Intellection Strength: Get Known For Your Talent
You send in quite a few deep questions about how to amplify your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Intellection 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.
The talent theme today is Intellection strength.
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 Intellection 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.
Here are a bunch of adjectives to consider using in your career branding efforts and your LinkedIn profile when you lead through the Intellection strength:
- Critical Thinker
- Solitude Seeker
- Willing To Be Contrarian
Red Flag Situations When You Lead With The Intellection Strength
These are the cultures, interactions, or situations that feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the talent theme of Intellection. 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 a couple of Red flags for the Intellection strength (talent theme):
- Pressure to give answers in the moment. If you lead through the Intellection strength, it will likely be annoying to go to a meeting where someone asks you to make an important decision or give your opinion on something they’ve sprung on you in the moment. You do your best thinking when you have time to marinate on it, so be sure to find a way to communicate to your team that you’ll be at your best when you have time to think about something in advance. This means, watch out for those blank calendar invitations that don’t tell you anything about the meeting at hand. Get the agenda in advance. Know what contribution someone is hoping for. Otherwise, they might pressure you to “talk it out” in the moment, which will likely drain you and frustrate you.
- Groupthink. If you lead through the Intellection strength and you’re on a team where people blindly nod along with each other, you’ll probably feel frustrated with the lack of critical thinking. If you’re in this situation and you’re thinking that your team is a bunch of sheep or "Yes” men or lemmings, imagine how difficult it would be for you to have a deep, trusting relationship with peers. The same goes for teams who seem to skim the surface and then act - while never doing the deep thinking on a topic. Watch out for these situations because they’ll be big energy-zappers for you.
3 Fresh Application Ideas For The Intellection Strength
These are ways to apply the talent theme of Intellection 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 Intellection strength, put the talent to good use with one of these options:
- Help me poke holes in my idea. Many roles today are filled with distractions, quick meetings, and instant messenger. This can be efficient, yet it can also keep teams from the deep contemplation needed for important decisions. If someone on your team has Intellection, ask them, “what am I missing here” or “what else should I be thinking of” or “can you poke holes in my idea?” They will appreciate the idea to think beyond the surface.
- Contrarians wanted. Just because someone on your team has Intellection, it doesn’t mean that they'll disagree with everything. At the same time, using their critical thinking will unleash their best. Their deep reflection and reasoning skills are valuable to help teams see past the surface. They can see downstream impact that others can’t see. They can see the unexpected consequences that others can’t spot.
- A task of solitude. Next time you have a role where someone needs to work from home, or do a seemingly lonely job of traveling and being alone in hotel rooms (or holed up in a remote cabin), see what someone on your team with Intellection thinks. They will often love doing tasks that require solitude because they do their best thinking when they can contemplate alone. This doesn’t mean that they don’t like people. Yet often, they will be private people who need time alone to be at their best.
So there you have it. It’s a quick tour for building your career through the talent theme of Intellection.
Here's Your Personal Branding Homework For The Intellection Strength
- 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.
- Then think over the red flags to see if there’s anything you need to get in front of before it brings you down.
- 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.
- Dig into the Intellection strength all the way. You can really nerd out on the nuances on the Intellection Talent Theme Page.
Here's A Full Transcript Of The 1 Minute Episode
You're listening to Lead Through Strengths, where we hope corporate teams apply their greatest strengths at work. I'm your host, Lisa Cummings and I gotta tell you, it's hard to find something that is more energizing than using your natural talents every day at work. I hear deep interest for how to apply your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Intellection to your career.
So, in this series, you'll get one strength broken down per episode. That way you can add to those insights, you know, if you have Intellection, you want to deepen your insights so you don't want to just stop there at your StrengthsFinder report, but this will help you go further and make an even better match between your job and your strengths.
If you're listening to this, as a people manager, use this career series for branding and career development for a person on your team who has this talent theme. But also use it to start to look for clues about the tasks and responsibilities that will put them at their best and most productive.
If you're listening for yourself, because you lead through the talent theme of Intellection, 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 instead of the ones that are in your weakness zone sucking the life out of you.
So today, with the talent theme of Intellection, you're going to get these three layers. One is career branding. Two is red flag situations to look out for at work. And three, new application ideas.
So, let's go into career branding. So, you probably already have a reputation for what you know. And with Intellection, you might have deep subject matter expertise listed on your resume on your CV, in your LinkedIn profile. But just listing job titles or skills or knowledge or some of this excellent expertise, or even I see a lot of people with Intellection, where they're going on PhD, they have the most degrees, but they often don't say anything about how it is they lead. And this is where your StrengthsFinder talent themes live.
So, chances are that you're like a lot of my StrengthsFinder training clients. You don't see your teammates every day, you don't see your customers every day. But those customers and vendors and teammates are looking you up on LinkedIn, because they want to know who it is they're about to go meet with. So, a great idea for you is to be able to brand yourself along these lines by using some of these Intellection-related adjectives, and you can put those in the summary section of your LinkedIn profile or even corporate directories, so that you can put together some of these adjectives in a way that describe how it is to work with you.
So here are a few to consider. Are you a philosopher? Deep muser? Are you intense? Are you an intellectual, a critical thinker? Are you a reflective person or contemplative? Are you a solitude seeker? Are you introspective? And are you willing to be contrarian in some workplaces in industries that would be highly valued, that you would be bold and courageous enough to be contrarian? Because you've done a deep thinking and you know, your position on it may not fit the average bear? Okay, that is career branding.
Let's move to red flag situations for Intellection so that you can think a little bit more about the cultures, the interactions, or the situations that are going to make work feel like soul-sucking drudgery. These are the things that if these are to present in your work life, they might make you want to quit or detach or disengage from work. So, a couple of red flags for Intellection.
One is pressure to give answers in the moment. If you lead through Intellection, it will likely be annoying for you to go to a meeting where someone asks you to make an important decision, or give a heavy opinion on something that they just sprung on you in the moment. You do your best thinking if you have Intellection when you have time to marinate on things and so be sure to find a way to communicate to your team that you'll be at your best when you have time to think about something in advance. This means everything from watching out for those blank calendar invitations that don't tell you anything about the meeting that's coming up at hand, and then you show up and spring all this on you. Instead get the agenda in advance, know what contribution someone is hoping for.
Ask them for pre-work, pre-reading as in the background, what they're going to be asking for. Otherwise, you're going to end up getting pressured to talk it out in the moment and that might drain you and frustrate you because you know you have a better answer to give when you have just a little bit of time to process it. This doesn't mean that you can't give answers in the moment. It just means that it's frustrating to have to because you know you can give a better one if you have a little bit of time to think on it.
Second red flag is group think. So, if you lead through Intellection and you're on a team or people blindly nod along with each other very easily because they're in a hurry, and they just want to move right along and get stuff done, so you notice that they don't really care if they agree or not, they're just going to nod along so they can get progress, you'll probably feel frustrated with the lack of critical thinking.
And if you're in this situation, and you're thinking that your teammates, they're a bunch of sheep, are a bunch of ‘yes’ men or lemmings or something like that, imagine how difficult it would be for you to have deep trusting relationships with peers, if you view them that way. And the same goes for teams who seem to skim the surface and then act, while they're not doing the deep thinking on the topic. Watch out for the situation, because they're going to be energy zappers for you, because you would know what it could be, if you could do the thinking.
So those are two, they're interesting. And often those two things are very much company culture types of things. So, if you find yourself in interview situations, try to assess that about the company culture you might go work for. But this is also one that can be very team-based, because the culture of meetings and interactions can also be shaped very much just by the work group or the team leader. So, watch out for those and be bold enough to communicate what you need to be able to contribute at your best three application ideas for you.
Let's move to that section. So even if your job duties seem like they are, what they are, because these are how you get any outcome, these are things you can apply even in the most rigid work environment. Okay, for someone who leads through Intellection, if you're a people manager, this is how I'll frame this up as if you're going to make assignments based on the talent theme.
Number one, help me poke holes in my idea. So, a lot of roles today are filled with distractions and quick meetings and instant messenger and it feels efficient. And you have a team full of people who like get it done, get it done, move, move, move. But it can also keep teams from the deep contemplation that you need for important decisions. So, if someone on the team has Intellection, they will love to be the person who takes path who says, -
“What am I missing here?”
“What else should I be thinking of?” Or,
“Can you poke holes in my idea?”
If you ask a person with Intellection those questions, they appreciate the ability to think beyond the surface. And that would be fun for them.
Number two, contrarians wanted. So just because someone on your team has Intellection, it doesn't mean that they're going to disagree with everything. But at the same time, using their critical thinking actually unleashes their best because they have deep reflection bent, they have high reasoning skills and they're really valuable when the team needs to get past the surface.
They can see downstream impact that others can't see, they can see unexpected consequences that others can't spot and they like to really go into one narrow thought, whereas some people skim the surface broadly. If you think about the idea of a generalist versus a specialist, are really great at being a specialist, and being willing to take a hard stance because they've done the good thinking on it.
The third thing for applying Intellection. If you have a task of solitude, this could be a role where someone needs to work from home, or entire job that is kind of seemingly lonely because it's traveling and it's a lot of being alone in hotel rooms, or maybe they're holed up in a remote cabin somewhere, see what someone on your team with Intellection thinks of that. They'll often love doing tasks that require solitude because they can do their best thinking when they can contemplate alone. And now this doesn't mean that they are people haters. Yet often there'll be private people, and they need some time to be alone so that they can do their best because that's where they can do their good thinking.
So, there you have it, a quick tour for building your career through the talent theme of Intellection.
So, the homework is:
One, take action on the LinkedIn profile with the career branding section. Challenge yourself to write just one sentence in the summary section of LinkedIn that captures how you collaborate as a teammate at work. And you can use the adjectives as a spark to get that sentence going.
Then number two, think over the red flags to 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. Or if you're a manager, have a conversation with your team member who has Intellection so that you can think about what projects that might apply to and which things sound like they would love to have more of.
So, with that, I'm your host Lisa Cummings from Lead Through Strengths. Now if you're thinking about doing a virtual or an in-person event, to kick off your strengths-based culture, head on over to leadthroughstrengths.com/training to see if our current offerings are a good fit for you.
Until next time. Thanks for being part of this powerful strengths movement that helps people unleash the awesomeness that already lives inside them.
Carmie is a professional writer and editor at Lead Through Strengths. Having spent 8 happy years with a nonprofit child organization as a storyteller and sponsorship relations team manager, she continues collaborating with others across the globe for the joy of human development and connection. Her days are powered by coffee, curiosities, cameras (film and digital), music, notebooks, and a cat. Where books are home, she’s home. She calls her Top 5 StrengthsFinder Talents “CLIPS” (Connectedness, Learner, Intellection, Positivity, and Strategic)–you know, those tiny objects that hold connected things together. She’d like to think she’s one.