Strengths Balance: It’s About What’s Right About You

Is there such a thing as Strengths Balance?

In our work at Leadership Vision, we often get the question, in one way or another, “what do you do if you don’t have Strengths from one of the four domains?

Or put another way, “Is it bad if all of your Strengths are in just one or two of the four domains?”

The short answer to these questions is no. But to offer you a more thorough explanation, consider this:

On March 3, 2017, the Gallup Organization ® released a new Global Theme Frequency listing all 34 Strengths from the most common to the least common. The results are from over 15 million people that have taken StrengthsFinder™ since 1998.

The StrengthsFinder Theme of Achiever has remained the most commonly occurring Strength, showing up in more than 31% of 15 million individual’s Top 5 Strengths. Conversely, Command remained at the bottom of the list, showing up in less than 5% of 15 million individual’s Top 5 Strengths.

Interestingly, three of the five least occurring Strengths are in the Influencing Domain. In fact, the first of the eight Strengths in the Influencing Domain sits at number 14 of 34, Maximizer. Communication lies at 17, Woo at 21, and the last five are in the bottom eight.

My point is simply that, as a whole, Influencing Strengths are the rarest Strengths. Most people do not have any Strengths from this domain. Does that mean if you don’t have any Influencing Strengths you don’t have the ability to influence people?

Why Does this Matter?

At Leadership Vision, we believe that it doesn’t matter if you don’t have strengths in all four domains. We believe there is no such as thing as ‘Strengths Balance’ or having the ‘right’ set of Strengths. Instead, we choose to focus on the following:

  1. The generative side of Strengths, not the degenerative or “dark side”.
  2. A descriptive versus a prescriptive approach to Strengths that doesn’t put people in boxes. Rather, we emphasize the need to be privy to your whole narrative to fully understand your Strengths.
  3. And finally, we believe that Strengths are always working and pairing together.

In engagements our consultants facilitate, this information is emphasized as being pivotal in differentiating who Leadership Vision is. However, if it’s only expressed during an engagement, then how will you, as a reader, know what it is that makes our approach to Strengths unique? Let’s take a closer look at these three points.

1. Focus on What’s right about you.

First, at Leadership Vision, we are continuing the conversation about what’s right about people. We use StrengthsFinder™ as a tool to do that. We want to begin by focusing on the positive; focusing on the Strengths an individual has versus the Strengths they don’t have.

We live in a deficit-minded society where we are constantly trying to fix what’s “wrong” with us. At Leadership Vision, we often say that you can only become moderately good at what you’re already bad at, but you can become excellent at what you’re already good at.

Many people in the Strengths movement focus on the “dark side” of Strengths, or what we call the degenerative side of Strengths. Instead of asking what to do if you don’t have certain Strengths, or trying to figure out how to move Strengths sitting at #33 and #34 up a couple slots, we focus on finding the right fit. Meaning, rather than focusing on the domains or Strengths not present in your Top 5, we want to help people concentrate on leveraging your Themes from the domains that are in your Top 5.

2. Descriptive not Prescriptive

Second, we take a descriptive versus a prescriptive approach to Strengths. You will never hear a Leadership Vision employee say, “Oh, you have the Strength of Relator? So do I, we are the same!” or anything remotely similar. We emphasize the need to know someone’s complete narrative to understand how their talents play together, hence our emphasis on 1 to 1 conversations.

There is a 1 in 33 million chance that you have the same Top 5 Strengths as someone else. Each of your Top 5 Strengths is broken up into 14 talents. How you resonate with all 70 talents from your Top 5 Strengths will drastically impact how you apply your Strengths in your daily life. How those 70 talents interact and play together makes you infinitely unique.

Just because you do not have any [Influencing] Strengths, does not mean you don’t Influence others. More than likely, you are using some combination of Talents to do that.

3. Pairings of Strengths

Third, Strengths don’t work alone. Each of your Strengths is constantly pairing with your other Strengths to get work done, influence people, make decisions, and relate to people.

For example, my Top 5 Strengths are Achiever, Discipline, Individualization, Focus, and Competition. These results don’t mean that sometimes I engage my Achiever independently from my other Strengths. My Achiever is constantly interacting with my other Strengths. At times, it may pair more strongly with Discipline then Individualization, or with Competition instead of Focus. For us to say that my Achiever functions in a set way, independent from my other Strengths, would be prescriptive and it doesn’t take into account my life experiences, family system, education, etc.

The talents you resonate within your Top 5 Themes change. How you resonate with those talents shifts how your Strengths pair with other Strengths.

The Answer

So, back to the original question, “is there such a thing as Strengths Balance?”

Our answer, simply put, is no. Instead, focus on what’s right about you, pay attention to what comes naturally and what you’re instinctively and intrinsically good at. We believe you will be more engaged, more productive, and more joyful.

The New Question

The new question I would challenge you to consider is, “how do I engage my Strengths to be the best version of me?”

Spend time learning about each of your Strengths, pause when you notice yourself leaning into your natural talents, and ask other people what they think you’re good at.

Whether your Top 5 Strengths are common or uncommon, or whether you have all Thinking Strengths or no Thinking Strengths, we believe, with your unique application of your Top 5 Strengths, you can get work done, influence people, make decisions, and relate to others.