Self-Awareness and the Generative and Degenerative Nature of Strengths pt 2

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.

In today’s podcast, Brian Schubring and I will help you understand the Generative and Degenerative expressions of your Strengths. We’ll define terms, give examples, and provide you with three activities to help you and your team better understand your self-awareness as it relates to these expressions. We have found that a lack of self-awareness about our behaviors may cause us to focus on the wrong things.

Without better self-awareness, you certainly can’t change anything about yourself. We hope this episode will help you become more aware of the ways that you’re impacting others. As a result, you can implement positive changes to make those experiences flow from Generative expressions of your Strengths.

Defining the Terms

To make the most of this conversation, let’s start by defining the terms Generative, Degenerative, and Self-awareness.

When we use the term Generative, we’re referring to how our Strengths bring life to us and those around us. When we say Degernative, we mean the conscious or unconscious expression of your strengths that’s having a negative influence on someone else. Finally, Self-awareness is simply a conscious knowledge of both of those previous two terms, so we can change in positive ways.

A Generative Activity

Below is an activity you can do with your team to grow your understanding of your Generative and Degenerative expressions of your Themes of Strength. Complete each step twice: once while thinking of generative examples, and once with degenerative ones. Make sure you listen to this episode for more context.

#1: ThemePrint Generative/Degenerative

  • Review 3 of Your Strengths using the “Simple Strengths Activity.”
  • Identify 3-4 of your Strengths behaviors that generatively/degenerative influence others
  • Think of specific examples and write them down
    • Generative Example: when I was recently asked to brainstorm how to interview experts on various topics for a mini-lecture series (IDEATION), I came up with several ideas. These ideas were well received and generated even more ideas among our team. This helped to move the project forward.
    • Degenerative Example: we have guidelines set up for how the team communicates (COMMUNICATION). Last week, someone didn’t follow them exactly, and rather than helping them, I got frustrated because they weren’t being executed perfectly. Sometimes I get so focused on excellence (MAXIMIZER) that I fail to allow any wiggle room for mistakes or setbacks.

#2: Contextualization

For this part of the exercise, we want you to think of specific examples of when your Strengths were Generative and Degenerative. Think about the:

  • when
  • where
  • why
  • with whom?
  • what happened?
  • what were you thinking, feeling, doing?

#3: Raising your Level of Self-Awareness

As you work to increase your levels of self-awareness, think about the following questions in light of the above activity:

  1. What emotions are surfacing?
  2. How does this show up in relationships?
  3. What is one awareness from this session that will impact how you relate to others?

A Simple Strengths Activity

To understand how your Strengths are beneficial or harmful to you and others, you need to understand your Themes of Strengths. To complete the following activity, you’ll need to read through the long descriptions of your Themes of Strength. Here’s how:

  1. Print out each of the long descriptions that you got with your results (or you can use ours here).
  2. Using your favorite highlighter or multi-colored pen, read each description and underline or highlight key phrases, sentences or words. What jumps out? What resonates? Use different symbols or colors to indicate how much those things describe you.
  3. Next, do the same thing, but use a different color, or in some other way, indicate the things you’re not quite sure of. Perhaps you can see some truth to them, but not all the time. Maybe you’re just confused by the wording. Identify the things that are unclear and mark the.
  4. Repeat this process for each of your five themes.

After you have done this, you may notice two or three of the themes that have more marks than the others. These could be more dominant for you. Even if they didn’t show up as the first or second result, you may be using them more then the others.

You may recognize this activity from our episode called What To Do With Your StrengthsFinder Results. Whether you’ve first taken Strengths or you’re familiar with them but trying to better understand their intricacies, this is a great activity to return to. When working with clients, we will go through a more formal process of this we call our ThemePrint Activity and we encourage them to revisit this process every 6-12 months.

Self Discovery

ask yourself, ‘what are you discovering about yourself through this process?’

Brian Schubring

We would LOVE to hear what YOU are discovering about yourself through this process of intentional reflection and contextualization as it relates to the Generative and Degenerative expressions of your Strengths. If you’d like to share what you’re learning, please reach out. Send us an email, and we’ll start a conversation about being a guest on the podcast. We believe we all grow when we’re vulnerable, and I think there are many from our podcast community that has a lot of learning points to share.

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 PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherSpotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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.

If you’d like to be featured on the Leadership Vision Podcast, let us know how you are using Strengths and what impact it has made. Contact us here!