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CliftonStrengths Belief Theme: Teams and Managers

CliftonStrengths Belief Theme: Teams and Managers

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Theme Thursday Webcast Series
  • Season 6, Belief
  • "Strong themes, stronger teams": Learn how your team can own its Belief talents and become stronger, resulting in improved performance, organic growth and better wellbeing.
  • Interested in learning more on this topic? Read more about how to improve teamwork in the workplace.

We discover how the Belief talent theme relates to your manager and your team in this Season 6 episode of Theme Thursday. When we improve teams through owning our CliftonStrengths, we improve performance. When we improve performance, that's how we get to the kind of organic growth that allows us to have stronger economies, a stronger world and better wellbeing. And great managers hold the key: As they move from boss to coach, they help team members understand who they are already and hold them accountable for being even better, maximizing the team's engagement and impact. You might even be a manager in ways you never thought of! So join Jim Collison and Maika Leibbrandt for Season 6, as we focus on teams and managers -- including a new talent-mindfulness challenge at the end of each webcast. Strong themes, stronger teams.

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 Theme Thursday, Season 6, recorded on February 5, 2020.

Jim Collison 0:20

Theme Thursday's a Gallup webcast series that dives deep into the CliftonStrengths themes, one theme at a time -- this season based on developing teams and managers with CliftonStrengths -- and today we are looking at Belief. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in our chat room. There's actually a link to it if you're on our live page, to the to the YouTube video. You go to it; there's a chat room there, make sure you're logged into a Google account and we'd love to have you join us in the chat room. Let us know where you're listening from. If you have questions after the fact, or questions really on anything, you can send us an email: And don't forget to subscribe while you're there on your favorite podcast app or on YouTube, whatever. Make sure you're following us on Eventbrite. Love to have you keep up to date with everything that we are doing. Maika Leibbrandt is our host today. She's a workplace consultant here at Gallup, and literally with me today on the Omaha Riverfront. Maika, Welcome to Theme Thursday!

Maika Leibbrandt 1:05

Thanks, Jim. Yeah, I'm as close as I can get to you without actually being in the same studio!

Jim Collison 1:10

Literally, like right below me, or pretty, pretty close at this point. We are talking about Belief today. Why don't you get us started?

Maika Leibbrandt 1:18

Yeah. So this season, we're exploring every theme with a lens of "Team" to it. So we know from our studies in leadership that strong teams have 5 things going for them. And we're going to use those 5 truths as a jumping point, to think about how we might offer some insights about a specific theme -- today, it's Belief -- that managers or team members can really take as an opportunity to say not just, Name this, but What do I do about it? So today, we're uncovering some of those insights for a theme that I think is less obvious on the surface, but still yields some serious power. It's about Belief.

Jim Collison 1:54

Tell us a little bit about it.

Maika Leibbrandt 1:55

The definition of Belief the quick-hit, short definition is if you have high Belief, you have core values that are unchanging. And out of those values emerges a defined purpose for your life.

Jim Collison 2:07

Maika, during this season -- this would be a good one, if you're taking notes, to go back to all 34. Because they're gonna be structured very, very similar. So on this first section [No. 1 out of 5 in What Strong Teams Have in Common, from Strengths Based Leadership], we talk about "Conflict doesn't destroy strong teams because strong teams focus on results." What does that mean -- "focus on results"?

Maika Leibbrandt 2:24

For somebody with Belief, it, it's amazing -- I think, to me, it's a real kind of a mental CrossFit, or cross training in my brain, to see Belief as an Executing theme. And I think that's my personal take on it, because I do have Belief at No. 10. But it's the only Executing theme that I have anywhere in my top, I think, 15 or 20. And so for me, my own experience with Belief is it looks very much like an Influencing theme or, in many cases, even like a like a Thinking theme. But it is an Executing theme. We're still in that portion where we're really diving into -- How do you understand the differences between these Executing themes?

Maika Leibbrandt 3:00

And I think I've seen belief in that Executing domain helps us understand the power of Belief when it comes back to what they do within the team. Specifically with Belief, it's about a motivation to stand for something; to see results as evidence that what they're taking a stand for is working. And I think with, with high Belief, inspiration comes from an internal reaction to the external state of affairs. People with high Belief are going to track their progress toward making change in the status quo. It's about measurement of their own effort, their own doing, their own executing, not necessarily measuring their influence.

Maika Leibbrandt 3:42

So, this might be difficult, but I think it's important if you've got somebody with Belief on your team to develop a way to track their, their progress toward a goal that's building upon their values -- maybe even considering a decision matrix or some really great questions that help somebody with Belief think about how to prioritize what they're doing.

Jim Collison 4:02

After the Learning Series -- we talked a little bit about this during the Learning Series, just the idea of tracking your progress and got some interesting feedback on that from people. So as we think about Belief, what type of results might matter most to them when it comes to tracking?

Maika Leibbrandt 4:15

Yeah, so they may have some organizational goals that matter a lot to them. And some that just don't. Now, it doesn't mean that somebody with Belief is only going to work hard on those, those goals that really align with their values. But it will be important to understand which of the organization's goals, or even just which of the organization's offerings, matter most to them? What parts of either their role or their team or their organization as a whole, really inspire them to be an advocate?

Maika Leibbrandt 4:44

I also think measurement, again, of their own effort -- not just of their of their influence -- is important. So Belief doesn't have to have an audience. Don't oversimplify measuring or tracking progress for Belief to being, "Let's count the number of followers you have" or "count the number of clients you have" or "count what, what influence your actions have on other people." Belief is, is an internally motivated Executing piece. That can be kind of difficult. But I think it's important to, to realize that progress for somebody with Belief is going to be most meaningful when it's tied to those things within them that they sort of will take a stand for or will work really hard for.

Jim Collison 5:21

Foreign concept to me, not tracking those, like, I need that -- the Woo needs that external audience. Interesting. So let's look at No. 2.

Maika Leibbrandt 5:29

Yeah, so No. 2 is that "Strong teams prioritize what's best for the organization and then move forward."

Jim Collison 5:35

So how does someone with Belief focus on a larger goal or purpose rather than their own, if it's internally driven?

Maika Leibbrandt 5:42

it's important to discuss the values of the organization, not just what we're doing, but what values those actions are tying back to. That might be as sort of deep and complicated as even just looking at your organizational identity. It also might just be a simple practice of saying, "Hey, what's the difference we're trying to make in the world?" and making sure that that aligns with what, what we're doing -- almost using it as a way to litmus-test whether our priorities are in the most, the place where we're going to get the most energy. I also think about discussing team goals as they relate to what the team or its members really stand for.

Jim Collison 6:19

Yeah, I think the key word in there is what they stand for -- knowing that, right? So what inspires someone with Belief to take action?

Maika Leibbrandt 6:26

Their core values. It actually is part of the definition. Now, that's simple, but simple, doesn't equal easy, in this case. Their core values inspire them to act, to do, to stand up. And those values that might be buried deep; they might be something that not even the person with Belief has named yet. Or they might be something that they totally wear on their sleeve. But you know when you tap into them! In situations that offend or inspire them, there's this concentrated energy that leads to action. Sometimes, with Competition, we use the quote, you know, "When you win, nothing hurts." I think the Belief equivalent of that would be, "When it matters to my values, the effort is not a struggle."

Jim Collison 7:14

Heidi in the chat room leaves an interesting comment. She said, I've left organizations when I feel missional drift. I like that ...

Maika Leibbrandt 7:22

Ooh, "missional drift"!

Jim Collison 7:22

I like that, missional drift. I like that thinking, kind of thinking back to those taking actions, and then, but being aligned with an organization that is moving in those similar directions, right. So, when we think about No. 3, "Members of strong teams are [as] committed to their personal lives as they are to their work." How does Belief show up in someone's personal life this way? And this, sometimes this takes on a very spiritual aspect, but I think Belief can also -- and we've touched on it -- talk about values. So talk a little bit about that in a personal life.

Maika Leibbrandt 7:54

It might be specific values; it might be less defined. Naming and living values is a maturity journey and something that we do in a lot of our leadership coaching that takes a long time. But even if you haven't done that, Belief shows up in hints. And you can look for those moments when a person takes a stand. But you can also look for more subtle clues. When does their energy change really rapidly? When do they say, "Heck, yes!" to something, right? Or when do they say, "Absolutely not!" Those are all clues that you're tapping into some of those core values. And again, it's not to say that if you don't have Belief, you don't have values. We all do, and we should all explore them. But for Belief, it's those values that are, like, linking arms to action. It's, it's This is what is driving what I'm doing.

Jim Collison 8:44

My kids say that all the time. "Heck, yes!" So what kind of questions -- we're focusing on the manager this year, with our book launch of It's the Manager. What kind of questions could a manager ask to kind of tap into that side of Belief?

Maika Leibbrandt 8:56

What brought you to the role? What will you always make time for? What's the most important thing that we need to get right? Who was it in the chat that said "missional drift"?

Jim Collison 9:05

Heidi said that.

Maika Leibbrandt 9:06

Heidi. I'm gonna, I'm gonna borrow this from Heidi. I think about Belief could be the missional anchor. So even tapping in and saying, what is it that we stand for? How, how far or close are we from that? Being able to say, are we drifting? But again, you know that this -- the question arose from how does it show up in their personal life? So you might even say, What's an anchor point in your, in your personal life? What has been a significant event that shaped that anchor point, or even just tapping into that kind of certainty that comes with Belief and saying, What is it that you are sure of?

Maika Leibbrandt 9:29

What about the diversity side of teams and Belief? If you're so -- we're thinking about this, these strong values. How does that affect diversity?

Maika Leibbrandt 9:49

So No. 4 in the 5 Truths of a Strong Team is that "Strong teams embrace diversity." Bringing differing opinions and perspectives together to solve a problem gets you further. Now, I do have a disclaimer that I'm gonna say every episode of this season, and that is diversity is a real and important topic, and it is bigger than having differing themes. Let's be clear there.

Maika Leibbrandt 10:11

Let's, let's not try to say that, you know, the most important diverse thing is different CliftonStrengths themes, because we all have those anyway. And they are, they're not going to equal a different perspective. But we are using this as a truth and as a jumping-off point to really talk about What's different about Belief? How can we describe Belief in a team, instead of maybe using some other labels that we would use to describe what's different about a person's perspective?

Maika Leibbrandt 10:36

So what's different about Belief -- they, you could use these descriptors -- you could say they are certain. They have clear boundaries for themselves. They can be, I think, open and accepting of others because of that assuredness that they have about themselves. You could call them an advocate, a self-driven person.

Maika Leibbrandt 10:59

It's, it's really different than, when you're looking at these Executing domains, Achiever we call a pacesetter. And Achiever has almost this infectious nature to say, Let's go a little bit harder, farther, faster, stronger and bring other people along. Belief is kind of the difference in having -- in a race, an organized race, sometimes you've got pacesetters, who are runners who know that they're going to consistently run at a certain pace. And you'll see them wearing a different colored shirt and you'll know, That's the guy with the 9-minute mile. That'd be an Achiever. Belief is just running the race. They are more about that internal motivation.

Jim Collison 11:36

Just remember, pacesetters don't, don't win the race, right? They're out there to do their job, right? I do want to say this, I think, on Belief, too, is that this sometimes comes at a cost, right? When we think about if you're going to, if you're going to stand for values; if you're going to do that -- especially in a team setting -- understand that it's not a, it's not a free -- that what you give out, the beliefs that you display or the values you display are not always going to be taking or taken the right way. Or people aren't going to share those with you. And so when we think about the unique perspective that Belief brings to a team, what, what is that perspective in this context, Maika?

Maika Leibbrandt 12:14

Yeah, I think, and it's important also to remember that Belief isn't about preaching. It's really not about making sure that everybody else shares your values or correcting them when they don't. But Belief can bring that voice of like -- missional drift keeps coming into mind; I'm having this image of, if you've got a boat that is just parked, it's going to be swayed.

Maika Leibbrandt 12:36

If you've got somebody with Belief on your team, and you've had the opportunity to set the expectations of Where do we need to anchor? Even the Belief behavior will be really good, I think, at not falling into any of the distractions or the hype that might help your team drift away, but reminding them and communicating the values that the team stands for. Really, it's a, it's a grounding opportunity. When opportunities feel distracting, Belief can ground us. They can be a sounding board for the team. I think there's something powerful in not being swayed by external influence, and that certainly benefits the team.

Jim Collison 13:13

No. 5 is "Strong teams are magnets for talent" -- by far my favorite one of these. So as we think about how Belief becomes a magnet for others on the team, how does that work?

Maika Leibbrandt 13:23

Yeah, I think other people are going to be attracted to some specific pieces of Belief: the certainty that conviction; they can create a safe space in which other people can execute because they they probably have some some certainty around what's, what's right, and maybe what's not right. They can accelerate the work that's being done when it matters, or furthers a core value. And there's this focus, there's this like relentless energy toward doing what's right or avoiding what's wrong. And that creates clarity for, I think, acceptable expectations.

Jim Collison 13:58

And how might you describe a gift, you know, we say that -- the gift that, that someone with high Belief would bring to a team. What would that be?

Maika Leibbrandt 14:05

A part of it might be simplifying the action back to what really matters. They can in some ways be a voice that narrows the Executing options to really what's essential to further our values.

Jim Collison 14:17

Yeah, I think, as a manager, as we review these -- I'm gonna ask you to do it again here as we think about these 5. These, this may be a good exercise, if you're a team lead or, or you're in a situation of leadership. You should write these down and then think about your Top 5 in the context of these, and what are you bringing to the team? And then maybe even a great exercise to go through this with your team, right? There are -- people are always looking for activities to do. This would be a great one to do. Maika, summarize for us again, these 5 things,

Maika Leibbrandt 14:44

Well, you could jump off of these 5 in so many different activities. It's 1) Results, not conflict; 2) Do what's best for the organization and then move forward; 3) The equal importance of your work life and your personal life; 4) Embrace diversity and 5) Magnets for talent.

Jim Collison 15:01

We have been spending a good chunk of the season this year, as well as what we did during Season 5, we're talking about some talent-mindfulness. You have prepared a really good, a good one for us today. So I'm kind of excited about it. So, Maika, walk us through this talent-mindfulness.

Maika Leibbrandt 15:15

Yeah, no, you know, before we go into this, just take a moment to minimize distraction for yourself by 10%. Maybe that means closing a door; maybe it means closing your eyes; maybe it means turning off the radio or turning up the volume of this podcast. Just take a second, do something that's going to help you focus on this just 10% better.

Maika Leibbrandt 15:39

So this exercise is meant to punctuate your focus on talent, not to learn anything specific about the Belief theme; this is a moment for you. Let's just take one breath to do that punctuation. A deep breath in ... and out. ... In the past 6 months -- that's a long time -- when was the time or a time that you worked harder than you thought you could, and succeeded? I'm not asking you to think about the hardest you've ever worked in your whole life. But consider one specific moment. One experience, one challenge that you had to endure more than you typically do.

Maika Leibbrandt 16:27

Let's call this "Gritty victory." You called upon more courage, more energy or endurance than normal, and you succeeded. Get a real moment in mind. It's more important that you nail down a moment, instead of trying to make it be the best one in the last 6 months, but get a specific time. Now, here's your challenging question. What was it that drove you to work that hard? What were you working for? And I don't just mean the reward that was there at the finish line; I want you to think more about the drive from the start. Maybe that boost along the way when you could have quit, but you didn't. What inspired you to keep going?

Maika Leibbrandt 17:26

It's OK if this is a hard question to answer, but do give this reflection a fair shot. So I'm going to ask it differently, just to keep your brain here. What was it that drove you toward the finish, even when it seemed overwhelming? ... Let's try and name your motivation in just one word. It could be a word you made up. See that word in your head. Write it down in your mind. ...

Maika Leibbrandt 18:18

All right, now what is a normal-sized challenge that you get to face over the next 10 days? I want you to bring that word with you. Success, performance, it requires some grit. Even daily challenges take hustle, and you have it within you to tackle those seemingly simple challenges with just slightly more heart. Turn up the volume on your inner advocate -- the voice that says, "Yes, you can do this!" Take this with you today in the form of that word that describes your motivation, and know: You are stronger than you believe. That's your talent-mindfulness.

Jim Collison 19:09

"Drive." It's my word.

Maika Leibbrandt 19:16


Jim Collison 19:16

Drive. I've got a lot to do over the next 10 days here. I have a lot; I have a lot piled up. We've, and -- we've just got a lot of things going on. And, Maika, I appreciate that. That's a good kind of get me thinking through, like, I just need to drive through the next 10 days in this. And not necessarily get too caught up and all the ramifications of things around it, but drive and push through. We have a lot of work to do over that. So thanks -- thanks for walking us through that.

Maika Leibbrandt 19:44

Yeah, for those of you joining live, feel free to put your word here in the chat. Michelle says, "Purpose"; Matt says, "Family."

Jim Collison 19:50

I like it.

Maika Leibbrandt 19:51

That's cool.

Jim Collison 19:52

Well, we appreciate that. With that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantages of all the resources we now have available for them on the new Gallup Access platform, visit Remember that link takes you directly to the strengths dashboard that's on the page. On that site as well,, complete transcripts of the show. Many of you have asked, like, Hey, can you do transcripts? And for a lot of years, I said, "No." And for this year, we say, "Yes." So we have full transcripts, including links to everything we talked about. Mark, our editor is going through and actually, I was just reviewing what he did yesterday. And he did an incredible job of just getting all the links. It's beautiful. The transcripts , Maika, are actually art. Can I just say that? They're amazing.

Maika Leibbrandt 20:32

It is incredible. And Mark is such a hard worker and such a machine. So to see him produce something that's also just so pure and creative and beautiful -- it's, it's incredible.

Jim Collison 20:44

I know. I've never seen, I've never seen words in the context of art, and I'm learning now through that, as I look at the work that he does in that. So those are available for you -- most of the shows last year and a good chunk of them this year. You should be headed out to There's a tab up there that says Resources and Webcasts, and you can get those full show notes of everything that we've done is there as well. While you're there, sign up for the CliftonStrengths newsletter. We do that monthly. Lots of great information to keep you involved in all the things that we're doing. Don't forget, if you if you're on YouTube, subscribe and hit the Notification bell to us there, so you get notifications of whenever we go live. If you're on the recorded side, the one that's and search for "CliftonStrengths," you can subscribe there as well and always be notified. One more places to subscribe, go to and follow us there, and you'll never miss when I publish the new episodes that are out there. To be able to join us live, you can get notifications there as well. If you're struggling to implement anything we've talked about here, especially around the themes, we'd love to help you. Send us an email: You can also see a complete list of all of our learning and courses that are available. You can just head to And we would love to have you join us for the 2020 Clifton -- or, that's gonna be a hard one for me -- Gallup at Work Summit! Even I'm struggling to get to get that name changed over in my brain. Lots of strengths, breakouts going on, and lots of great things happening in Omaha, June 1, 2 and 3. So join us: Gallup at Work Summit, you can go to to sign up and join us. We'd love to have you -- Maika, we're gonna be, I think we're going to be roaming around. So you could, you could join us there.

Maika Leibbrandt 21:09

We want to see you! Come see us.

Jim Collison 22:19

Yeah, I have that written in my notes. I need to be better about that. Join us at our Facebook page: Go out to LinkedIn and search CliftonStrengths Trained Coaches. You don't necessarily need to be or have gone to a course; we let folks in there. It's a great, great group. You can join us on LinkedIn. Well, if you're listening live, stay around for show No. 2. If you've listened to the recorded version, just keep going! We got another theme for you in the feed as well. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

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

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