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Strengths-Based Relationships
• Basics of Relationships
• Caring is Important
• Awareness of Talents and Relationship Building
• Apply Your Talents and Strengths
• Apply Your Strengths to Help Others
• Complementary Talents
• Reduce Conflict
• Cross-Cultural Relationships
• Every Person Has Talent
• Bring Out the Best in Others
• Final Thoughts on Relationships

Baylor > Calling & Strengths > Get to Know People > Strengths-Based Relationships


The following is used by permission and represents the authors' opinion and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of the University.

Building Strengths-Based Relationships

by Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D. and Edward "Chip" Anderson, Ph.D. (Used by permission)

Sometimes we are totally surprised by the results of our research. But then, upon reflection, the results make total sense, and we wonder why we didn't grasp those results in the first place.

Here's an example. We were investigating the impact of the strengths approach on college students. Approximately 200 students in a community service class too StrengthsFinder and completed weekly exercises to help them discover and understand their talents, develop them into strengths, then apply their strengths in academics, career planning, and community service activities. At the end of the term, the students were asked what they had learned as a result of the strengths approach and how they had changed.

We were surprised to learn that the strengths approach generated a lot of compassion. Many reported wanting to help others discover their talents. Several wrote about trying to better understand others. Many wrote about seeing people from a new perspective and how the strengths approach seemed to break stereotypes.

The fact that the strengths approach impacted so many college students in terms of their relationships surprised us at first because the course was directed toward helping students learn, achieve more effectively, and use their talents and strengths in providing community services. The development of interpersonal relationships was not a primary reason why we shared the strengths approach.

On the other hand, the responses of these college students are exactly the same as those we've received from our younger and older people around the world. We've also gotten the same feedback from corporate clients, community groups, boards of trustees, and unskilled laborers. There is something about learning about our talents and strengths that seems to generate compassion and concern for others.

Over and over we've been asked, "How can my son or daughter take StrengthsFinder?" or "How can my father/bother/mother/sister/roommate/wife learn about his or her talents and strengths?" And these requests aren't nonchalant. They often come with a sense of urgency. We have heard people say, "My son really needs this!" and, "My wife feels lost, and I think that if she knew more about her talents, it would really help her!" We've even heard statements such as, "My dad is really despondent, and I think this could help!"

This chapter will explain how talents and strengths can be used to build relationships and how they can form a basis for fulfilling relationships.

Real Students - Real Strengths
Get involved with people that have similar strengths and goals, like-minded individuals, to help with academic matters. Get involved in organizations such as student government or a freshman organization to be able to see your strengths flourish. Spend time with other people of opposing strengths so as to balance out the types of people you are influenced by. Branch out to other people and you will be amazed at how fun it can be and how much you will grow. - Amanda Paret, Class of 2007


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