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Getting to know Clifton Strengths’ Guiding Principles

3. Lead With Positive Intent

There are great ways to draw people to a compelling truth. Powerful parables, or a clear metaphor, helps the complex become simple. My approach here may be a bit more plainspoken.

Don’t be afraid to believe in people.

Leading with positive intent involves approaching your interactions with other humans with an attitude that they are also designed uniquely. The odds that their perspective will differ from yours is so likely, statistically, that I confidently write these next words: their perspective is different from you, but should be willing to be received. This does not mean it should always be held onto, or agreed with. That is not what leading with positive intent is all about. It is about believing in the potential of the unique strengths of another that the opportunity to miss out could be hazardous to your project, idea, or relationship.

To put it another way, trust that God is also at work in others.

Leading with positive intent could be reframed to say that just has God has uniquely designed you, and re-shapes your heart and mind, He could very well be at work in another person. What is even more challenging for us to accept is that other person is not on the same “pace” of re-formation as we are. In the church world we have traditionally called it “sanctification”.

Our Clifton Strengths results are so unique that there is a 1 in 33 million chance that someone else will have the exact top 5 results in the same order as you. Even those with a few of the same strengths are likely to express them differently than you. Remember the themes are names that categorize sets of thought, feeling, and behavior. At your next coffee date, business meeting, or small group gathering, lead with the intent that you are about to speak to, and receive from, people that are unique. If everyone is rightly motivated, what comes from these experiences could be transformative.

Check out one of Gallup’s most insightful voices on strengths, Maika Leibbrandt. She writes of a real life story, and how leading with positive intent impacted a work experience.


Do you want to know how you are designed to make your unique impact in the world? Contact Gallup’s Certified Strengths Coach, Dan Vincent, at to get your Clifton Strengths Assessment code. Kaleo Coaching is currently offering a great price of $20 for the code, plus a coaching session with Dan to learn how to interpret the results, and make a plan on how to aim them towards your goals.

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