In every social and work setting, I always get a mini ‘sinking feeling’ whenever I am asked to give an opinion about something on the spot. This is not because I am shy or anything: if I am sure about my opinion, I tend to give it. However, I hesitate to do so when I do not have all the facts sorted out. A non-committal reply is often the result.

Ever felt like this? You may have Deliberative as one of your talent themes.

Gallup describes people with the Deliberative talent theme as ‘cautious, vigilant and private’. Deliberative is my top talent theme and I could not agree with that more. Deliberatives see risk as something to be identified and minimised in a process that takes time. As such, they do not do well in situations where they are pressured to make decisions on the fly. Their heightened awareness of risk makes them more conscious to the impact that their decisions can have on themselves and others.

Possible Contributions

People with the deliberative talent theme are perfect for acting as a sounding board for a particular new initiative or idea. Being able to anticipate the risks, they can help to point out where things can possibly go wrong, and may even be quick to offer counters to the possible mistakes. They are also natural planners, as “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Possible Weaknesses

The ‘spidey-sense’ that Deliberatives are equipped with may work against them in certain situations. Deliberatives can be seen as ‘slow’ and ‘hesitant’ by those who do not share the same way of thinking. A casual observer may also believe Deliberatives to be overly serious and reserved. This reserved nature may manifest itself in the company they keep, since they are very private individuals and carefully choose their friends. Life is not a popularity contest and they are happy keeping to a select group.

Deliberatives at Work

As a Leader / Employer
The Deliberative leader sees all possible angles from a risk perspective. When embarking on a new project, they will carefully map out their plans, spotting the potential pitfalls and taking the necessary safeguards. When working with a Deliberative leader, it is not advisable to ‘go with the flow’ as they are likely to question you on the scenarios when things can go south. However, do not mistake their questioning for doubt in your abilities, they just want to anticipate all possible outcomes. Have a backup plan ready to mitigate this.

As a Follower / Employee

When working within a team, the Deliberative may appear to be ‘overly cautious’. Take extra steps to explain your reasons for concern. Since you are the one who has foreseen these challenges, it would be bonus points for you if you are able to solve them when they occur. When asked to make hasty decisions, let the other party know that you need time to process and think it through. I find that most people will be agreeable to this under normal circumstances (but of course, remember to get actually get back to them!).

Stick to your guns even when you are pressured, I think it actually makes some people respect you for that. On the flip side, Deliberative employees should know when particular business needs must prevail (i.e. deadlines) and recognise that it is not possible to foresee everything in a large project.

Theme Pairings for Deliberative

Some of the themes that pair well with Deliberative are:

  1. Activator. These are people who ‘get stuff done’, and they are great to help set hard deadlines. This ensures that all reasonable risks can be foreseen in a timely manner. Have constructive dialogues with Activators when undertaking important decisions that will impact the team/company significantly.
  2. Self-Assurance. People with this talent theme are confident in their own capabilities, but they may not have thought through every scenario. When presented in the right manner, your added perspectives as a Deliberative will certainly be appreciated.


About Ezekiel

Ezekiel is a Strengthsfinder 2.0 enthusiast who thrives at the intersection of business, data and language. Top 5 Strengths: Deliberate, Analytical, Harmony, Restorative, Consistency

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