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Thinking Talents

To develop a team with transient diversity requires an understanding of individuals 'thinking talents'.
A line of wooden shapes, two cuboids, a cone, a cylinder, and a sphere

To develop a team with transient diversity requires an understanding of individuals ‘thinking talents’. These vary drastically from person to person.

If you have completed our sister course Emotional Intelligence in Practice you will already be familiar with thinking talents from week 4.

Thinking Talents: specific ways of approaching challenges that energise your brain and come naturally to you; you get joy and energy from using these talents, and you don’t burn out.

Learning to recognise your own thinking talents and those of your colleagues can have multiple positive effects on your life and work. It can help you do a much better job of delegating and collaborating, by enabling you to correctly identify the areas in which you need help, and who is best able to help you.

In practice

First, consider, in your present position, which tasks energise your mind most? Which drain it, or stress you out the most?

Next, evaluate yourself across the four domains of thinking talents (below) and identify what lights you up. In so doing, you can seek out others for support in areas where you have blind spots.

  • Do a quick tally of the number of thinking talents in each category that you recognise as your own. Rate the sense of joy you get from using the following thinking talents. Use a scale of 1-5, with 1 being no sense of joy, and 5 being your greatest sense of joy.


Concerned with:

  • data, facts, numbers
  • making order (organising)
  • thinking logically (rational)
  • seeking excellence (making the most of everything)
  • collecting (acquiring things or facts)
  • fixing and solving problems


Concerned with:

  • process, operations, logistics, tactics
  • reliability (responsible and accountable)
  • thinking back (using the past as a benchmark)
  • action (making something happen now)
  • focusing (single-minded concentration)
  • taking charge (directing others into action)
  • having confidence (self-assured)
  • equalising (fairness for everyone)
  • precision (concerned with exactness)


Concerned with:

  • feelings, morale, teamwork, people development
  • optimism (positive enthusiasm)
  • including (all for one, one for all)
  • connection (networking, building bridges)
  • creating intimacy (maintaining deep relationships)
  • peacemaking (seeking harmony)
  • enrolling ( reating new relationships)
  • storytelling (using stories to inspire)
  • particularise (observing and fostering uniqueness)
  • believing (ethical, high values)
  • mentoring (fostering growth in others)
  • feeling for others (empathetic)


Concerned with:

  • the future, newness, possibilities, strategy, big picture
  • New and different approaches
  • love of Learning (drawn to learn something new)
  • standing Out (desiring recognition for success)
  • loving ideas (looking for new theories, concepts)
  • thinking ahead (always focused on the future)
  • strategy (finding alternate scenarios, options)
  • adapting (flexible, doesn’t mind change)

Which quadrant(s) most closely represents you?

  • What kind of thinking did you rate the highest? How well does your current position at the company reflect these talents?
  • What kind of thinking did you give the lowest score? Does it represent a blind spot? How often is this kind of thinking required of you on-the-job? Where can you recruit support to help strengthen this area of thinking when needed?
  • Which responsibilities would you be better off delegating or sharing with others and who would be most suitable?

Others thinking talents

Now, take a moment to identify the thinking capital in your team. Place each member in the quadrants. Reveal the imbalances in your team that may be responsible for manifesting undesirable outcomes.

You may often choose to work with individuals on projects because you happen to like them, they may not necessarily be the best person to help address a problem. If you want transient diversity, if you want to understand something from many different perspectives perhaps you need someone who has very opposite thinking talents than yours.

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Critical and Strategic Thinking in Practice

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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