strengthsfinders-2 is one of my favorite leadership tools. It helps individuals identify their top 5 areas of strength and, consequently, what they have to offer their organization. I have begun using this tool with teams and, upon seeing certain combinations of strengths on a team, began wondering how they work together.

For example, strength-themes that three people share will tend to steer/monopolize the group simply based on the strength in like-minded people. However, a theme that only one person has can be easily overlooked or stamped out, usually without intentional thought.

If you use StrengthsFinders with your team, you can engage in the following exercise (which I developed in conjunction with Rebecca Sok) to become more intentional about the way you use the strengths on your team:


  • Take 15 minutes individually to review the list of strength themes and reflect on your team interactions.
  • Read the questions below and formulate your thoughts. Be specific. The more specific you can be the more your team will learn from this exercise.
  • Using the information above answer the following questions:

Understanding myself:

  • In what areas am I part of the majority thinking/approach?
  • In what areas am I alone in my approach?
  • How does this majority/minority thinking affect my ability to work in this group? Morale? Enthusiasm?
  • What practices would I like the group to incorporate that utilize my strengths? (e.g. setting an agenda, giving deadlines, allowing for brainstorming sessions)

Understanding our team:

  • What do we notice about our themes as a team?
  • How do our dominate themes play out?
  • What trends or behavior types emerge?
  • What types of behavior could be (or are) easily neglected?
  • How does this affect our productivity or success? (be specific)

Working together as a team, capitalizing on our strengths:

  • What is working?
  • What are we learning?
  • What will we do differently?
  • How will we measure our progress?
  • What are the most valuable things we’ve learned about working together?