"Insulted" Words - CliftonStrengths Clues To Your Hot Buttons

34 Strengths: How They Might Get Insulted At A Values Level

Achiever - Things not getting to the finish line — you get satisfaction when things are complete, so every "restart" can feel like a punch in the arm

Activator - Analysis paralysis — you get satisfaction from starting things, so every delay and moment of bureaucracy can make you feel like an animal trapped in a cage

Adaptability - Same old, same old / the inability to be in the moment — you get satisfaction by reacting to the here-and-now, so every rehashing of the past can feel like an anchor in the water when you're trying to drive a speedboat

Analytical - Impractical, "head in the clouds" thinking; a culture that appreciates the outlandish, a constant 30,000-foot view, or rushed decisions; consistently having to deal with unexplored assumptions; the lack of prudence and truth-seeking

Arranger - Obsolete processes; naysayers; the inability to change things — you get satisfaction when things are changing and adapting to meet current needs, so old rules, obsolete technologies, and stubborn hangers-on will be tough for you to work with

Belief - Pushing on ethical boundaries, or worse, being asked to breach your moral standards; obsession with money and power; others constantly breaking rules or feeding egos; an insincere approach to business — you get satisfaction when values and purpose are honored, so being around selfish acts can make you feel like you're working in the wrong office

Command - Wishy-washy opinions, or conflicts on the team being avoided; others constantly choosing the middle ground or emphasizing compromise — your style of collaboration does not require everyone to agree, it's more about removing ambiguity

Communication - Big doses of solitary time; focusing solely on data when a story needs a voice; the inability to interact — you connect people and ideas by using words, so squelching verbal expression will make you feel small

Competition - Everyone being given a participation trophy; scorecards or metrics being hidden or only discussed in 1:1s; a "fair is equal" environment; the inability to know if you're excelling — you get satisfaction from getting high rewards for high achievement, so if everyone gets the "peanut butter spreading of rewards," you will lose motivation

Connectedness - Possibilities being shut down / being told there's only one rigid path; being isolated from other humans; focus on facts, figures, and data rather than connecting the human race into the picture — you get satisfaction when things are acknowledged as borderless and timeless, so trying to stuff them in a box will feel stifling

Consistency - Rules being broken, or others shamelessly gloating about how guidelines do not or should not apply to them; changing for change's sake, or changing and allowing it to seem like a "flavor of the month" initiative

Context - A lopsided focus on the future and the vision; skipping over debriefs or post mortems; saying things like "the past is the past — it is gone."

Deliberative - Being asked to do the rework that stemmed from someone else's hasty decisions; being put under pressure to share about your personal life

Developer - Focus on the work rather than those doing the work; celebrating mega achievements while forgetting to praise small improvements

Discipline - Casting a vision and failing to create a plan to support it; scattering focus broadly and disregarding questions about practical execution

Empathy - Placing a lopsided focus on data and disregarding emotions as lacking credibility or truth; telling or dictating rather than asking and expressing

Focus - Celebrating or requiring multitasking or constant task switching; interruptions while in the flow, including instant messaging or in-person interruptions

Futuristic - Preoccupation with the past; holding meetings in reaction to daily "fire drills" rather than getting ahead to the important vision of the future

Harmony - Allowing a tense work culture to fester; a team habit of water cooler talk or people gossiping about those not around

Ideation - Jumping to execution before exploring ideas and possibilities; shutting down the idea-generating phase fast / being too busy for creativity and innovation

Individualization - Heavily investing in weakness fixing, especially on performance reviews and development plans where the "work on being someone else" view is institutionalized; being glued to job descriptions or standard operating procedures

Includer - Showing there's a good ol' boys club you must be part of to get promoted or to get your ideas considered; forgetting stakeholders who want to be informed or involved

Input - Requiring the use of disappearing media like live stream that can't be tagged or saved for future use; irrelevant tools or unfindable/unsearchable resources on the job

Intellection - Being put under pressure to react in the moment; surface-level groupthink dominating the team's decision-making process

Learner - Being assigned to long-term maintenance of projects or products; stagnation

Maximizer - Focus only on quantity; launching before it’s ready

Positivity - Withholding appreciation with the belief that it's not worth giving unless it's a huge win or hard-won accomplishment; throwing out consistent pessimism and reality checks

Relator - Surface-level, obligatory small talk; trying to feign interest yet coming off with coldness or superficial interactions that lack authenticity

Responsibility - Being given false or padded deadlines; changing priorities and not being told that your project is no longer important (meanwhile you're off toiling)

Restorative - Fighting among the team rather than fixing the problem (letting the problem sprout new symptoms); avoiding conflict, and maintaining false harmony on the team

Self-Assurance - Being questioned for your decisions or thought process; forced collaborations when you already know exactly what direction this project needs to take

Significance - Being asked to sit on the sidelines while the team works on a highly purposeful project; being assigned work that doesn’t matter

Strategic - Ignoring or overlooking the downstream impact, especially when quick input could have been asked for; getting paralyzed in decision-making, especially on something already started

Woo - Being put on a small team with low social variety; solitude — this can happen working from home or in a work environment where people are quiet and keep to themselves

Your Non-Negotiable Values Are A Big Clue To Your Hot Buttons

Usually talents get offended or insulted by other people who have natural preferences that are different from yours. If someone takes it far enough to rub your values the wrong way - boom - your hot button has ignited. You're amp'd up quickly. It also happens if a teammate fail to see their actions have an impact on someone else (you!).

Funny enough, you can also insult your own talents if you have a "troublemaker strength" that speaks loudly and goes into overuse or mis-application.

These are slightly unusual ways of wording it, yet it's really all about knowing what pushes your hot buttons. If you clearly recognize what your non-negotiable values are, you can understand why certain situations make you red-line-hot while others brush the same thing off as no big deal.

This list of behaviors and work situations provides some examples of what could "insult" your talents. They're potential hot buttons. It's a list of things that might drive you bonkers at work. Pick 1-3 that really make you gnash your teeth and feel frustration. We call those "red liners" because they amp you up with negative emotion more easily than ordinary frustrations.

After you pick them, write down a strategy for how you can reframe the situation or handle it productively. By deciding in advance, you take a lot of the emotion, regret, and anxiety out of the equation. Here's an example where Sara, one of our facilitators, talks about it in the context of frustrating teammates.

Analysis paralysis

Avoidance of conflict

Being glued to job descriptions

Being on the sidelines

Bureaucracy & red tape

Change for change’s sake

Changing course before projects are finished

Cold or superficial interactions

Disappearing media like live stream

Everyone gets a trophy

Execution before exploring possibilities

False or padded deadlines

Fear of public scorecards

Focus on data when a story needs a voice

Focus on quantity

Focus on work & ignore *people* doing work

Forced collaborations

Forgetting stakeholders who will care

Good ‘ol boy’s club


Ignoring downstream impact

Impractical, “head in the clouds” thinking

Infighting rather than fixing

Interruptions while in flow

Investing in weaknesses


Launching before it’s ready

Lopsided focus on data

Lopsided focus on the future

Low social variety

Maintenance of projects or products



Obsession with money & power

Obsolete tools & processes

Paralysis in decision-making

Pessimism & reality checks

Preoccupation with past

Pressure to react

Pressure to share about personal life

Pushing ethical boundaries

Questioning my decisions

Reactive meetings

Rehashing the past


Rule breaking

Same old, same old

Scattered focus

Shutting down ideas too fast

Shutting down of possibilities

Skipping over debriefs

Solitary time



Sugar coating

Surface level small talk

Telling, dictating

Tense work culture

Un-communicated changes in priority

Unexplored assumptions

Visions without a plan

Water cooler talk

Wishy-washy opinions

Withholding of appreciation

Work that doesn’t matter

Work that serves egos over outcomes