StrengthsQuest Enriches Leadership Styles

April 11, 2011

Laura Hardwicke (Class of 2011)

Laura Hardwicke (Class of 2011)

Drew Doty (Class of 2013)

Drew Doty (Class of 2013)

Futuristic, command, woo, positivity, restorative. These may seem like just five random words to you. But for me, they are my strengths. They are my Top Five Themes, which provide me with the tools to walk into an interview prepared to tell my future employer exactly who I am and how I can help them. And most important to me, I can enhance every aspect of my social, professional and academic life simply by focusing on these five special words.

And I owe it all to StrengthsQuest.

Like the Myers Briggs, StrengthsQuest is a personality test based on your instinctual decisions. Unlike Myers Briggs, however, where you only get 16 personality types, StrengthsQuest uses 34 different themes, offering 278,256 possible unique combinations of Top Five Themes.

“StrengthsQuest was not the usual personality test that tells me whether I am an extrovert or an introvert,” said Drew Doty (Class of 2013). “It was about what am I good at and how can I utilize what I am good at more progressively. I personally think that if people are going to lead other people they need to know themselves first.”

StrengthsQuest helps individuals discover their strengths by measuring how they act inherently, naturally. This discovery brings greater knowledge of oneself and others. And this self-knowledge, in turn, allows a leadership culture based on positive strengths rather than negative weaknesses to flourish.

“A shared positive leadership language on campus can bring positive change,” said Brent Turner, director of student involvement and leadership. “I hope StrengthsQuest allows students to refocus energy on leadership that is tangible and manageable. By bridging involvement and leadership, StrengthsQuest enables leadership to become responsible leadership.”

In order for that transition to occur, students must also examine their strengths and then develop them to their highest potential.

“As an ‘Activator,’ I’ve been able to channel my strength to help the organizations I’m involved in get the ball rolling,” said Laura Hardwicke (Class of 2011). “I’ve noticed that when I initiate action, others gain the ability to put their strengths to use.”

As part of Gallup’s Education Practice, StrengthsQuest found through interviewing people that top achievers understand their talents and strengths and build their lives around them. Based on this research, StrengthsQuest offers a guide for each student to discover his or her natural strengths and talents.

“StrengthsQuest helps students not only to find a better understanding of self but also to understand each other’s strengths,” said Jane Wurzelbacher, assistant director of student involvement and leadership. “It comes from a viewpoint of using positive psychology to direct purpose. We can identify and label talents and strengths all day, but it’s the application that makes StrengthsQuest meaningful, which is what I hope students gain from the test.”

As for me, StrengthsQuest has enriched and given me a greater appreciation of my strengths. I can lead a group with order, enthusiasm and problem-solving skills. As a leader, I use my themes how they naturally present themselves individually, but I also focus on bringing them together to make them stronger. “Futuristic,” “Command” and “Restorative” work well with problem solving and decision making, as well as coming up with applicable and current ideas. Likewise, “Futuristic,” “Positivity” and “Woo” make me a friendly, approachable and optimistic leader.

Students can discover their strengths for free and learn more about StrengthsQuest thanks to the advising and financial support of the Office of Student Involvement & Leadership.

By Mary Neville (Class of 2013)

Office of Public Relations & Community Affairs
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