Strengths Part 4: Sometimes They Help, Sometimes They Hinder

Nov 27, 2018

strengthsStrengths is all about the discovery of our natural talents so we can use them to grow and develop in ways that align with our values. This journey of discovery eventually leads to a mirror that requires us take a hard, sometimes painful, look at the ways our natural talents could be hurting us or those around us. As these blind spots are revealed we can intentionally take steps with God and each other that result in authentic growth and maturity.

Strengths: When They Help

Our personal StrengthsFinders report provides clues to our natural motivations, values, processes and talents. These may or may not have been developed into true Strengths yet, which happens with awareness, intentionality and practice. When these natural ways are truly showing up as Strengths, they help us align our life with our values and reach goals that are important to us. They become a true gift to our families, communities and work teams. They become tools to help us identify our purpose and to design our life ways that really ‘fit” who we are. We are set free from the drain of trying to be someone else and we find a place of energized thriving that allows God to flow in and through us in ways that honor who he is and the person he created us to be. We discover our unique contribution, the edge we bring to a team, and the place of deepest meaning and effectiveness.

Strengths: When They Hinder

Part of this journey of development means we have to take an honest look at the ways our natural wiring could be getting in our way. This can happen when our natural talents are hidden, misused, or overused – resulting in frustration, or blind spots. In addition, our natural talents may be showing up in a raw or unmatured form that disregards the negative impact we may be having on the community or family we live in. Or it could be that we are simply unaware of the ways we are misunderstood by those who have different Strengths than we do. Increased self-awareness is the vital first step in each of these cases.

As an example that would apply to those people who have the strength of “Discipline” among their dominate themes (taken from Gallup’s Strengths Blog ).


  • Your natural inclination to focus on the fine points and create structure enable you to approach tasks in an orderly and well-planned manner.
  • You can easily sift through the clutter and chaos and create order, giving you an efficiency that can be leveraged for greater productivity.
  • Your attention to detail enables you to see errors, mistakes and inconsistencies others might miss, making you a valuable asset to your team in addressing potential problems.
  • As a team leader, you bring structure, process and order to your team’s work habits and project execution.


  • Your need to stick to a schedule may cause others to perceive you as rigid or inflexible. Understand that sometimes exceptions need to be made.
  • If you lead a team, you should check in with your team periodically to see what adjustments may need to be made to improve the team’s processes.
  • Not everything that happens is predictable. When the unexpected happens, find a way to adjust your routine to address the challenge or opportunity unexpected occurrences bring.
  • You develop frameworks that enable projects to get off the ground and run smoothly. Be careful that your framework does not become a prison; be open to new suggestions that might improve implementation.

Another example for those with “Harmony” in their dominate themes:

• You are good at bringing others together, helping them see that what they have in common is more powerful than their differences.
• You have a natural ability to sense areas of potential conflict. This allows you to step in and find solutions to conflict before it gets out of hand — before the molehill becomes a mountain.
• You are a practical thinker and can focus on the most basic, fundamental issues that need to be addressed. You can keep your team grounded in reality.
• Because you look for common ground, others feel valued, respected and heard when they are working with you on a project.

• You naturally do not like conflict and may tend to leave problems unaddressed, hoping that in time they will just go away so you don’t have to deal with them. Sometimes, the sooner you deal with a problem, the faster and easier it is resolved — thus restoring the harmony.
• Your focus on the practicalities of life my cause others to see you as lacking creativity or as unwilling to take risks that might upset the status quo. When a conversation turns to, “What if …,” don’t be too quick to pull it back to reality. A little dreaming every now and then can be quite productive.
• Your easygoing nature and desire to get along may lead others to see you as wishy-washy and afraid to take a stand. Instead of being seen as one who will “keep the peace at all costs,” strive to be known as one who will “make peace at all costs.” Be a proactive negotiator of fair and amicable resolutions to messy problems.
• Because your natural inclination is toward conflict resolution, you may tend to reach for the easy solution rather than the best, most lasting one. Resist the temptation to put a Band-Aid on a situation that requires surgery.

Each of the 34 talent themes identified in StrengthsFinders has an Up-side and a Down-side like this, and part of our Strengths journey is coming to a humble understanding about how this looks for us.

What can we do about it?

Becoming aware of our Strengths is the first step. It’s in that awareness that we can take steps, together with trusted companions, toward growth and maturity. The structure that Strengths brings to our self-reflection, allows for development of practical, measurable action steps that result in a fuller, more productive and aligned life in community with each other.

  • Know Your Strengths: Take the Strengths Finders assessment. Contact me to get a code and instructions, or go to the Gallup website and purchase a code online.
  • Get Coached: An experienced and qualified Strengths Coach can partner with you to explore the ways your Strengths are showing up in ways that help, or hinder. Discover blind spots and design action steps for shaping your Strengths in ways that reflect your Creator. There are several people on the Asia-Pacific region who are certified to coach in Strengths and are willing to engage in a discovery conversation with you. Contact me to get connected with a coach.
  • Invite Honest Feedback: Find friends or family with whom you can be transparent about your Strengths. In what ways are you frequently misunderstood? How can you better align the impact you have on people with the intent of your heart? What can you practice to increase your awareness?
  • Talk to God: We have found Strengths to be a very effective tool in Spiritual Formation as we come face to face with our brokenness and respond to God’s invitation for healing and redemption to every aspect of our being.

Previous articles in the Strengths series: Part 1: The Big Picture, Part 2: Discover Your Energy,Part 3: Powerful Partnerships and Teams

Upcoming topics: Strength-Based Stress Management, Strengths-Based Grace,.



A deeper exploration of each of the 34 Talent Themes:

The Clifton StrengthsFinder Technical Report: Development and Validation

Asia Pacific Strengths Coaches:

Gallup Certified Strengths Coaches: Harmon Schmelzenbach; Cindy Schmelzenbach

Strengths Champion Certified Coaches: Kafoa Muaror; Gail Dooley

Nazarene Strengths Institute Strengths Coach: Ingrid Lustana

If you are interested in training to become a Strengths Coach and are willing to provide coaching to your Asia Pacific team members, let me know!

Listed On:

Nate Owens

Nate Owens served as the Communications Coordinator of the Church of the Nazarene Asia-Pacific in a tandem role with his wife Hope Owens. The whole family is an avid fan of board games.

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