Teachers, join me each Tuesday,  and share a slice of your life with other teachers.

Teachers, join me each Tuesday, and share a slice of your life.

Tonight I’m thinking about how to begin processing and implementing what I have been learning about lately–my strengths.

Awhile ago my sister told me that all the employees in her district have been involved in a Gallup initiative called Strengthsfinder. When she shared with me, I began wondering how these strengths would apply to me and if I could lead and teach better if I knew my top 5. I found it fascinating that they were sharing and focusing on their top 5 strengths as a way to lead.

With this year being one of tweaking and growing and looking at how to build on my strengths as I overcome weaknesses, I began to wonder if I could garner any insight from knowing my top 5.  I took a similar assessment online and shared my results with my sister who gave me a few comments on the results but maintaining the assessment I took was not quite the same as the Gallup Clifton Strengthsfinder survey she took..

A few weeks later I stumbled across a Gallup book by Tom Rath called Strengthsfinder 2.0, and I just had to know more, so I bought the book and took the assessment (the book comes with a one time use code).  Ever since I found out my top 5 strengths, I have been learning more about them through reading the Gallup emails I’m sent and well as through researching online. I’ve also have been listening to Theme Thursday YouTube videos while I’m driving. What insight I’ve gained is that sometimes these raw talents/strengths need developing and channeling.  I can build on these strengths of mine in many ways, and building on my top 5 strengths can make me a better teacher/leader/mom/wife. Also, I’ve learned that knowing how my top strengths interact and balance each other can be helpful as well because I have to learn how to use them effectively in relating to others. Also, I can better see why sometimes people just don’t understand me. My top 5 strengths are ideation, input, command, restorative, and activator. Today I want to look at my greatest strength and process it.

My greatest strength is IDEATION. Here are some words and phrases for this strength that stand out to me:

  • I find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
  • I engage life and tasks with gusto and creativity.
  • I innovate rather than take traditional tried-and-true ways.
  • I strive to appear confident, and this is an intentional undertaking for me (as much as I hate to admit it–this resonates with me).
  • I am driven by my talents–this is why I routinely innovate.
  • I am stimulated by the art of invention (this must be why I am always tweaking and changing resources shared with me).
  • I find unique ways to link 2 or more concepts.
  • I like to collect a variety of information.
  • I read a lot, and I am fed by the printed word.

Ideas for Action with Ideation Here are the ones for my focus right now:

  • Finish my thoughts before communicating them. Lacking my ideas others will not be able to “connect the dots” and complete the idea, so they may dismiss it entirely.
  • Find a sounding board as I seek the practicality in my ideas. Spend time with someone with analytical talents. This person will question and challenge me and help strengthen my ideas.
  • Know that sometimes people cannot follow me and my conceptual style. Make things more concrete with analogies, explanations, or steps.

Here is an article I found about teaching with Strengths ( Here is how the author explains the strength of ideation: “You bring new ideas to your curriculum and to your teaching. You are willing to try something new or engage in a discussion of a new possibility. You ask questions and invite brainstorming. In loving ideas, you model an openness to thinking broadly, considering multiple perspectives, and allowing new thoughts to be respected and given consideration.”

Here is what I read about how a person with strong ideation can be led/managed:

  • Position me where my ideas are valued and let me use my ability to design new things.
  • Feed me new ideas because I thrive on them. This will excite me, and I will use these to gain new insight and make new discoveries.
  • Encourage me to think of useful ideas/insights to share with others.
  • I enjoy the power of words. If you find a word combination that perfectly captures a concept, idea, or pattern, share it with me. It stimulates my thinking and my application.
  • Help me see how things fit together. Take to show me how decisions are related to theory/pedagogy.
  • When my innovation doesn’t fit into what we’re doing as a school, explain why and take time to answer my questions.

This site ( has a powerful article with advice for those with strong ideation or those who work with someone with strong ideation.

The Advice

1. Capture your ideas. For me-Write them down before moving on to the next ones, or important ideas will be lost. Others-write those important ideas I say down, or we might lose them.

2. Clarify your thoughts. Articulate ideas clearly and look for feedback. Others-don’t write me off too early–I might have the million dollar idea.

3. Nourish your ideas. Be aware of the tendency to lose focus with so many ideas.  Others-help me focus and feed my ideas so they will grow. Give me the right stuff to ideate on.

Knowing this helps me as I build on my strengths and try to relate to others in a way that considers who they are.

Here is a bit more about my other strengths and how they apply to me:


I may do some slicing on my other dominant strengths.