People with Includer in their top 5 Gallup StrengthsFinder results resonate with the philosophy of “stretching the circle wider.” Whether at work or in social gatherings, those with Includer naturally look for people on the outside or on the fringes of the group, drawing them in so that they feel like they’re part of the community. In contrast to those with the Relator StrengthsFinder theme, who want to deepen existing relationships, Includers gravitate towards those who are not yet closely-knit into the existing community and seek to bring them in so that they can feel the warmth of the group.
Because they are wired to include as many people as possible, those with the Includer StrengthsFinder theme tend to dislike cliques and groups that exclude others. Instead, Includers are keenly attuned to the subtle cues of those who may be feeling left out, even if those individuals are in the middle of a group. The most remarkable part of the Includer talent theme, however, is in their proactive approach to bringing people into the group. They do not merely sense when people feel left out or marginalized, but also take action to build relationships with the “invisible” and neglected minorities.
Because of their naturally accepting and inviting nature, those with the Includer StrengthsFinder theme often have the ability to get along with people with very diverse backgrounds, religions, nationalities, and opinions. Their core belief is that everyone is equally important, and therefore that no one should be left out. This may create tension in certain situations, particularly when people of vastly different opinions are brought in and have to make key decisions together. In fact, Includer at its infancy is often labeled indiscriminate and indecisive because of their ability to value a wide range of opinions. However, at its maturity, the Includer StrengthsFinder theme is a powerful ability to hold a team together, giving a voice to the voiceless and empowering the disempowered.
As a Singapore StrengthsFinder coach, there was a particular challenge shared with me by two different Includers that caught my attention about this particular theme. Both the Includers shared that they struggle to decide who to include and leave out of their guest list as part of the wedding preparations. In Singapore where the cost of throwing a wedding banquet is very high, it is almost impossible to invite every single friend to attend the banquet. Through this sharing, I gained an insight into some of the challenges many Includers face on a personal level.
How can a person with Includer turn this talent into a Strength? Here are a few suggestions.
1. DEVELOP STRATEGIES TO HELP THOSE NEW TO THE GROUP
Because those with the Includer talent theme thrive on integrating those on the fringes of the group, it would help to refine the strategies they use to do so. For instance, what are a few ways they could make the group a non-threatening, welcoming place for newcomers? Alternatively, if in a leadership role, how might the Includer motivate the group to create an atmosphere where newcomers feel a sense of belonging the moment they walk in? Includers have a natural sense of what makes an environment warm and accepting, so they would do well well to intentionally invest time and skill sets into developing concrete ways to create such environments.
2. GATHER A LIST OF QUESTIONS OR ACTIVITIES TO DRAW OUT OPINIONS
Those with the Includer StrengthsFinder theme are not only talented in making people feel like they’re part of the group, but they’re also talented in making sure that every voice is heard. They feel a great deal of satisfaction when they’re able to make every person feel important – particularly those who are normally marginalized. It would therefore be helpful for the Includer to have a list of questions or activities to proactively draw out different voices, creating a platform where every opinion counts. To be even more effective, the Includer can also differentiate these questions for each of the unique groups he or she is in.
3. SEEK COMPLEMENTARY PARTNERSHIPS
Partner those with Command
People with Command tend to polarize ideas in order to create clarity and decide on a specific course of action. They are honest, direct, and often one of the most objective voices in the room. In contrast, those with the Includer StrengthsFinder theme tend to be accepting of a wide range of different personalities and contrasting ideas. By partnering someone with the Command theme, the Includer can reduce the amount of complexity involved when brainstorming or making key decisions with the team, thus steering them toward a clear path of action while still building bridges between differing ideas and personalities.
Partner those with Deliberative
People with Deliberative naturally identify potential obstacles and pitfalls with a particular course of action, idea, or group. They are also selective about their friends and teammates, preferring quality over quantity. In contrast, those with the Includer StrengthsFinder theme love to bring in many different voices, widening their circle of teammates and friends so that no one feels left out. This sometimes creates conflicts within the group: as the saying goes, “too many cooks spoil the broth.” Partnering someone with Deliberative would help the Includer be more selectively inclusive, as they would be able to better identify when the inclusion of another person would benefit the group, and when it might be a detriment.
Partner those with Individualization
People with Individualization are talented in identifying what is special about each individual. They instinctively recognize the unique experiences, ideas, and skillsets each person brings to the table. Their perspectives tend towards individuals and making team decisions based on what each individual can do very well in. In contrast, those with the Includer talent theme believe that everyone is important. Their perspectives tend towards a group. By partnering someone with the Individualization StrengthsFinder theme, there is distinct ability to see things from the perspectives of both individuals and a team.
Concluding thoughts: The Includers bring a level of warmth and acceptance to their communities and work environments. Without Includers, the world would be a colder place indeed. Though sometimes misunderstood in their desire to bring in as many people and voices as possible, Includer at its maturity is talented in creating environments that are open, accepting, and yet effective and impactful at the same time.
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 Nanjing) and India.