Leading with the Context StrengthsFinder Talent

From aware to informed

July 31, 2023
old books

History repeats itself. Understanding the past provides incredible tools for interpreting the present and predicting the future.

Leaders with the strengthsfinder context talent are able to draw from their deep and nuanced understanding of the past to help teams and organizations avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Your Strengths Have AntiPatterns

Context StrengthsFinder TL;DR.

The context StrengthsFinder talent means you see the world through the lens of the past, looking for patterns that predict current and future events. 

As a leader, you gain perspective by exploring the background and knowing the backstory of both people and projects. 

A common pitfall of new leaders is to feel they need to chart their own course without giving due attention to those who came before them

Even in uncertainty, you can move forward confidently because you know where you’ve been. 

If you’re already familiar with StrengthsFinder, you can skip over the next section.

What is StrengthsFinder?

SterengthsFinder, now CliftonStrengths, is an assessment based on strengths psychology. The fundamental premise is you will get farther by maxing out your strengths rather than trying to improve your weaknesses. 

I’ve seen numerous leaders grow as they identified their talents and turned them into well-developed strengths. But you don’t have to be a leader to benefit from StrengthsFinder, and you can apply it to more than just work. 

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses helps you better understand and live out your unique design.

Context is just one of the 34 different strengths measured by StengthsFinder. When you take the assessment, you will get back your top 5 strengths. You can pay for an ordered list of all 34, but I wouldn’t recommend that the first time you take the assessment.

Focus is critical to developing your strengths. Keeping just your top 5 in view helps you make meaningful growth in the areas of your life with the highest leverage and impact. 

How do you lead well with context in your StrengthsFinder top 5?

So you’ve taken the StrengthsFinder assessment, received your results and found context in the list. Now you’re wondering how to grow or leverage this strength in your leadership. 

I feel the frustration of seeing people repeat past mistakes, not learning from experience. And I’ve worked with teams to support and leverage their context-strong team members.

These are five strategies I’ve seen leaders with the context strength use to guide their teams through uncertain futures. 

  1. Practice retrospectives.
  2. Feed your context.
  3. Become a team historian.
  4. Look for a sage.
  5. Notice historical change

Learn to recognize behaviors when you're over-leveraging your strengths to the point that they become liabilities. And discover the path back to health.

Practice retrospectives.

Retrospectives are regularly scheduled meetings where teams review what worked well and what could be improved. They are most commonly used on Scrum teams, but you can apply the same principle to any team. 

Context leaders (or any team member) can use their strengths to identify past successes and failures, helping the team develop better solutions for upcoming projects.

A lessons-learned register is a simple and standard project management tool you can use to help your team capture their current experiences and shape their future ones. I've found it exceptionally helpful when running annual events because the lessons we wanted to learn from last year are long gone from our short-term memory by the time we plan the following year's event.

Feed your context. 

As with any strength, you’ll need to feed your context muscle with the right information. Find books, articles, documentaries or podcasts related to the history of your work field or company culture. 

You see the world through the lens of the past.

Read biographies of inspiring figures who have gone before you. Anything that offers insight into the past is fair game! 

Become a team historian. 

History doesn’t just have to stay in books—it can live on through us like an oral tradition! Encourage team members to share their experiences and stories so that you can capture the collective wisdom of the team. 

You can move forward confidently because you know where you’ve been

This practice is critical in teams with high staff turnover, as it preserves meaningful accomplishments and lessons learned across generations of employees. 

When I was the director of all the event strategies for a large non-profit, I implemented historians at all the significant events. They helped us capture lessons learned, successes to celebrate, stories to tell donors, and testimonies to use in marketing.

Look for a sage. 

Not all wisdom comes from books or stories; plenty of wise people in our lives have something to offer us. 

Surround yourself with these sages—people who have seen things before and know how to cope when challenges arise—as they’ll be able to give you valuable advice that no book can match.

Understanding the past provides incredible tools for interpreting the present and predicting the future.

Much of an organization's collective history resides in the memory and experience of people. It's passed down like the oral traditions of a local tribe and is often lost when there is high turnover on a team or organization. 

A common pitfall of new leaders is to feel they need to chart their own course without giving due attention to those who came before them. They are almost always doomed to repeat past mistakes, work to solve problems that already have solutions, and get caught off guard by predictable situations.

Notice historical change.

Context leaders excel at noticing patterns over time and recognizing what changes are likely to occur down the road. Pay special attention to the changes in little things, as those small shifts often reveal more significant trends. 

History repeats itself

In the years around the pandemic, the term "unprecedented" seemed to be found in almost every headline. The reality is many of the experiences of those years had multiple historical analogs that people were either unaware of or dismissed because humans have a bias to think of their own experiences as novel. 

As you learn to lead using your context strength, you can move teams from being unaware to being informed.

We all tend to become stuck in our habits and ignore lessons from the past. Context leaders remind us of our collective wisdom and help us make decisions with an eye toward the future. 

Use these strategies to unleash your context superpower!  

No more repeating past mistakes or being frozen by uncertainty. Instead, your team can move confidently into the future with insight from the past.

Action Plan

Leaders with the strengthsfinder context talent can struggle with an antipattern of taking a fatalistic approach. Learning the strengths antipatterns will allow you to continue growing as a healthy, intentional leader. 

You are on an extraordinary journey to living and leading from your strengths. You can explore the list below to learn about the rest of your top 5 strengths.

Frequently Asked Questions


So do I totally ignore my weaknesses and just focus on my strengths?

Strengths-based growth doesn’t encourage you to ignore your weaknesses but not to spend too much time trying to turn them into strengths. Instead, you may need to find team members or systems to fill in your gaps.

Learn more about how StrengthsFind influences your leadership.

There are strengths I think I have; why didn’t they didn’t show up in my top 5?

For some people, their strengths ranked 5, 6 or 7 are almost even. You could also be misattributing a skill or behavior to a specific strength.

Learn more about how StrengthsFind influences your leadership.

Should I pay to see all 34 strengths?

Seeing your other 29 strengths can help give you a fuller picture. But initially, someone should focus on further developing those top 5 strengths rather than trying to give attention across the list. Once you have a good grasp on what it looks like to lead from your top 5, it can be helpful to explore the rest of the list.

Learn more about how StrengthsFind influences your leadership.

What’s the difference between a talent and a strength?

A talent is your natural way of thinking or behaving. A strength is a talent developed over time through knowledge, skills and practice.

Learn more about how StrengthsFinder influences your leadership.

Ready to level up your company? Get in touch today!