I’ve always looked up to my dentist father. I leaned on his strengths and trusted him. I admired his achievements and thought he was smart, always knew the right direction to go, and brought out the very best in other people. He was and is still my hero.
So as the adoring determined daughter, I decided to go to dental school and try to be like my dad. I succeeded in becoming a dentist and we have enjoyed dentistry, real estate, investing, teaching, and many other life adventures together.
But in the real world, I quickly learned that I am actually quite different from my father. I struggled internally for many years trying to be what wasn’t in my natural strengths. And for the last five years, I have focused on growing into a more authentic and effective version of myself. I am embracing my strengths and learning how to complement the strengths of others.
How Our Strengths Work Together
And so, as a daughter, dentist, and recently trained whole-person coach, I was fascinated by the Clifton Strengths and the powerful tools available in the assessment.
After attending the DEW retreat and digging deeper into the Strengths, I asked my father to take the Clifton Strengths Assessment. Since he and I have worked together for 15 years, I wanted to see where we were similar, where we complemented each other, and where our sources of contention might be. This is what we discovered:
My Father’s Top Strengths
My Top Strengths
My favorite strength is deliberative. It fully explains why I agonize over every decision and why nearly every decision I make turns out pretty well. But I can really frustrate myself and others during my deliberative processes.
As for my father and I, we share four strengths in our top 10: Learner, Analytical, Relator, and Responsibility. We are process thinkers, preferring to work alone with value on individual performance. Both of us value one-on-one relationships and working toward a shared goal together. We are true to ourselves. Both of us take ownership of what we say we will do and are committed to values of honesty and loyalty. These shared values are exactly why we work so well together.
Same Strengths Different Results
We also share a couple of strengths that manifest themselves differently. We are both learners, but I prefer learning for the pure acquisition of knowledge whereas he prefers learning for results and greater productivity.
Both of us also like to be in control. I stay in control by adhering to my routines, careful planning, and good organization. He stays in control by taking charge of situations and making decisions. These strengths complement each quite well, and we rarely contend with each other for control.
One can readily deduce from reading these strengths that the daughter’s overactive analytical mind is constantly feeling the pressure to keep up with her high-achieving father. However, I have learned from him to look forward into the future, seek out the best and strive for perfection, be energetic and work hard, and be both self-confident and trusting in myself.
And perhaps he has learned that my fact-finding is helpful and my systems really are superb for outcomes and productivity. He has learned to be patient with and trust my analytics and decision-making process.
I can happily say that while we have our moments of small irritations, we truly enjoy working and playing together. We have a deep love and respect for each other. We continue to share the joy of learning together, and we are always looking forward to the next challenge.
Dr. Julie Kellogg (To see more of Julie’s blogs, click HERE.)
Strengths Savvy Responds
It was so great to read your father/daughter Strengths analysis and see your insights about how you and your father are alike in different in your approaches. It is interesting that some observations that we have on your Strengths are displayed in how you write about your experience of your Strengths vis-à-vis your father’s.
You have lots of mental activity! Four of your Top Five are in the Strategic Thinking domain, and the one executional top talent is “Deliberative,” which still involves a lot of mental activity. I would guess you spend a lot of time thinking things through! Intellection involves a great deal of introspection, and Input and Learner are often found together. Folks with that combination are thirsty for new learnings, and they are able to gather facts, and classify them mentally, and call them up whenever needed.
Your father, on the other hand, has powerful Influencing Strengths in his Top Five! People with Command and Self-Assurance are very confident leaders. They tend to have a commanding presence, and very little self doubt. Your father’s Activator is a foil for your Deliberative…he will be eager and certain about making and moving on decisions, and you will need to noodle on things longer before moving to action. When these two Strengths are at work in a relationship, it can be frustrating or humorous—or both! Your father likes to get things accomplished and is likely also a visionary thinker—one who looks ahead at what is possible. His influencing skills probably help others to see what he has in mind and follow along…
You probably both value data and facts to some degree, and are both honest, trustworthy, and committed to keeping your word. You may both be a bit socially cautious, but make deep connections with those in your inner circle. Where your father likes to focus on excellence and betterment, you are good at focusing in general, and might prefer structure, and getting to your goal without distraction. Finally, with your Significance, it is likely you search for meaning in your life and hope to accomplish big goals.
You might want to consider if you have Relationship Builders on staff who have strong Empathy, Harmony, Positivity or Individualization Strengths. These folks are instantly welcoming to patients and provide the glue that holds a group together.
What a talented duo you and your father are! Thank you for allowing me to opine on your father/daughter Strengths!
Leanne Burnett, Strengths Savvy
Leanne Burnett and Valerie Menzel of Strengths Savvy led the strengths portion of our 2019 retreat and will be joining us again this year in 2020.