StrengthsFinder® Self-Assurance (CliftonStrengths)

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"I already knew that."

The Wife calls this the conversation killer. 

When the Wife shares with me a new discovery or something she learnt, this statement "I already knew that" is usually a response that puts her off. Even though that statement is a statement of fact in my mind, it unfortunately communicates the idea of cockiness to the Wife. I come across often as someone who knows-it-all. To make things worse, I'm often at a loss of words when I'm asked to explain why I'm so certain or confident of my decisions or judgments. Many may not understand that I arrive at my conclusions often based on my gut feelings and instincts. As a result, conversations end up with a quick "just trust me" or "I can't explain, I just know it". I'm thankful that the Wife has since accepted this controversial idea of using my gut feeling and instinct in making decisions (which is, by the way, against every grain of her Deliberative Theme). I am still working hard on learning communication techniques to reduce conflicts between us. 

Those with ‘Self-Assurance’ in their top 5 Strengthsfinder result have faith in their strengths and their judgments. They are often able to take risks, meet new challenges and most importantly, believe in their abilities to deliver. This Self-Assurance may be quiet or loud, depending on other talent themes, but it is solid and strong. Like an anchor of a ship, it can withstand many different pressures and gives the person a self-belief that is often unwavering. As someone with Self-Assurance , I feel confident of my own abilities, instincts and judgements. Even when I don't really know something, the gut feeling is "I'm sure I can figure this out!”  

I love pioneering work and going into new grounds. I get drawn towards taking on challenges, especially those that I feel others don't seem to dare try. Many of my proudest achievements are results that bore fruit because of the risks that I chose to take. I often feel the certainty within me allows me to be courageous in embracing challenges and overcoming them. One of the "risks" I chose to take was to start Strengths School™ together with my business partner, Jason Ho. I decided to leave my job and become a full time Strengthsfinder coach and trainer in Singapore. Being an entrepreneur is an idea that I always toy with in my mind. Stepping out to coach others, in the area of knowing and applying their strengths, is an exciting and challenging path that seems intuitively right to me. Many may question this decision of starting a new company, especially at a time which coincides with my second newborn child. The decision was actually made based on my gut feeling (and with great support from the lovely Wife).

How can someone turn this Self-Assurance talent into a Strength? Here are some suggestions.

1. GROW THE INNER LIFE.

Self-Assurance as a Strengthsfinder theme works primarily on the INTERNAL certainty or capacity of an individual. That is in contrast to themes like Command or Significance which are influenced more by external circumstances. Even when there are external uncertainties or chaos, people with Self-Assurance can be confident as long as their inner compass stays focus and rooted. What can often make the gut feel go off-tangent are primarily issues that deal with the inner life or the internal certainty of an individual. Examples of such issues are struggles with guilt, unforgiveness towards self and others. 

There was a period when I allowed a past failure to affect me. I started to operate in fear in a lot of daily decisions. I lost confidence in my own gut feel and intuition. This was only brought to my attention when a mentor pointed this out shrewdly and encouraged me to re-examine my focus. I realized that when a person with Self-Assurance operates in infancy, this person can often operate in fear of people or in total arrogance without regard for others.

A few reflection questions here provides some handles towards examining the inner life:

- Am I holding on to any kind of bitterness?
- Are there any past fears or failures that have deeply shaken the confidence I have in myself?
- Are there any areas I should forgive myself in?
- In what areas do I struggle with guilt?

2. DIFFERENTIATE INNER STRENGTH AND EXTERNAL VALIDATIONS

People with Self-Assurance are more effective when they focus on their knowledge, skills and experience and what they can offer from within them. However, doing so is not easy when external factors are not in their favour. But keeping focus often allows people with Self-Assurance to overcome the external setbacks by digging deep into their knowledge, experience and skill sets.  

Example: In a presentation, People with Self-Assurance are able to perform at a very high level even when technical difficulties or unexpected situations arise. The confidence from within allows them to overcome any setback by drawing on their internal strength. Often the ability to influence or to make an impression lies in the confidence shown by the individual who refuses to be overwhelmed by external situations that are not in his/her favour.  

3. SEEK COMPLEMENTARY PARTNERSHIPS

    Partner people strong in Deliberative

People with Deliberative are usually risk-averse and think deeply into the areas that could go wrong. Partnering with Deliberative allows Self-Assurance people to identify areas of potential challenges. Since people with Self-Assurance innately have a great appetite for risks, these partnerships allow for greater clarity of decisions made when it comes to taking “calculated” risks. When it comes to decisions that can potentially affect a huge number of people, a Leader with Self-Assurance will do well to seek out these partnerships. That will allow for greater level of accountability and governance and make the decision-making model more robust.

    Partner people strong in Includer or Harmony

People with Includer or Harmony in their top 5 are people who are usually more team-oriented or community-based. They use more words such as “We” or “Our Team” as compared to a person with Self-Assurance who tends to use words such as “I” or “My team”. 

Partnering with Includer or Harmony allows Self-Assurance to grow into a more team-oriented, community-based individual. This partnership challenges the Self-Assurance to be more aware of team dynamics.  Decision-making processes can then have greater involvement or input from members of the team. Learning to listen to the concerns of others, including the intuition of others will allow for a more robust decision making model. 

Ending note: Those with Self-Assurance can sometimes come across as people who are not easy to work with. Given the right environment to flourish, the biggest value that a Self-Assurance person brings to a team is the boldness and courage to pioneer new grounds and embark on new initiatives.

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.