StrengthsFinder® Deliberative Theme (CliftonStrengths)

StrengthsFinder Singapore Leadership Application Deliberative

“WAIT! Let me think about it."

People with Deliberative in their top 5 Strengthsfinder results hate to be rushed into doing something that they have not thought through clearly. They like to be careful and vigilant. Their first instinct is often to consider the worst case scenario. People with Deliberative have a low appetite for risk. The genius of the Deliberative talent is in the ability to prevent problems through innate anticipation of potential risk and a rigorous thought process. Their decisions tend to be well-thought through. They are also often great at preparation work. People with Deliberative prefer to think through the decision-making process. They identify the dangers and weigh the different impact before deciding their next step. Some of those who have the Deliberative theme can be labelled as slow and indecisive, "think too much", pessimistic, and fearful. While this is true for the people who use the talent in an immature way, a majority is more often misunderstood. 

People with Deliberative can sometimes come across as rather serious; as approaching life with a certain reserve. Many of them tend to be private in nature and selective with their friends. The circle of friends is usually small but very deep and strong. They are also careful not to give too much praise and recognition to others (friends included) because that can lead to pride and complacency. Loose and generic praise can be a turn-off for Deliberative people. They believe that praise and affirmation must be given specifically and must be timely. From my personal experience interacting with different ones in Singapore, I have gathered that many Singaporeans with the Deliberative theme often put in a lot of thought when writing cards containing well-wishes. The recipients often feel very blessed and encouraged because these cards are full of specific affirmation that truly means a lot.

How can a person with Deliberative turn this talent into a Strength? Here are some suggestions:


As a person with Deliberative who needs time to make decisions, appreciate that some decisions yield great returns when made early. Setting a deadline to make a decision is therefore critical in a dynamic world where opportunities are to be seized. Not making a decision is a decision in itself.

In a team setting, taking time to make a decision (and not communicating to others) often leads to uncertainty. Part of the decision-making discipline is to consistently communicate that you need time to think through decisions and to set a reasonable deadline (depending on context) to make a decision. Be sure to be accountable to the team for the deadline that is set.


Being familiar with sound decision-making models can create clarity and increase effectiveness in the deliberating process. Examples of good decision-making models used widely today are the SWOT Analysis or the Eisenhower Decision Matrix.

The SWOT analysis is a useful model that allows for the person with Deliberative to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the team. Such a model allows the Deliberative person to discover the different strengths that can be leveraged upon and the weaknesses that are to be managed. This model also helps to identify the opportunities that can be capitalized on and the threats that need to be neutralized. The framework is useful for understanding internal and external factors that can help a Deliberative person decide if a project is viable.

The Eisenhower Matrix is often used to help people think though priorities. It is a useful decision-making tool to discard tasks that waste time and do not align with the desired goals. This matrix is useful for the Deliberative person to work on increasing productivity levels. Questions like “How am I spending my time weekly?” or “What are some things I should devote my time to?” can be asked while using the matrix. This decision model can effectively help a Deliberative person to make quicker decisions by eliminating tasks that are neither urgent nor important and setting time aside to think through important decisions.


- Partner people strong in Positivity
People strong in Positivity have the ability to create positive emotional impact. They are often able to provide optimistic perspectives and give hope and encouragement. Having such partners allows people with Deliberative to collaborate and balance the (often serious but needed) risk assessment discussions with light-hearted moments. 

- Partner people strong in Restorative
People strong in Restorative love to solve problems and fix things that are broken. People with Deliberative enjoy looking at areas of risk that can be prevented or avoided. There is a problem-prevention orientation when the person with Restorative collaborates with a person with Deliberative. This can be extremely powerful for organizations where work is inter-linked (such as a production line), in which one broken chain can spiral into huge losses in revenue. Such a partnership is extremely helpful to reduce the probability of issues arising, and can contribute powerfully to increasing productivity.

- Partner people strong in Activator
Activators are like catalysts. They are usually quick to act and they enjoy capitalizing on opportunities that are presented. People with Deliberative prefer to think through the risks involved before jumping in. Such a partnership allows for constructive dialogue and creates a more robust decision-making model in teams. This partnership can be very productive when the decision to be made potentially has a huge impact on finance and manpower resources. 

Concluding thoughts: People with Deliberative might appear to be wet blankets when new ideas are brainstormed or when changes are being considered. But their cautious style and the thoroughness in their thought processes give them an edge in a world where recklessness has caused much unnecessary pain to many. Rather than labelling them as negative, it is often more beneficial to appreciate their unique style and to leverage the Deliberative talent towards a great outcome.

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™ (, 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.