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CliftonStrengths Deliberative Theme: Teams and Managers

CliftonStrengths Deliberative Theme: Teams and Managers

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Theme Thursday Webcast Series
  • Season 6, Deliberative
  • "Strong themes, stronger teams": Learn how your team can own its Deliberative 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 Deliberative 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 14, 2020.

Jim Collison 0:20

Theme Thursday is 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 Deliberative. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in the chat room. There's a link up there in the in the video window to our YouTube instance; there's a chat room that is there. We'll be taking your questions live pre-, post- and midshow are all available that way as well. If you're listening after the fact and you have questions, you can always send us an email: Don't forget, subscribe on YouTube. If you're watching us on YouTube, there's a subscribe button bottom right. You can subscribe, hit the notification bell. And you can listen to us as a podcast on any podcast player; search "Gallup Webcasts." Maika Leibbrandt is our host today. She's a workplace consultant here at Gallup. And Maika, always great to see you. It was great to see you last week personally. But welcome back to Theme Thursday!

Maika Leibbrandt 1:07

Thanks, Jim. Gosh, it's great to be here. I was just looking, if you're watching, and you're thinking, What's Maika looking at? I was just counting the number of Executing themes we have today. And today, when we focus on Deliberative it's the halfway point to make it through our first domain. So, of course, this season really is about strong themes leading to stronger teams. So if you are a manager or part of a team, or even when you think about groups of people working together toward a common goal, this is for you.

Maika Leibbrandt 1:32

You're going to -- if you've been listening, you have gone halfway through our first leadership domain around Executing, and you're starting to get real familiar with these 5 Truths of Strong Teams [from Strengths Based Leadership]. So we're going to explore Deliberative today across those 5 Truths, just using them as a jumping point. It's not a researched piece that that overtly connects to CliftonStrengths themes. We're using them as a way to kind of incept some education around what it takes to be a great team, but also just explore the Deliberative theme through those truths. So as you listen to that, I encourage you to just build some insight on what this might mean in a group. Instead of just thinking about Deliberative as one that likes to get something done, listen for perhaps, How is it different or similar to other Executing themes?

Maika Leibbrandt 2:15

This is a theme that tends to be more rare in our database, when it comes to Top 5 frequency. So let's start with a definition of Deliberative. You are best described -- if you have high Deliberative -- by the serious care that you take in making decisions or choices. You anticipate obstacles. And the first truth of a strong team [from Strengths Based Leadership] that we're going to use to talk about Deliberative is, "Conflict doesn't destroy strong teams, because strong teams focus on results."

Jim Collison 2:48

I really love the statement because I think oftentimes we get afraid of this conflict.

Maika Leibbrandt 2:53


Jim Collison 2:53

And in Deliberative, I -- and I know this brings up sometimes this, this bias of slowing things down. And I don't think that's actually true. And we're gonna explore that kind of today. But because of that, what does it mean, "focus on results"? Right, because sometimes we think Deliberative, it's all about thinking. But it is result-oriented, right? So what does that mean?

Maika Leibbrandt 3:13

It is, and you know, I like this truth as well, because it doesn't say that great teams are good at overcoming conflict. How often do we just get stuck in saying, you know, what my team really needs is some resolution or my team needs to figure out how to get along better. That isn't what's true about strong teams. It's, it's that they get along because the result is more important than the conflict. And within Deliberative, it's a theme that's always taking into account the individual actions and how they lead to progress toward a larger goal.

Maika Leibbrandt 3:41

So a focus on results for somebody with Deliberative might need to look more connected to long term, "What do we want to accomplish?" than simply celebrating the shorter-term milestones. You can already hear how that's different from some of those other Executing themes we've talked about that deal in the bullet points being sort of the center stage. With Deliberative, it's, it's about that bigger picture -- different than a thinking theme like Strategic, where it's 40,000 feet and "What if?" and contingency. Deliberative really is looking at the practical progress that we can make, and wanting to see, How do those individual milestones lead to huge progress or something that we're really moving forward?

Maika Leibbrandt 4:21

I think about, with Deliberative, sustainability of progress. And the way that Deliberative gets there is by minimizing risk. It -- Deliberative isn't so much a "swing for the fences" achievement, a cheerleader, as it is careful certainty and steps toward accomplishment.

Jim Collison 4:39

I really love that because it, is it paints it as a forward-moving theme. And so we've talked about the importance of being able to track progress in this. So what type of results might matter most?

Maika Leibbrandt 4:51

Well, somebody with Deliberative has probably thought about it ahead of time. They're going to move forward real swiftly once they've had the entire plan vetted against danger, against risk. So they're tracking progress that they've already evaluated. It could make it challenging to recognize them in the same way you might recognize other people because they're not going to be surprised, typically, by progress; they've already thought about it.

Maika Leibbrandt 5:16

Right outside my house, between where I live and where I drop my kids off at school, it's like a 5-minute drive normally. It's been 10 or 15 minutes lately, because they're repaving the entire road, and you can see that they're doing one lane at a time. I think about Deliberative a lot that way. It's the ability to say, OK, let's not jump in. Let's remove all this sort of used pavement and dangerous potholes and things that have built up over time. And before we decide to move forward, let's move forward in a thoughtful way that's going to minimize risk.

Maika Leibbrandt 5:46

Now, I'm a little -- I don't have Deliberative. I have Activator kind of high. You could think about those two as theoretically pretty opposite: Activator says, "It doesn't matter; let's get going!" Deliberative says, "No, let's tear up the entire road. Let's evaluate what we need to do. And then once we move forward, we're going to move forward real fast." But it is that careful piece around making sure that what we're doing is safe and certain, and minimizing risk. So I think they might be equally inspired by what didn't happen as they are what did happen. So even thinking about managing someone's Deliberative, could you track the risks that were avoided as a way to recognize or talk about their results? Maybe it's dollars saved; accidents that didn't happen; days without a fire drill.

Jim Collison 6:35

Yeah, no, I like that. What's our second truth?

Maika Leibbrandt 6:38

"Strong teams prioritize what's best for the organization and then move forward." So this really is about aligning your priorities with the organization's priorities. In a team, there might also be a stop along the way to align individuals with the whole team. So thinking about goals, ways of working, deal breakers and expectations.

Jim Collison 6:57

So we often spend some time talking about this "We versus me," right? When we think about those -- these teams early in our -- as we understand them, we focus on on how they affect us. But then later, as we get into teams, they think about the "we." How are they affecting the team? So how does someone with Deliberative focus on the larger goal or purpose more than just themselves?

Maika Leibbrandt 7:18

I think there's a certain amount of trust they need to have in the certainty and stability of the goal; the benefit to working a certain way, or working toward an end as it relates to risk. Essentially, how does what our group is focused on, help us navigate potential danger with more confidence? To say it another way, the "why" for someone with Deliberative will be powerful, and if it's, it'll be more powerful if it's around safety or certainty, or sustainability. I like that word too.

Maika Leibbrandt 7:49

So when it comes to communicating organizational goals to somebody with high Deliberative, show your work. Instead of, "We're focusing on this product this year," try, "We did our homework. We evaluated all the options of where to invest our energy, and this product is among the top 3 most stable. Now note that you don't have to be the one who's doing the evaluating. It doesn't have to be perfect; it should be honest. But giving a nod to the homework that has been done helps the person with Deliberative kind of jump in without having to start at zero.

Jim Collison 8:20

Yeah, actually, as an Activator, I really appreciate that Deliberative thought through seeing it, because then I know I have confidence to just move forward. It's very -- for me, it's very -- it's motivating in a way that allows me to move forward knowing someone else has carefully thought through it. What else inspires someone with Deliberative to take action?

Maika Leibbrandt 8:36

Having exposure to expectations before making a decision; an invitation to act rather than a forced direction; the opportunity to change their way of proceeding based on their own analytics or their own experience. (The other word for that is "autonomy.") And I think also time; give them some time to act, once they've done their homework. Sometimes I think we paint slowing things down as being negative, or we try to apologize for it and say it's not necessarily about slowing things down.

Maika Leibbrandt 9:09

Deliberative, actually, it does slow things down. And that's OK. So that might mean that you have to front-end your timeline a little bit to make sure that person with Deliberative has time to do the evaluating.

Jim Collison 9:20

Imagine if we took Deliberative and thought of it, because we -- sometimes that's the first words out of our mouth, like, like "Slowing things down," and change that phrase to "Thinking things through." Like, I think that is such a -- that's just a way more positive approach. You know, we just, we sometimes come out the gate too negative on this for sure.

Maika Leibbrandt 9:37

Well, and I think we -- I think we're too negative about slow, too. You know, what are we getting when we're slowing things down? We're getting confidence, certainty, safety; I think, stability, more togetherness on where we're going. Sometimes slow is good.

Jim Collison 9:52

Right on, right on. What's No. 3?

Maika Leibbrandt 9:54

"Members of strong teams are as committed to their personal lives as they are to their work."

Jim Collison 9:58

So how does Deliberative show up in someone's personal life, do you think?

Maika Leibbrandt 10:02

You know, they might be cautious with their relationships. They might take longer to create a connection. Let's not mistake Deliberative as necessarily being a Relationship Building theme. They might have others that speed up those connections. But Deliberative by itself might make stronger, more lasting connections in the seemingly boring times.

Maika Leibbrandt 10:22

So Deliberative really isn't one for highs or lows or drama. They also could be great at hobbies, skills or interests that have very few variable; less opportunity for surprise. This could be I think, a long-term repeated activity, something they've always really been into. Or it could be just something that takes very little equipment or very little assistance.

Jim Collison 10:46

So with that, what question could a manager ask that might kind of tap into this personal side of Deliberative?

Maika Leibbrandt 10:52

Here's a couple ideas. You could say, What's your process for deciding how to spend your time? What do you enjoy about planning an activity? What's something you're currently thinking about, evaluating or considering? What's something that you are certain of and excited about?

Jim Collison 11:12

How about No. 4?

Maika Leibbrandt 11:14

No. 4 is "Strong teams embrace diversity." Now "diversity" is a loaded word and a much bigger issue than just having different CliftonStrengths themes on your team. But there is, I think, an importance in being able to say, I bring something other people don't -- in addition to my background, my experience, my pedigree, my, my life, my community. So we're just using this one as, as a way to say, What's different about the theme that maybe other people without it wouldn't bring?

Jim Collison 11:39

Yeah, and what, what naturally might they bring to that team? Maybe what are some words that, that may highlight their, their spot, their place in the team?

Maika Leibbrandt 11:47

Yeah. You could call your Deliberative teammate the evaluator, cautious, careful, considerate, steady, driven. They see challenges through what can be done, what can be accomplished, what we can progress toward in a way that minimizes risk. By the way, you should also ask them how they want to be known for their own talent.

Jim Collison 12:08

Yeah, there's some conversation going on in the chat room about that. Of course, theme dynamics play in. And so the other themes around that may have that influence. But what unique perspective does Deliberative bring to a team (or can)?

Maika Leibbrandt 12:19

They can take things seriously. Not that they're not going to be disruptors; they'll jump in once they've sorted out the highs and lows of innovation. So their creativity is going to look different. They're careful with "Yes." They're careful with agreement because they want to make sure what's being done is being done responsibly.

Jim Collison 12:37

Yeah, no, it's, it, it has this incredible ability to then kind of unify the team and speed up some of the action that happens there. What's No. 5?

Maika Leibbrandt 12:46

No. 5? I love this one: "Strong teams are magnets for talent." So it's all about how do you spot a strong team? It's the one that everybody keeps raising their hand and tries to get -- be a part of, wants to be on.

Jim Collison 12:58

We've been dancing around this, but what are those things that attract -- how do they make a team attractive?

Maika Leibbrandt 13:04

Well, they care, the care that they -- that somebody who's Deliberative takes in choosing the path forward really demonstrates compassion. They take things seriously. And that shows. They're rarely "half in" on Executing; it's, it -- they're "all in" when they're there. And that's, that's beautiful and attractive and tempting, and seductive in a way. They can fully immerse their energy into -- toward a moving target or or toward moving something forward. They can act on purpose, and they do act on purpose. I think there's just something uniquely magical about working alongside someone who very boldly believes that they are prepared for what they're about to make happen.

Jim Collison 13:43

So how would you describe, if we think about this in terms of the gift they bring to the team, and maybe what others would always want more of?

Maika Leibbrandt 13:51

It's evaluation of potential risk; an assessor who can, who can help not to just say "Yes" or "No" to big ideas, but also to say, "Here's the implications. Here's what I naturally notice that other people might not have thought of." They can be great at consulting: "Tell me what we can do, what we should do and why." There's a dedication, there's an energy toward finding a certain path forward, and an ease of working once they've already paved the way.

Jim Collison 14:19

Great partner for me, indeed. Let's review these 5 again.

Maika Leibbrandt 14:22

So 1) Results, not conflict; 2) Do what's best for the organization and then move forward; 3) Equally your work and your personal life; 4) Embrace diversity; 5) Magnets for talent. You might use those 5, just to think about where your team is right now, where your group is right now. Ask them what we think we're best at and then name the, the habits or the practices or the unwritten rules that make us best at it. And stop there -- or -- ask people what we need to work on a little bit more and what we can improve.

Jim Collison 14:48

That's super good. We've been working on talent-mindfulness for the second season. Maika, you have one ready for us. What do you have?

Maika Leibbrandt 14:53

Yeah, so I want to invite you to turn your curiosity inward. This is practice. Strengths identification is different from strengths development. It's not the same to just name your strengths as it is to truly live and mindfully practice it. So, development is ongoing. It has to happen on purpose. That's why we call this "practice." And it's for you: you right now listening, you in the chat, whether or not you lead with Deliberative, you might hear hints of this theme, but it's designed for you and your practice.

Maika Leibbrandt 15:24

So take 5 seconds of silence to turn your focus on yourself. It might be easy to do this by just taking account of how you feel physically in the moment. Does anything hurt? Does anything feel better than normal? Are you standing; are you sitting? How does it feel to stand or sit right now? I'm going to be quiet for just a moment to help you get into yourself. This is not a journey to fix anything or evaluate anything. Just to notice. ...

Maika Leibbrandt 16:00

Now that you've put yourself at the center of your focus, I invite you to think about a recent success that you've had. This could be personal or professional. It doesn't have to be any better than anyone else's success. Just keep it recent. Let's focus on the past 30 days. What is one specific success you have experienced during the past month? ...

Maika Leibbrandt 16:37

You are a beautifully complex human being, my friend, and no single part of you in isolation was likely responsible for that success. I'm sure it was a complicated process. But if you were to nominate one of your dominant talent themes for an award related to that success, which one theme would you say played a starring role? ...

Maika Leibbrandt 17:08

Think about your dominant talent themes and pick one that really deserves the award for the success. I want you to write that theme name down on the inside of your brain. See the word that, the name of that theme in your thoughts. Now imagine that that talent theme grew arms and legs and became something that could follow you around like a companion. Maybe it's bold and loud; maybe it's unassuming.

Maika Leibbrandt 17:45

Imagine what your dominant theme might look like if it were sitting here in your space. This companion theme has your best success in mind. It plays your highlight reel back to you. It whispers hints of observations that help you improve. Now think about bringing that theme with you as you go about the rest of your day, your week, your next challenge. You'll see some things more clearly. You'll hold yourself accountable for the greatness that this companion theme sees in you. You'll stay slightly more on target as you journey toward the potential that's already there.

Maika Leibbrandt 18:41

We're doing this on purpose today, and we're calling it a companion theme. But the truth is, your dominant talents are always there with you. When you're focused on purpose, when you fail, when you succeed. Calling one out and considering how you might make more sense of it, on purpose, just helps you to turn down the distraction.

Maika Leibbrandt 19:03

So today, with your companion theme at your side, resist the temptation to be other people's versions of great. You have patterns of thinking that are unique to you. And you are better when they're right here with you -- on purpose, on power. That's your talent-mindfulness for today. ...

Maika Leibbrandt 19:37

Oh, I can't hear you, Jim. Come back.

Jim Collison 19:39

That's because I was being quiet -- on purpose, on power. That's, that's pretty great. It's a good, good reminder, I think, for us at times, just in those, those moments of question and of doubt, right, internally, so super great.

Jim Collison 19:56

I want to remind everyone with that, take full advantages of all the resources we do have available for you, not just here on Theme Thursday, but we have hundreds of these -- literally, hundreds; actually thousands, if you count the Called to Coach -- that's available for you on our new Gallup Access platform. Many of them are available for you without even signing in. So go to By the way, that address will take you right to your strengths dashboard. If you want to log in, do it that way. Don't forget, while you're there, sign up for our new CliftonStrengths Community Newsletter. Stay informed with what we're doing every single month, delivered to your Inbox for you. While you're there, you can also head out to our YouTube page -- search, just go to YouTube and search "CliftonStrengths" and subscribe to that page as well. That's when we publish these in a format that maybe are shorter or easier to use for those you're coaching or those that you're working with or in your organization. Maika, we hear stories of people using these for Lunch and Learns and, in times, right, they get, they're getting together and they're, they're listening to these together, which is super great. So subscribe over there so you know when new ones come out. If you're a podcast listener, just go your podcast app and search "Gallup Webcasts"; you'll find Theme Thursday and the 7 other podcasts we have out there as well and you can subscribe to those. If you have any questions about anything we talked about; (if) your organization is struggling to implement any of these, any of the strengths stuff we talked about, you can contact us: You can also see, see a complete list of all of our courses that are available on our courses page: Maika mentioned this in the pre-show, but if you want to never miss a live show, we have an Eventbrite page and I keep that thing up to date now. That's like, that's, that's become my, my mission, Maika, to make sure that thing is up to date all the time and everybody's communicated with. You can follow us: Follow us there and we'll send you notifications whenever anything comes out. Speaking of that, the Clifton -- the Gallup at Work Summit is coming up. It's coming up this June -- June 1, 2 and 3. Maika has been putting a ton of work into that: April 4, the prices go up by $100. So you probably want to get in before that happens. Breakout sessions are out. Everything we have is out there. So head out there: Join us in our Facebook group: Find us on LinkedIn by searching CliftonStrengths (one word) Trained Coaches. And we'll let you in that group as well. Want to thank you for joining us. If you're listening live, stay around for the mid-show. If you're listening to the recorded version, just listen to the next one. We'll see you. Thanks for coming out.

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