By Shelly Keniston, Associate Director of Residence Life and Housing
Top 5 themes: Harmony, Relator, Achiever, Deliberative, Consistency
I remember taking StrengthsFinder about six years ago. We had to take it for a train the trainer daylong session being presented to us. So all at once, we were learning what StrengthsQuest was and what our top five was and what it all meant and learning how to present and teach others about StrengthsQuest. Immediately upon receiving mine, I was not a believer. Harmony could not be my number 1!!!! That didn’t describe me at all and even when I read the description, I didn’t see it in myself and figured the whole thing was wrong.
I read it out loud to the group, a room full of people I had worked with for years, and they laughed at that word being used to describe me. Only making me doubt and disbelieve even more. I decided to focus on my other strengths because at least in those, I could see parts of myself. But what would nag me for a few years to come was this number one strength which was Harmony. Others would try to convince me that they saw it in me but I just didn’t.
People with the Harmony theme look for consensus. They don’t enjoy conflict; rather, they seek areas of agreement.
So now I was going out and presenting StrengthsQuest to classes and groups. I always shared my experience with how I didn’t see my number one in me but was on the search to see where it fit. I think that helped some feel more comfortable with their own and being okay with not feeling the whole thing.
Then, one day, BOOM! Like a bolt of lightning, I found and saw my number one: HARMONY!!! I was working an event and had two people from two different offices in conflict and found myself in the middle. I understood what both wanted and that it was in essence the same thing but they weren’t communicating that. I pulled them together, explained each other’s side and all of a sudden, in the middle of it, I yelled “THAT’S MY HARMONY!!!” Both thought I had lost it but what they didn’t know was that I had actually found it!
When I know people hold differing views, I try to find the common ground. I have done this my whole life. I try to steer people out of conflict. In my career, I have mediated roommate conflicts and staff conflicts and conflicts with friends. It comes natural to me and come to find out, this whole time that was just my number one strength, Harmony.