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CliftonStrengths Influencing Domain: Teams and Managers

CliftonStrengths Influencing Domain: Teams and Managers

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Theme Thursday Webcast Series
  • Season 6, Influencing Domain Intro
  • "Strong themes, stronger teams": Learn how your team can own its Influencing Domain 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 Influencing Domain 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 0:01

I am Jim Collison, and live from the Gallup Studios here in Omaha, Nebraska, this is Gallup's Theme Thursday, Season 6, recorded on March 12, 2020.

Jim Collison 0:21

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 is the kickoff for the Influencing Domain. If you're listening live, join us in our chat room; love to have you there. There's a whole bunch of people out there right now; there's a link right above me in the video window there where you can click on and to join us in the YouTube instance. If you're listening after the fact, send us an email: Don't forget, if you're on YouTube, subscribe to us there. If you haven't yet started listening to this as a podcast, all the cool kids are doing it these days; you might want to. Search "Gallup Webcasts" on any podcast player, Android or iPhone and you can subscribe to it from there. Maika Leibbrandt is our host today. She's a Workplace Consultant here with me at Gallup, and Maika, always great to see you. Welcome back to Theme Thursday.

Maika Leibbrandt 1:08

Thanks, Jim. Great to be here.

Jim Collison 1:09

Good to be here as well. We are kicking off the Influencing Domain. How are we going to do that?

Maika Leibbrandt 1:15

Yeah. So this season, you may have been listening sequentially. And if you have, you know that we are exploring the dynamics present within teams, and how CliftonStrengths can help bring those dynamics out really on purpose. So what role do strengths play on a team is something we're talking about. What does it mean for the leader or the manager of that team? And how can we take what we know to be powerful about a team's potential and translate that into improved performance? That's really why we do what we do. That's all coming up in today's discussion. So let's get going.

Jim Collison 1:44

So when we look at CliftonStrengths, we see 4 Domains. What are those?

Maika Leibbrandt 1:49

Yeah, you'll notice, you'll notice that they're color-coded. Even in the sequence of when we teach our Certified Coaching courses, we don't lead with the domains as the first piece because, of course, we want individuals to, to look at themselves and, and really see that, regardless of where their, their dominant leadership style falls, they still are capable of greatness. But when we look at teams, those domains can be incredibly helpful. Technically, these are 4 Domains of leadership, and they originated as Gallup was studying willing followership -- not what leaders do, but 4 distinct ways that they do it.

Maika Leibbrandt 2:23

So these domains describe your general default for how you lead other people. And since we're looking at what your natural, unfiltered patterns of thinking and feeling and behaving are, that doesn't really tend to vary drastically across different life situations. So people can take it a step further and, I think, understand a lot about themselves and find some meaningful clues to where they're going to be their best version of themselves. even outside of that leadership situation. The 4 [Domains] are Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building and Strategic Thinking.

Jim Collison 2:56

Maika, we just came off Executing, so we just spent a bunch of time doing that. We are now focusing on Influencing. What are those all about?

Maika Leibbrandt 3:04

So remember, this was originally developed, as I, as I described, to talk about leadership styles. So leaders who lead through Influencing help their team reach a much broader audience. The Influencing themes describe a talent to, I would say, amplify a message. When an idea, a person, a team passes through someone with strong Influencing talent, more people end up learning about it, or hearing about it or being on board with it. But it's about -- it's more than being like an "Influencer" with a capital "I" and a badge on Instagram. The Influencing themes really describe talents that tend to be externally focused, aware of the perceptions of others and in touch with an audience. There's a good amount of presence associated with Influencing, meaning if you're someone with strong Influencing talents, or, we say, maybe that's what you lead with, you're somebody who knows that other people are watching. And that fuels you -- maybe as an opportunity to serve them; maybe as an opportunity to teach them or show them.

Jim Collison 4:09

I love that word "amplify." I've never heard it used before in the terms of Influencing, and actually become a little bit of a mantra for me in that. And we'll spend more time this season kind of fleshing that out. What are the Influencing themes?

Maika Leibbrandt 4:21

You can find out a whole lot more about this in our book Strengths Based Leadership, or by diving into your own CliftonStrengths 34 report, but there's 8 Influencing themes: Activator, Command, Communication, Competition, Maximizer, Self-Assurance, Significance and Woo, and I just described what we're going to be covering for the next 4 weeks. So each of these is going to influence slightly differently. We'll explore that in what we're calling the Second Quarter of Season 6, because we'll dive deep into each one and really explore how every theme maybe it contributes to the strength of a really great team.

Maika Leibbrandt 5:04

Each of these individual themes influences people; they create something in others that wouldn't be there otherwise. And they're really driven and motivated by that connection between people that creates a result, or sort of the connection that happens as a result of affecting another person. Now, for example, Activator creates early participation in other people. Competition creates an arena to encourage kind of forward improvement. Maximizer creates next-level expectations, a desire to do better than maybe other people have even considered or imagined. What they all have in common, I would say is 3 things: 1) A sales quality -- they can help other people get on board; 2) a presence -- they're aware of others; they notice when, when they're being missed. So it might -- you might notice if you, if you know somebody with high Influencing talent, you can kind of feel when they're not there; and 3) a voice. So when you need someone to take charge, to speak up to advocate for your team, look for somebody with strong Influencing talent.

Jim Collison 6:10

I love that you specifically call out the sales quality. I think oftentimes that is a very practical -- and when we think of from an application standpoint, that becomes very practical. We, I said the very beginning we're spending the season really taking this on a focus from teams and managers. And so when we look at the picture of a team, and maybe we notice a team has this dominant Influencing theme that goes throughout -- this domain that goes throughout it, what does it really tell me?

Maika Leibbrandt 6:38

It probably means that on the whole, the, the team is likely to attract a following. They're, they're going to have an awareness of how they show up in relationship to work that's going on outside of their team. That will probably be both outside of the team but still within the organization. It might also be outside of the organization and still within the industry. And when you think about how they work together, they're likely to get a real buzz by being around each other. But that buzz won't necessarily lead to finishing, to executing or to thinking better, or to building lasting relationships. It's just the magic energy that happens when they get to feed off of the ability to listen to each other and the ability to be heard by others.

Maika Leibbrandt 7:25

So make sure that the people on this team are not isolated. Even those who may be on your team do not lead with Influencing, in order to feel like they're part of the buzz that's happening or the waves that the team is experiencing, they need to be included in some of those connection conversations. But I would say on the whole, don't expect them to be great at working sessions, where you just get together to execute. Your team meetings, if you've got a team that's strong in Influencing, are probably going to be more about building ideas, building momentum and thinking out loud. And then, create some scaffolding, some railing, some expectations for those people to go work independently or in small groups to really do the executing.

Jim Collison 8:07

Yeah, I also like thinking about teams and the power of the assist;, like teams that can come in and really lift other teams to move into action, right, that, that assist quality. What can a great manager do to support a team that is strong in these Influencing talents?

Maika Leibbrandt 8:24

Ask employees for their candid opinions; different than, I think sometimes you can look at some of the Strategic Thinking themes and some of the Influencing themes and see some, some real distinct similarities. The difference there is Influencing needs the opportunity just sort of to sort through things out loud. So create the space for that to happen. Review what it took for the team to successfully achieve a specific goal, and then learn how to duplicate those steps whenever possible. It might be different than -- in fact, I would say it will be different than "We just worked really hard," or "We focused only on ourselves and no one else. That's not gonna work for a team of high influencers, so allow them to really explore what their own magic recipe is.

Maika Leibbrandt 9:06

Devise a way to measure their performance and examine those metrics to build that conversation about their peak performance and really highlight their, their best selves. And make sure that you're always reviewing recent discussions -- assessing their outcomes each month, instead of thinking about a huge, long-term goal and giving, giving the team that experiential knowledge of what are we noticing that's working really in real time that we can use to amplify ourselves as we move forward?

Jim Collison 9:35

I love it. What -- now we get this question all the time. We shouldn't, but we do. What if the Influence -- what if we have a team and they don't -- these Influencing themes are not showing up? What then?

Maika Leibbrandt 9:44

First of all, I love how we're talking about this; and it's not, "My team is strong or weak in Influencing." Because it doesn't matter what the makeup of the themes are within the team. And chances are there's always going to be one person -- I mean, statistically, it seems like there's going to be one person at least who can pull the weight, a little bit, of any of those 4 Domains. But even if there's not, that is not something that we know explicitly is tied to improving performance as a team. We thought originally that it might be a benefit to have a well-balanced team across those 4 Domains. But what we found is more important is that team members are aware of each other's strengths and know how to honor them.

Maika Leibbrandt 10:22

So, first of all, I love that we're not talking about, "What if they're strong? What if they're weak?" Chances are, you're not going to see a ton of Influencing talent strong, it has fewer -- there are, there are only 8 themes in the Influencing Domain. We just covered Executing that had 9. And these tend to be a little bit more rare. So of the 4 Domains, Influencing actually shows up the least common as people's dominant leadership talent.

Maika Leibbrandt 10:46

Now if, if you look at your team, and you feel like "Oh, no, we don't have anything!" First of all, figure out why you would want it. Because the goal is not to fill all the holes. We're human beings. The goal is to work really well together. But then, you might think about what that says about your team. Is it a benefit to not have, you know, high Influencing talent? You don't need to teach people to pull on talent they don't have. But you might be able to manage this really, I think, efficiently and effectively as a manager. Think about making a list of team goals and posting them where employees can see them every day. Again, thinking about how do you do that natural refresh that a team with Influencing would be doing anyway, get input from the team when possible of making the best informed decision. So you're really leaning into different ways that they're going to feel connected other than Influencing. Create regular measures of success and share what it takes to achieve that goal.

Maika Leibbrandt 11:40

It sounds like some of these are pretty similar as what you would do with a team of high Influencers, but really, it's about focusing on the talents that they do have and then using them pretty purposefully. Support employees in making commitments and holding them responsible, thinking about How can you -- if they do need to influence; if they do have a message that they need to get out -- helping them craft that message and all feel very confident about being able to repeat it in a way that they believe in; in a way that connects to the talents that they have present, instead of expecting it just to happen "on the fly" is also a good idea.

Jim Collison 12:12

Maika, I'm never surprised, in a group like this, when I throw out the word "sales," that it sparks this interesting conversation. We've had, like, a conversation within the show going on in the chat room about sales: how some people gravitate towards it, other people's -- other people don't, regardless of just their their experience and their backgrounds. So how could Influencing -- this domain -- get in a team's way? Let's talk about that.

Maika Leibbrandt 12:38

Check yourself right now if you're somebody who's worried about the word "sales" and ask yourself why in your history that has been negative. I didn't mean it as a negative. I think that you have to -- why is sales bad but buy-in isn't?

Jim Collison 12:54

Right? Yeah.

Maika Leibbrandt 12:56

It's about getting people on board. It's about togetherness. It's about connection. It's about advocacy. So I think that is important. And let's not say that it's wrong if you've kind of bristled when I use the word sales. But ask yourself a little bit more of what's, what's in that? What are you feeling and what's in it?

Jim Collison 13:13

I think sometimes "sales" equals closing. And I think that's the part that people, like, in other words, like the hard contract, get people to sign things, take money. That's not necessarily -- that is an aspect of sales, but the winning, the Influencing, the affecting, the changing -- that's a sales job, right. That is all going in. We're doing, you and I are doing a sales job right now. Because we're trying to influence you to change your mind. Right?

Maika Leibbrandt 13:39

And part of it is authentically believing in what you're doing enough that you want to share it with other people to the point that they are involved on their own. That's what we mean by sales.

Jim Collison 13:49

Yeah, yeah. So as we think about this energized amplifying in it, what -- where could it get in the way?

Maika Leibbrandt 13:55

They could be more excited by amplifying other people's ideas than they are evaluating for proof, or, or standing consistent on their own. They're likely very impressive to listen to. But if they're not as a team, if you've got a bunch of Influencers and they're not listening to each other, then the message that they're sending more broadly could be mixed and confusing or inconsistent. I will also say, you know, you can spend a lot of energy trying to curate the ideal team, but there is no proven connection between having a dream set of dominant themes in a group and that group doing anything any better.

Maika Leibbrandt 14:32

So part of what we need to be doing as coaches and as managers and team leaders is making it a regular habit to talk about talent, you know, get into the habit of having strength be a conversation, just like you would talk about expectations, timelines, celebration, all the much more important when maybe you're not seeing each other or you're remote or your spread over time or distance. Having that meaningful feedback on a regular cadence is, is paramount to building engagement, and -- I was gonna say building buy-in -- but not, not so sure -- I don't want to sound too influential on that one! So that analysis of where we are as a team, what's going well, the freedom and safety you can create for people to say, Hey, this is something that I gravitate toward and I'm excited about it, or this is something I'm not comfortable with, without even having to say why. And having that -- that only comes, that safety and trust only comes, with making this a habit and making it the expectation that's going to be something that you talk about. Also, why, if you don't have a CliftonStrengths Coach, you should get one!

Jim Collison 15:32

So when we think about teams and working, you know, managers working with teams, why is that important and how do they do that? I mean, what's our, what's our advice there?

Maika Leibbrandt 15:42

Yeah, how do we, how do we make it a habit? Start with your own strengths as a manager, and then talk with individuals about theirs. Then check on your team. Have some great conversation outlines or tools. You can find those in your Certified Coaching Kit and your coaching materials, or a coach can help you. But it really just comes down to knowing yourself and being able to ask and be genuinely interested in the talents of others, and then listening.

Jim Collison 16:06

Yeah, and how can team leaders talk strengths regularly? This is another question we get a lot of, like, how do we keep it going?

Maika Leibbrandt 16:13

I think specifically with the Influencing Domain, how you could talk strengths regularly with a team of Influencers or individuals even who have high Influencing, these people naturally gravitate toward Influencing so talk "talent" on purpose; challenge them to promote each other. That's going to start a really meaningful conversation about strengths. It's going to build that seed of curiosity of, OK, if it's my role now, not just to promote an idea or to amplify, you know, a product, now it's also my role -- the best service that I can do is to promote the partners that I have. That, that changes the entire conversation.

Jim Collison 16:50

Yeah, I think recognition really plays a big deal, not just for the Influencing themes, but it can be one of those in this where if you get that part, right, it's self-generating, right? Just continues to go on. And so having those regular conversations around the goals or the metrics or, if the team is OK with it, winning. Like what are we winning at? What kinds of -- what, what helps us win? Those are all conversations that can be done as well.

Jim Collison 17:15

Maika, this season, during Season 6 here, as we did in Season 5, we've been spending some time on talent-mindfulness. We're not gonna skip it for this one. You've got one all queued up for us as well. So I'm excited to hear what it is today.

Maika Leibbrandt 17:25

Great. Me too. Like I need this today.

Jim Collison 17:28

We all do; let's just be honest. We all do. Crazy times.

Maika Leibbrandt 17:31

Yeah. So we're really focusing on managers and teams this season. And managers need mindful moments, even if it's only 3 minutes; even if it's only 10 seconds. We know that managers tend to shoulder the weight of an organization's performance. And they do it while juggling the shifting needs of customers, leaders, teams and their own experience. So that's why this season we're, we're keeping talent-mindfulness here, and I really want to encourage it to focus on you -- you, a person listening to it right now.

Maika Leibbrandt 17:59

Talent-mindfulness is a practice; it's a way to put your own experience at the center of your focus and your own talents at the topic of your, of your thinking. It will be 3 to 5 minutes; something different to escape from the buzz of your typical day. And I encourage you right now to just stop gathering information for future use. And instead, allow yourself the space to just practice. Right now, whether you're a manager or not, whether you lead with Influencing or any of the other 3 Domains, let's start by exhaling -- really emptying yourself of where you've been today. As you inhale, stretch your head to one side; really lean your head toward one of your shoulders. And then, exhaling, bring your head up to center. Take one more deep breath in as you lean your other ear toward the other shoulder. Exhale, as you bring your head back up and breathe and sit normally.

Maika Leibbrandt 19:06

Today, I'm gonna ask you to reflect on a few different moments in your recent history. And the goal, I hope, is that I help you better understand how you influence. There is not a right or wrong answer to any of these questions that I'll ask you. And you might find that you don't easily recall an answer to some of them. That's OK. You might need to give yourself a little bit of time; think about this over the course of the rest of your day. Come back to this often, or try it again tomorrow and see what comes to mind. Remember, it's a practice. At the end of these reflection questions, I'll help you summarize what you're thinking about and draw out a theme. You're welcome to write down your answers, but if you can also just sit back and close your eyes, I encourage you to do that too. In the past 3 months, think about a calendar of when that would have been, when has someone come to you for advice or asked for your opinion? ... Think about a specific time. What was it about? ...

Maika Leibbrandt 20:27

OK. In the past 60 days, I can think about a calendar when that would have been, when was a time you created excitement or joy? ... Who benefited? ... In the past few weeks, when have you encouraged someone to feel confident? This might be confidence in themselves, confidence in their work, or confidence in their choices. ... How would that person describe the influence you had on them? ...

Maika Leibbrandt 21:38

Stay right there with me. Take a deep breath in. I'll ask you again: How would that person describe the influence you had on them? What might they, say, tell their close friends you did? We don't all influence in the same way. But we all do. Influence is about others. Life is about others. Partnerships, teams and communities are built and overcome challenges and thrive when we purposefully focus on others. And when you're at your very best -- when you're healthy, calm and intentional, what positive effect do you hope you have on others? That's worth repeating. When you are at your very best -- healthy, calm and intentional, what positive effect do you hope you have on other people?

Maika Leibbrandt 23:01

If this is too challenging, it doesn't have to be other people who are on the planet with you right now. Hear this now: You're already having more of an effect than you think. You are seen. You are followed. You are inspiring. Keep going. That's your talent-mindfulness for today.

Jim Collison 23:33

And I'm not sure you have to be an Influencer to influence. As you, as you talked about that, I was just kind of thinking of the other roles. And we've spent some time, the "we" versus "me." And I think when we, when we turn those outward on other people, they become very, very powerful. And so, great job on talent-mindfulness today. We'd love to hear your stories, by the way, on this. This one is a great one to -- what are you doing? And how are you making a difference in people's lives? And what have they said back to you? And so jump on our Facebook group: Join us in the in the LinkedIn group. Just go out to LinkedIn -- because some of you are not on Facebook -- search "CliftonStrengths Trained Coaches." And we'd love to hear some of those stories as we kind of dive into this Influencing thing. Maika, anything else you want to add before we go?

Maika Leibbrandt 24:25

Everybody influences!

Jim Collison 24:30

We do; they do.

Jim Collison 24:31

Well, with that, let's influence a little bit. We'll remind everyone to take full advantages of all the resources we have available, now in Gallup Access. Head out to -- best way and easiest way, especially because it leads you right to the strengths dashboard when you log in. So if you're going to do it that way, great way to get that done. We also have a ton of written content. These programs, for all of this season and I think all of Season 5, are transcribed, so you can go out there. I may be wrong on that one. But you, you can go out there -- I just can't remember when we, when we started doing that. They're available at Lots of great materials for you there as well. Don't forget, while you're out there, subscribe to the CliftonStrengths Newsletter. It's kind of at the bottom of the page, just about every page we have. You can sign up and subscribe, stay up-to-date on everything that's going on in the Strengths Community. Austin's behind that; he's in the chat room right now. And we'd love to have you sign up and get that newsletter on a regular basis. If you have any questions about anything we talked about or want to engage with us in some way, we have an email address, super easy: It covers everything; just send it to us. Our lead response folks are the best on the planet. They'll get you routed to the right person as well. I get that question a ton. People are like, "Well how do I do this?" I'm like, If you want to join us for a course, and see where they're at around the world: You may be listening to this in 2021 and we keep that up-to-date all the time, including what's going on around the world today. So If you want to join us live, and why wouldn't you, right, Maika? I mean, let's influence a little bit.

Maika Leibbrandt 26:01

It's the best. If you haven't joined live, fix that about yourself!

Jim Collison 26:04

That's right. Head out to -- B-R-I-T-E -- Mark's gonna have fun putting that one in the, in the transcript. And join us, join us out there, follow us there, and you'll get a notification every time we post something new. I mentioned the Facebook and LinkedIn group. Join us there today. Thanks for joining us today. If you're listening live, stay for the postshow. It's an important one. If you're not listening live, and you're listening to the recorded, just go to the next podcast. It'll be there as well. And we'd love to see you out here live. With that, we'll say goodbye, everybody.

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

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