Your Authentic Self

Lately I have folks trying to have me perform in a way that just doesn’t fit the real me. In the words of Oscar Wild: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken”. I bet many of you are regularly asked to act or be something that you’re not.

I have been doing a lot of work with Gallup and the Marcus Buckingham company (the person who co-developed Strength Finders) and I have a pretty good handle on my talents and strengths. My top 5 themes are Strategic, Competitive, Maximizer, Activator, and Self-Assurance. On the new Buckingham assessment I am an Influencer and Connector. They all tie together….

So a quick recap of what this means. I spot relevant patterns and issues, I measure and play to beat others, I focus on improving what is already good, I pick the right folks for the right roles, and I have an inner compass that doesn’t need affirmation of others. In short I get my work done by taking charge, putting the right folks in place and being confident by working through my team… I would be the one in ten individuals in management that would naturally qualify as a good “manager” with Gallup.

I did an exercise during my coach training and had to fill out four questions that point to my authentic self and how to get the best of me.

Here are the questions and responses:

You get the best of me when:  You give me the big picture assignment, Don’t make me wait, and let me call the shots (my strategic, activator and self – assurance themes at play).

You get the worst of me when: I’m not interested in the subject to be worked on, bogged down in details, beaten up before the project even starts.

You can count on me too: build best in class product, use the right team members to get things done, challenge the status quo.

This is what I need from you: Quick and loose direction, space, ownership.


It was hard for me to come up with these short but extremely specific responses. I had to reflect and have the assistance of a coaching classmate to get there. However, now that I look at what I need and respond best to it makes sense as well as explaining why I get frustrated at work sometimes (especially in the details and negativity before the project even starts).

Fortunately, now I have some coaching skills around “Themes” used by Gallup to enhance individual and teams to use what they have. I would suggest each of you think about taking the StrengthsFinder assessment and exploring the four questions above. The hard part is then pivoting and using your strengths to deal with less than ideal work and life situations. For me its the micromanagement, attention to detail and negative mindsets. Unfortunately I don’t have all the solutions in place (other than finding a different work scenario that is more complementary to who I am and that’s not on the table right now).

Anyway food for thought on a beautiful Wednesday in June…


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