by Stephanie Small
Published March 1,2013
The StrengthsFinder, based on positive psychology, is a self-assessment tool used by companies and schools around the world. Resulting from 25 years of research, it measures an individual’s talent themes – instinctive patterns of behavior.
When individuals take the StrengthsTest, they receive a list of their top five talent themes (these are certainly not an individual’s only talents – just the ones that, according to the test, are most dominant). Over time, talents honed by knowledge and skill can become strengths. Knowing your strengths can help you leverage them in order to find success in various spheres of your life, including relationship, academics, and career.
The test consists of 177 questions; each question provides a pair of statements. The test-taker indicates, along a spectrum, which statement best describes him or her. Test-takers have only 20 seconds to respond to each question; the idea is to select the response that immediately resonates with them, rather than thinking and deliberating about the answer.
Test-takers with disabilities requiring additional time can contact StrengthsQuest directly to have this mechanism turned off. The online assessment offers the option to stop the test save your progress and continue at a later time. Certification is not required to administer or interpret the StrengthsFinder, but those interested in trainings and workshops can find more information on the strenghtsquest.com homepage.
Talent themes are categorized into four domains:
Relating themes involve working with others. These themes include:
Harmony (seeking consensus)
Communication (skilled at putting thoughts into words)
Empathy (can easily relate to others’ experiences)
Includer (accepting of others who may feel left out)
Impacting themes involve influencing others. These themes include:
Command (strong presence and take control easily)
Competition (strive to win)
Developer (recognize and work to grow other’s skills)
Striving themes involve working harder. These themes include:
Achiever (lots of stamina and pride themselves on their work ethic)
Activator (good at turning thoughts into action)
Belief (strong core morals and values)
Significance (drive to be recognized by others)
Thinking themes involve working smarter. These themes include:
Analytical (skilled at identifying causes)
Arranger (good at fitting all of the pieces of a situation together)
Consistency (set clear rules and adhere to them)
Connectedness (understand the interrelationships between everything)
Researchers have identified particular themes relating to leadership. These are:
People strong in the Executing theme work tirelessly to achieve results, and are skilled at making things happen.
This talent enables people to sell their ideas effectively.
Those with this talent can turn a group of disparate individuals into a functioning team that works well together.
Strategic people hold the vision for their organization, continually evaluating and absorbing information and making effective decisions.
Understanding your strengths may be one way to guide your selection of a graduate program. Choosing to pursue a degree that capitalizes upon your strengths and helps you to overcome your weaknesses might lead to academic and professional success; giving you a decided advantage over less suited competition.