By Danielle Johnson, Resident Director
Top 5: Positivity |Empathy | Developer | Includer | Consistency
I was very excited to write my thoughts on the Developer theme. It’s not my top theme, but it’s one that I hold very near and dear to my heart. It is probably the thing that I most admire about myself…but I should describe what it means to me before I delve into that.
People who have the Developer theme in their top five Strengths can see the potential in others. I think to some degree many of us within Student Affairs can probably relate and appreciate this. However, Developers see what people can be if they choose to apply themselves…kind of like seeing the future. Nothing is more exciting when a student comes into my office and says “Help me make a decision.” Using what I know about them, I am usually able to say “Okay you are good at this, this, and this, so you could go that way, or I could also see you doing this.”
Developers also love seeing people grow and change under their leadership. It is so rewarding when someone comes to me and says “I took your advice, and this is what happened!” or “I appreciate what you told me but I decided to go a different route.” To me, both are equally rewarding because I helped someone realize what they were meant to do.
I currently supervise many different student employees here at BSU and they are all on different paths. As a Developer, it is important for me to make sure students are not just growing within their role, but also as a person. For instance, in staff meetings with my Resident Assistants, I make sure to plan staff activities and teambuilders that relate to the position, but also offer something they can take with them beyond. I want to help students use their positions to teach them about life and who they are. Students who recognize this then reach out to me for mentorship, which I am more than happy to do for them.
However, this doesn’t come without its share of heartache. I have come across situations where I can tell that someone has so much potential, but they aren’t using it. They are either too afraid to take chances or they do not want to do the work and grow. It’s extremely frustrating, but sometimes we have to accept that people have to make their own decisions and choices, or they’ll never learn for themselves. I think also sometimes Developers may get caught up in developing everyone else that they may not focus on themselves. They could become too caught up in what everyone else is doing that they let their own development fall to the wayside-I can definitely relate.
Yet, I think the reason why I love this theme so much and why I value having it is that at its core, it’s all about helping people. I get to give back to those who have helped me by doing what they did for me-guiding and helping others. I’ve really honed in this talent over the years by using my intuition and “gut feelings”-seeing how people have responded to my ideas and what I say and adjusted my advice according to their reactions. The best moments happen for me when someone says “I never would have realized something about myself without your help.” That’s amazing! I love that by using this talent I can have a lasting effect on someone’s life. It’s incredibly rewarding and why I wanted to join the field of Student Affairs in the first place-to help students understand and reach their highest potential.