Positivity Strength: Get Known For Your Talent
I get a whole lot of questions about how to align your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Positivity with your career.
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 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.
Today, the talent theme of the post is Positivity.
You’ll get three layers to chew on:
- Career Branding
- Red Flag Situations At Work
- Fresh Application Ideas
Career Branding For The Positivity 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 is usually "the how,” and this is where your StrengthsFinder talent themes live. This is an overlooked use for tools like LinkedIn, which is not just for job seekers.
Chances are good that you are a lot 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 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 Positivity strength:
- Warm & Friendly
- Seeker of Silver Linings
Red Flag Situations When You Lead With The Positivity Strength
These are the cultures, interactions, or situations that feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the talent theme of Positivity. 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 Positivity strength (talent theme):
- Devil’s Advocate. If your team has a pessimistic tone where people are awarded for their cynicism or constant reality checks, be on watch. This can suck the life out of you - especially if the team is constantly picking on each other’s ideas with a “that will never work” type of default response, rather than building on each other’s ideas and hearing each other out.
- Celebrate For A Nano Second. If you lead through the Positivity strength and you’re in a culture that doesn’t stop to celebrate, regardless of how big the accomplishment, you’ll be constantly drained and baffled wondering why you can’t slow down for a second to acknowledge the accomplishment. Although you don’t expect everyone to give praise as readily as you do, it will drain you if you know it’s getting withheld.
3 Fresh Application Ideas For The Positivity Strength
These are ways to apply the talent theme of Positivity 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 Positivity strength, put the talent to good use with one of these options:
- Lifting spirits though change. If you have someone on the team who leads through Positivity, call on them when the team is having trouble seeing the silver lining in the situation. Behind the scenes, brainstorm with them all of the things you can think of that are still going well. Also list all of the potential future outcomes this change will enable. You’ll have fun making the list, and you’ll likely come up with ideas that will help you get adoption for a tough change.
- Tone setting. When you need someone to pump up a room, consider someone with the Positivity talent. They often light up a room just by walking into it. So next time you have a kickoff event, or you want a moment of levity in a meeting, ask this person in advance to bring a fun segment to the event.
- Seeing possibilities. When a team feels stuck, the leader is often reluctant to come in with a rah-rah message about how you’ll be okay in the future (and rightly so). If you want to lead the team through a deep conversation along the lines of “Who do we need to become to make that happen?,” enlist your team member with the Positivity talent in advance. They’re awesome at possibilities-thinking, so they can seed the conversation with believable ideas to get the momentum going in the room.
So there you have it. It’s a quick tour for building your career through the talent theme of Positivity.
Here's Your Personal Branding Homework For The Positivity 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 Positivity strength all the way. You can really nerd out on the nuances on the Positivity Talent Theme Page.
Here's A Full Transcript Of The 9 Minute Episode
You're listening to Lead Through Strengths, where we help teams apply their greatest strengths at work. I'm your host, Lisa Cummings and I got to tell you, it's hard to find something more energizing than using your natural talents every day at work.
Now, as you might guess, I get a bunch of questions about how to align CliftonStrengths talent themes with a career. So, in this series, I break down one strength per episode. This time, we're talking all about Positivity, so that you can add to the insights that you get out of a StrengthsFinder report or definition, and you can make a better match between the job and the strengths.
Now, if you're listening as a manager, use this series for career development ideas. Use this series to think about how you can take tasks and responsibilities and assignments and match them up with the talent themes so that you can get the best out of the person on your team.
If you're listening for yourself, because you have the Positivity talent theme, then use this as a chance to imagine how can you build a reputation based on your Positivity theme, so that you're more likely to be given assignments that live in your strengths zone, that live in the Positivity zone.
So, I'll give you three layers to chew on today. One is career branding. The second is red flag situations at work. And the third is fresh application ideas.
So, let's talk about career branding. Now you already have a reputation at work and that reputation is likely based on what you know. So, if you imagine your resume or your LinkedIn profile, I bet it's full of the what these are things like job titles, skills, knowledge, expertise, degrees you've earned. And what's missing from most of them is the ‘how’, yet this is where your StrengthsFinder talent themes live. This is your secret sauce. And this isn't overlooked use for the tool of LinkedIn.
See, it's not just for job seekers. I bet you're a lot like my StrengthsFinder training clients where you don't see your teammates physically. You don't see your customers every day. That's why LinkedIn has become so important for career branding, because your teammates, your customers, your vendors, they go out there and they look you up before meetings because they want to see who they're about to talk to. And rather than only telling them what you know, you can also give them a sneak peek at how it is to work with you.
So, I'm going to give you a bunch of words and phrases you can use in your career branding, and in your LinkedIn profile. And this is extra fun if you have the Positivity talent, because you might infuse it with some fun factoids about yourself because that would be very much in alignment with the Positivity talent theme as well.
So, people who lead through Positivity are often upbeat, fun, energetic, hopeful, magnetic, encouraging, optimistic, enthusiastic, warm and friendly, and celebratory.
Now, let's move over to the red flag situations at work. These, yes, they're a little bit negative, because they're the cultures that happen on teams. They're the interactions or the situations that are going to feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the talent theme of Positivity, and they might even make you want to quit the team.
So, I'm going to give you a couple of these that you can be on watch for because if you let these fester, you might get the urge to quit the job or become detached or be the actively disengaged person at work. And no one with the Positivity talent theme wants to be the cancer.
So, two of them to watch out. For one, I'm going to call it devil's advocate, i.e., if your team has an overriding pessimistic tone, where people are awarded for their cynicism, or it's just the norm to constantly be doing reality checks and let me be the devil's advocate on everything, then be on watch because it really can suck the life out of you. It's like negative Nelly but as a part of a culture that is twisted in a way that seems like it's productive.
But if the team is constantly picking on each other's ideas with “that'll never work”, or those kind of default responses, and they don't seem to ever build on each other's ideas or hear each other out, that's really gonna suck the life out of you with the Positivity talent theme.
The next red flag I'm going to call, celebrate for a nanosecond. And that is if you lead through Positivity, and you're in a culture that doesn't stop to celebrate, even for big accomplishments, you're going to feel constantly drained and you're going to be baffled, wondering like, -
“Why can't we slow down for a second to acknowledge this huge accomplishment?”
And heck, you even want to acknowledge the small accomplishments because why not acknowledge all of them. So, although you don't expect everyone to give praise as readily as you do, it will drain you if you know that it's getting withheld on purpose.
So now, let's talk about three application ideas for Positivity, ways to use this to invest in it and use it positively. If you have this talent theme, be thinking about which ones excite you and which ones you could volunteer to use at work. If you manage someone with the Positivity talent theme, be thinking about how you could assign something concrete that you're working on right now at the office. Alright, so put this Positivity talent theme to good use by considering one of these three options.
One, lifting spirits through a change. Now, if you have somebody on the team who leads through Positivity as a manager, you're going to see times when the team is just having trouble, they can't see the silver lining through a rough situation. So, behind the scenes, have a brainstorming session with your person with Positivity talent, and ask them to help you think of all the things that you can think of that are still going well, what is ‘still working about us’ list, potential future outcomes that this change will enable. This is a process that is often referred to as appreciative inquiry and you can do this as a team.
But it's also really fun just to do it behind the scenes, because you'll have fun making the list and you'll come up with ideas that will help you get adoption through a tough change. And rather than coming off as Pollyanna by trying to mask the hard stuff in front of the whole team, if you do it with somebody who has the Positivity talent, they'll be willing to go there with you. And then you can decide what of those things you want to bring forward to the whole team.
Second one, let's call it tone setting. This is a great way to apply the Positivity talent thing. When you need somebody to pump up a room, consider someone with the Positivity talent theme. They often just light up the room when they walk into it. So, next time you have a kickoff event, or you want a moment of levity in a meeting, even if it's just something small, like finding the right way to break tension, ask the person in advance to bring a fun segment to the event or to the meeting. They're great at helping you set a tone, especially if you tell them,-
“I want to have a fun tone here”, or, “I want to break the tension here.” They'll have fun with that assignment.
Seeing the possibilities is the third one. When a team feels stuck, oftentimes, the manager feels kind of reluctant. They don't want to come in with a “rah rah” message about how you're going to be okay in the future, and rightly so. So, if you want to lead the team through a deep conversation along the lines of one of those things, where you want them to reflect and imagine, who do we need to become as a team to make that big thing happen, that thing that feels like a mountain to climb, enlist your team member with the Positivity talent in advance, because they're really awesome at possibilities thinking and they can seed the conversation.
When you go live in front of the whole team, then they're prepared to seed that conversation and be one of the first people to speak up, because they can come up with the believable ideas that get the momentum going in the room and loosen it up and kind of break the ice with ideas.
So, there you have it. It's a quick tour for building a career through the talent theme of Positivity.
So, for homework: 3 things. Number one, take action on your LinkedIn profile, and do a career branding section. If you lead through Positivity, go do a summary section in LinkedIn and challenge yourself to write one sentence that captures how it is that you collaborate as a teammate with the Positivity talent theme.
Second, this one's all about red flags. If you have the Positivity talent theme, look over those red flags and see if there's something you need to distance yourself from or work around. If you manage somebody who has the Positivity talent themes, go look through the red flags and see if these seem like a regular part of your work culture. Really be on watch for this and see if it's creating a problem for that person.
And finally, the third thing, this is about volunteering the talents and applying the talents. If you have this talent theme, go volunteer these talents out consider using the application ideas that are listed in this episode. If you manage someone with Positivity talents and talk these over, just watch for their energy. They usually are very expressive, and you'll know when something gives them energy.
So, if you just talk about these 3 options, you'll be able to tell right in their face, which one seems appealing for them to apply concretely on the job this week.
And with that, I'm your host Lisa Cummings from Lead Through Strengths. If you're thinking about doing a virtual or in person StrengthsFinder 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.
And until next time, thank you for being a part of this powerful strengths movement that helps people unleash the awesomeness they already have 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.