Empathy – The Gallup CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) Talent Theme

The CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) Empathy talent theme is one of 34 unique talent themes in the Gallup StrengthsFinder Assessment.

A guide to understanding the CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) Empathy talent theme

Gallup’s StrengthsFinder identifies the innate strengths of individuals. These variables are then improved upon to help them reach their highest potential. 

You may have the talent theme of Empathy or know someone with the Empathy talent theme. Understanding more about talent themes can help you strengthen your existing skill sets and improve interpersonal relations in both your personal and professional life. 

The Power Of The CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) Empathy Talent Theme

People with the talent theme of Empathy are exceptionally skilled at sensing the feelings of other people. They do so by imagining the world through others’ eyes and sharing in their perspectives. Individuals with Empathy are able to feel others’ emotions as though these feelings are their own. They can pick up on the pain and joy of others, sometimes before they even express it. They may not necessarily agree or sympathise with the other person’s perspective, but they do understand. And as the people around them tend to feel understood, people may often seek their company for that comfort.

What the CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) Empathy Theme Loves

Individuals with the CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) Empathy talent theme can naturally pick up how others feel. The power of this talent theme is this instinctive ability to understand. This allows people with this talent theme to be able to find and use the right words and tone to connect with the other person. They are also able to help the other person express their feelings in perhaps the right words and phrases.

People with the Empathy talent theme tend to form relationships where they are able to connect with the people around them on an emotional level. They also tend to rely on intuition to decide what to do.

What The CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) Empathy Theme Hates

For individuals with the CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) Empathy talent theme, emotions are as real as other more practical factors. They dislike it when people don’t weigh the emotional aspect of the situation when making decisions. They hate it when there are things that block or limit emotional expression.

When asked to commit to a task, for example, they do not appreciate when people don’t see their emotions, or feel what they feel about the issue before expecting them to pick up the task. Feelings are a huge part of their lives and they pick up on other people’s emotions more poignantly than others. They need the freedom to laugh or cry or vent when they need to. They dislike it when people misunderstand that as them being “emotional” or “overreactive”.

When people with the talent theme of Empathy are having a conversation with a friend who is looking to confide in them, individuals with Empathy will minimise any possible distractions to show that they are fully committed to hearing him or her out. They would dislike when the other party does not reciprocate the same level of attentiveness as they have.

Empathy’s Basement Behaviours

When the Empathy talent theme is pushed too hard, others may find it hard to understand or work with them for various reasons. 

Here are 3 negative behaviours of Empathy:

1)  “Soft” – People with the talent theme of Empathy are incredibly intuitive at identifying the emotions others may be feeling. This enables them to identify people who may be going through problems and fork out some time to figure out possible solutions together. However, their willingness to help can sometimes be mistaken for a soft heart. Empathy could turn into sympathy and result in people to feel ashamed to share their problems with them. 

2)   Moody – Individuals with the talent theme of Empathy help others give voice to their emotional lives. They are skilled at helping people find the right words to express their feelings. While they love to help others, sometimes they end up seeming to be moody themselves. People with Empathy put themselves in others’ shoes to fill their space and help figure out solutions but this could eventually take a toll on them if they don’t decompress. It could result in them to absorb some of the negative energy themselves. 

3)   Over-involved – Those with the CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) Empathy talent theme are great at sensing the emotions of those around them. They are able to see the world through others’ perspectives and this could potentially lead them to solving their problems for them. As a result, they stand the risk of overstepping boundaries to help others and could become over-involved with their issues. 

Empathy’s Best Contributions

Individuals with the CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) Empathy talent theme have the unusual and beautiful ability to feel what another person feels altogether. This allows them to understand others easily and enables them to form intimate relationships with them. Others enjoy speaking to those with Empathy as they feel understood and comfortable since they tend to know exactly what to say, or do.

People with Empathy also have a natural talent to hear the unvoiced question and needs of others simply by feeling the emotions in the room. These individuals can pick up the atmosphere almost immediately and sense if there are any tensions in the room, that they perhaps could help maintain calm amongst group members.


StrengthsAsia has helped many individual and corporate clients all throughout the region in identifying and maximizing their talents, in driving engagement and increasing motivation in their work and life.

If you want to learn more about the 34 talent themes or discover how you can apply your talent themes in the areas of your work and your life, feel free to reach out to us here.


Reshma is StrengthsAsia’s content writer and research contributor. She enjoys spending her time writing anything from poems to screenplays, and everything in between. She also finds joy in reading novels, baking and catching movies with her family. Participating in creative activities helps her find inspiration and new ideas for her work.

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