One day, I came home and found a to-do list for me smacked onto the fridge.
Work of the Wife. Hallmark of an Achiever.
Having married an Achiever, I have discovered that my wife engages her talent on a day-to-day basis with great impact. I am constantly surprised by the number of things she can get done in a day: from ferrying the kids around to getting the groceries, from cleaning the house to finishing work assignments, my wife seems to be able to get these things done with great ease (or so it seems to me). I cannot imagine my household without her. When my wife falls ill, the impact is immediately felt - things at home come to a standstill.
Those with "Achiever" in their top 5 StrengthsFinder results feel good when they make a tangible achievement. They love to-do lists. Every item checked off their lists gives them great satisfaction and motivation to go for the next one. They are inherently driven to go for more. Often, those with the Achiever talent are able to clock long hours without burning out.
When this talent theme is in its infancy stage, Achievers can be so focused on getting things completed that they are oblivious to other priorities. There is a preoccupation with meeting deadlines and completing tasks. Everything else seems irrelevant. This often results in them neglecting how others feel. "Slave-driver" or "heartless" are some common negative descriptors of Achievers.
How can an Achiever grow this talent into a Strength? Here are a few suggestions.
1. Simple tasks first.
The more tasks completed, the more energized is an Achiever. To optimize this energy, it is often helpful to start the day by sorting tasks according to their levels of difficulty. Put aside time in the early hours of the day to quickly get simple tasks out of the way. Such a discipline can help an Achiever be more efficient and become more motivated for the rest of the day.
An example: Having coached many Achievers, I have discovered that many have found the discipline of clearing their email inbox at the beginning of the day gives them great satisfaction and drive for the day. Seeing the number of emails cleared also gives a sense of accomplishment.
2. Less is more – Limit your work day.
This suggestion may seem counter-intuitive to an Achiever but it is worth considering. Achievers can potentially increase their productivity by intentionally limiting their work hours. Often, because of the desire or need to achieve, some might not pay attention to their physical, mental and emotional health as a result.
Achievers often feel that there are just too many tasks to complete. The discipline of limiting their work hours gives room to an Achiever to appreciate the finer things in life. Of course, this is not without its challenges. Yet those who practice this will stand to benefit in the long run. Firstly, embracing such a discipline of an intentional limiting of time helps Achievers find more efficient ways to fulfil their responsibilities and meet their goals, given their driven nature. Second, the time set aside for rest helps to keep Achievers fresh in their physical, mental and emotional state. This ultimately sustains them for the long haul.
3. Seek Complementary Partnerships
Partner those with Developer
In a world where achievements are highly valued and sometimes overprized, Achievers need to be mindful that they may (subconsciously) value results over people development. In the cut-throat world of business, where results are measured by deliverables and remuneration determined by achievements, it is often easy for Achievers to be unkind towards people who cannot "perform." This is especially so when the Achiever talent is operating in its infancy stage.
Partnering Developers will bring to the attention of Achievers people who may be marginalized because of their slower performance. Developers naturally seek to focus on people development and are more patient with weaker-performing team members. An Achiever who partners a Developer can enter into discussions that include personal development plans or running team-building programs, both of which highlight the importance of team morale and well-being.
Partner those with Empathy
When an Achiever is operating in infancy stage, one of the usual barrier labels is "slave-driver." With trusted partners who are strong in Empathy, Achievers can grow in their ability to sense whether they are in overdrive. People with Empathy can also help Achievers get a better gauge of the team's state of morale.
Knowing the state of the team's morale is important in 2 aspects: Achievers can capitalize on a team's high morale to push for greater results and build on strong momentum. Conversely, Achievers can make a decision to slow down and work on achieving the need to build stronger trust and deeper relationships when the team's morale is low.
Partner those with Strategic
While Achievers are known for their drive and industriousness, those with Strategic are known for their ability to identify different alternatives to reach an outcome. Many such alternatives highlight faster and better ways to achieve different goals. Partnering Strategic people allows Achievers to find different ways to enhance their productivity and therefore leads to a greater degree of satisfaction because they can achieve more with less time and resources.
Ending note: My wife's Achiever talent has grown from strength to strength. It has become an enjoyable partnership I share with her.