When Strengths Clash

Strengths are generative: a strength produces life in you and in others.

This is one of the most fundamental and enduring principals of StrengthFinder™ recurring throughout Gallup’s publications and training. In our experience, whenever there is a potential or actual conflict between people / strengths, we have found more often than not a misunderstanding or non-generative application of a theme.

StrengthsFinder™ themes that appear to be in conflict, or at least present potential conflict, can also have the greatest potential for beauty and genius. In a Harvard Business Review study a few years back, research indicated that the greatest potential for genius, creativity and innovative breakthrough came through the cooperation of highly varied elements, not similar elements. This truth shapes the perspective we bring to interpreting StrengthFinder results.

  • the greater the apparent diversity of strength, the greater the potential for genius, creativity and innovation.
  • In short, the more diverse (apparently conflictual) the better.

When an individual receives their top 5 SF signature themes report, they receive just that – a list of their top 5 themes. Themes are not necessarily strengths. Each of the top 5 themes have the potential to be a strength. We cannot determine if a theme is a strength unless we can discover how a theme generates life in one’s self and others. That is why we spend so much time doing 1 to 1 strength conversations, so we can help people discover strengths.

We believe this 1 to 1 strength conversation is the most important and effective piece of our work. Our goal: through the 1 to 1 strengths conversation we seek to help each and every person discern between their strengths and themes, and to discover their unique beauty, genius, creativity and innovation.

Q: When have you seen potentially conflictual strengths generate life?