One of the key benefits of the StrengthsFinder tool is that of building better quality relationships. Using StrengthsFinder, each individual identifies his or her dominant talent themes. With that knowledge, individuals can understand their natural recurring patterns of thought, feeling and behaviour.
Conflicts between people usually arise when people impose their natural ways of thinking, feeling and behaving on others. Most of the time, this occurs without an individual’s awareness. As a Singapore StrengthsFinder coach, I often use the StrengthsFinder tool to help couples build greater understanding of each other's lenses and to facilitate conversations that will improve the quality of relationships. A marriage relationship is very intense. The trust and quality of relationship takes a lot of time to strengthen. In Singapore, I often run StrengthsFinder Workshop for Couples. The feedback from those who have attended, has often been that it was immensely rewarding!
The passion to conduct these relationship workshops arose out of the transformation of my own marriage. Michelle and I have been married for almost 10 years. In these years, there certainly have been challenges. My dominant StrengthsFinder themes are Activator, Communication, Strategic, Self-Assurance and Command. Michelle’s dominant StrengthsFinder themes are Responsibility, Achiever, Maximizer, Ideation and Relator. We have very contrasting themes and often our natural ways of thinking, feeling and behaving cause us to have conflicts.
How do we use this tool in a practical way to grow our marriage?
Using the StrengthsFinder tool, we first try to have conversations that seek to understand each other’s dominant themes. Understanding each other's tendency to think, feel and behave helped us acquire a heightened level of patience. There were many paradigm shifts that took place in this process. Here, I list 5 examples:
1. GETTING THINGS DONE:
There is usually a to-do list stuck on the fridge. Unsurprisingly, these lists were generated by Michelle. These to-do lists are not just for herself - there is also a list for me! Upon understanding her Achiever talent theme, I realized that when a task is completed for her, there is a huge level of satisfaction for her. Because of this new understanding, I engage my Activator theme, which is the ability to take action quickly, to finish the tasks that are required. I used to procrastinate and Michelle gets upset and frustrated. The new motivation to get these tasks done stems from the desire to love and serve her.
2. UNDERSTANDING OWNERSHIP
"Apologies are not enough. Rationalizations and excuses are not acceptable”. These words came out of the description of the Gallup StrengthsFinder Responsibility theme. For me, this was a great revelation! What was a minor mistake or an careless act often escalated into a huge conflict. Discussing this theme allowed us to make adjustments on both ends. She agreed to be more gracious towards the occasional mistakes I probably will continue to make. She also chooses to now take note and be affirming of the many tasks I completed. What used to be a “this is expected of you!” has now changed to a “thank you for doing these”. I also took note of the fact that her psychological ownership is higher than an average person and I’m now more careful to avoid making empty promises to her.
3. DECISION MAKING
My Activator theme often clashed with her Responsibility theme. My Activator says “Taking action is better than no action at all” while her Responsibility says “Doing nothing is better than doing something wrong”. These contrasting thoughts often brought conflicts during decision making especially in areas where much uncertainties lie. Discussions in this area have helped us to understand each other better. We decided not to change one another but to find areas of collaborations. We agreed on some specific areas of decisions where I will submit to her suggestions and vice versa. These handles have hugely reduced our conflicts.
4. PROVIDING OPTIONS
Michelle now understands that my Strategic theme enjoys having options. Killing off options at the start of any discussions is a big no-no for me. Giving me options to choose from was a powerful way of communicating with me. From deciding what to do on a weekend to deciding what to have for meals, giving me different alternatives makes me feel valued.
5. SERVING TOGETHER
As a Relator and with the Achiever and Responsibility theme, Michelle enjoys being involved and doing things together with me. I learnt to make her feel more valued by finding opportunities for us to work together. One of the things we intentionally do is to mentor other younger couples. We also serve together in a Singapore local church in by co-facilitating a bible study small group. I also try to involve her in my business by tapping on her Ideation for fresh and innovative ways to grow the business in Singapore and beyond.
While I can list down more transforming paradigms that strengthen our marriage and the new ways we found in engaging each other, I’m very mindful that this marriage relationship is still work in progress. We cannot grow complacent. Open communication to build trust and mutual respect continues to be fundamental for us. We are thankful that we discovered a tool and now possess a weapon that helps to strengthen our bond as husband and wife. We continue to use StrengthsFinder as a conversation tool to help us understand each other and resolve conflicts.
How is the relationship with your spouse or partner? Consider using StrengthsFinder tool as a means to improve and strengthen your relationships. You can find the assessment tool here!
Contact me if you are interested to find out more about the Singapore StrengthsFinder Couple Workshops!
Written by Victor Seet
Activator • Communication • Strategic • Self-Assurance • Command
As a Gallup Certified Singapore Strengthsfinder coach, Victor is passionate about strengths engagement and now runs his own training company, Strengths School™ (strengthsschool.com), based in Singapore. He has been actively giving Strengthsfinder leadership and team building workshops to businesses and schools in Singapore as well as Hong Kong, China (Shanghai) and India.