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What Are Your Strengths & Tendencies?

What Are Your Strengths & Tendencies?

A discussion of self-reflection courses and tools to improve yourself professionally

I am on a course to become a certified coach through the International Coaching Federation. It has been a wonderful journey where I have learned so much about myself and other people. One of the recent learning opportunities I had was a self-reflection class where we learned about our strengths and our tendencies. We did this using the Clifton Strengths model and Gretchen Rubin's Four Tendencies. Perhaps you have used these before in one of your settings. 

There are 34 Clifton Strengths broken into 4 categories. Together, the themes explain a simple but profound element of human behavior: what's right with people. Individually, each theme describes what you naturally do best or what you might need help from others on to accomplish. The Four Tendencies framework describes how we respond to expectations. There are four groups of tendencies; Upholder, Questioner, Obliger and Rebel. These four groups are based on how a person responds to outer and inner expectations. They were both fascinating to take and to see the results and where I fell into each group. 

My top five strengths when I took the Clifton Strengths were Learner, Relator, Achiever, Input and Consistency. The test provides a print out of your top 5. You innately have more strengths, but it gives you your top 5 in a report. When discovering your results, you can also see how it impacts how you learn and interact with other people. For example: when doing group work, do you want a group that all have similar strengths, or do you want a mix and match of strengths? When you are leading people, would it help to know this about your team? 

When I took the free Four Tendencies test, I was in the category of Oblige, meaning I am driven by not letting others down, but I may occasionally let myself down. While the first part is true, I didn’t like to hear about the second part. However, when honestly reflecting, it is true. I will put myself second or not always hold myself accountable.

One of the biggest takeaways from the session for me was when the facilitator explained the characteristics of Rebel. The facilitator shared a slide about this category's motivations and weaknesses, and it was like she was explaining one of my own kids! One of my sweet girls is a rebel, but she is mostly sweet! But the list really helped me see what drives my child. Me telling her she needs to clean her room definitely wasn’t what motivated her. How powerful would it be if we knew more about our students and colleagues? What makes them tick? Why do they do what they do? Could we reach students better and have better relationships within our building? 

For me, this exercise was beneficial. There are certainly other tests or models out there that could also be helpful to a classroom or building. These are just the two that I took on my journey. I think it could really help build relationships, which add to our overall culture--something we know is important to learning. I hope you have a wonderful week. Or if you are a Rebel, just do whatever you want!

Jason Midkiff

Director of Product Development

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