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Building a Better Team (Part 3)

Building a Better Team (Part 3)

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series
  • Season 8, Episode 4
  • Learn how your team can integrate effective recognition into your day-to-day work, and how you can handle conflict in a way that fosters greater team health.
  • Interested in learning more on this topic? Read more about how to improve teamwork in the workplace.

Jaclynn Robinson, Learning Development Consultant at Gallup, was our guest on a recent Called to Coach -- the third in our series on managers and teams. Jaclynn shared some ideas on how teams can make their workplaces recognition-friendly, with recognition that is meaningful and matters. She also spoke about how conflict in teams can actually foster team growth, evolution and health, and how teams can move through and resolve conflict.

Access Part 1 of the webcast series on managers and their teams, plus Part 2 and Part 4 of this 4-part series.

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

We've created the ultimate guide to improving teamwork in the workplace!

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison, and live from the Gallup Studios here in Omaha, Nebraska, this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on January 17, 2020.

Jim Collison 0:20

Called to Coach is a resource for those want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you're listening live, we'd love to have you join us in our chat room. There's a link on our live page up there to a YouTube page that'll have the chat room in it. Many of you have found it; we're seeing you out there as well. If you have questions -- if you're listening to the recorded version and have questions, you can always send us an email: Don't forget, subscribe to this podcast and many others that we have on your favorite podcast app. You can also find us on YouTube; hit the Subscribe button if you're on the live page right now. Just hit the Subscribe button below and hit that notification bell so you get notified whenever we do anything new. Jaclynn Robinson is our host today. She works as a Learning Development Consultant with Gallup out of our L.A. office, and Jaclynn, great to see you on Called to Coach, welcome.

Jaclynn Robinson 1:10

Thank you! Glad to be here.

Jim Collison 1:12

We are glad to have you. We are going to spend some time talking about teams today and building a better team. And you've got some great things to say about that. Teams -- this whole year, we're spending time talking about teams and managers, and just how important that is. The managers get a lot of talk in what we're doing. Today, we're going to -- we spent the first two sessions kind of talking about the manager's role on a team and why they're so impactful. So we've talked about that in Session 1 and 2. Today, we want to come at it from, OK, now we have teams; how do we build strong, robust teams? How do you want to start with that?

Jaclynn Robinson 1:48

Yeah, I think it's, it goes back to, firstly, making sure that the team has a mission and a purpose. What is it that we're contributing towards? They, they really appreciate that North Star. And then once they've got that mission and purpose, what are the individual strengths that we're bringing together to make this team more cohesive? What are those powerful partnerships that we appreciate? Because we're more productive and more collaborative when we recognize how we work best with one another. And then, alternatively, too, what are some of those partnerships that we struggle with at times? And how can we work together so that we can find that happy medium with our strengths and collaborate more effectively?

Jim Collison 2:30

We're going to spend some time in, in the fourth part of this -- so after this -- with some kind of the details and activities, and not just activities, but why in the activity is what we're looking for. But we have some things kind of queued up for the, for the audience today. And when we think about building a better team, what are some tips as we as we go into this and not just help a manager, and teams don't just exist in the workplace, right? We have teams in everything that we're doing, so, you don't necessarily need to be a manager, or even a coach. I think there's going to be some great advice in any areas where teams are gathered. So Jaclynn, kick us off a little bit. What kind of, what kind of goodness do you have for us today?

Jaclynn Robinson 3:08

Yeah. So whenever I think about building teams, I like to ask questions to people: What motivates you? So actually, at Gallup, we have motivation cards. And what we suggest every team member does is whip out those cards and start to sort between what really motivates me; what sometimes motivates me; what just wouldn't motivate me. And then taking that Top 5 of what really motivates me and sharing that with teams. Students can do that as well. So if if you've got people in universities, or you're a parent, and you know that your student collaborates quite often in sports or on school projects, it's such a great type of -- it's an activity, but it's also, I think, a great discussion that teams can have to say, This is what's going to drive me. Because if we don't know what motivates someone, we can talk to them until we're blue in the face. And it doesn't mean that that's going to get the job done.

Jaclynn Robinson 4:03

So I think starting off just understanding, first, What motivates you and drives you? So that when we have that partnership, I've got that in mind. And then, What do you take pride in? Another question I love is just, you know, What, what magic did you create today? I think it provides such important information in terms of what, what makes that individual really excited and energized. And it also offers some insight for you as to, you know, if you know with the magic they're creating, you know, that gives them a lot of energy. Maybe I could use their help, because that's not something I do that well. And so it also gives you some insight into what that person does well.

Jim Collison 4:44

The, the, so you're kind of talking about, like, what's good with the team, right?

Jaclynn Robinson 4:48


Jim Collison 4:48

What's working? How, what's the importance of recognition and team recognition as we talk about building? How important is that that we get recognition out through the team?

Jaclynn Robinson 4:59

Very important. Very important. I think the more that you end up recognizing those effective partners that you have, or the team overall, the more they realize that they're, they're a contributor for you, and that there's value that they're bringing to the table. And without that recognition, teams don't know what they're contributing, and they don't know what excellence looks like. And so being able to recognize others lets them know, oh, this is actually a talent or this is a strength I have and this is -- the tasks that I'm completing are valued, and, and my contribution matters.

Jaclynn Robinson 5:32

And we know that if they don't feel like they're contributing to a team, they don't feel like they're really a part of a team. So I think that that's incredibly important. And as a manager, questions that you might want to pose sometimes, even, at a team meeting are, you know, Have you recognized someone recently for the work that they've, they've helped you with this week? And more oftentimes than not, I feel like most people will say, "No. ... And I actually do really value what they did for me, but I forgot to give them that thank you, because it just got cut up in my, my day to day." So I think as, as a manager or even if you're a professor, or you're leading any type of team, that's something to keep top of mind and you can kind of push the button on the team members to make sure that they're holding themselves accountable to that recognition.

Jim Collison 6:20

Yeah, I spend a good chunk of my time helping college students form teams, you know, and a lot of the classes -- the Capstone classes -- or just any of them, where they put team projects together, and we talk about team acceleration and formations as we're putting those together. We also have a Q12 question that says, "I have received praise or recognition in the last 7 days." One of the, one of the things I think you alluded to, but I really want to hit on is the is the manager, the leader in the situation, giving time for the teams to recognize each other, right?

Jaclynn Robinson 6:50


Jim Collison 6:51

I think sometimes it's not enough to just say we should do it, but, but not only give time but also lead in that. Do you have anything you want to -- can you add anything to that?

Jaclynn Robinson 7:02

Yes! There's actually, so I was just connecting with the manager a month ago. And one thing that he did -- he didn't just allow for feedback to take place in a team meeting so that recognition could occur. He white boarded it and said, Let's talk about everything that's gone very well for us over this past quarter; let's recognize each other. And then they had the entire board full. He screenshot it and sent it to me. And it was just full of recognitions and positive contributions that the team had made.

Jaclynn Robinson 7:34

So I think doing things like that is so valuable. So again, it's, it's that manager taking the lead, creating that opportunity and open space for recognition. And then just making a, making a big deal out of it and saying, "Look at all the great work we've done!" And I think what made that even more meaningful and impactful is he did that at a time when everyone was very busy and swamped, and they weren't taking a moment to just pause to see how far they'd come and to recognize one another. And that tends to be the time I think when most managers or leaders might shy away and say, Well, it is really busy right now; I don't want to pull them from the work. But that actually motivates them and engages them to do even more.

Jim Collison 8:15

Yeah, Jaclynn, I mentioned, I think it's important that the leader, manager in these situations kind of lead by example. In other words, I don't think teams will naturally recognize one another just if you say to do it; I think it has to be led out by the manager. What have you seen in the, in the work that you've done with leaders? What have you seen work really well, where managers lead by example, and are recognizing folks in their teams? What kind of things have you seen where that's worked really well?

Jaclynn Robinson 8:40

I've seen some where they'll -- they've openly created what they would call a celebration station. And so they've created a space in the actual department where people can come, and there's greeting cards and blank greeting cards and markers. And that was the manager taking on the responsibility to say, I want us to be able to recognize one another; I'm going to take that first step. So let's create a workspace that's specific for you to be able to just walk over and create some cards.

Jaclynn Robinson 9:10

Others will do particular callouts. So once a week, they are engaging in a piece of recognition for someone, based on their ability to go above and beyond for the team. Let's see -- others will announce them in an e-blast. And so the rest of the department -- because you have people, of course, that are working different shifts, especially if you're a huge team, it can be harder to make that that announcement. But if someone wants to be publicly recognized, then adding that into an e-blast so that all of the team can see it.

Jaclynn Robinson 9:48

And then I've had another one that, that ended up copying in a leader. So every time that the individual did something, again, that went above and beyond, this was an individual that had high Significance. So for him, it was important that the leader then see the great work that he was putting forth. And so just embedding the leader and copying him to that email was everything to that individual.

Jim Collison 10:13

I think, going back to your values statement earlier, motivation, we have some values cards or motivation, right, those cards, understanding how that team is driven and understanding how it's done. Our sales folks upstairs, they just sit right above me up here in Omaha. They have a bell that they ring, so whenever they make a sale, you get to go out and ring the bell, right? We have -- it's no secret; we have kind of a drop system here at Gallup. And these sit near my desk. I didn't stage it this way, but they were they were nearby.

Jim Collison 10:40

And, and you talked about managers putting out a kind of a recognition station. And we -- all over the building -- have these "drops," they're blank ones that are available, you can just pick those up. I always encourage organizations, you know, we we make this available. It's a downloadable tool inside strengths -- inside our Gallup Access now. But I really encourage organizations to, to personalize these, right? Come up with your, your thing, whatever that is. This is from our book, How Full Is Your Bucket? but whether it's this or something individualized, I think it's great. And I do think, in maybe one more statement from you on the individualization of recognition, that it just doesn't become a blanket like, Hey, everybody did a great job! But -- right? Isn't -- can you talk a little bit about the importance of individualization and recognition with teams?

Jaclynn Robinson 11:33

I think what it helps people understand is what that person does well, too. So even though you might be individually acknowledging one person for going above and beyond, people -- the, the team itself starts to recognize what excellence looks like for that particular initiative as well. So that helps the team work more cohesively because now they have a baseline to say, Oh, that's what going above and beyond looks like; that's what excellence looks like. Or, man, that's not something I do well at all! This person just got recognized for it because they do excellent work in this category; I'm going to partner with them moving forward.

Jaclynn Robinson 12:09

So recognition is something that I think reinforces the value that someone's bringing to the team. But it also helps the team see when it's when it is publicized, the value that person's bringing; potential partnerships they can have in the future. But also, if that's a role that they also have, and it's a responsibility they have to carry out, now I know what excellence looks like! That's very important.

Jim Collison 12:30

Justin says from the chat room, Sometimes we feel an e-blast and so can be a demotivator for people who, you know, who don't get it there. And you know, OK, so this is the importance I think, of knowing your team, right?

Jaclynn Robinson 12:42

Yes! Yeah.

Jim Collison 12:44

You got to -- for some, that can be very motivating. For others, it may not be. This is not a, you know, it's the "drop" system that we have, that people love, may not work in some places, like. And so the key is, I think how we started this, is knowing, knowing the team. And I don't think you can know the team unless you're asking the right questions. We spend a lot of time in practicing this, right, by the way. We spend a lot of time in managing our folks, What's the best recognition you've ever had? And right? Great trying to get to the clues that are associated there, like, OK, what is meaningful to you?

Jim Collison 13:18

So yeah, Justin, right on. If you're just doing blanket recognition to do it, OK, that's going to come across kind of cheesy and, you know, not, not be very motivating, where we have to spend some time really focusing on that. I want to spend the remainder of the time as we think -- so that's the real positive side of recognition, understanding the team's values, motives, all those pieces. I want to talk about an area where I think growth is -- has even more potential and that's in the area of conflict. And I think we sometimes think of conflict as a team destroyer, a team breaker, a team divider; where I actually think there's great opportunities for the manager when there is dissension or when there is conflict. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Jaclynn Robinson 14:02

Yeah, you know, conflict can bring forth -- healthy conflict can bring forth creative evolution, I think. It helps people get to, it brings all the issues to the forefront so that you can get to the reasoning behind it and move beyond that. I think if you let conflict brew, then now it can create paranoia, and that's what can really disrupt the team. But when it's healthy conflict, you can create such resolution and move forward from that. And we always talk about how adversity is something that, that sharpens us, it makes us a stronger individual, but it can also make a stronger team.

Jaclynn Robinson 14:40

And there's healthy ways to move through that conflict as well. And one might be, just talking about bringing the team together after a challenging assignment, or bringing the team together at the end of the year to say, You know, over the past year, over the past quarter, what was our biggest challenge or adversity that we faced? And, you know, What do we feel made it so challenging? And what were some of those barriers to our success? And then let's start talking about some solutions.

Jaclynn Robinson 15:07

So based on the adversity we went through, was that something we overcame? And if so, how? But if not, what are some implementations we can put in place to rectify that, moving forward? And that doesn't feel challenging. It doesn't feel like that's going to make people shy away. And it's just inviting people to start talking about some things that were troubling for them for the year. And I think they respect that and a manager as well, when they're bringing that to the forefront to say, OK, let's talk about that. Because I definitely respect and understand -- that, that was a difficult time for all of us. So let's put something in place to move forward.

Jim Collison 15:45

Nobody enjoys conflict, like, just nobody does, right? It's but it's part of the workplace; it's something we have to do; it's something we have to kind of get comfortable with. But when we think about the framework of strengths, what kind of advice would we give as far as, like, how do we use strengths to our favor when we have teams that may be in conflict or disagreement?

Jaclynn Robinson 16:07

I, my mind goes right to "the best of me." Where -- and many of you if you've gone through our strengths courses, you know this, but -- it's a healthy way of everyone addressing when you're going to get the best of them and the worst of them. So having everyone self-reflect for a moment and, and describe, "You get the best of me when ..." in relation to a team; "You get the worst of me when ... " "This is what I need from you ... " And "You can count on me to ... " And then have everyone round-robin. And I, and I absolutely love having people fill out the statement and share out because think about that person that might appear disengaged to everyone else on the team. And they say, "You get the worst of me when I'm not able to connect with people daily." And they're locked in, you know, a laboratory all day long and they don't see anyone. And that's 80% of their job instead of 20%. Now it makes so much sense to the individuals on the team why this person is disconnected and disengaged.

Jaclynn Robinson 17:01

And so it quickly starts to reduce conflict and create a level of understanding in a way that doesn't feel like it's conflict negotiation. And then you hear that person say, "This is when you get the best of me." And maybe that's only 20% of what they do. But people have observed that, and now they recognize, oh, yeah, I have, I have noticed that. So no wonder this person feels, you know, down and out, and their wellbeing is suffering, and they're, they're, you know, just trying to survive versus thrive.

Jaclynn Robinson 17:29

So I think that's a good way for people to start understanding their themes. And I'd say that's the part 1, and that part 2 then is to say, OK, based on what you've written, where do you see your themes at play in what you do best? Do you see your themes at all in when we get the worst of you? When we talk about what we can count on you to do, where do you see your themes play out there? And so it's, it's then taking that level of understanding of what you love, what drives you, what motivates you, what you don't enjoy, and then saying, Now, where do my themes come into play there?

Jim Collison 18:00

Yeah, and I think that's the power of that conflict is like, if we don't have that conflict -- and so managers, don't run from this; coaches, don't run from this; don't let your managers run from it. When we get this conflict, we're getting the opportunity to have those conversations of clarity. Because in conflict, people get very, very clear oftentimes about what's bothering them, right. It's super -- it's sometimes it's hard to say, "Tell me the best 5 things," and people kind of stumble and then like, "Tell me the worst 5 things." Oh, they've got those kind of nailed, right. And so you've got -- because those hurt so much -- you got opportunities to do that. You're in good company, Jaclynn, because Anne just said, "I just did that day before yesterday in a workshop, and it really changed the entire tone of the workshop in a good way.

Jaclynn Robinson 18:43

I'm really happy to hear that.

Jim Collison 18:44

It was so powerful! Yeah.

Jaclynn Robinson 18:45

I'm really happy to hear that.

Jim Collison 18:46

I think that's one of those -- it's one of those tools, right? Right out of the kits. And you can -- Jaclynn, talk a little bit about this because you're in the field all the time and you're working in these spaces. I feel like sometimes we get hung up on the tool as opposed to really trying to drive to the end results, right? You don't necessarily have to do it exactly or have that exact form in place. Right? We can get the spirit of it and get it done. We can modify it in a way that works for smaller or bigger groups. Is that, is that right?

Jaclynn Robinson 19:15

Yes, absolutely. And, you know, even reverting back to that, that tool itself, one thing I like to talk to managers about is, you might have a very large group and then you've got everyone that's filling that out by email, bringing it back in to you. Or you're on the phone with someone or you're on a one -- you're in a one-on-one with someone, but, yeah, there's just so much value in doing that particular activity. And what I like about it, because we do -- we get so focused on on sometimes tools and strengths, and those four statements, whether you're a strengths-based organization, or your leaders and managers are, have taken strengths and you're going to end up rolling out CliftonStrengths to the rest of the the employees but you haven't yet. It's such a great tool that you can use, because it's not necessarily a tool. It's not something you have to go and buy, but it's a conversation you're having. And that conversation is what unpacks the story behind what's driving people or what might be creating some conflict. So that alone, I think, in those four statements, can be so powerful.

Jim Collison 20:16

Yeah, it allows us to -- and I think you have to take the time to get these things done. This is the hard part. Especially, you know, we run so often in crisis mode that we're just kind of constantly just reacting to. And I think even though we're reacting to a conflict, there could be some proactivity in this and, right building a framework; building some understanding; having an idea of who people are and what they bring. Did you -- do, do you -- have you found as people find those moments, do they begin -- have you seen teams actually begin to change responsibilities kind of based on that?

Jaclynn Robinson 20:50

Yes. Yes. Yeah. It's fascinating to see too, because people have an Aha! And I think whenever they go through an act -- they go through that exercise, I think is probably best way to phrase that. It gives them the confidence to say, This is what's been driving me crazy over the last few months, because I just wrote out when I get the worst of me and I didn't think about that before. Or, Now I know what drives me so much. And so it gives them a framework and the words to speak and to communicate that with confidence to the team, or to their manager in a one-on-one session. And, and if you've got that manager that is focused on development and matching talent to task, they start to shift those responsibilities. And I think it's such a beautiful thing. And the teams just come together and work so much more cohesively.

Jim Collison 21:37

Yeah, it was it was a brand new concept for me when I came to Gallup. I'd never worked in a company where, as they discovered me, and I discovered some things about myself, where responsibilities could begin to change. And even though I was hired for this, well, maybe we should have you do more of that, right? It's not an overnight solution, I always tell my college students. That doesn't happen overnight; you got to be around for a while sometimes to make it happen right. But when organizations that can kind of shift and change and where that is honored as opposed to, You know, we hired you for this. I think there's some real value there.

Jim Collison 22:10

We, we need to wrap this. Any other thoughts? Any other final thoughts on, when we talk about building teams? We're going to spend some time on some actual exercises in the next segment and segment 4. But any other thoughts before I wrap it?

Jaclynn Robinson 22:21

I think even ending on that positive note. So we talked about the challenges teams can have. Sometimes you can learn from those challenges and move away from conflict based on what also went well. So having, having the team share out, When -- when are -- what was the accomplishment we've been proud of the most over this last quarter or year? And what made that such a valuable and prideful experience for us? What strengths were at play in that accomplishment, and sometimes you can take, again, from that best practice and replicate it in that area that's become a challenge or an area of conflict. So yeah, I think, I think that's where I want to end -- leading with positive intent!

Jim Collison 23:02

Yeah. No, I like it! Well and I -- and I'll say, I think both situations are actually positive situations, right?

Jaclynn Robinson 23:08


Jim Collison 23:08

Recognition and what's going right and then confrontation or conflict or disconnect is an opportunity to make that positive

Jaclynn Robinson 23:16

Absolutely is.

Jim Collison 23:16

... because you're getting clarity from your team. So Jaclynn, hang tight as we wait; we'll push over to 4 here in just a second. But with that, we'll remind everyone to take advantages of all the resources we have available through Gallup Access now. You can visit That, actually, if you use that URL now -- -- that'll take you right to the strengths dashboard. So we kind of built that in a way to make that easier, right, to get to your Top 5. We will post full transcripts of this program as well as with all the links. Jaclynn mentioned a bunch of things in there, we'll have links in those show notes over on our page. If, again, if you go over to You can also search "CliftonStrengths" on YouTube and find us there; subscribe to that channel. That's kind of our edited video channel, as well as our live page. Many -- many don't know, every live program is recorded and available for you out there as well. Search Gallup Webcasts Live and you'll be able to find it there. Of course, we're available as a podcast anywhere; search Gallup Webcasts. You can also sign up for on the page that has the transcripts, you can also sign up for the brand new CliftonStrengths community newsletter. Every month we'll send you to the most up-to-date information on what's going on CliftonStrengths. If your organization is struggling to implement this, or you just want Jaclynn to come and help with this kind of stuff, right? She does that as well; send us an email: You can get a complete list of all our courses, and we have a great -- as we're talking about teams and managers this year -- we have a brand new Boss to Coach Journey course that's coming up that's gonna be awesome! You can get a complete list of all of them, including the courses available around the summit: is that address. Speaking of the summit, June 1, 2 and 3 of 2020: will get you there, get you registered. Now is the time to get that done. We'd love to see you here in Omaha. And don't forget to join us in our Facebook group. So or you can join us on LinkedIn and our group CliftonStrengths Trained Coaches. Just search for that there. The link is not very handy. It's LinkedIn, but the links aren't very handy over there. So search CliftonStrengths Trained Coaches. You don't have to be a coach to join us. We'd just love to continue that conversation. Thanks for joining us today. If you're listening to the recorded version, just keep going to Session 4. If you're listening live, stay around. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Jaclynn Robinson's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Achiever, Strategic, Maximizer, Positivity and Relator.

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

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