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Self-Assurance: Highlights From Your CliftonStrengths 34

Self-Assurance: Highlights From Your CliftonStrengths 34

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Theme Thursday Webcast Series
  • Season 5, Self-Assurance
  • 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 Self-Assurance.

Join Jim Collison and Maika Leibbrandt as they talk about your Self-Assurance 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.

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 October 31, 2019.

Jim Collison 0:21

Theme Thursday's a Gallup webcast series that dives deep into the CliftonStrengths themes, one theme at a time, and today's theme is Self-Assurance. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in our chat room. Link to it is in the live window -- live link above there. If you have questions after the fact, you can send us an email: Maika Leibbrandt is our host today. She's a workplace consultant here at Gallup. And Maika, always great to see you on Theme Thursday. Welcome back.

Maika Leibbrandt 0:44

Jim. I'm so excited about this. I know that we're listening to this after it's been edited. But this is -- this podcast has been an exercise itself in Self-Assurance. So if you have Self-Assurance as one of your dominant themes, what that means is that it still fits into your entire strengths profile, but it's one that's probably in the first 5, 10, maybe even 12 or 13. It always describes your natural feelings of thought and behavior. And the idea around strengths is to tap into what those most dominant themes are. Your best chance at succeeding at work, at life -- really at anywhere -- is in uncovering those themes, understanding what they are and doing more of them on purpose. So if for you, that's Self-Assurance, think you're going to take something away today.

Jim Collison 1:28

So what does it mean to have Self-Assurance as one of your top talent themes?

Maika Leibbrandt 1:32

It means that you feel confident in your ability to take risks, to manage your own life. You've got what we call an "inner compass" that gives you certainty in your decisions.

Jim Collison 1:43

And how might people with this dominant theme notice it in their life?

Maika Leibbrandt 1:46

So you might think about times when everybody else has been going one way, but you knew you needed to go the other way. Whether that was right or wrong, I bet you can recall that happening previously in the past. You also might find that you get a huge sense sense of energy when you have the opportunity to kind of tune down any of the noise outside of yourself and just listen to yourself. There might be specific things that you also know you're not the right person for. And I think that's probably something that we fail to understand within Self-Assurance. It's not that you are confident that you can do everything well. It's that you understand the tools that you have and how to use them the very best so that you can offer the best of yourself.

Maika Leibbrandt 2:27

You also might find that you enjoy a good debate but usually about something that you're specifically passionate or care quite a bit about. And I'll also pull in a couple of the things from our report here. You can probably bounce back from disappointment better than other people because you can think about what that disappointment is going to mean compared to your own talent. You're willing to take necessary risks, and you might believe and really understand that your perspective is unique and different. It's really that you don't really need other people's input in order to make a decision, and that might mean that over the course of your life, you've had other people seek out your advice because it's something that they can't find anywhere else.

Jim Collison 3:07

Over the course of the season, we've been looking at these blind spots right out of the 34 report -- the All 34, the brand new one that's available. When we think about that -- people with Self-Assurance -- how might they be held back from just kind of pure excellence?

Maika Leibbrandt 3:19

Sure. So these blind spots aren't something you're guaranteed to experience. But as you move through maturity with your own strengths, it's important to think about how they might show up in the eyes of people who don't have them. Really your blind spot ideas answer that question of, How could my Self-Assurance get in the way of my own Self-Assurance?

Maika Leibbrandt 3:37

The first one is that your confidence in your ability to make the right decision might make you feel like you don't need to consult anyone. And on some level, there are certain things where you might feel more confident or more powerful internally than asking other people's opinions. But that could also lead you to feeling kind of isolated. It could also take you a couple steps away from making sure that you're providing a relevant solution or that you're really giving your customers what they need in the time that they need it. So consider baking into the process the idea of getting some external feedback. Make it part of what you do.

Maika Leibbrandt 4:14

Also, I would say another thing that could help you doing that is making sure that you've got trusted advisors around you. Keep your head up and build those relationships with people who you know are credible, because that will inspire you almost again from that internal compass to seek their feedback. Another blind spot around Self-Assurance is because you usually sound like you know what you're talking about, whether you do or not, other people might be nervous about questioning you. Yet you enjoy a good debate, especially around a topic you're passionate about. And you're better when you get the opportunity to truly stand up for, defend or educate people. So be careful not to alienate or intimidate others with that kind of confidence. I will say I took that directly out of our 34 report and I kind of hate the idea of "Be careful not to intimidate," because to me, it just sounds like, "Turn yourself down."

Maika Leibbrandt 5:04

Instead, I think manage the fact that you could be seen as intimidating by going out of your way to be inviting of conversation. That might even mean that if you've got a big presentation to make, you spend the last 5 minutes soliciting feedback from your audience. It also might mean that you don't just look for a network of cheerleaders, but you look for a network of challengers -- trusted advisers who can be expected to give you feedback on how you can do what you're doing with more ease, with more grace or with better results.

Jim Collison 5:37

Maika, the the word has "Self" in it. Right?

Maika Leibbrandt 5:41


Jim Collison 5:41

"Self-Assurance"? And so when we think about -- we've been talking about this season about how it plays on teams, and I think this is a really important section. So as we think about it, how does -- how does Self-Assurance play on a team?

Maika Leibbrandt 5:51

So Self-Assurance is in the Influencing domain. These themes describe talent that affect other people or they're really at their best when other people are in involved. And while the nature of Self-Assurance is being inwardly led, that "drive by what you know, regardless of kind of what storm is happening around you" -- the effect of Self-Assurance is largely felt by other people. So having someone with Self-Assurance on your team means that in some specific areas, your team has an additional safety net, maybe even a bounce-back opportunity or or a defender. Not all the time. This is not the same as all-encompassing confidence. But in areas where this person feels certain and solid, they can carry the weight of the team's mission. They can defend against people who might threaten any aspect of the team. And they can stand up for what they know it's true.

Maika Leibbrandt 6:45

In many ways, Self-Assurance is also about instilling confidence in the abilities of others. Again, we've talked about that a bit, but because Self-Assurance does tend to know what they bring to the table and what they don't, they can be excellent delegators. If you've got someone with high Self-Assurance on your team, help that person understand the strengths and the passions and the interests of the colleagues and coworkers that they're surrounded by. They will bring that kind of fire and drive that other people might need in order to be more certain and solid about their own unique contribution.

Maika Leibbrandt 7:18

Let's compare it to a couple other Influencing themes. First up, but we'll go Self-Assurance and Command. Self-Assurance trusts internal judgment. Self-Assurance might say, Hey, other people look to me because I bring stability and confidence. Command says, I'm at my best when I'm helping set the external direction. Others look to people with Command because they offer that kind of direction and they've got the presence and I think they're, they're -- they've got this magnetic Command about them that brings other people to them. And a lot of Command lives externally, whereas Self-Assurance is really driven from inside.

Maika Leibbrandt 7:57

Competition says, Let's think about who our relevant rivals might be and how they're doing, so that we can be better. Self-Assurance says, Let's get really grounded in what we do well, so that no one can outperform us. And the last one we'll look at Woo. Woo is at ease among a lot of people, attracted to the possibility of creating a connection where that connection didn't previously exist. Self-Assurance is really at ease with their own ability, and they're attracted to strengthening the validity of their own choices.

Maika Leibbrandt 8:30

If you're lucky enough to have somebody with Self-Assurance as a partner, here's a couple things they can bring to that partnership. First, they can help you name, understand and offer what it is that you do best. Next, they can help you defend something that others might waver on or bend on, as long as they know it to be true. And they can encourage you to lean into your own certainty. I'm careful not to say just leaning into your own talent or your own strength, but they offer kind of a different layer of being able to understand you. They can understand where you feel most solid and encourage you to offer that on purpose,

Jim Collison 9:04

Maika, any clues or advice on communicating well with Self-Assurance?

Maika Leibbrandt 9:08

First, don't assume that Self-Assurance equals a lack of self doubt or a total magical resistance to fear. Everyone experiences doubt. Confidence is the outcome, and plenty of other themes can get to confidence in lots of other ways -- maybe through time, through research, through achievement. Self-Assurance gets to confidence through internal exploration and through really trusting their own gut, their instinct.

Maika Leibbrandt 9:41

Now this means that they're likely some things that they are vastly more certain and confident of. But understand that that isn't all-encompassing. Don't expect them just to be fearless. Ask what they're most passionate about. Ask what role they're most excited to play on a team; ask what they'd like to be expected of them. And don't try to micromanage how they go about their process. Their preparedness, or Self-Assurance really feeling like it's very prepared for something, includes a certain amount of just trusting their gut. Your explanation of how to proceed is likely pretty unnecessary to them. And it might be better spent defining the expectation of what success means and recognizing them once they get there.

Jim Collison 10:24

Doesn't seem like this needs to happen, but how might we inspire or motivate somebody with Self-Assurance?

Maika Leibbrandt 10:30

If you care about somebody, you'll inspire and motivate them! I think, offer up situations that don't have to have a previously defined book of rules. Usually something that doesn't have necessary rules or instructions -- that usually scares people. But Self-Assurance doesn't look outside for guidance as much as it does look in themselves. So startup situations can really be found anywhere. It doesn't have to be you know, go be an entrepreneur, but look for that place where you can stake your claim that no one else has already done. Opportunities to defend or educate others on topics that they're passionate about; the chance to lean into the certainty of others as well. Real collaborative partnership is really motivating for somebody with high Self-Assurance. So ask them, Hey, who do you admire? And who would you love to work with? Projects or situations that don't require a whole lot of hurdles or frill -- they truly can go it alone. They can knock it out of the park without bells and whistles, without notes, without materials. Sometimes they're even better without that additional piece that we tend to dress things up with.

Jim Collison 11:39

So interesting the way that works. How can people with Self-Assurance practice this talent every day?

Maika Leibbrandt 11:45

Understand that you are one of your own strongest strategizers. Reflect on the big decisions that you've made and what kind of effect those decisions have had. The more you can get to understand your own decision matrix, the better you can get at navigating the future. I would also say, complement your natural presence and your decisiveness with talents and knowledge of other people. Get to know experts in areas that you're not great at. Take one of them to lunch or extend what Adam Grant calls a "5-minute favor" to strengthen that relationship.

Jim Collison 12:21

So speaking of practice, we've been spending time on this idea of talent-mindfulness. Gotten really, really popular this season. If this is the first one you've heard, you can go back all throughout the season and pick up a talent-mindfulness at the end. Maika, walk us through what you have for us today.

Maika Leibbrandt 12:35

So talent-mindfulness is this practice to help us get get used to noticing and understanding and leveraging our most natural patterns of how we think and feel and behave. It's for you, whether you have Self-Assurance or not. It's not meant to be tied to any one Clifton -- CliftonStrengths theme. It'll take about the next 3 to 5 minutes. And I just invite you to focus on your own talent through this exercise. Today, I have a special treat for us. It is Halloween. So here's your treat, not your trick! It's an homage to a way that Don Clifton used to describe the power and the potency of talent. The illustration that I'm going to take you through is rooted in an illustration that Dr. Clifton used to use to help people understand talent. So you might have heard bits of this before. These are my words, but they're filtered through what I'll call some Clifton folklore.

Maika Leibbrandt 13:27

So let's start with exhaling anything you're carrying in your lungs right now, I really want to empty your lungs of all your breath. And as you take a fresh breath of air that's never been used before, fill up those lungs. Maybe sit up a little bit straighter, hold it at the top and let it go. I invite you to close your eyes if you're comfortable and if it's safe; if not, just focus your your gaze downward so that you're not distracted. Really be intentional about taking this time for yourself.

Maika Leibbrandt 14:00

You can breathe normally. We're doing a bit of illustration. So again, you might want to have your eyes closed. I invite you to imagine seeing yourself where you are right now, but from above, as if there was no ceiling, no roof on the building that you're in. If you were perched a few stories in the air, you'd not be able to just see yourself; you could see all the people who are currently around you, but maybe they're in other rooms of the building that you're in or other places in the area where you are. Think of all the people that you could see from above in about 3 city blocks.

Maika Leibbrandt 14:43

Now expand your thinking or think about going a little bit higher and consider how many people are in the entire city that you're in right now. Because I grew up in a rural part of the United States, I'm going to ask you to stretch however far your geography needs to stretch in order to see yourself among at least 1,000 other people. Now stretch just a little farther and imagine yourself among 10,000 other people.

Maika Leibbrandt 15:21

Now let's say all 10,000 of those people are in a room. This is not an exercise in feeling like you're crowded. It's a huge, huge room. But the only way for you to get out of that room is to perform something better than everybody else in that room. You can do anything -- it can be small, it can be big, it can be creative, it can be analytical, it can be simple. The "catch" is, you have to narrow your performance to doing only one thing -- that one thing that you are certain that if you had to, you could do it better than 10,000 other people.

Maika Leibbrandt 16:07

Now you're feeling probably a little fear creeping up your spine that you're going to be judged about what you choose to do. I promise you're not -- just shake that off! Nobody can hear what you're thinking right now. Shake off the baggage of any guilt that your talent isn't good enough or desired enough or flashy enough. Remember, you have to do one thing. What are you thinking of doing? How about if I told you that your talent today is just a starting point? That once you choose what you're going to do, you're going to be given a coach and a team that's going to help you do it even better; people who are going to help you invest in that talent; skills, knowledge, experience, practice, permission -- and whatever else you need in order to make sure that that starting point of talent really transitions into a performance better than 10,000 other people.

Maika Leibbrandt 17:07

Now, what have you -- what are you thinking of doing? I think too many of us would choose just to stay in the room, set up camp. If you had 10,000 people in a room, you pretty much have an entire city. OK, maybe a small town -- remember I'm from a town without a stoplight. But you could very comfortably form a community of people who are good enough and be just fine and be very comfortable. But if you try, if you invest, you can be better.

Maika Leibbrandt 17:40

It takes a certain amount of certainty; it takes an amount of courage. It also takes having people around you who will help you invest, who believe in your talent enough. So believe it or not, you can do something better than 10,000 other people. Maybe it's not stand on a stage in the middle of the room and, you know, sing something amazing. Maybe it's not even make sense of an Excel spreadsheet. Maybe it's something really simple. Like that thing you did last week that somebody noticed that meant a lot to you.

Maika Leibbrandt 18:20

Maybe it's the way that you connect to people. Maybe it's way you work really hard. Maybe it's how you think. Maybe it's how you show up when you're not even trying. Your talent is that powerful. Your talent is that unique. And your talent is needed! Keep thinking about this as you go about the day. I encourage you to really stand in your certainty that you do have something within you that is powerful, that is true and that is important. That's your talent-mindfulness for today.

Jim Collison 19:00

That's super great Maika. Thanks for leading us through those. They've been surprisingly popular, and I appreciate the thoughts -- even amongst the chaos that we we are seeing today and just fun for -- fun to partner with you. And and whether we have it or not, it may be a Self-Assurance exercise on our behalf.

Jim Collison 19:22

Today I want to remind everyone to take full advantages of all the resources we have available now at the new Gallup Access. You can find that A lot of great resources available on that page as well for you. A lot of folks haven't even gotten into the resources yet. Look on the top menu as you log in: We have a menu -- if you just check the about tab, there are tons and tons of words there for you to use. We built it just for you. Check it out: You can also send us your questions or comments: If you want to send those to us in an email, we got some great folks watching that as well. Can catch the recorded audio video of this program, as well as all the past ones. They're available for you on our YouTube channels. Just search CliftonStrengths when you get there, kind of easy to remember, or Gallup Webcasts live -- if you ever want to go back and see the live chaos that goes on when we're doing these. Right? You can see them there as well. If you're interested in becoming a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach or to see a list of any of our courses that lead to that: And if you want to sign up for future webcasts, they're available on our event -- Eventbrite page: Of course, join us in our Facebook group: We'll see you next Thursday! I think we're down to just one more Thursday, right. Is that right, Maika?

Maika Leibbrandt 20:40

Yeah. Two of them: Strategic and Woo -- the last ones!

Jim Collison 20:43

Strategic and Woo. And if, if we'd love to have you join us live, and we'll do a wrap party 2 weeks later. Thanks for joining us today. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody!

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