Highlight on Achiever – Strengths 101
What does it really mean to be an “Achiever“? I was sometimes told as a kid that I was an “overachiever” in school. This idea has surfaced as being somewhat true after revealing Achiever as my number 9 Clifton strength. According to Gallup, “People exceptionally talented in the Achiever theme work hard and possess a great deal of stamina. They take immense satisfaction in being busy and productive.”
There is about a 1/3 chance this might describe you, too. Achiever is the most common of all the 34 Clifton strengths with about ~31% of people having it in their top 5. Achievers need to get something and feel productive every single day. There are no days off, even on holidays or vacation time. For Achievers, lack of accomplishment leads to personal dissatisfaction. As a fellow Achiever, I can confirm the yearning desire to feel the satisfaction of a feat on a daily basis. This feat doesn’t have to be in work; it can be personal, too. This also doesn’t mean Achievers are never satisfied. We gain great satisfaction from checking off boxes and items on to-do lists. It is simply that the satisfaction wears off and a new desire to complete a new task quickly draws in.
“Achiever is the most common of all the 34 Clifton strengths with about ~31% of people having it in their top 5.”
Achiever Mindset and Antics
While most feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment come from actually completing a task, other satisfying feelings are drawn from simple acts, such as physically writing down a task just to physically cross it off the list if it wasn’t on the original list (may sound comical, I know, but it’s true). Other habits, I personally have, include doing things just to get myself in the achieving mindset. I use military time on my phone because I like how midnight is represented by 00:00 rather than 12:00AM. This shifts my mindset to a clean slate of a new day. The hours count upward to represent the time that has passed and the time that remains before the next 00:00 will strike. Some of my friends like this tactic while others roll their eyes at it’s slight philosophical and, on the surface, meaningless gesture.
Of the four CliftonStrengths® domains, Achiever resides in the Executing domain. Those with strengths in the Achiever domain turn thoughts into actions. They ensure the thoughts and ideas of the dreamers are actually implemented and ensure strides are made in the right direction.
Like most things in life, too much of something can be bad or have negative consequences. Strengths overdone can become weaknesses, especially when those around you have work habits that differ from your own. Achievers hold their work ethic to a high regard and are on top of getting things done. Many co-workers may not embody the same desire to work hard and will get frustrated with Achievers. Achievers, in turn, will get frustrated with their peers for not working hard. This incentives Achievers to get a jump start on work, potentially depleting relationships. This will fuel a vicious circle of workplace frustration between everyone involved.
Achievers don’t like being bored and don’t like to be stuck in meetings or “wasting” time that takes away from getting meaningful work done. As a manager of someone with Achiever, ensure they have enough meaningful tasks to do with specific deadlines to keep them challenged and constantly occupied. Partner with other hard workers and create an accountability system.
“As a manager of someone with Achiever, ensure they have enough meaningful tasks to do with specific deadlines to keep them challenged and constantly occupied.”
So, how do you utilize your Achiever talents in a way that also flows into the work-life of others? It starts with a conversation. Let your team know what your tendencies and goals are at the onset of a project so they’re aware of your work style. Set tangible goals and due dates to keep everyone accountable. Also set expectations that everyone can live with.
The same approach works for managing Achiever talents in leadership and in personal life. As leaders, Achievers are, without a doubt, able to keep their teams on track to attain shared goals. They just may need help with inspiring and enabling their people to reach these goals, which is hopefully balanced out if they also have a strength in the influencing domain. At home, Achievers’ desire to constantly “work” and get things done may get in the way of their ability to relax and spend time with their partner and family. Setting boundaries will allow time for work and play in a way that will help Achievers live a happy and healthy lifestyle. Achiever, overall, is an admiral quality that is well respected for the dependability and positive output related to the strength. When a strength is well understood and well-executed, the maximum benefits will be reaped. If you’re an Achiever, like me, you can learn even more about how to hone in on the Achiever strength.
“Let your team know what your tendencies and goals are at the onset of a project so they’re aware of your work style.”
Churchill is certified and highly experienced at delivering the Gallup programs including Building a Strengths-Based-Organization. Learn more about our Strengths-Based Organization program here.
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