by Justin McCauley, Assistant Director – Residence Life and Housing
Top 5: Arranger, Includer, Developer, Connectedness, Learner
Hello, my name is Justin McCauley and I am an Includer. That is, Includer is my second strongest theme of talent out of my Strengths Quest Top 5. Arranger, Developer, Connectedness and Learner are my other four themes. This is important to know in order to view my Includer theme in the proper context.
My journey into Strengths Quest began after some of my friends, co-workers, peers and – most notably my wife – had already engaged in learning about their themes of talent and had begun training on how to utilize this new information. I was lucky to be surrounded by a lot of people, who spoke the language, when I finally completed the assessment.
Nobody that knew me well was surprised to learn Includer was one of my top themes of talent. I am infamous for always wanting to “expand the circle”. Anybody that has worked for or with me knows that I try to solicit all opinions prior to making decisions in committee or team settings. My wife will tell you that there is no such thing as small, intimate group outings or gathering because I always think of “just one more” person to invite. You should have seen me when we were planning our wedding.
I joke about the little annoying intricacies of being an Includer but I genuinely relate to this theme of talent. It is a part of me of which I am very proud. I see being an Includer as a kind and caring strength that is beneficial to others. It also helps to fuel my desire to socialize and interact with people. It helps me to engage in small talk and really learn about people that others may not take the opportunity to. I feel an obligation to engage with other when they seem lost, in need or uncomfortable. I am they guy that makes friends while waiting at the DMV.
My Includer talent has also helped me to remain mindful of other people and their needs. While this can sometimes feel suffocating when I have to make quick decisions, it has most often serves me well and helps me to build and maintain important relationships. I like to believe that this helps people to view me as genuinely interested in their stories and situations.
This talent has helped me a lot in my work within Residence Life & Housing. When I think back to my days working as a resident director, one of my favorite memories is of my large office assistant staff. The Includer in me just couldn’t see any way around hiring students that I knew had work study funds and needed a job despite the lack of a need for that many student employees. The Includer in me kept hiring these students and the Arranger in me then forced me to find creative ways to utilize them all.
Each year I would hire a lot more office assistants than my peers. I didn’t need to hire all of these student employees and I had to work hard to create a system where managing such a large staff would yield a positive benefit. At the end of the day it wound up serving me as a strength that was worth the extra coordination and the processing of all of those timesheets.
This large, diverse office assistant staff allowed me to serve my residents better and helped me to form relationships with students that I might not have been able to reach if it hadn’t been for the endorsement of students on my staff. These student employees felt valued and included as a part of something bigger than themselves and these positive feelings seemed to form a sort of student referral system. Students I had not interacted with previously would feel familiar with me and approach me with an initial level of trust because of their preexisting relationships with our office assistant staff. This was such a blessing and a true gift for an Includer because other people were “expanding the circle” for me.
The Includer theme of talent can often times be misinterpreted or misunderstood as being wishy-washy or indecisive. I strongly argue that this isn’t the case. This talent pushes you to look under every rock and make sure that you aren’t leaving people behind. It doesn’t mean that I don’t already have strong thoughts, opinions or convictions. It just means that I am not going to sacrifice somebody else’s feelings or best interests in order to get something done quickly or be seen as being “in charge”. Let me clarify that I don’t think that most people intentionally sacrifice other’s feeling or best interests. I think that it is just mostly the byproduct of passion and a need for efficiency that can unintendedly lead to this happening.
I have learned when it is important and appropriate to embrace my Includer talent and when efficiency or urgency must rule. This oftentimes comes along with learning about the people that you work (or live) with and knowing how to gauge the appropriate times to exert you Includer talents. I am often able to indulge my Includer-ness when working on long-range projects at work. I have learned to see the importance of not engaging it when handling immediate problems/projects. The Includer in me does take notes though and does follow up with people that I may perceive to have been slighted by being left out or forgotten. This has served me well.