Leading with the Input StrengthsFinder Talent

From unknown to insight

July 31, 2023
multiple audio inputs

Do you find yourself diving deep into a topic, going down all the rabbit holes and almost losing yourself in the process?

If so, you may have the strengthsfinder input talent.

Leaders who can leverage their strength of input bring a more profound, nuanced understanding to their team. 

Your Strengths Have AntiPatterns

Input StrengthsFinder TL;DR

The input StrengthsFinder talent means you’re insatiably curious, continually gathering insight and information.

Mystery is an invitation to explore because you believe all information can be helpful, and you genuinely enjoy collecting these insights.

To leverage your input strength as a leader, you need inputs. Lots of them.

Sometimes you can get off track as you binge on a new topic, but ultimately you just love discovering the deep complexity of the world around you.

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.

Input 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 input in your StrengthsFinder top 5?

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

I love to learn, but I'm always fascinated by what my teammates with input know.

When leading design sprints, I've helped those with input leverage their broad and deep understanding to provide the team with new insights and ideas.

These are three strategies I’ve seen leaders use to develop their input strength so they can uncover the backstory in any situation.

  1. Collect specializations.
  2. Feed your mind.
  3. Organize all your notes.

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.

Collect specializations.

What will you be an expert in?

I know. Fight the temptation to answer, “everything!!” Joking aside, developing expertise in a given area is an excellent strategy for leveraging your input strength. 

The key is keeping your specializations connected in an overall story.

I can empathize here. I have multiple interests, and I love diving deep into new areas. During my thirties and mid-career, I found myself with this eclectic platter of skills, experience and expertise. I was knowledgeable and skilled in many areas but struggled to communicate them in a way that clearly demonstrated value. 

I hated being put in boxes by others, “You’re a project manager. You’re a digital marketer. You’re an experience design. You’re a team leader. You’re a web designer. You’re a facilitator…” 

So what does someone with diverse interests and skills do?

Here are four steps to organize all your areas of interest and expertise, 

  1. Find a constraining idea around which you can arrange everything else and tell a coherent story. 
  2. Like any good story, there will be subplots where you find another collection of interests and inputs.
  3. Within the subplots, are there themes around which you’ve gathered significant input? There might not be, this layer is optional.
  4. Write down the skills, experience, or expertise you have or want to develop in this theme.

It might look something like this.

Input Collection Mind Map Template

Here’s an example with some of my subplots and themes.

Input Collection Mind Map

Once you have a map, you can decide where you want to develop more significant expertise, and certifications can be a good option for many of them. 

The key is keeping your specializations connected in an overall story

Not all certifications need to be official or expensive, and in fact, many can be free. Take a look at the growth path I found through certifications, and then chart your own course. 

Feed your mind.

You’re likely already doing this but may not feel confident about its importance.

To leverage your input strength as a leader, you need inputs. Lots of them.

Here are a few options to consider as you look for new input opportunities.

  • Podcasts
  • Documentaries
  • Experiences
  • Courses
  • Books
  • Meetups/Clubs

In our digital world, there are innumerable inputs available. Even just in the learning space, it can be overwhelming. I’ve reviewed some of my favorite learning platforms to help get you started.

A next step might be to talk with your boss and identify some areas of learning that will help you be more effective in your current role. This conversation can open the door to you having more time and resources to devote to diving deeper. 

Organize all your notes.

As you dive deep, learning and collecting information, you need a way to organize it all. 

Decades ago, I started using Evernote to collect and organize all my notes, ideas, and learnings. At the time, their tagline was something like, “your second brain,” which seemed exactly what I needed. 

When I survey colleagues today, Notion seems to be the app of choice for many of them. For the past few years, I’ve just used a combination of Miro and Google docs to collect and organize.

Leaders who can leverage their strength of input bring a more profound, nuanced understanding to their team.

Find what’s right for you. One aspect to consider is how easy it will be to extract everything you’ve gathered if you change platforms in the future.

As you learn to lead using your input strength, you can move effortlessly from unknown to insight.

No more feeling stuck in the unknown or being forced as a leader to make decisions you don’t understand. As you leverage your input strength, you can combine the joy of collecting insight with the ability to bring more profound understanding and nuance to your team and organization.

Action Plan

Leaders with the StrengthsFinder input talent can also struggle with an antipattern of being scattered across too many domains. 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!