How a Manager Uses Clifton Strengths to Boost Employee Engagement

Thank you for joining us! Please share your strengths and a little bit about your role.

Result of boosting employee engagementMy top 5 strengths are Strategic, Positivity, Developer, Woo, Communication and I am the Manager of User Research at an Audio Manufacturing Company. I evangelize how User Research can help in decision making across the company. We run scientific experiments in the form of quantitative and qualitative research and the results go back to Design and Engineering and Product Marketing.

How do your own strengths contribute to your success?

The Communication, Positivity, Woo and Developer are really about my team. They are externally focused strengths. I get to know them on an individual basis. I know their interests and what their challenges are. I know who is struggling at home or has health need or needs flexibility in their schedule.

Strategic was striking to me. It was not as obvious to me or others because it’s so innate. Strategic helps me walk people through my logical thought process on how I get to step five and why I am already there instead of step one with them. Knowing I have Strategic #1 and how to use it was a game changer in how I communicate with my peers and my own manager.

When I first got this role it was uncomfortable because it wasn’t my area of technical expertise. It took six months to get through the transition and adjust to the new role. I had to let go of having the technical expertise and learn a new expertise. Now we are killing it so it all worked out.

Can you tell me about your Employee Engagement Survey Results?

I’ve been the manager for two and a half years and have grown the team from 3 to 25 people. I have the highest score of employee engagement for my team across the business unit—4.3 out 5. On average, I have about 1.0 higher score than the other managers.

I am invested with time and energy with each employee individually—their development path and growth and how to make them most successful. We have a monthly to quarterly meeting with each member of the staff that we take very seriously.

Those are amazing results! Tell us how you are using StrengthsFinder as a manager?

I started using StrengthsFinder about four years ago. A colleague talked to me about it and I fell in love with it. For me personally, it was helpful to understand my strengths and blind spots. As a manger, it has become an essential tool to understand my team.

With a team of about 25 people. It helps me understand their innate strengths and why they are successful in certain areas or struggling in others, and how to pair them with certain people and assign certain projects.
I think it’s more powerful than the generalized personality tests like Myers Briggs and DISC because this is so specific to each individual. I can see as a manager how each person uses it every day at work. They naturally play to their strengths.

When are new team members introduced to their strengths?

After they are hired, I ask them to take the assessment. I use the lens to understand their strengths given how they have portrayed themselves in an interview process. As a team, we do a workshop twice a year as a group to understand each other’s strengths. The group interaction has helped us continue to speak in the language of strengths to each other on a regular basis. We have a lot of Empathy, Competition, Achievers, Learners, and Analytical on this team.

How do you use the model for ongoing team development?

People often don’t think of them as their strengths because it’s so natural and subconscious. They often don’t see the value in them. I work with my team to help them understand their strengths are just as valuable as the differing strengths of others.

Strengths may be counterintuitive to one another. Take a person with Activator. They like to take a jump start and execute. They also get frustrated with others who don’t have the same innate ability to get stuff done and just take action. I coach them on both sides of the spectrum to look at the expectations of the job and how can we be more successful. The person with Activator needs to give clear expectations and deadlines for junior staff.

How do you give feedback using Clifton strengths or coach on blind spots?

I know every strength has a blind spot and all are neutral. Let’s take Harmony for example. When the theme of Harmony is raw people can shy away from confrontation. When you’re in a business and trying to lead discussions to get closure on controversial findings, people with Harmony can be uncomfortable. It is healthy to have tension in a discussion and I’ve had to coach my team on their approach.

I use myself as an example as well. Take my combination of Woo, Positivity and Communication. For the business world that can be a wonderful thing. When I am talking with 400 engineers, however, those strengths don’t resonate. I’ve had to balance my delivery knowing my audience.

How have you used the correlation between knowing people’s strengths and getting them in the right roles?

We have a user research panel where people are pre-recruited. We created a new role for a person with Positivity, Includer, Consistency and Woo to manage and grow the panel. The strengths play well to that particular role and that person is thriving.
I really think StrengthsFinder is a phenomenal tool for a manager and for professionals.

Thank you so much for your time and thoughtful input!