November 23, 2011
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I recently attended a leadership conference for members of the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Student Association. Part of preparing for the conference required taking the Gallup StrengthsFinder survey (http://strengths.gallup.com/default.aspx). StrengthsFinder tells you what your top five strengths are, based on a list of 34 themes.
It is important to know what your strengths are so that you can find work that suits them. Since your strengths are what you are good at it only makes sense for you to focus on them. It is a common misconception that we should focus on what we are not good at in order to improve it.
My five top strengths are:
- Connectedness: Believe that things happen for a reason, and that we are all a part of something bigger like a spirit or life force.
- Futuristic: Loves to peer over the horizon to help predict what will happen next.
- Ideation: Fascinated by ideas and likes to look at situations from different angles.
- Empathy: Sensitive to the emotions of others and able to see the world through their eyes.
- Strategic: Can instinctively find the way through the clutter to the best path to take. Able to see around corners.
I feel that these strengths are ideal for the type of work that I am going in to and for where I want to be later in life. Sustainability for me is something that is a necessity, not an industry. I do it because I believe that it is right, and for the greater good. This is because of the connectedness I have with the planet and other living things.
The green building industry that I want to work in has come a long way in recent years but it still has a long way to go. This is especially the case as we prepare to make the leap from green buildings to eco-districts and green cities. The futuristic ability to see over the horizon will help me make innovative contributions and stay competitive.
Ideation will couple well with that skill. My ability to look at things from different angles will allow me to come up with new ideas for things that have been done the same way for a long time. I’m entering an industry where old outdated practices reign. This skill will be essential to my success.
My empathy is related to ideation in a way, because it lets me look at things from the same angle as others. I have always gotten along well with others, and I’m sure its because I understand them. This skill will help me immensely when I interact with co-workers and it will help keep the peace if things get stressful in the workplace.
Strategic is the skill that will guide my decision making. I know where I want to be, and what my vision for the industry is. I’ll use this destination as the basis for my path to get there. Strategic is a skill that can’t be learned and I’m thankful that I have it.
The leadership conference was great because it taught me what my strengths were, and how important it is to focus on them. By understanding them and how they can apply to my career I will be able to make the best contribution possible to my field.