"Let me think about this further."
People with Intellection in their top 5 Gallup StrengthsFinder results love to think. They enjoy exercising the “muscles” of their brains, stretching them in multiple directions. In contrast to those with the Input theme, who learn and grow by acquiring new information, those with the Intellection StrengthsFinder theme learn and grow by asking questions and thinking through concepts. People exceptionally talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. At their best, people with Intellection offer great advice and often come across as wise to others. The desire to contemplate and reflect also means that they are often the ones who will take time to inspect their own lives. This constant inspection of life events brings those with Intellection to a higher level of self-awareness.
People with Intellection have a need to understand people, situations, or ideas on a deeper level. They generally need space and time alone to muse and reflect. The genius of Intellection talents stems from the deep processing that occurs when they think. Wisdom and clarity result from their ability to muse for long periods of time.
Depending on the other StrengthsFinder themes found in their dominant strengths, this need for mental activity may be focused: for example, they may be thinking deeply to solve a problem (Intellection interacting with Restorative) or they may be thinking deeply about a philosophical issue and wanting to learn deeper (intellection interacting with Learner). However, this mental activity may also very well lack focus. The Intellection theme does not dictate the topics that they like to think about; it simply describes their fondness for reflection and introspection. To a person with Intellection, thinking is synonymous with doing; in fact, they tend to dislike thoughtless approaches to any given scenario. They love the theoretical because they believe that it is the precursor to the practical, and they pride themselves on being a source of understanding and wisdom to their friends and family.
In my workplace at Strengths School™ Singapore, I worked with two different StrengthsFinder Coaches who both have Intellection in their dominant StrengthsFinder themes. As I interact with them and observe their different behaviours, I find that they are people who are very comfortable with solitude. They seem to be those who have a constant hum in every moment of their lives. They sometimes will take time out away from the team during lunch hours, preferring to muse on new information and ideas. They share that they enjoy thinking through different questions and testing out answers in their minds.
How can a person with Intellection turn this talent into a Strength?
1. PRACTICE PUTTING YOUR THOUGHTS INTO PLAIN LANGUAGE
The genius of the Intellection theme is in their ability to think deeply about situations, projects, and issues. Yet because of the depth of thought and command of language they bring to the table, they can often be intimidating to those with lesser talents in this theme. It would therefore be helpful for them to practice putting their thoughts into plain language so that others can better understand their thinking. For example, whenever they have insights they would like to share with others, it would be helpful to have a process by which they identify any outcomes they would like to achieve by sharing their insights, or perhaps find stories that would help people better relate to their points.
2. IDENTIFY LIKE-MINDED PEERS YOU CAN CONVERSE WITH
People with the Intellection StrengthsFinder talent theme do not feel threatened whenever others challenge their thinking. On the contrary, they feel stimulated by it, as they take it as a sign that others are giving consideration to their thoughts. In fact, whenever they find like-minded peers who are able to engage with them in intellectual conversations, they enjoy these exchanges and find themselves energized by the discussions.
It would thus be helpful for those with the Intellection theme to find a group of friends – though not necessarily all in the same group – with whom they can engage in intellectual discussions. These conversations will excite them and sharpen their thinking.
3. SEEK COMPLEMENTARY PARTNERSHIPS
Partner those with Activator
People with Activator have a powerful ability to translate thought into action. They bring energy and momentum to their relationships and workplaces. In contrast, people with Intellection are energized by the process of thinking. They bring depth of thought to conversations and feel stimulated when they are tasked to think through projects well. Partnering an Activator would push those with the Intellection theme to act on their thoughts and ideas, thus not letting great ideas stagnate in the think tank while also allowing projects to move forward intelligently.
Partner those with Communication
People with Communication are talented in finding the right words to make their messages come alive. They enjoy using simple words that will communicate the message effectively and with great impact. They love sharing stories and ideas with people. In contrast, those with Intellection enjoys thinking deeply and unpacking ideas. As such, they have a tendency to use slightly more complex words that requires some level of unpacking. Such a partnership encourages those with Intellection to find the best words in communicating their insights to others, allowing more of their wisdom and deep understanding to impact lives.
Partner those with Focus
People with Focus enjoy zooming in on their overarching goals to make sure that every decision they make is aligned with the overall direction they want for their lives. The genius of the Focus theme is in their ability to concentrate intensely on a task or direction, thus enhancing the speed and quality of their performance. In contrast, people with Intellection enjoy asking questions and processing information and data, examining issues from multiple angles. This partnership encourages those with Intellection to focus their ability to think deeply and thoroughly on the overarching goals they have for their work or lives.
Concluding thoughts: People with the Intellection StrengthsFinder theme bring a depth of understanding and wisdom to their workplaces and relationships. Their ability to find viable solutions to challenges and more effective approaches stem from their deep thinking. They may sometimes appear aloof and distant even though there is close physical proximity. This does not mean that they have disconnected; rather, it is more likely that they are simply thinking through something that was just said. Be prepared to give those with Intellection time and space to think – they will appreciate the latitude, and your conversations will be all the richer for it!
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.