The Truth About Restorative People


What Is the RESTORATIVE Theme

Restorative people are the ones in our lives who are naturally wired to identify a problem and then find its solution.  For them, it’s continuous and effortless—it’s a way of seeing the world—and their gears are always turning, asking, “How could this be improved?”  They are quick to assess situations and find what is working and, notably, what is not working.  At their core, they just love to solve problems.  It excites and fuels them to investigate, poke around, fix, and put action around better ways of doing things.  There is a specific creativity to their thinking in that they don’t generally produce brand new things, instead, they restore what already is.  This perspective extends to the whole world—including people, places, things, ideas, and systems.  Their focus is on making things better: discovering, resolving, guiding, and enhancing.  They are problem-identifying and solution-oriented—both—which means that don’t just point out what is broken, they fix it, too.  The problem itself is not where the value is for them: the solution is.  They have a definite worldview that is driven by curiosity and, ultimately, by an altruistic need to leave the world better than they found it

Why Should We Care

They are multi-dimensional, open-minded, and persevering people who see a type of potential in all that is and once was.  Their impulse is to return people, places, and things to relevance—restoring meaning and life to that which may have lost it.  They can put exact words around what is hanging up a situation; they can identify the particulars of the rut someone might be in in life; they can hone in on what is precisely going haywire.  In a concrete sense, they help us name the world’s problems—simple as that.  For, they see details that the rest of us cannot.  From there, they help us take action toward resolution and/or greater functionality, efficiency, and wellbeing.  Restorative people are gifted guides, generous advisors, and particularly honest collaborators.  With them, we can expect to go to the root of ideas, organizations, and systems and identify core causes.  They are highly aware and, in a way, have a huge capacity for compassion, in that their main and lasting focus is on improving conditions largely for all of us.

Ten Things to Know About People with RESTORATIVE

1. It’s Not Personal. For people with the strength of Restorative, it is simply their nature to notice where things are misfiring, broken, unaligned, and underperforming.  It isn’t personal, it just is.  For them, a problem means a solution, which is what really, truly lights them up.

2. Scrutiny. They bring their critical eye to everything they see and do—not to be rude, but because it’s how they understand the world.  It can seem like they are carefully inspecting even the most common objects and situations.

3. Misunderstood. Folks with this strength can be easily misunderstood—especially if this perspective is not developed intentionally.  Others can see them as nit-picky, negative, and disparaging, which is why it is powerful work for Restorative people to articulate the solution as well as the problem.

4. Authenticity. They hate to sugar-coat things.  For them, a problem is not a “bad” thing, in fact, it is a good thing because it opens the way to improvement.  So, they love to get straight to the point.

5. Sarcasm. Dark comedy and sarcasm generally resonate well with them.  They may even have a morbid sense of humor.

6. Obsessive. Once they’ve recognized a problem, they may not be able to do or concentrate on very much else until they’ve identified the solution.  They are generally not strangers to tunnel vision.

7. Mental Activity. Brainstorming can be incredibly life-giving to them, and it’s best when it has a practical bend to it.  Daydreaming or abstract ideating will not fill their cup the way solution-oriented thinking will.

8. Questions. They use questions as a way of deepening their understanding of a situation, which in turn deepens their ability to problem-solve.  At times, their line of questioning might seem strange, pushy, or mechanical; they are just looking for a way into the solution.

9. Seeking. Don’t be surprised if it seems like they might be seeking problems to solve.  It’s likely that they are.  The thing to remember, is that analyzing how the world might be made better is totally energizing, possibly even soothing to them.

10. Love. The world may have shut them down over time or degraded their view of things.  So, the phrase, “Can you help me with this problem?” may very well sound to them like “I see you, I respect you, and I, therefore, love you.”


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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.

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