List Of Yucks To Help You Define And Avoid Soul-Sucking Tasks

Yucks by CliftonStrengths Talent Theme: Potential Soul-Sucking Tasks and Situations At Work

Achiever - Lack of diligence or hard work around you; when there's no finish line in sight because it's too far away or it keeps getting moved

Activator - Waiting around for projects or people to start what you've been talking about; wasting time when you could be getting things off the ground

Adaptability - Predictability and routine at work; stagnation or mundane work is not fun because you draw excitement from changes in the moment

Analytical - Things that can’t be proven — even data can be frustrating if it is qualitative and not high on the reliability/validity scale; when people try to convince you to trust your heart over logic and facts

Arranger - If people bellyache about change when you could be taking action toward the outcome; being asked to stay on a singular focus or path when being nimble or having a panoramic view would help fit the pieces together

Belief - If your values get questioned or pushed around; if your work or company culture is misaligned with your beliefs

Command - Avoiding issues and conflicts or "beating around the bush"; seeing passive responses at work, or worse — passive-aggressive

Communication - Having your expression squashed or shut down; being alone or feeling like people want you to be quiet

Competition - 2nd place, because it feels like the 1st place loser; when there's no measure of success so you have no idea how you compare to others or how the company wins

Connectedness - Closed-mindedness or when people refuse to see that issues impact more than just us; experiencing an us vs. them mentality — because we all have a ripple effect on each other

Consistency - Unnecessary customization when standardization would serve your team or customers better; seeing or experiencing unfair treatment

Context - When the past is forgotten or disregarded; repeating the same mistakes at work, and not proactively avoiding failure by learning from the past

Deliberative - Feeling pressured to rush into judgment and action; making hasty decisions; new acquaintances asking too many personal questions

Developer - Seeing wasted potential in another person; typecasting people or limiting their career path

Discipline - Chaos and confusion about what outcomes are expected; flying by the seat of your pants; disruptive or urgent requests that stem from someone else's lack of planning

Empathy - Blocking or disregarding emotion as legitimate in the workplace; dismissing people’s perspectives or reactions

Focus - Distractions and interruptions when you're in the middle of something; going off on tangents in meetings or conversations

Futuristic - An environment stuck in the past; contentment with status quo

Harmony - Constant friction among people on the team; wasting emotional energy by rehashing areas of disagreement rather than looking for common ground

Ideation - A role or company that focuses on doing what you’ve always done (unchanging practices and processes); being surrounded by closed-minded thinkers

Individualization - Being asked to apply a one-size-fits-all approach; treating every audience (or person) the same, or receiving a "template" presentation

Includer - Cliques or a feeling of in-groups and out-groups; witnessing intolerance or exclusion, especially when you can tell that person wants to be heard

Input - Doing busy work, and not feeling useful in the moment; when you can’t find a resource for someone and you know you've curated that information in the past

Intellection - Being the recipient of decisions (and needing to execute on the deliverables) without explanation; working on a team where acting before thinking is the norm

Learner - Experiencing a "know-it-all" who dominates meetings by asserting his correctness and is not open to curious exploration of new ideas; having a monotonous role or set of tasks

Maximizer - Delivering work that isn’t great — good isn't enough; obsession with pulling up weaknesses and what's broken, when instead we could be spending time figuring out how to make ourselves truly exceptional

Positivity - Negative Nellies on the team who always want to pick out what's wrong with people or situations; staying serious or dark for long stretches of time

Relator - The social discomfort of making surface-level small talk with new people if it feels disingenuous; networking or events where you don't know anyone and there's an expectation to schmooze

Responsibility - Broken promises — on the giving or receiving side (both feel horrible); disappointing people or missing expectations

Restorative - When people ignore problems and find "bandaid" solutions to keep going while the problem persists; sweeping issues under the rug and not taking accountability

Self-Assurance - Being told how to do something, or having someone trying to control your actions; being questioned or getting dictated to

Significance - Being invisible or ignored at work; working in a role that isn't contributing substantial value; small thinking

Strategic - Being stuck in the status quo, especially when people resist productive change; waiting for people who are making slow decisions and connections

Woo - A shrinking or stagnant social network — no human interactions for long stretches; a ho-hum audience reception, especially when you were sure they'd be engaged.

This list of "Yucks" will help you uncover some situations that keep you from your highest potential at work. These draining or soul-sucking tasks are personal to you. One person's Yuck is often another person's Yay. That's why it's great to have these conversations as a team. Identify your top 3-5 most bothersome Yucks. If you're spending the bulk of your headspace or work day there, you're likely to feel burnout or frustration.

Keep in mind, this might represent your most awful work responsibility, yet it will look different for every person. That's why it's awesome to communicate these with teammates because you can do a strengths-swap and trade your Yucks for their Yucks (which are your Yays). This is a powerful job shaping action step.

In my favorite Yuck-Yay swap, I traded my soul-sucking task of pivot tables for my teammates' PowerPoint making. We were both happier and more productive from a 5-minute task switcheroo. It saved us both from 20 minutes of procrastination in the form of, "I better go get some coffee to rev myself up for this task." It also helped our career branding because we could then get known for responsibilities we wanted more of.

By our definition, a "Yuck" is a situation, condition, or behavior you might experience 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." By knowing your top 3-5, you can actively create strategies to manage those out of your work day (or reduce them).

A forgotten past

A ho-hum audience reception

A shrinking social network

A singular focus or path

Acting before thinking

An environment stuck in the past

Avoidance of the issue

Being alone and quiet

Being invisible or ignored

Being questioned

Being told how to do something

Blocking emotion

Broken promises

Chaos & confusion


Closed minded thinking

Closed mindedness

Coming in 2nd place

Constant friction among people

Contentment with status quo

Decisions without explanation

Delivering work that isn’t great

Details, details, details

Disappointing people

Dismissing people’s view


Doing what we’ve always done

Flying by the seat of your pants

Focus on feelings over facts

Going off on tangents

Hasty decision making & action

Job monotony

Know-it-alls in meetings

Lack of diligence around me

Lack of expression

Negative nellies

Networking events

No finish line in sight

Not adding value

Not being useful

Obsession with weakness fixing

One-sized-fits-all approach



Repeating the same mistakes

Resistance to necessary change

Rush to judgment

Slow decision making

Social discomfort of meeting new people

Stagnation or mundane work

Status quo obsession

Staying serious or dark for long stretches

Sweeping things under the rug

Things that can’t be proven

Treating every audience the same

Typecasting people

Unfair treatment

Unnecessary customization

Us vs. them mentality

Values being questioned

Waiting for things to start

Wasted emotional energy

Wasted potential

Wasting time

When people ignore issues

When there’s no measure of success

When you can’t find a resource for someone

Witnessing intolerance or exclusion

Work misaligned with beliefs