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Welcome to StrengthsQuest 201®: Leading with your Strengths This program is brought to you by the Laker Leadership Programs and the Office of Student Life. Page 1

StrengthsQuest® 201 Guide Book - Fall 2015

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Page 1: StrengthsQuest® 201 Guide Book - Fall 2015

Welcome to StrengthsQuest 201®: Leading with your StrengthsThis program is brought to you by the Laker Leadership Programs and the Office of Student Life.

The following workbook is a compilation of worksheets that have been adapted from StrengthQuest® to fit the needs of our program here at Grand Valley State University.

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Clifton StrengthsFinder® Themes AchieverPeople especially talented in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.

Activator People especially talented in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. Once a decision is made, they want to act quickly.

Adaptability People especially talented in the Adaptability theme prefer to “go with the flow.” They tend to be “now” people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time.

Analytical People especially talented in the Analytical theme search for reasons and causes. They have the ability to think about all the factors that might affect a situation.

Arranger People especially talented in the Arranger theme can organize, but they also have a flexibility that complements this ability. They like to figure out how all of the pieces and resources can be arranged for maximum productivity.

Belief People especially talented in the Belief theme have certain core values that are unchanging. Out of these values emerges a defined purpose for their life.

Command People especially talented in the Command theme have presence. They can take control of a situation and make decisions.

CommunicationPeople especially talented in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters.

CompetitionPeople especially talented in the Competition theme measure their progress against the performance of others. They strive to win first place and revel in contests.

Connectedness People especially talented in the Connectedness theme have faith in the links between all things. They believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a reason.

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Clifton StrengthsFinder® Themes continued…

ConsistencyPeople especially talented in the Consistency theme are keenly aware of the need to treat people the same. They try to treat everyone in the world with consistency by setting up clear expectations and adhering to them.

Context People especially talented in the Context theme enjoy thinking about the past. They understand the present by researching its history.

Deliberative People especially talented in the Deliberative theme are best described by the serious care they take in making decisions or choices. They anticipate the obstacles.

DeveloperPeople especially talented in the Developer theme recognizes and cultivate the potential in others. They spot the signs of each small improvement and derive satisfaction from these improvements.

Discipline People especially talented in the Discipline theme enjoy routine and structure. Their world is best described by the order they create.

Empathy People especially talented in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others’ lives or others’ situations.

Focus People especially talented in the Focus theme can take a direction, follow through, and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act.

FuturisticPeople especially talented in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They inspire others with their visions of the future.

Harmony People especially talented in the Harmony theme look for consensus. They don’t enjoy conflict; rather, they seek areas of agreement.

Ideation People especially talented in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.

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Clifton StrengthsFinder® Themes continued…Includer People especially talented in the Includer theme are accepting of others. They show awareness of those who feel left out, and make an effort to include them.

Individualization People especially talented in the Individualization theme are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. They have a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively.

Input People especially talented in the Input theme have a need to collect and archive. They may collect information, ideas, history, or even relationships.

Intellection People especially talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.

Learner People especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.

Maximizer People especially talented in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb.

Positivity People especially talented in the Positivity theme have an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.

Relator People especially talented in the Relator theme enjoy close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.

Responsibility People especially talented in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.

Restorative People especially talented in the Restorative theme are adept at dealing with problems. They are good at figuring out what is wrong and resolving it.

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Clifton StrengthsFinder® Themes continued…Self-Assurance People especially talented in the Self-Assurance theme feel confident in their ability to manage their own lives. They possess an inner compass that gives them confidence that their decisions are right.

Significance People especially talented in the Significance theme want to make a big impact. They are independent and sort projects based on the level of influence it will have on their organization and others around them.

Strategic People especially talented in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.

Woo People especially talented in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person.

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Warm Up Activity: Lost at Sea…

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You have chartered a yacht with three friends for the holiday trip of a lifetime across the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately in the mid-Atlantic a fierce fire breaks out in the ships galley; much of the yacht is destroyed and is slowly sinking. Your location is unclear because vital navigational and radio equipment have been damaged in the fire. Your best estimate is that you are many hundreds of miles from the nearest landfall. You and your friends have managed to save 15 items, undamaged and intact after the fire. In addition, you have salvaged a four man rubber life raft and a box of matches.

Your task is to rank the 15 items in terms of their importance for you, as you wait to be rescued. Place the number 1 by the most important item, the number 2 by the second most important and so forth until you have ranked all 15 items.


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The Four Domains of Leadership StrengthExecuting Influencing Relationship

BuildingStrategic Thinking
















Relationship Building. Relationship builders are the glue that holds a team together. Strengths associated with bringing people together – whether it is by keeping distractions at bay or keeping the collective energy high – transform a group of individuals into a team capable of carrying out complex projects and goals.

Influencing. People who are innately good at influencing are always selling the team's ideas inside and outside the organization. When you need someone to take charge, speak up, and make sure your group is heard, look to someone with the strength to influence.

Executing. Team members who have dominant strengths in the Executing domain are those whom you turn to time and again to implement a solution. These are the people who will work tirelessly to get something done. People who are strong in the Executing domain have an ability to take an idea and transform it into reality within the organization they lead.

Strategic Thinking. Those who are able to keep people focused on what they could be are constantly pulling a team and its members into the future. They continually absorb and analyze information and help the team make better decisions.

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Reflecting on the Four Domains of LeadershipWhich of the 4 is your dominant domain?


As a leader, how does this play out when working with others (what does this look like, what role do you most often play in a group)?


Can you think of a time when one of the 4 domains was not represented within a group/team you were involved in? What did it look like?


Building your ultimate team: What domain and strengths would you look for in teammates?


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Your Strengths Based Leadership Who do you consider to be a leader and what specifically makes them a leader in your opinion? (You can select a leader in your team/groups, on campus, in the community, in society)

Name a time you have held a position of leadership and the position (formal or informal, prior or current). What did you like most about the position? What did you like least?

In hindsight (or currently), which of your strengths did/do you most use?

What do you think is the most important thing about being a leader?

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Followers Basic Needs Trust

Followers do not tolerate dishonesty- trust is almost seen as the do or die foundation of leading Major breach in honesty can destroy a corporation, relationships, friendships, presidency, etc. Trust is the driving force of and filter for how people determine who to spend time with in the

workplace Trust helps with speed and efficiency in the workplace Successful and high functioning groups rarely talk about trust, versus struggling groups

frequently talk about it Building trust means being authentic- letting people see your flaws, be candid. You shouldn’t

have to spend time convincing others that you are a trustworthy person- they should know it by your actions and behaviors

Respect, integrity, and honesty are outcomes of strong relationships built on trust

What makes people who are trustworthy compelling to work with?


Words associated with compassion are: caring, friendship, happiness, and love People who are shown compassion in the work place are significantly more likely to stay

with their organization People who show compassion have much more engaged customers People who show compassion produce more profitability for the organization For people to truly love an organization, it must have a heart

How do you show compassion in a company or work place environment?

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Followers Basic Needs Stability

Followers want a leader who will provide a solid foundation Count on in times of need Security, strength, support, peace Core values are stable People like to know what to expect

How would you show these qualities in an organization or group setting?


People want hope for the future Also described as- direction, faith, and guidance It gives people something to look forward to It helps people see a way through chaos and complexity When hope is absent, people lose confidence, disengage, and feel helpless Identifying opportunities for the future plays a large role in creating hope and optimism

Since most leaders spend their energy on reacting to immediate needs rather than initiating new opportunities for the future, how could this have a negative impact on the organization?

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Five Basic Functions of Leaders

1. Visioning: Self Rate: 1 2 3 4 5 (low to high)

*highlight the talents you have below:Valuable talents for self & partners: Achiever, Activator, Analytical, Arranger, Belief, Command, Communication, Competition, Connectedness, Context, Developer, Empathy, Focus, Futuristic, Ideation, Input, Intellection, Learner, Maximizer, Positivity, Restorative, Self-Assurance, Significance, and Strategic.

2. Establishing stretch goals: 1 2 3 4 5 (low to high)

*highlight the talents you have below:Valuable talents for self & partners: Achiever, Activator, Analytical, Arranger, Belief, Command, Communication, Competition, Connectedness, Consistency, Context, Deliberative, Developer, Discipline, Focus, Futuristic, Ideation, Includer, Individualization, Input, Intellection, Learner, Maximizer, Positivity, Responsibility, Restorative, Self-Assurance, Significance, Strategic, and Woo.

3. Team building: 1 2 3 4 5 (low to high)

*highlight the talents you have below:Valuable talents for self & partners: Achiever, Activator, Adaptability, Arranger, Belief, Command, Communication, Connectedness, Consistency, Deliberative, Developer, Discipline, Empathy, Fairness, Focus, Harmony, Inclusiveness, Individualization, Input, Learner, Maximizer, Positivity, Relator, Responsibility Restorative, Strategic, and Woo.

4. Measuring progress: 1 2 3 4 5 (low to high)

*highlight the talents you have below:Valuable talents for self & partners: Achiever, Adaptability, Analytical, Arranger, Competition, Consistency, Context, Deliberative, Developer, Discipline, Focus, Ideation, Inclusiveness, Individualization, Input, Intellection, Learner, Maximizer, Positivity, Responsibility, Restorative, Self-Assurance, and Strategic.

5. Celebrating: 1 2 3 4 5 (low to high)

*highlight the talents you have below:Valuable talents for self & partners: Achiever, Activator, Belief, Command, Communication, Competition, Connectedness, Context, Developer, Focus, Futuristic, Harmony, Ideation, Inclusiveness, Individualization, Maximizer, Positivity, Relator, Significance, and Woo.

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Becoming a Strengths Based Leader: Plan of ActionPart 1- Leadership Functions

Think of a leadership context in which you are currently going through or have gone through.

Select the most relevant “function of a leader” to you (visioning, establishing stretch goals, team building, measuring progress, celebrating):

Why is this function important for you to focus on? (Briefly describe why you selected this function):

Action: What is (at least) one strategy that you will implement while working toward this function?

Talents that you would like to partner with and why:

Additional knowledge and skills needed to further develop this function:

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Your Plan of Action continued…Part 2-Basic Needs of FollowersSelect the most relevant basic needs of followers to you (build trust, show compassion, provide stability, create hope):

Why is this basic need important for you to focus on? (Briefly describe why you selected this basic need): Action: What is (at least) one strategy that you will implement while addressing this basic need?

Talents that you would like to partner with and why:

Additional knowledge and skills needed to further address this basic need:

Part 3- Focusing on the Growth and Development of Others

Which individuals will you focus on? (i.e.- members in your student organization, specific people, etc.)

What strategies will you implement to further their growth and development?

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When will this occur?

What is your envisioned outcome? (How will you know/measure you succeeded?) ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Part 4: Share your strengths with others

Share your Signature Themes Report with at least two people close to you (for example: a parent, sibling, spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, or friend).

Which parts of the report really describe me? What surprises you? Which of the five themes have you noticed in me the most? Give an example of when and how you’ve seen this theme in me.

Reflection Questions:

How did it feel to ask others about your talents? Did some people use your themes differently than you did? How so? Were you surprised by anything that the other person said?

Part 5- Strategies for Further Development What other steps will you take to further your learning after this seminar concludes? (You may select from the below and brainstorm other ideas)

Identify opportunities (on and off campus) for further development of talents and expand upon concepts learned.

Review the “Strengths in College” hand out and identify other areas of exploration. Explore the StrengthsQuest website, www.strengthsquest.com. Meet with a StrengthsQuest facilitator in the Office of Student Life to discuss your plan.

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“If we did all the things we are capable of doing,we would literally astound ourselves.”

-Thomas Edison

Developing Leadership Strengths in CollegeDeveloping leadership strengths is a process that begins with who you are, then moves to what you do. Here are principles that you can follow to become a person who leads on the basis of your talents.

Realize that you do not need to be in a formal leadership role to provide valuable leadership. Identify the specific leadership tasks that you can perform with strength, and take them on when the opportunity arises.

Lead with your talents as you work in groups to help them reach goals. Pay close attention to others in the organization, and try to identify their most powerful talents. Encourage others in the organization by helping them see the positive contributions they are

making as they use their talents productively. Create opportunities for others to develop and use their talents -- opportunities to do what they

naturally do best. Become clear about your personal goals, and help the members of the organization focus on the

goals they want to accomplish.

This aspect of becoming a strengths-based leader cannot be emphasized enough: Be intentional. Purposely look at each college experience in terms of learning something about how to be a leader. Whether you are a leader or a follower doesn't matter. In either role, you can learn something about leadership.

The college experience provides a magnificent opportunity to develop leadership strengths. The key is to be intentional. Talents within each and every one of your Signature Themes can be applied in college, and many can be applied in multiple leadership functions. Look for every opportunity to refine your greatest talents in leadership roles.

1. Leadership development and the college experience in generalPay particular attention to when and how you influence others and how you are able to rally others to make changes. Conversely, note when and how others influence you and rally you to make changes.

2. Leadership development and the classroom experienceClasses and the work of instructors in the classroom provide wonderful opportunities to learn about leadership. Because learning always involves changing -- and because leadership is designed to produce measurable change -- you will want to note when and how instructors influence students to change.

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Here are some questions that will stimulate your thinking as you learn about leadership from observing and reflecting on the work of educators as leaders.

What are the differences between effective and ineffective instructors?What talents do the best instructors seem to have?How do the best instructors interact with students?How do the best instructors organize lessons and classroom activities?How do the most effective instructors persuade others?How do effective instructors use their talents when they teach and interact with students?Which talents do you have in common with the most effective instructors?

3. Leadership development and class selectionAlmost all the classes in a field of study can provide valuable insights for the learner who intentionally wants to develop leadership strengths. Here are some examples:

any classes in communication studies or speechany classes in leadership studies or managementalmost all classes in sociology or social psychologymost classes in organizational development, organizational psychology, and community developmenthumanities classes that focus on rhetoric and persuasionphilosophy classes in argumentation and logical reasoningmathematical reasoning and patterns in scientific problem-solving classes most classes in political sciencemany classes in cultural anthropologymany classes in ethnic and cross-cultural studieshistory and other social science classes that focus on the dynamics of change and/or the influence of particular leaders in the change process

4. Leadership development in class assignments and independent studies

Make class assignments work for you by applying them to the study of leaders and leadership. We recommend you focus your studies on the best leaders and the reasons for their outstanding performances. You may be able to do library research and study historical or current leaders. You might even conduct your own investigations of the best leaders you know or those who are superior in a particular field. As you study, here are some questions to consider. What is it that makes these leaders so effective? What are their greatest talents? In what environment and with what groups of people do leaders with certain talents seem to be most effective?

5. Leadership development in athletics

On the most basic level, athletics can help you understand a lot about leadership and the concept of talents and strengths. You also learn about how you need different types of talent to play different kinds of sports and positions. There's also the whole challenge of developing strengths and the taking the right attitudes. Additional insights about leadership can be gained from asking the following questions about sports and athletic competition. What makes a great coach? How do effective coaches work with their players?

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What are effective coaches doing during practice and during a game?What are the most important elements of preparation?What are the most important things to do and not do during training?What is the best way to learn a new approach, a new play, or new moves?What is involved in changing old habits and developing new ones?What are the best ways to formulate goals?How can you best develop a team and "team spirit"How can you best deal with discouragements, injuries, and setbacks?What are the most effective ways to maintain motivation?

6. Leadership development through internships and experiential education opportunitiesMost colleges and universities offer internships in which you can work with professionals in a given field. These provide up-close and personal looks at how leadership works in real life. Even if the internship isn't the most positive experience, you can learn what not to do when you are a leader. Also, you may have opportunities to perform several other leadership functions through your internship or experiential education opportunity.

7. Leadership development in study groupsAs you work with other students in study groups, use your various talents to help yourself and others learn. For example, an effective leader helps others use their talents to help the group function better and to move toward a desired goal. Likewise, consider the talents of other members of your study group, and try to allocate the tasks of the study group according to those talents.

As you use study groups to develop leadership strengths, look for every opportunity to help other people learn more about their most natural talents. In the process, you will be learning more about your own.

8. Leadership development through student organizationsStudent clubs, organizations, and service projects provide some of the best leadership development opportunities available on campus. But this also presents a massive challenge because students have multiple commitments and competing priorities, and their work in student organizations is almost exclusively unpaid. However, students who meet the challenge of providing appropriate attention to each of their responsibilities receive excellent opportunities to develop leadership strengths.

9. Leadership development through employment experienceNearly every college student works to pay for some or all of his or her college and living expenses. But rather than considering employment as only a job for earning money, try to make it a learning experience through which you can develop leadership talents. Managing others can be one of the most important aspects of leadership. From the strengths perspective, managers will be most effective if they capitalize on their greatest talents and consciously use them as they manage others. The best management approaches take into account the talents of both the manager and those who are managed. One of Gallup's bestselling books, Now, Discover Your Strengths, offers specific strategies for how a manager can use his or her talents to best manage others. The same book describes how to take into account the individual talents of those who are being managed. Armed with the knowledge contained in Now, Discover Your Strengths, you'll be able to see when people are and are not using their talents in management, and you can begin thinking about how you can best manage others by most effectively using your own talents.

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10. Other opportunities for leadership development within the college experienceIn addition to the opportunities listed above, the college experience provides countless opportunities to develop your leadership abilities. For example, most colleges provide opportunities for students to become involved in musical performances, drama, theater, and other artistic modes of expression.

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