How to Identify Your Strengths as a Thought Leader

I took an assessment today and got some shocking results.

I’m sure at some point you’ve taken at least one of those assessments that promises insights into your personality, behavior, career choice, or Hogwarts house.  While it seems quizzes and assessments are as plentiful as my excuses for not folding the laundry the same day it comes out of the dryer, there are only a small handful that I recommend to my clients and students — assessments that is, not laundry excuses.

The best assessments offer truly useful insights and are backed by sound research. (In case you were wondering, the Meyers-Briggs is not one that I recommend. While it can be interesting and entertaining, it’s usefulness is as limited as the science that backs it up. If you’re curious, I’m an INTJ for what it’s worth.) On the other hand, I’ve used an assessment called Strengthsfinder 2.0 with my clients for almost a decade.

SF2.0 is an assessment based on a 40-year study that cataloged 34 talents and led to a truly powerful quiz that reveals your top five talents. When you focus on leveraging your top five talents you will experience more flow, satisfaction, and efficacy in your work and relationships.

Perhaps you’ve taken SF2.0 before. What many don’t know is that there’s a completely different type of report you can get based on your top five strengths — a leadership report. This second report tells you how you can be most effective as a leader. It offers specific insights about how you can best inspire, influence, and earn trust. The Strengths Based Leadership report tells you exactly the kinds of things you can do to express your most powerful leadership and influence qualities.

When I took the same test two years apart, I was shocked to get very different results the second time. It turns out that in some cases, strengths can shift. Rather, strengths that were always there are finally able to fully express.

New levels of self-awareness and mastery have allowed strengths that were already there to finally emerge at the top. This new set of strengths feels more resonant now than the the results from five years ago. In hindsight, this makes a lot of sense. The two years between tests had been pretty transformational (read: some of the friggin’ hardest moment of my life but I learned a hell of a lot of things about myself). I would go as far as to say that I’ve unlocked gifts and parts of my identity through serious amounts of coaching, exploration, and mindset shifts.

In any case, the point is not so much that I got different results (though you might take it again if it’s been awhile…just to see).

The takeaway is this. You will do your best work as a leader, gain the most trust, and have the most influence when you are aware of and fully leverage your inherent talents and strengths as a leader. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Strengths Based Leadership. The book comes with a code to take the assessment online. It only requires about twenty minutes. You don’t even need to read the entire book, just the sections relating to your top five talents.

You’ll get some amazing insights. Focus on the things the report outlines for you and watch your influence and leadership soar! So far, my leadership report has been dead on accurate in describing how I best lead and help my clients. For example…

Your innovative yet methodical approach will be critical to the genesis of a venture because it will keep its creators from developing counterproductive tunnel vision.


Quickstart, visionary, big idea entrepreneurs and innovators turn to me all the time for insight because I see what they don’t see because they raced right past it like the Roadrunner leaving Coyote in the dust.

Meep! Meep!

I’m the one that can point out the cliff before they find themselves in mid-air with their feet dangling below them as gravity finally pulls them into the canyon below.

(SIDEBAR: Is the Roadrunner and Coyote cartoon an American-centric example or is that pretty universal?)

This is just one of MANY insights in my custom report from just one of the five strengths.The question is, what inherent talents do you have and how can you turn them up to eleven to produce amazing results and gain influence with those you guide and lead?

Which assessments have you found most helpful when it comes to your professional and leadership pursuits?


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