Strengthening Accountability with CliftonStrengths

Something I started discussing recently was how peoples’ personalities play into how they experience and take accountability. Demonstrating how accountability takes different forms for different people is one thing, coming up with solutions and adaptations for this is another thing entirely.

Where the Enneagram groups people into 9 types, CliftonStrengths is far more dynamic; a list of thirty-four strengths, reported on a personal preference basis, meaning the ranking changes depending on who is taking the test.

Looking at someone’s CliftonStrengths profile gives you an understanding of what makes them tick, what ‘lights their fire’, and what turns them off. This can be the difference between having to push people to take accountability and them taking ownership of a task from the beginning.

For example, Harmony is my lowest-ranked Strength, a harmonious environment is, for me, a space where nothing interesting is happening, where there isn’t any innovation or out-of-the-box creativity. By contrast one of my highest-ranked Strengths is Communication, I actively seek out interactions with other people, I love talking and I love public speaking. When the pandemic began I started Performance Cafe as a way to keep me sane – I don’t just enjoy communicating with others or find it easy to do, I love communicating, it is what lights my fire; otherwise I wouldn’t still be doing it now.

I gave myself a task, one I needed for my wellbeing, therefore it was my love of communication that kept me accountable.

With CliftonStrengths in mind, we can handle accountability on a level of personal development – if I know what lights my fire, it is so much easier to just keep going at it. In a leadership position, I might work with someone who’s highest-ranked Strength is Harmony, matching with my lowest-ranked Strength, and I can ask them how I could use their Harmony to support me (or someone else).

This understanding of an individual’s Strengths can make working in a team easier than it otherwise would be – tasks and projects can be assessed based on the Strengths they will require the most, and team members can be put together on a given task, based on their Strengths, in order to get the best out of their collaboration.

When we manage people around their Strengths, we engage them in their work on a level that they can really get to grips with and in a way that they will enjoy – remember my earlier example, my love of communication kept me accountable and productive.

When someone enjoys their work for what it is, they commit to it wholeheartedly, they take ownership over it and they put their all into it.