With all the attention on social reform over the past 4 months, it seems fitting to draw attention to two Connect talents that naturally look to involve people and see them for their uniqueness: Includer and Individualization.
The Includer hates to leave anyone out. An inclusive reflex pulls outsiders in and errs on the side of acceptance. Because they can see the value and worth of others they tend to reach out to a diverse group of people, ideas, and perspectives. “The more the merrier” is a theme they live by. When we learned our middle son, CT had Includer it explained so much of the uniqueness he brought to our family as our kids were growing up.
CT had the best birthday parties. His Includer wanted everyone to share in his special day. He invited all his classmates, the football team, the baseball team, the hockey team. (He didn’t even play hockey.) The result was a huge mob of pre-teen kids having the time of their lives at a tsunami-sized pool party or playing capture the flag with glow sticks in a dark park. BFF was not a term he used because everyone was his friend and they all were the best.
The challenge for those with Includer is that at times “the more can be less merry” when trying to reach consensus towards a goal or deadline. One leader with Includer said, “I realized my desire to want to include everyone would often draw too many voices to the table which resulted in stalemates or people feeling they were at a meeting they didn’t have to be at.” Learning to include the right people instead of all people can help mitigate this Includer Kryptonite.
While Includers seek camaraderie with the masses, Individualization sees the uniqueness and brilliance of the individual. It connects with people by seeing their gifts and the outstanding features that set them apart while bringing a broader diversity of skills and strengths to a group. They have an uncanny ability to assemble high performing teams because they look beyond actions to motivations and distinctiveness. They often hear from others “You get me,” or “You are the only one that appreciates what I really do well.” Individualization may modify their style, energy, language, and emotions to align to the particular person or group they are relating to.
Because Individualization focuses on the excellence of others it often has a blindspot to its own genius. When I ask people with Individualization if they ever struggle with seeing how or where they rise above the crowd the reply is almost always a resounding YES! What StrengthsFinder has done through decades of research and analytics, people with Individualization have done their whole lives naturally: find and leverage the strengths of others for success. So it is crucial they not only have people in their lives to call out what they do well but that they embrace and engage it with confidence and conviction.
The understanding, appreciation, and lessons we learn from these two strengths in others can help us in expanding our own bandwidth of inclusion and diversity in a healthy and collaborative way. That is an expansion that brings unity rather than division for such a time as this.