skip to main content
Harmony: Highlights From Your CliftonStrengths 34

Harmony: Highlights From Your CliftonStrengths 34

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Theme Thursday Webcast Series
  • Season 5, Harmony
  • The CliftonStrengths themes at the top of your profile are the most powerful and give you the greatest chance for success. Join us as we discuss Harmony.

Join Jim Collison and Maika Leibbrandt as they talk about your Harmony talent theme -- helping you unlock the power of truly understanding yourself through how you get things done, influence others, connect with people and think critically -- on this Theme Thursday Season 5 webcast.

NEW for Season 5: Below is a full transcript of the conversation, including time stamps. Full audio and video are posted above.

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison and live from the Gallup Studios here in Omaha, Nebraska, this is Gallup's Theme Thursday, Season 5, recorded on September 13, 2019.

Jim Collison 0:21

Theme Thursday's a Gallup webcast series that dives deep into the CliftonStrengths themes, one at a time, and today's theme is Harmony. If you're listening live, we'd love to have you join us in the chat room. And if you are listening to the recorded version, send us an email with your questions: Maika Leibbrandt is our host today she's at workplace consultant with me here at Gallup. Maika, always great to see you. Welcome back to this Theme Thursday.

Maika Leibbrandt 0:42

Thanks, Jim. Gosh, it's great to be here. For those of you who maybe have not listened to Season 5 before, or those of you who have and don't realize that this is true about Season 5, my introduction right here comes from the very first page of your CliftonStrengths 34 report. And if you are teaching strengths, or even describing it to somebody, I encourage you to read that introduction, put it in your own words. It's a fantastic way to help people understand this. What you're helping them understand is that you do have a full profile of talent, from 1 to 34. Those themes at the top, those that always describe how you think or feel or behave, are what we call your dominant themes or those -- the best version of yourself that you should really think about walking through. If you're going to succeed, whether that's at home, at work in partnerships, it comes from being more of who you already are. So today, specifically, if you've got a dominant theme of Harmony, or you care about someone who does, this podcast is for you.

Jim Collison 1:38

All right, let's kick it off. What does it mean to have Harmony as my top talent theme?

Maika Leibbrandt 1:42

It means that you seek areas of consensus; that you prefer agreement over conflict; you navigate emotion by seeking common ground among two or more people.

Jim Collison 1:51

And if I had this as a dominant theme, how might I notice it in my life?

Maika Leibbrandt 1:55

You might notice that agreement comes naturally or seems really simple to you. You could probably quickly, almost like a laser beam, spot areas where people are on the same page. It might even show up for you as strange that other people can't see that they're saying the same thing. In arguments, you can quickly spot those places where they could agree. You might feel that you have a low tolerance for conflict or arguments. You can quickly spot win-win opportunities. Other people might come to you for advice on how to proceed, once they've realized that they're not going to prevail over another person. You might also feel uncomfortable in the midst of disagreement or in the midst of conflict, even if it's not directly involving you. It is a Relationship Building theme, and in many ways you can sense disagreement that that might be happening among colleagues or among other people. To you with high Harmony, conflict might feel unnecessary or just counterproductive. You can defuse that kind of conflict pretty well, because you can find areas to negotiate or areas to concede.

Jim Collison 2:57

I think sometimes we think Harmony is soft and I -- you make it sound tough! I like the idea

Maika Leibbrandt 3:02


Jim Collison 3:03

of finding concession or negotiation in that. I mean, I think it's a, this isn't, again, we sometimes introduce our own biases. And I think some sometimes this leads a little bit to potential blind spots, right? When we think about potential blind spots with Harmony, what might hold us back from excellence?

Maika Leibbrandt 3:18

First, I want to piggyback on something that you said, Jim, you know, something that could pull you back from excellence on any of your own themes is your bias toward that theme. So take, for example, the idea of soft or tough, which are two very different adjectives that you might use to describe Harmony. What is true about Harmony is it's led someone to success. So whether you feel like you get there by being soft, or by being tough, where you do get scientifically is to power or is to excellence or is to success. So it's important to realize you're using a research-based instrument. We know that every single one of these themes has led someone to success. And then we kind of reverse-engineer it to say what are those patterns that have gotten there? If you think perhaps about some of those patterns that could become blind spots, that's important to consider. And you'll notice in your CliftonStrengths 34 report, you do have a couple listings of potential blind spots within your dominant talents. These are not guaranteed; there is no promise that you will in fact trip over these blind spots. But it is your responsibility to understand how your themes could show up in the world.

Maika Leibbrandt 4:20

For Harmony specifically, you can be very practical, you can be very no-nonsense with Harmony. And your desire for everyone to be on the same practical page might not give enough time to other people who need to sort through emotion first, in order to get there. So I think it's important with Harmony to offer a solution if you see one, but also be patient with people who need to be reminded of it again later. Another potential downside or blind spot to Harmony is that you might downplay conflict; you might want to speed past it. You might even appear afraid of it. But there could be people who need to go through the fire in order to get to the refresh, to get to the renewal, to get to that common understanding. So don't discount yourself from the conversation by avoiding or downplaying conflict. Do define the role that you play when other people need to have that kind of a rumble. You don't have to be directly in the arena if it doesn't work for you. Maybe you're the person asking the questions that bring people back toward the practical. Or maybe you're setting the expectations, the parameters for that conflict or that argument by stating the end goal of a conversation and tracking potential action items that people bring up in order to get there. You can facilitate without participating. You can also leave and come back when people are ready to hear your practical approach to agreement.

Jim Collison 5:45

You had said earlier in the sentence this win-win -- you can -- you look for these win-win scenarios. And I think as we think about this, so the way the role of Harmony plays on teams, I think this becomes very important. Kind of tease that out a little bit more for us.

Maika Leibbrandt 5:59

Yeah, Harmony is a Relationship Building theme. These themes describe the talents that show up best when you think about them between people. Specifically, what role does Harmony play on the team, it is a constant radar for practical consensus. So people with Harmony are always looking for areas that we can agree so that we can get to the destination together. You could be a conflict predictor. Because with high Harmony, you can sense some of those hot spots or those areas of of tense disagreement or potential discord. And you can think about alerting others to them before they become a problem. You can also serve a role of reconstruction. After a change either in who's on the team or a change in the relationships on the team, someone with Harmony can find practical ways that the team can work together; can find potential easy first steps where we can all feel like we're on common ground.

Maika Leibbrandt 6:52

You can also be a mind opener with Harmony. Think about seeing seeking areas of agreement and noticing areas of agreement. That can make you pretty open-minded. Because you can see not just the emotion that somebody brings to to the table, but their entire perspective. Sometimes people with Harmony can go past some of those biases that we have that prevent us from listening to other people, because they're listening for different things. They're listening for this place where you're similar, or where your agreement might be similar. So they're seeking those practical similarities. And they can bring new or differing perspectives to projects. So ask them -- ask, ask the people on your team who have Harmony, maybe who else's perspective do we need to hear?

Maika Leibbrandt 7:35

Let's compare that to other Relationship Building themes. Harmony and Includer. Harmony says, I can see past the emotion, and I can bring perspectives everyone can connect with. Includer says, I can see the people who might be left out of consideration and I can bring them and their perspectives to the table. Looking at Relator and Harmony: Relator gets energy from time spent with those in your inner circle. Harmony gets energy from helping others seek common ground. Harmony and Empathy, I think are two that I see together very often. Harmony can sense ways that we can work together. Empathy can sense what other people are feeling. You can see how both of those might complement each other, but their motivations are slightly different. Another piece that I think could get you to the same outcome, but would do it through through different ways or different things that they would notice is Harmony and Individualization. So if Individualization says, I spot the differences in each person, and then I customize my approach, Harmony says, I spot the common agreements between each person and I offer areas of compromise.

Maika Leibbrandt 8:43

In partnership, Harmony can bring a couple great things to a partnership, Harmony can bring your head up out of sort of the entrenched emotion you might be in and help you pick your battles. Think about somebody with Harmony being able to ask, "Is this conflict helpful? Where are we going and what is the cost of maybe some discord? Or or sometimes you do need to rumble things out; Harmony can help you sort to which rumbles are are most effective for you. Harmony in partnership can also defuse or avoid unnecessary conflict. In a great partnership, I would say there's an awareness of each other's strengths, each other's talent filters, and permission to discuss their use together. So you might say something like, Hey, I'm feeling like we're going somewhere that might be difficult. Do you want me to offer a way around this? Or do we really need to go through it? And that permission to say, I know what your filter is going to be about where we're headed. How do you want to proceed? I also think in partnership, Harmony can speed up your strategy in pursuing a goal. You can use, you know, think about checking in with somebody with Harmony -- use them as a checkpoint to see if there are areas of practical agreement that might accelerate our progress toward where we want to get to.

Jim Collison 9:57

I love that you use those words "accelerate" and "moving towards." You said this phrase, "the cost of discord." Which, again, when we think of Harmony and the power of it; the ability to create successful environments, there is this i -- what is -- when teams are disfunctioning, what is that cost? And what is it costing them in production, and in longevity, and in in sustainability? And Harmony has this power, this success power, right, to find those common elements to bring those teams back together. It does it through some communication methods. So when we think about communicating with Harmony, how do we do that?

Maika Leibbrandt 10:36

Well, if you're in conflict, I think it's important to talk about where you're coming from, not just what you're currently emotional about. Talking about your motivation is going to help illuminate that fuller picture. And that's going to put more tools in the hands of the person with Harmony to be able to find a consensus. Besides that, it's probably a more effective way to communicate through a conflict anyway. When you really need to vent or work through some emotion, say that. The person with Harmony that you're communicating with might not notice or enjoy that journey as being helpful, like, perhaps you do, unless you introduce it that way. I would also say, go go out of your way to tie up loose emotional ends. If you or someone on your team makes big, bold or really charged statements, revisit it later with that person with Harmony. And really just check in -- how solved is that charge? Help that person with Harmony understand maybe are there pieces that have yet to be sorted through? Or was this just a moment we had to get through and now we're through it? So it's OK to just be very, I think, clear and above board about that. I would also say, don't expect to see a ton of emotion from them. People with high Harmony lead from practical, and they're great at defusing emotion. So it doesn't mean they're not engaged in general or in the conversation or in a specific goal if they're not overly dramatic about it.

Jim Collison 12:05

I love that phrase, too, "defusing emotion." Incredibly powerful when it's done right. What might inspire or motivate someone with Harmony?

Maika Leibbrandt 12:14

Think about allowing them to choose who they work with. They might have a more sensitive radar to relationships than you do. They might be more affected by real emotionally charged people. So that autonomy to be able to self-select who your partners are could be incredibly motivating. I would also say teams or partnerships where the social expectations are stated, agreed upon and followed through. So if you're a manager, make sure that you honor every person on your team by calling out unacceptable behavior.

Jim Collison 12:44

It's good advice. What can people with Harmony do to practice this every day?

Maika Leibbrandt 12:49

Hone your skill for finding options by making a pro/con list. Next time you have to make a big decision, spend time understanding each option and really stating the benefits of each, and while you're doing that, study how you go about that sort of sorting piece. How do you see areas of consensus on one side or other of a specific choice? It's going to help you do it with people even better. I would also say ask more open-ended questions that allow people around you to explore more. Often what gets someone so focused on one side of an argument is a lack of sunlight to other options. A challenge if you've got high Harmony -- think about even just over the next 7 days, try asking one of the following questions at least 3 different times: What is important to you about that? What other options could we consider? What is your favorite Plan B? What you're doing in that is again, you're helping people explore options, which you might see really clearly. It just brings that that sort of service of your talent into a more developmental role.

Jim Collison 13:55

Good advice. When we think about practicing, we've been going through these talent-mindful exercises this season, what can we do to practice this to get it even stronger?

Maika Leibbrandt 14:05

I'm really excited about this one. I hope you like it as well. We're going to do an exercise together. Talent-mindfulness is an opportunity to practice awareness of your own talent, whether you have Harmony or not. So this will be different from the previous 14 minutes that you've been listening to. This practice is different from the rest of our podcast. It's not about any one specific theme; it is about you. So let's take 3 to 5 minutes, just start with a deep breath in. And a nice long exhale. Folks, I love choral music, and I mean "love." Hearing a whole bunch of humans singing together creates an emotional experience in me that I have never been able to replicate with any amount of stimulant -- you name it. I just -- there's something magical to me about people singing. And to me, that real magic happen happens when a group of people, whether it's a choir, or a family, or people in some sort of a space, are singing different notes from each other, but they're creating one unified chord. Go ahead, you know where I'm going with this? Yes, it is called Harmony. But more than a play on words for this week's theme, Harmony describes collaboration at its best. It's an example of a truly strengths-based team. It's where each person is offering the very best of their own part, sharing a common pace, a common end goal, and really complementing each other. So today, we're going to take that idea of harmony. And I'd like you to use this idea to think about your best complementary partners. Who do you reach harmony with? And perhaps how could you do it more purposefully?

Maika Leibbrandt 15:52

Let's start by imagining your own success. So you can either close your eyes, if you're not driving, or you can gaze down so that you're not distracted by what you're looking at. I just want you to imagine something recent that you are proud of having accomplished. Let's say in the past 90 days, what are you proud of accomplishing? Once you have that in mind, who helped you get there? May have been someone who was working alongside you, whose contribution was more directly felt; it might be someone who was supporting you from more of a distance. It might even have been someone who was leading you. Think of one specific person who helped you accomplish this. See their face; hear their voice say your name.

Maika Leibbrandt 17:03

Now I want you to identify something that person does consistently well. Something that's different from what you do well. What does this person always bring that you don't? Whatever that person brings, give it a name, even if it's not a CliftonStrengths talent theme. What is it? How would you describe what they bring that you do not? Now I've got two sentences; I'll give them to you in progress. I want you to fill in the blank. The first one has two blanks. Because my partner provides blank, I am free to provide more blank. Let me read that to you again: Because my partner provides this, I'm free to provide more of that. ...

Maika Leibbrandt 18:22

The second and final sentence I want you to fill in, again, two blanks: Because my partner is blank, I can be more blank. That again: Because my partner is this, I can be more that. I hope you're just thinking about this right now, but eventually, this might be something you want to write down. Maybe you want to rewind and play this again in a place where you can really take notes. What I hope you take away from this is the realization that we don't reach Harmony by learning how to sing the other person's part. We create amazing magical musical experiences when we get better at our own parts. And when we know how to lean into them on purpose, and when to offer them, and when to let other people sing. I challenge you today to recognize those partners who help you succeed. And to get curious about ways you can honor their talent that in turn makes even more of your talent. And that's your talent-mindfulness for today. Jim, back to you.

Jim Collison 19:45

Maika, I really appreciate the emphasis, especially in this one, when we think about, you know, because maybe you're in a partnership with someone and neither one of you have Harmony, but the importance of Harmony and teams. And understanding. I think, as we get to this point, I was just I was kind of reminiscing as you were asking that question because my partner provides ... . And I filled in because my partner provides great content. That's you. Right? I'm free to do more with other people who provide great content. I'm not focused -- I don't have to sit down and create all this great stuff that we do. I can be scheduling time with Dean Jones, or Mike McDonald, or Called to Coaches or the new one we're going to start in Japan at the end of the month. That frees me up to do those. Neither one of us have Harmony, but we understand the concept of that in our relationship and are able to say, and it's beautifully stated, because my -- my partner, that's just kind of what came to mind because you provide great content, it frees me to make more content with others. Right. And I think that's the power of it. So as we think about this, we've created these talent-mindful exercises, and I'm becoming a bigger believer in them every week, not just necessarily to dive in on that one theme. But what does that one theme mean in the context of success and the context of teams and the context of personal growth and development? And Maika, that's how I'd fill those in. I don't know -- you want to respond to that at all?

Maika Leibbrandt 21:08

I just love that you practiced it. I mean, these are, we talk about them as mindfulness exercises, because they need to plant those seeds in your brain if you're ever really going to change. These are also, I mean, people ask us for activities all the time. These are activities; the difference is, we're not setting out to say let's bind -- let's spiral-bound a book of things that you can go do. Strengths is a practice; strengths is not just one time labeling yourself and moving on; it has to be something that you live and breathe and realize that you can infinitely learn more from areas of talent. And that means staying curious about it. And this gives you that opportunity to practice it. I also think that perhaps there's an entire podcast potential around partnership, because one of the things that we know is incredibly true about the strongest alliances is that ability to be able to name the complementary strengths that exist within the partnership. And it might start with something really simple, like what you just said, because you provide content, I can provide, you know, more opportunities, it might grow into, you know, because one partner provides emotional insight, the other partner can provide structural pieces, It might be something as simple as, like, because he kills the spiders, I can shop for groceries. Whatever it is, it's getting into that habit of being able to name it, so that you can be more of yourself and less of the other person and really see the stitching together that creates collaboration, and that, to bring it full circle, that's what Harmony the theme does really well. It's the stitching between where we have commonalities.

Jim Collison 22:41

Yeah, it's that win-win. I can, that's going to be my new -- kind of my new -- when I think of Harmony, I'm going to think of win-win. It leads to an outcome. We sometimes -- the theme bias was Kum-ba-yah, right? It's this, this togetherness, well, that's OK. That's OK. But win-win is so more powerful, when we think about its outcome. So thanks for -- thanks for working me through that. It was fun to -- as we were working through that, it was fun to just sit back and just reminisce on what we're doing here and the way that's made things better.

Jim Collison 23:08

With that. I'll remind everyone to take full advantages of all the resources we have available at the Gallup Strengths Center, changing very, very quickly, within a week. Next week will be all be on Gallup Access: or That's going to be our new site that's available out there. We'd love to see you out there and lots of resources for you as well. If you have questions on any of that, lots of changes coming, although, as many things change, some things stay the same. So actually, when you log into the new Access site, it's gonna feel very familiar. I was telling a friend the other day, it's kind of like going from black-and-white to color television. So the the images are the same, just a little more color. So we're excited to have those out there for you as well. If you're interested in becoming a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach or any of our courses that are available, that page is not changing, you can just go out to If you want to follow us here on these webcasts, join us live, they're all listed on our eventbrite page. Just go to Now full transcripts and show notes. by the way, out there as well for these shows. We've made those available for you as well. And of course join us on our Facebook group: I know you join us a lot from when I say that because you say that when I ask you why you joined and so thanks for joining us in that. We appreciate it; some great conversation going on in the Facebook group. If you're listening live, hang tight. We got another one. If you're listening to the recorded version, just move on to the next one. It will be right there for you. With that we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A
+1 202.715.3030