The weird and wonderful world of Connectedness
– by Janet du Preez, Executive Strengths Coach within the TalentMosaic Network.
Connectedness according to Gallup: Things happen for a reason. You are sure of it. You are sure of it because in your soul you know that we are all connected. Yes, we are individuals, responsible for our own judgments and in possession of our own free will, but nonetheless we are part of something larger. Some may call it the collective unconscious. Others may label it spirit or life force. But whatever your word of choice, you gain confidence from knowing that we are not isolated from one another or from the earth and the life on it. This feeling of Connectedness implies certain responsibilities. If we are all part of a larger picture, then we must not harm others because we will be harming ourselves. We must not exploit because we will be exploiting ourselves. Your awareness of these responsibilities creates your value system. You are considerate, caring, and accepting. Certain of the unity of humankind, you are a bridge builder for people of different cultures. Sensitive to the invisible hand, you can give others comfort that there is a purpose beyond our humdrum lives. The exact articles of your faith will depend on your upbringing and your culture, but your faith is strong. It sustains you and your close friends in the face of life’s mysteries.
But a talent like this on itself is quite meaningless unless you develop and manage it. That is why we believe that “a well managed talent becomes a strength, but a mismanaged talent becomes a detriment”.
How do you manage the talent of Connectedness?
You are an expert at seeing the big picture and the patterns within it. You understand connection and interaction. This is great, but it can also become a problem if not managed well. With Connectedness you know intuitively how different elements in any system connect together, impact on each other and relate. Your intuition is very finely developed and sometimes you just “know” the potential consequences of actions or circumstances. You love to connect the dots, drawing conclusions from seemingly unrelated facts or sensing information that is not obvious. You may have learned to play with combining concepts to produce very creative results and depending on your other talents may be very good at facilitating highly productive connections between people. You are a systems thinker and it is difficult for you to look at anything in isolation from that which surrounds it. This needs to be well-managed.
You need to create boundaries within the systems which are so comfortable and familiar to you. It is very easy for someone who has not learned to manage it to become overwhelmed by the complexity of the systems in their world. Having Connectedness presents you with a lot of choices unless you find a way to limit them. You may be able to use your other talents to assist you with this or you must become master of the playing field, learning to identify and apply strict criteria for making choices which will limit the options. Your awareness of the interdependence of the variables in any system may also paralyze you with how often the answer to a question is, “It depends.” This makes it difficult for you to commit. Manage your imagination and your emotion to ensure that you are not allowing fear to master you.
Connectedness as a talent needs to explore new avenues. You should actively feed this need. Bear in mind that Connectedness is a “chameleon talent”. It is highly influenced by your other talents. If you enjoy learning, then Connectedness will feed you with a never-ending source of things to learn – with one thing inevitably leading to another and so on. If you are highly relational, then Connectedness will show up with a hunger to explore more about people and how to facilitate their interaction. If you are a planner and thinker then Connectedness will enable you to explore and consider all the variables and learning to organise them will make you highly effective. If you value spiritual development then Connectedness will cause you to explore connections between spiritual concepts and other elements of life.
A critical skill for someone with Connectedness to learn is the ability to do safe fail experimentation. Try things – small things, often. See what works and what doesn’t. Build on what works, abandon what doesn’t. Another skill which may be very useful to you is the ability to network effectively. You innately see potential in inter-relationships and when you learn to connect people, great possibilities can be unleashed. Explore creativity techniques to enhance your ability to conceive really great ideas and then find others with whom to partner to make them a reality. Become a master of systems thinking. Learn about how different systems work and how to work well within them. Feed yourself with good information. Your highly-tuned intuition works with the information at its disposal and the better this information is, the more likely you are to make good decisions.
Strengthsfinder opportunities in our community:
The Strengthsfinder workshop is an important part of Stellenbosch Gemeente’s vision for self development and growth for all individuals. The workshop takes place three times a year, for more information contact Sandra.
Learn and explore about your specific talents: http://www.africanmosaic.blogspot.com/
Janet du Preez is a strategic maximiser; uniquely qualified with masters level studies in health sciences, psychology and business, to understand the psychological and practical systems which underlie behaviour and outcomes. Also an Africanmosaic trained strengths-performance consultant, she inspires and supports leaders who create great organisations where people choose to invest their best assets in a complex, changing competitive world. She is recognized as an experienced coach and masterful facilitator who utilizes creative techniques to craft enjoyable, interactive and participative transformational and collaborative thinking experiences for individuals, teams and organisations. She is the Managing Director of Tools of Greatness, the originator of the Dynamic Engagement Framework and of the TalentID processes and is on the academic board of the Worldsview Academy.
Important note when reading this: in this series, I simply focus on the specific talent in isolation. I do not take the crucial element of Talent Dynamics (two or more talent themes combining) into consideration. This is very important as any Coach should take that into consideration when coaching people in their talents. But you need to understand the challenges that the talent theme on its own might hold. Therefor the challenges in managing the talent as explained below might not be applicable to everyone, as the dynamics with some of their other talent themes might override the specific challenge and “make up for it”. But, knowledge of the most common management challenges in every talent theme still is crucial in talent development and when turning the talent into a strength. All information is my own, acquired by years of Strengths Coaching experience, and not verified or scientifically tested by Gallup. The definition at the beginning is the intellectual property of Gallup, and well researched.