Lesson 1.8

Identifying Your Character Strengths

Your personal history and your identities all lead you to “roll” a little differently than other people. One of the dimensions of how you roll involves the “character strengths” you have developed. The field of Positive Psychology defines character strengths as virtues and attributes that are core to your thinking and behavior.

Think of them like filters or lenses through which you approach things—or traits that are a little more “zoomed out” than specific problem-solving heuristics. Later in this course, we’ll discuss character strengths in more depth—when we cover the concept of “virtues and principles”—at length.

But first: Take a few minutes to think through the following little exercise, which will help you explore different character strengths and discover which of them you may uniquely have to offer to your team(s):


STEP 1: Picture a team you work with often

Hold them in your head as you think about the scenarios below.

STEP 2: Read through the following scenarios

While you read, check the box for any of these scenarios that you think are VERY like you:

STEP 3: Now go back up and narrow the checked boxes down to the TOP TWO that you think are the most like you

Remember the numbers to the left of the scenarios you chose.

We’re going to take those two numbers that correspond to the scenarios you selected, and let’s see which character strengths showed up most for you.

STEP 4: Match the character strengths that show up best for you, based on the #s you ended up with

Character Strengths 1–3 are about Temperance
Temperance is about about thinking and acting with a big-picture view in mind.

  1. Mercy

  2. Prudence

  3. Self-Regulation

    Character Strengths 4–5 are about Humanity
    Humanity is about about thinking and acting with the impact on individual people in mind.

  4. Kindness

  5. Social Intelligence

    Character Strengths 6–7 are about Justice
    Justice is about about thinking and acting with the good of society in mind.

  6. Leadership

  7. Citizenship

    Character Strengths 8–11 are about Courage
    Courage is about about thinking and acting with the right thing to do in mind.

  8. Bravery

  9. Integrity

  10. Vitality

  11. Perseverance

    Character Strengths 12–16 are about Transcendence
    Transcendence is about thinking and acting with the high road in mind.

  12. Hope

  13. Gratitude

  14. Humor

  15. Purpose

  16. Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence

    Character Strengths 17–20 are about Wisdom
    Wisdom is about thinking and acting with Intellectual Humility in mind (we’ll learn more about IH in Module 3 of this program).

  17. Perspective-Seeking

  18. Creativity

  19. Love of Learning

  20. Curiosity

We’re going to learn more about these character strengths in Module 4 when we discuss Virtues, Values, and Principles. But for now, we’re going to do a little reflection on them for your Course Journal, and keep them in mind as we continue discussing cognitive diversity.


This exercise is inspired in part by the What Are Your Superpowers? card game developed by SYPartners. Whereas we just explored zeroing in on your unique character strengths, the Superpowers game helps you identify “soft skill” type strengths. If you liked this lesson, we encourage you to support SYPartners and check it out for further personal development!

(And if your team is enrolled in this program together, the Superpowers exercise will be part of this module’s next group activity.)