By Mike Lehman
While Gallup CliftonStrengths is commonly used to improve and enhance workplace culture, it has particular benefits for students. Georgia Tech’s Effective Team Dynamics Initiative (ETDI) uses the CliftonStrengths Assessment to teach students practical methods to improve team dynamics.
ETDI facilitates discussions and workshops to demonstrate how students can effectively use the CliftonStrengths Assessment to take advantage of their unique abilities. Understanding roles and responsibilities in a team helps individuals work together to solve problems, make decisions, and achieve their goals.
The CliftonStrengths Assessment identifies innate strengths and talents that enable effective team dynamics. In this article, we discuss five benefits of taking the CliftonStrengths Assessment for students, including:
- Self and Social Awareness
- Leadership Development
- Academic Success
- Career Planning
- Interview Preparation
Understanding your CliftonStrengths helps you explore career options and set goals that will benefit your personal and professional lives.
What Are CliftonStrengths?
The CliftonStrengths Assessment was developed by the Gallup Institute and was created by Don Clifton. Formerly known as the StrengthsFinder, Don Clifton sought to supplement the field of psychology to help people identify what they do right and empower human development.
One of the most prominent misconceptions about the CliftonStrengths Assessment is that it focuses on personality, like the Myers-Briggs personality test. Instead, the evaluation focuses on statements about your strengths and skills. The assessment uses 177 statements to categorize your results into 34 different themes under four domains:
- Strategic thinking
- Relationship building
Following the assessment, you’ll receive a detailed report highlighting your five key strengths. These five CliftonStrengths themes teach you how to transfer an understanding of yourself into your daily activities. Recognizing your strengths allows you to better engage with others and leads to more effective team dynamics.
Students can use their CliftonStrengths domains and themes to consider their role in teams, relationship building, and academic and career development.
Using the CliftonStrengths to Develop Self-Awareness
For many young adults, college is a key moment in life to develop self and social awareness. Recognizing your talents allows you to see how they influence your behaviors and interactions with others. Discovering how your strengths influence your social interactions will enable you to build more successful personal and professional relationships.
The five most common CliftonStrengths are:
It’s essential to gain strengths awareness is an important step to understand how your talents impact your interactions with other people. For example, if one of your themes is strategic, then you can use strategic thinking to develop a plan for personal growth and map out social interactions to build more lasting connections.
Likewise, learners can apply their openness to engage and understand others to reflect on the benefits of cross-cultural relationships. Being open to discovery creates opportunities to develop personal and professional connections across the globe.
Once you become more aware of your strengths, you can create a personal growth plan by reflecting on your past behaviors and identifying patterns to continue building on your strengths.
What are the Best CliftonStrengths for Leadership?
Often, one of the more difficult traits to recognize in ourselves is leadership. For students, understanding individual traits can benefit yours role in effective teams and help you establish leadership roles in different settings and circumstances.
Leadership roles depend on context and situation, but the more common CliftonStrengths for leaders are:
While these are the most common CliftonStrengths for leadership, it is important to remember that influential leaders use a combination of strengths and adapt to the needs of a team. By understanding your role in a team and your strengths, you can leverage your talents to become an effective leader when organizing and directing a group.
Benefits of the CliftonStrengths for Academic Success
College registration is one of the most pressing times for students. But knowing your CliftonStrengths can help you select courses in areas where you excel. Beyond your major, knowing your strengths can help you determine the best type of instruction style and assignment type to make sure that you are successful in the classroom.
The CliftonStrengths test allows you to gain the self-awareness to determine the best tools and resources that will enable you to shape your unique academic experience. Also, as you learn your own talents, you will notice and appreciate the special skills of others. This social awareness is the foundation of developing effective teams inside and outside the classroom.
How Can You Use CliftonStrengths for Career Development?
The CliftonStrengths are a powerful tool for career discovery and development. After reviewing your strengths, you can do a tailored career or job search based on your talents. For example, while reviewing job descriptions, you can match key terms to your CliftonStrengths themes and domains.
You can also use your CliftonStrengths for interview preparation. Many interview questions focus on strengths and weaknesses, and you can anticipate these types of questions to answer based on how you have used your strengths in the past. For your elevator pitch, you can highlight your strengths by showing how you have navigated team dynamics, which translates into more effective performance.
Get Started Using the CliftonStrengths Assessment at Georgia Tech
The CliftonStrengths Assessment is a powerful tool to gain insight into your strengths and talents, but it should be used in collaboration with other resources, such as career counseling, academic advising, and individual or group tutoring.
Georgia Tech’s ETDI can help you understand how to leverage your strengths in the classroom and choose your career path. Please contact us to set up a free workshop or have ETDI help you realize your full potential.