The Importance of a Descriptive and Generative Approach to the Understanding and Application of Strengths (podcast)

Welcome to the Leadership Vision Podcast where we share our expertise in the discovery, practice, and implementation of a strengths-based approach to people, teams, and culture.

If you spend time around any member of the Leadership Vision team, you’ll often hear us use the words Descriptive and Generative when talking about Strengths. Not only are these two key terms we ask all of our participants to understand, but in many ways, the words Descriptive and Generative define our entire philosophy of implementing a Strengths-Based approach to people, teams, and culture. It’s important however to understand that these two words must be taken together.

It’s just as important to have a Descriptive approach to Strength’s as it is to have a Generative approach… as you are learning about your Strengths and learning the Strengths of others. We live in such a deficit minded society that to take a moment to pause and look at what you’re instinctively good at and how that can bring life to you and other people is of critical importance.

Steph Wahlund

On this episode of the podcast, Steph Wahlund and I dive into the meaning and importance of these two words; Descriptive and Generative. Steph wanted to talk about these two terms because as she has gotten deeper into working with clients, she has realized that the two terms are inextricably linked when talking about our approach to Strengths.

In this episode, Steph and I define each of these two terms, talk a bit about what they do and do not mean, then explain why you shouldn’t separate these two terms if you want to leverage your Strengths for greatest capacity. We also talk a bit about the dangers of pigeonholing someone into one role and about why taking a posture of curiosity is the simple key to understanding how someone ticks.

We’re excited to talk about this topic. It’s a simple yet critical component to understanding how to leverage Strengths, appreciate the uniqueness of every individuals, and also set your team up for the greatest success. So listen now!

What are Descriptive and Generative?

The first Term we discuss in this episode is Descriptive. Essentially, it means to describe someone.

When we say Strengths results are Descriptive, we mean that they simply describe some things about a person. They do not prescribe them to any sort of role, job, or anything else.

The second term, Generative, is an adjective that means, ‘relating to or capable of production or reproduction: the generative power of the life force.’ We also use this term to simply ask, are your Strengths giving life to you and others? It’s sort of obvious when this happens, and also when it doesn’t.

About The Leadership Vision Podcast

The Leadership Vision Podcast is a weekly show sharing our expertise in the discovery, practice, and implementation of a strengths-based approach to people, teams, and culture. We believe that knowing your Strengths is only the beginning. Our highest potential exists in the ongoing exploration of our talents. Subscribe to the Leadership Vision Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.

Please contact us if you have ANY questions about anything you heard in this episode or if you’d like to talk to us about helping your team understand the power of Strengths.