STRENGTHSFINDER & A Weakness to Keep in Mind While Using the StrenghtsFinder Survey

by Bob Whitesel, Professor of Missional Leadership, 8/20/15.

My students in LEAD 545 take the StrengthsFinder Survey to understand the “signature themes” of their leadership. This helps them build upon their strengths and work on their weaknesses during my course.

And, the StrengthsFinder survey may be one of the most juried and valid leadership assessment tools available, but it does have some weaknesses.

One is concisely described by an online analyst this way, “StrengthsFinder exhibits many characteristics of the Forer Effect, namely, that people lend credibility to descriptions of their personality that are vague and generally applicable, especially when those descriptions appear to be tailored to them, authoritative (backed by science, ancient wisdom, surveys of 2 million people, etc.), and generally positive.” (retrieved from

So, just keep this in mind while taking the SurveyFinder.  Here is a video (from the same website, cited above) that humorously points out the pervasive nature of the Forer Effect or Barnum Effect.