Strengths Spotlight: Consistency

Consistency is the Building Block of Trust

IMG_7043


By: P. Max Quinn, Resident Director | @PMaxQuinn

Top 5:  Consistency, Achiever, Discipline, Restorative, Relator

 

Q1:  How do you define this theme of talent for yourself?

I would define the Consistency Talent Theme as “creating and maintaining consistent relationships”. Contrary to what most people may think about the “true” meaning of the word CONSISTENCY, in Strengths language, Consistency is about creating and maintaining consistent relationships with people. It means treating people the same, and being aware of this intrinsic need to value each relationship, constantly ensuring that everyone is balanced in how they are treated and how you seek to make them feel.

BlockConsistency also implies balance. Balance in the “rules of life”; balance in my expectations of others and ensuring that such are made clear to those important to me. I have high expectations of my students, but they know that. I have high expectations of my family, and they know that too. I hold everyone accountable to my expectations by communicating with them, and following-up on what I say I’m going to do, and following-through on promises I make. Our colleague Beth Devonshire, Director of the Office of Community Standards always says “sameness isn’t fairness and fairness isn’t sameness”. I think this really speaks to what Consistency means, and how I utilize this talent theme.

Q2: When this talent is applied, what has this theme enabled you to do in your role at BSU?

I apply this talent hourly. It is my #1 theme of talent, and it is alive and well within everything I do. From my familial relationships, to friendships and especially within the workplace, I treat everyone with respect, with a consistent appreciation, and an expectation that I hope they will treat me how I treat them. Within groups, I tend to be neutral. I try to see all sides, and to interject only when I have something to add that I feel will benefit the progress of the group. Those especially talented with the Consistency theme give each person an even chance to demonstrate their worth. Affording others unfair advantages creates dissonance for us Consistency -driven folks. We want to create equity, and to devote our loyalty to those we care about.

defQ3: How is this theme of talent sometimes misunderstood?

Trust is vital. Personally speaking, and not intending to speak to all “consistency-driven” folks out there, I give everyone trust and respect. I extend this privilege to others because I hope they will do the same in return. This works well when forging new relationships and working collaboratively. However, this theme of talent may be misunderstood, or can create a conflict when someone breaches such trust. The amount of trust given depends on how reliable and how well they follow-through with what they promised they would do. When sharing things in confidence, the true test for me is whether or not I can trust that such confidence is actually kept. When I learn that someone violated such trust, I am then challenged with how consistent I can be with them and am forced to re-examine my relationship with that person to determine whether or not they deserve the continued effort that I initially intended to place into our relationship.

Q4: What are ways you have helped this talent to “mature” over the course of your career and experience?

Trust is a big theme that keeps emerging for me as I write this. Consistency -driven folks like myself may be thought to be naive in believing that everyone deserves our trust and respect. I strongly believe that everyone does deserve some semblance of my trust, and certainly my respect. How much trust though, and how much respect, well, I believe that depends on how reliable that person is over time. I am constantly evaluating my relationships to determine how much trust and respect I am willing to afford each individual. My Consistency then fluctuates based on the actions of others, how they treat me and how much I feel I can trust them. This is a theme of talent I had a hard time understanding at first. However, the more introspective I became and the more observant I tried to be really allowed me to appreciate how valuable this talent theme is, and how great of a relationship barometer it affords me.

Photo Credit 1: http://headshrinkinc.podbean.com/e/consistency-and-random-thoughts/

Photo Credit 2: http://robsneed.com/2013/11/04/leadership-by-definition-consistency/

Posted in Strengths, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Strengths Spotlight: Connectedness

mike headshotby Michael Goodhart, Resident Director

Top 5: Connectedness, Input, Intellection, Individualization, Adaptability

The notion of Connectedness struck me suddenly during my junior year of college when I faced emergency surgery for a life-threatening condition.  After the procedure, I was gifted with a week in a hospital room to freely ponder mortality, my place within the world, and the bonds I had formed with my friends, fellow student leaders, and family.  That pondering became a life-long journey, one that intensified during graduate school when I researched the broad topic of spiritual development.   I interviewed students about their conceptual frameworks of spirituality, religion, and philosophy.  I reviewed the existing literature in scholarly journals.  I wanted to know how others developed their unique perspectives of meaning-making.

A lyric from a song by the musician Sting demonstrates the complexity and beauty of Connectedness:  “If I ever lose my faith in you, there’d be nothing left to do.”  It’s an intentionally vague line – one that allows the listener to decide for themselves what the “you” is on which they focus their faith.  From my perspective, Connectedness is a talent that harnesses hope and optimism in a being, idea, or a combination of both.  It is a wellspring for personal strength and resilience.

My talent of Connectedness is focused upon two things: a collection of ideas based on meaning-making  and the goodness of humanity.   It is my strong belief in humanity that serves as my guide when working with students, staff, and faculty at BSU.  I believe that good intentions are at the heart of almost any decision one makes.  In those rare moments when those intentions are not “good,” I switch my focus to try to understand why that is for that individual and see if I can help them make better decisions in the future so that they (and the people they associate with) can be successful.  I believe that every human being desires to be a valuable, contributing member of society; perhaps they’ve had negative life experiences, trauma, or an illness that have caused them to stray from that natural desire – but we owe our fellow human beings time and understanding to assist them in achieving personal success.  This doesn’t mean I never get frustrated with others’ poor decision making.  I certainly do on occasion, but Connectedness enables me to persist and move past that frustration.  As a Resident Director, I work with students every day that might make poor decisions, struggle to communicate well with others, or face a conflict with a roommate who they don’t understand.  I can use Connectedness to build upon the opportunity presented in these situations to make a difference.  Conversely, it also strengthens my appreciation of the positive, dynamic relationships we develop with our student leaders.

Connectedness sometimes can be misunderstood as a talent based upon dogma or an unchanging point of view.  From my perspective, Connectedness is actually based upon keeping an open mind and expanding one’s worldview by learning from other people and ideas.  Life is full of contradictions; rather than feel threatened by those contradictions, we can strive to understand them and even embrace them.  That’s what lends to the resilience associated with Connectedness. 

11717440_709375595835633_5175524134655410717_o

I’ve invested in the maintenance and development of Connectedness in a number of ways.  Foremost, I engage in photography on a near daily basis to connect with the natural world and interpret it in the form of art – it revitalizes me when I’m stressed and builds me up when I’m not.  I’ll gaze at the stars, the planets, the Milky Way, meteor showers, or the moon – sometimes just for a few moments and  other times for hours – because it reminds me of how beautiful and BIG the universe is and how amazing it is that we are a part of it.   I frequently read books and articles related to spirituality, religion, and philosophy; it’s important to constantly open my mind to new/alternative perspectives – even if I don’t agree with them, I can at least try to understand them.  I conduct family history and genealogical research (not just my own, but of others, too) – it helps provide context for individuals’ lives; it also reinforces my belief in how lucky we each are to be alive because the odds were overwhelmingly against us to exist today when you look at the infinite chance meetings our ancestors must have had in order to lead to our eventual births.

If you have an interest in learning more about meaning-making and purpose, I encourage you to read the book “Big Questions, Worthy Dreams” by Sharon Daloz Parks.  It is perhaps the most inspiring book I’ve read that relates to Connectedness and the work we do in student affairs.

 

Image credit:

Goodhart, M.  (Photographer).  (2015, July 11).  Connectedness [digital image]Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/131117806@N07/20151934042/

Posted in Strengths, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Let’s keep it going!

OMBlog!
Greetings, Student Affairs Colleagues!

On behalf of the Professional Development Committee, we wanted to reach out for two reasons:

  1. To remind you all to complete our online survey from last Thursday’s session with Dr. Jillian Kinzie from NSSE:  Click here for the survey! 
  2. To continue the conversation started by Dr. Kinzie.  To do this, we wanted to ask you all to consider a few questions – PLEASE COMMENT BELOW!!!Question 1: Did any data about BSU/BSU students that surprised you?  If so, please say what it is and explain why?

    Question 2: Was there any data about BSU that WAS NOT presented that you would want to know about our students?

    Question 3:  So… where do we go from here?  We talked off and on about “next steps.”  What are those?  And no, you can’t say none!

Peter Wiernicki & Jennifer Amiccuci

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Annual Professional Development Day

Osborn

Greetings and Happy New Year!

This message is to serve as a reminder to RSVP for our division’s annual Professional Development Day scheduled for Thursday, January 7th from 10 am – 4 pm in East Campus Commons.  

Our speaker will be Dr. Jillian Kinzie, Associate Director of the NSSE Institute.  The Professional Development Committee has chosen Dr. Kinzie to facilitate the day’s workshop to further our learning on topics relating to student success and enhance our ability to use data about the student experience to further develop our programs and services. Dr. Kinzie is an engaging, respected and knowledgeable expert in the field and I know I speak for many who are looking forward to the chance to learn from her on this day.

All staff members of our division’s departments are invited to attend and please feel free to circulate this message to anyone you believe will benefit. The link to RSVP is here: http://bit.ly/SAProDevJan16 and please respond no later than end of day on Tuesday, January 5th! 

See you there!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Strengths Spotlight: Competition

By Dave Tice, Criminal Justice major

Top 5: Adaptability, Restorative, Competition, Communication and Command

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 8.36.30 PMStarting this blog post was difficult for me. Not because I didn’t have much to say or because I don’t enjoy writing. It was because I was determined to ensure that when I was finished with this post, it would be of the same quality as all the other posts in the series or maybe even a little better. I read almost every other post in the series to see how the other authors had formatted their posts. How much had they written? What style of writing did they use? What could I do to make my post equal to theirs in content or maybe even stand out a little? This is what lies at the heart and soul of Competition. It is constantly comparing your performance to that of those around you working on similar tasks. It is a feeling that no matter how much you succeed, if you do not stand out from the crowd or come out on top, then there was no substantial victory. To put it simply; those of us with Competition in our top 5 have one single goal; to win.

This drive for excellence has served me very well during my time at BSU. When I took on the role of Student Orientation Coordinator for the New Student and Family Programs office, I had some pretty big shoes to fill. The student leaders that came before me did an excellent job in the role and had lead their staffs to pretty high levels of success. I was determined to do the same and then some. I knew that I had to do the same. I knew that when my time in the position was over I wanted people to look back at my staff and see our successes. But more than that I wanted those successes to be equivalent to, or surpass those of my predecessors. This drive pushed my performance and level of effort in the preparation and execution of my position from start to finish. A motivation like this is amazing because it isn’t one that lasts for a day or a week. It is like an itch day in and day out to consistently do better than I had the day before. It drove me to look at what those that had come before me had done and how I could use, adjust and improve upon their methods. Having Competition in my top five is a motivational tool that is difficult to ignore. However at times, it can definitely fall into the realm of “too much of a good thing”

Competition, while being very motivational, can also get a little out of hand at times too. Sometimes it can cause me to take smaller things far too seriously simply because it is a competition. Over-competitiveness is a trap that is easy to fall into and can occasionally dig a hole that is difficult to get out of. Over the years I have had to learn how to take what I would consider losing in stride and not let it bog me down. I have had to learn that not coming out on top or being the best does not necessarily mean a job wasn’t well done. It is just an opportunity to look back at everything I did, adjust, improve and try again. The best thing I can recommend for those who have Competition in their top five and struggle with over-competitiveness is that the best goal you can set for yourself is not to be better than the person next to you, but to be better than the person that you were yesterday.

 

Posted in Strengths, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Today! Supporting Commuter Students

CommuterMyths

Image | Posted on by | 1 Comment

Strengths Spotlight: Communication

By Stacey Osborn, Communication & Training Specialist in the Information Technology Division at BSUStaceyOsborn

Strategic| Positivity| Maximizer| Relator| Communication

How do you define this theme of talent for yourself?

Those of us who possess Communication as a theme of talent typically feel comfortable presenting and initiating conversations.  We have the ability to not only speak comfortably but also to listen and utilize those conversational skills to better understand others.  By understanding the needs of others, we can determine what they need to know and communicate to them effectively in a clear, concise manner.

Communication is a very powerful talent to have.  As Norman Douglas stated, “How often could things be remedied by a word. How often is it left unspoken?”

OsbornWhen this talent is applied, what has this theme enabled you to do in your role at BSU?

My position at BSU is Communication & Training Specialist in the Information Technology division.  This talent has allowed me to develop a strength in working with more technical peers to understand complex topics, discern the need to know content, document clearly, and communicate effectively for those less familiar with the topic.  I am typically involved in new technology initiatives and projects to help communicate the impact on members of the BSU community.

I sometimes, jokingly, refer to myself as a translator but in some ways it’s true.  While technology may not be another language, the complexities of various projects and technologies often create barriers to understanding.  I utilize my Communication theme when I translate more technical concepts into simpler terms in both my training role and communications role at the University.

 How is this theme of talent sometimes misunderstood?

After completing StrengthsQuest and reviewing my signature themes, my first thought regarding Communication was, “Of course, even they think I talk too much.”  While having effective Communication is a very powerful tool, it’s important to realize this is much more than just disseminating information to others.  We must take the time to listen to others to ensure we respond appropriately.  I think many of us with Communication could also be outgoing, go-getter types and we need to realize our personality may be a bit much for others to handle.  It’s always important to step back and assess every interaction to see how best to communicate.

 What are ways you have helped this talent to “mature” over the course of your career and experience?

Early in my career, I worked as a Help Desk Specialist at Northeastern University.  My background prior to that role had been primarily customer-service focused positions in the hospitality industry.  I had less technical experience than most but they offered me plenty of training to acquire the necessary skills to succeed.

At Northeastern, I had an amazing mentor.  She reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in transitioning to a Trainer position.  I had no experience with training or presenting. To be honest, I was terrified of public speaking.  I had even dropped a few classes in my undergraduate years because of public speaking requirements.  I made the decision to overcome my fear and nurture my communication skills.  One thing I’ve learned over the years is to over-prepare for everything.  The more comfortable you can be with the content you deliver, the more effective the presentation will be.

Over the years as I became more comfortable with communicating, I began to present outside the work place as well.  I became a tread trainer for an organization called, Tread Lightly.  The course was designed to teach outdoor ethics focused primarily on motorized recreation.  I’ve also worked closely with the PTA at my daughter’s school to help maintain a web presence for parents who were unable to attend meetings.

 As you can see, Communication is a powerful skill to have in every aspect of your life.

Want to learn more about the theme of Communication? Gallup offers a “Theme Thursday” podcast series where they focus on one theme for a full podcast! Check out this great resource!

Posted in Strengths | Tagged | Leave a comment