Highlight on Activator – Strengths 101
What does it mean to be an “Activator”?
It’s great to have great ideas, but without the ability to put those ideas into action, they won’t go anywhere (Hey, Ideators, it might be a good idea to partner with an Activator!). According to Gallup, “People exceptionally talented in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They want to do things now, rather than simply talk about them.”
As soon as a decision has been made to execute, Activators are ready to take charge before you can blink. Time is of the essence and should not be wasted on getting caught up in the details of “how-to” do things. Activators are willing to take risks dreaming of future success, and in the process, they encourage others to buy into that vision. This ability to take risks takes a level of courageousness and should not be mistaken for a rash or immature behavior. Acting with courageousness at the forefront also delivers an aura of confidence in the eyes of those around them.
Of the four CliftonStrengths® domains, Activator resides in the Influencing domain due to their impact on others to make things happen. Activators are also good executors, but what makes them live in the Influencing domain is their ability to engage and bring others into their plan.
If Activators are prohibited from exercising their desire to act, they will feel a deep cost associated with doing nothing – a lost opportunity. Taking any action, even if it is a small step or stride towards progress, gives Activators stability in feeling like they are maintaining momentum. Although Activators feel satisfaction from this momentum, they do not care so much to finish or work towards completion of the project they are working on. In this way, they differ from Achievers, who feel bound to working towards the end of an initiative. Activators simply like to get the ball rolling and don’t mind handing it off to someone since, in fact, getting started is the most challenging part. Working with an Activator, others are invited to join in on the journey and can find their way to be a part of the mission and build off of what has already been started.
“If Activators are prohibited from exercising their desire to act, they will feel a deep cost associated with doing nothing – a lost opportunity.”
Having Activators on your team is good to enable other team members to act with a healthy sense of urgency. As a result, this also saves time and energy for your organization as a whole because you ensure continuous movement and action.
If you work with/manage an activator, invite them to meetings or events where you’re ready to get things started right away. Celebrate their small wins and even celebrate their progress. Allow them to be around teams and people that need an Activator’s inspiring talk and words to get them going and compel them to act and get started. Let them know why that they’re doing now will matter down the road.
“If you work with/manage an activator, invite them to meetings or events where you’re ready to get things started right away.”
However, while working with an Activator you must also watch out for blind spots. Activators may become impatient waiting around for team members who aren’t as willing to get the ball rolling right away since they view this as a waste of time. While this is Activators’ view of wasting time, others may say “haste is waste” and that they are actually using time more wisely by using this tactic. Activators may be seen as impulsive, impatient, or difficult to work with due to their desire to do things without planning, which makes them viewed as lacking teamwork skills. Activators should also keep in mind that others on the team may want to consider alternatives and challenges before taking action. Since Activators don’t initially think this way, they may miss important details due to their strong urge to act. If Activators choose to act anyway without explaining their decisions, others will feel left out, which will negatively impact team morale.
“Activators should also keep in mind that others on the team may want to consider alternatives and challenges before taking action.”
To combat this and utilize the benefits of Activators’ strengths, encourage them to listen to team members to ensure they’re headed in the right direction. If teams have been stagnant, leave it to Activators to get the momentum going again. Pair them with people that may have Ideation since they come up with good ideas but may not feel the same sense of urgency that Activators do to put their ideas into play. They serve as the initial spark and leader for teams to follow.
Be intentional about the same page with others for the next steps and tangible action items. List goals with the team. Inspire others to take the first step on a big initiative and make them feel better by minimizing the perceived risk.
If you’re an Activator, you can learn even more about how to hone in on the Activator strength.
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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