It also happens if they fail to see their actions have an impact on someone else (you!). You can also insult your own talents if you have a "troublemaker strength" that speaks loudly and overpowers this one.

Things That Will Insult Discipline

  • Cast a vision and fail to create a plan to support it.
  • Scatter your focus broadly and disregard questions about practical execution.

Situations That Make CliftonStrengths Discipline Feel Honored

What's An Honored Talent?

Usually, talents feel honored when other people acknowledge your needs and potential contributions. Talents feel honored when someone “extends an olive branch” to help you work at your best. You can also honor your own talents by investing in them, by choosing work that naturally calls on them, or by applying your strengths to performance on the job.

Things That Will Honor Discipline

  • Offer or allow this person to create structure and process.
  • Maintain organized thoughts and physical spaces.

Personal Brand - 'How' CliftonStrengths Discipline Operates At Work

Most people have a good handle on "What" they bring to the workplace. Resumes, CVs, and career development conversations are filled with lists of skills and job titles that show "what" you can do. Nearly everyone misses the "How".

Your Clifton StrengthsFinder talent themes help you communicate "How" you show up. It's how you think. It's how you feel. It's how you act. These are huge differences in each person that are differentiators on the job. Consider these adjectives you might want to consciously put into your personal branding efforts.

We recommend working a "How" description into the Summary section in your LinkedIn profile (if you don't yet use that section, don't worry, most people haven't paid attention to it until now). Of course, make up adjectives or phrases that describe you at your best. Try to avoid words like "motivated, self-starter" because they're so overused that you'll blend in with everyone else. Here are some ideas to spark your thinking:

  • Organized
  • Orderly
  • Well-Planned
  • Predictable
  • Structured
  • Team Blueprint Maker
  • Reliable
  • Timely
  • Gantt Chart Lover
  • Routine
  • Exact
  • Goal Systematizer
  • Neat
  • Efficient
  • Meticulous

How To Invest In Your CliftonStrengths Discipline Talent On The Job

  • Seek out roles and responsibilities where structure exists.
  • Don’t hesitate to check as often as necessary to ensure that things are right. You feel an urge to do it anyway, and soon enough others will come to expect it of you.
  • Learn how to use a time management system. It will make you even more efficient and give you more confidence.
  • Create routines that make you follow through systematically. Over time, people will come to appreciate this kind of rigorous predictability.
  • Recognize that mistakes might depress you. Precision is a core part of who you are; however, you must find ways to move through these moments of annoyance to prevent becoming dragged down.
  • Help other people add a little order to their lives. Do it in the right way and they will appreciate it.
  • Explain your Discipline theme to your close associates. Initially they might resent your perfectionism, but once you have explained how it works for you, do not be afraid to let your perfectionism show. Others will want to see it in action.
  • Recognize that many others are not as disciplined as you are. More than likely, their clumsy process will frustrate you, so try to look beyond it, and instead assess them on their results, not on their process.

Tips For Managing Someone Who Leads Through The CliftonStrengths Discipline Talent

  • Give this person the opportunity to bring structure to a haphazard or chaotic situation. Since they will never be comfortable in such shapeless, messy situations — and don’t expect them to — they will not rest until order and predictability are restored.
  • Clutter will annoy them. Don’t expect them to last long in a physically cluttered environment. Either charge them with cleaning it up or find them a different environment.
  • Always give them advance notice of deadlines. They feel a need to get work done ahead of schedule, and they can’t do this if you don’t tell them the schedule.
  • In the same vein, try not to surprise them with sudden changes in plan and priority. Surprises are distressing to them. They can ruin their day.
  • When there are many things that need to get done in a set time period, remember their need to prioritize. Take the time to prioritize together and then, once the schedule is set, stick to it.
  • If appropriate, ask them to help you plan and organize your own work. You might ask them to review your time management system or even your proposal for reengineering some of your department’s processes. Tell their colleagues that this is one of these people's strengths and encourage them to ask these people for similar help.
  • They excel at developing routines that help them work efficiently. If they are forced to work in a situation that requires flexibility and responsiveness, encourage them to devise a set number of routines, each appropriate for a certain situation. In this way they will have a predictable response to fall back on, no matter what the surprise.

What To Consider When Partnering With A Colleague Who Leads Through CliftonStrengths Discipline

  • Ask this person to partner with you when you need to establish order, structure, or repeatable systems.
  • When you have a project or program that requires exactness, use this person to bring the precision you’ve been lacking.
  • Call on them when you need follow through and a systematic plan that has to be followed over a long stretch of time. They are excellent when procrastination just isn’t an option because you need to make progress over the long haul.

Turn CliftonStrengths Discipline Into A Strength This Month By Making It Your Phone Lock Screen

Discipline Talent Theme LockscreenClick on this thumbnail image of your StrengthsFinder talent theme to link to the full size image. Then save it to your phone or mobile device as your lock screen.

That way, you’ll be reminded of your plan to focus on that talent…oh…about 98 times per day when you unlock your phone. What a great way to keep your intention front-of-mind! This will help you remember to invest in this talent theme so you can take the untapped potential and turn the natural talent into a strength.

Who knew wallpaper images could be so valuable to your career?! Here are all of the lock screen images if you want to grab an image for a different CliftonStrengths talent.

Gallup®, Clifton StrengthsFinder®, StrengthsFinder®, and each of the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are trademarks of Gallup, Inc.

Take The 12-Week Strengths Challenge

Get stronger performance at work by using your strengths. The challenge is free. You'll get one email per week for the next 12 weeks with a simple question to uncover more of your hidden potential. If you can get your whole team to join along, you'll get crazy-cool insights about each other.

Note: if you're on this page because you're taking one of our strengths classes, you might also be getting an "Activation Course" with that program. This is a heads-up that signing up for this challenge would give you 2 strengths emails per week if you're already slated for the "Activation Course."

12 Week Challenge - Team Icebreakers

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