Deliberative: Assessing Risk and Preventing Mistakes

A CliftonStrengths Theme Spotlight

"People exceptionally talented in the Deliberative theme are best described by the serious care they take in making decisions or choices. They anticipate obstacles." -The Gallup Organization

The Talents of People High in Deliberative

People high in Deliberative are always assessing risk and anticipating obstacles. To them, making the right decision is the most important thing, and because of this they do not rush to judgment. In fact, they hate when people make decisions hastily, especially when those decisions are based on feeling or intuition alone. To a person with Deliberative, the amount of time it takes to make a quality decision is well worth the cost. Taking the time to listen, research, analyze, and evaluate possibilities equips him/her to prevent the likelihood of failure. When given enough time to make decisions, they rarely miss.

Whether they are looking to purchase a new car or lead a team through an important transition at work, a person high in Deliberative will be calculating and conservative in his/her approach. Even after making a decision, the person high in Deliberative is still on-guard, watching for any unexpected land-mines that might show up and threaten a positive outcome. They typically double and triple-check their work, always open to the possibility that a shift in course is necessary. They are observant, sensible and serious.

When working with others, people high in Deliberative serve as guardians and protectors. They see risks others don't have eyes to see. Their ability to weigh the pros and cons is invaluable to those around them, especially to those who are prone to act quickly. Their conscientiousness and careful thought makes teams and workplaces much stronger.

One manager we know with a Deliberative theme said it this way:

"Sometimes the other managers are confident in a decision and I'm there to say, 'Well, here's what we're not thinking about,' or 'How will we respond if this or that happens?" I think my ability to ask these questions and deliberate with the team has kept us all from making decisions that we would have regretted later."

The Temptations for People High in Deliberative

Because people high in Deliberative want to make the right decision, they can sometimes

struggle with being indecisive, especially when a decision is time-sensitive. Others might perceive them as "critical" or "negative" because of their natural tendency to point out the risks associated with specific courses of action. They might also be perceived as "momentum-killers" who slow things down and miss significant opportunities because they are too cautious and conservative.

People high in Deliberative often become frustrated or feel out of control when they're asked to make snap judgments or contribute opinions in meetings without ample warning. They need time to listen and think before being asked to speak or give an opinion.

One manager we know who leads someone high in Deliberative had this insight to share:

"Once I learned this person had a Deliberative strength, I started giving her a heads-up about the topics or projects I wanted her to speak to in our upcoming staff meetings. Making that simple change drastically affected how much she contributed in meetings."

Finally, because vulnerability has inherent risk, those high in Deliberative can sometimes struggle to share their thoughts and feelings with others, even those closest to them. They might be perceived as "too private" or "hard to get to know" because they are socially cautious by nature. As leaders, they can also struggle to give praise or recognition to their team members. If they aren't careful to communicate about their Deliberative theme, their followers can struggle to know where they stand.


Here are a couple of quick ideas to get you thinking about how to leverage and self-regulate if you've got a dominant Deliberative theme:

  1. Look for opportunities to help others think through their own decisions, especially when they are prone to make decisions too quickly. Your conscientious and careful approach can help prevent others from making errors in judgment.

  2. Try partnering with people high in Activator, Achiever, Adaptability, or Strategic. These people can help you get moving when you are experiencing "paralysis by analysis" or when you're struggling to commit to a specific course of action.

  3. When leading a team or working with others, make sure you communicate clearly about your desire to make the best decision possible. Your questions and analysis aren't meant to discourage them. Rather, they serve as important considerations on their path towards success. Your team will come to appreciate all the ways you protect and guard them from making the wrong decisions.

At ROI Talent Development, we try to help people fall in love with every single talent theme, even if it isn't dominant in their own theme sequence. Because when we all take the time to understand and appreciate one another, we build happy and healthy workplaces where employee talents are valued and developed.

Hey, thanks so much for reading! We hope you find our blog posts helpful and we'd love for you to shoot us a message and tell us about the biggest communication and/or workplace challenges you're facing right now. We want to write about the things that matter most to you.

And if you'd like to subscribe to our blog, click here.

Thanks for visiting the #roitalentdev blog.

We help leaders and organizations build happy and healthy workplaces, prevent low employee engagement and lead with a strengths-based approach to personal and team development.

Copyright © 2000, 2018 Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved. Gallup®, CliftonStrengths® and each of the 34 CliftonStrengths theme names are trademarks of Gallup, Inc.