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CliftonStrengths Self-Assurance Theme: Teams and Managers

CliftonStrengths Self-Assurance Theme: Teams and Managers

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Theme Thursday Webcast Series
  • Season 6, Self-Assurance
  • Strong themes, stronger teams": Learn how your team can own its Self-Assurance 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 Self-Assurance 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.

What should I look for in a job/career?

Jim Collison 0:01

I am Jim Collison, and live from our home studios, this is Gallup's Theme Thursday, Season 6, recorded on April 9, 2020.

Jim Collison 0:07

Theme Thursday is a Gallup webcast series that dives deep into the CliftonStrengths themes, one theme at a time -- this season, developing teams and managers with CliftonStrengths -- and today's theme is Self-Assurance. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in the chat room. There's a link right above me, right up there. That'll take you to the YouTube channel. Sign into the chat room that is there. If you have questions after the fact, you can always send us an email, and we're waiting for your emails, by the way, send them to us: Don't forget, subscribe on YouTube, there's a little subscription button right below Maika down there. You can subscribe and get a notification every time we go live. And if you want to do what the cool kids are doing, and listen to us as a podcast, you can do that by downloading the podcast or streaming it. It's available on any podcast app, just search "Gallup Webcasts" and you'll find it there. Maika Leibbrandt is our host today. She's a Workplace Consultant here at Gallup, and Maika, always great to have you on a Theme Thursday. Welcome back.

Maika Leibbrandt 1:10

Jim, it's so great to be here. I have to say, I typically watch previous seasons of Self-, or Self-Assurance, of Theme Thursday, in order to prepare for these, and I especially love Season 1, which is all about just learning to love all 34 themes, and making sure that this language that we're speaking, that we call, sort of common, truly is common. And really cool programming note about Self-Assurance: I watched Season 1 yesterday, and it was recorded on April 14 of 6 years ago. And here we are, with 10s of millions more people having, having taken CliftonStrengths between then and now, and a whole community of people who show up every Thursday to further our learning. So, it's really fun to get to be here.

Maika Leibbrandt 1:55

You know, if you've been listening to Season 6 up until now, you know that we're almost finished, alphabetically, domain by domain, we're almost finished with the Influencing Domain, or at least into the "S"s. So there's Self-Assurance, Significance and Woo yet to go, to finalize the Influencing Domain. We're going domain by domain, because Season 6 is all about managers and teams. And very often, an easy way for managers to truly understand the DNA of their team is to look at them by those 4 Leadership Domains: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building and Strategic Thinking. However, that also brings with it, I think, sometimes a danger to, just lump people into one of 4 different categories, when truly people are so much more than that, more complicated than that.

Maika Leibbrandt 2:41

So I hope by the end of our time together today, we've helped you unpack the theme of Self-Assurance, so that you don't just have to say, Oh, it means they're an Influencer, but really, as a member of your team, or as a manager who's leading a group of people, you can think how uniquely does Self-Assurance truly influence, and how can we set them up to, to be, to be their best selves and to honor the talents that we have as part of our team? So we're going to do this through the 5 Truths of Strong Teams that comes from our research into leadership. You can read more about those 5 Truths in the book, Strengths Based Leadership.

Maika Leibbrandt 3:14

Let's start here with the definition of Self-Assurance. If you have dominant Self-Assurance, you feel confident in your ability to take risks and manage your own life. You have an inner compass that gives you certainty in your decisions. And the first Truth of a Strong Team is how they approach conflict. It's that "Conflict doesn't destroy a strong team, because strong teams focus instead on results."

Jim Collison 3:38

And what does it mean to focus on results for someone with Self-Assurance?

Maika Leibbrandt 3:42

So in Season 1, as I was watching this, Curt Liesveld called Self-Assurance "an internal confidence to try." Self-Assurance is about trusting your own gut. So likely they'll experience flow, experience excellence, experience an ability to work really hard toward results that matter to them, from their own internal confidence. If you think back up to this truth, it isn't just about results; it's also about results outweighing the importance of conflict. So any team conflict, or conflict that might be happening among people, might derail them. Self-Assurance doesn't get derailed by that, because as long as Self-Assurance is working on a goal or, or results that they know in the, in their inner compass is important -- it's about that, that ability to really focus on those instead.

Jim Collison 4:33

I'll be intrigued by your answer to this question, but how does Self-Assurance track progress?

Maika Leibbrandt 4:39

This is cool. How close are we to where I know we need to be? And what hurdles do I know we need to clear, in order to get closer? And Self-Assurance might track progress by sorting out not just what is measurable, but what's really, truly meaningful. So their attention to progress might invite critical feedback, really opening up to whether our progress matters, whether these goals are really the essential goals or, or whether the end that we're aiming for is the most important thing. And I think if we need to change direction, that will also come from within, from, from trusting sort of their own inner compass and, and they're OK with that, despite what other people may say.

Jim Collison 5:24

I think for coaches, because this is so low in our database, we don't see this a lot. And, and, Maika, I think what you said is really, really important. Like, I think we need to study this one, because it's very, it's misunderstood in a lot of ways. And so, as we think about these questions here, coaches, I want you to really kind of zero in on these answers, because I think we just need to kind of study it more and understand it better. Speaking of that, let's go to No. 2.

Maika Leibbrandt 5:48

And by "low in our database," do you mean infrequent in people's Top 5?

Jim Collison 5:52

Correct. Yeah, that's right. Thanks for thanks for --

Maika Leibbrandt 5:54

Absolutely, yeah, Self-Assurance doesn't show up as a dominant theme for as many people as a whole bunch of other themes do. It's consistently in the Bottom 5 when we rank-order how frequently it shows up as a dominant theme.

Jim Collison 6:06

So yeah, I just, you just don't see that. I don't think you just see that as much in the wild. Yeah. So, No. 2.

Maika Leibbrandt 6:11

No. 2, "Strong teams prioritize what's best for the organization, and then they get going." They move forward.

Jim Collison 6:17

So how does someone with Self-Assurance focus on a larger goal or a, kind of a purpose other than its own? Again, clue, listen to this coaches, because it's good.

Maika Leibbrandt 6:25

Yeah, I think the truth is about where we put our energy. And someone with Self-Assurance will, will throw their full emotional weight behind something they know in their gut to be true, to be important, to be worthwhile. So, ask them what they believe is best for the organization. Help them identify something they know to be powerful. Something shared by other people will certainly expand that certainty beyond just themselves. Help them, again, by asking for their insight on what needs to be shared, or what needs to be more broadly understood, about the organization, about the team. It's offering an opportunity for that person to lend their certainty to a worthy cause. And that's a great way to expand the focus beyond self.

Jim Collison 6:26

Yeah. And what, what would inspire, or what does inspire, what someone with Self-Assurance to take action?

Maika Leibbrandt 7:17

An opportunity to further a realization, or importance, or a truth that they know, on their own, in their gut to be meaningful. Also the chance to influence, based on what they know to be internally true. And also, sometimes I think what inspires people with Self-Assurance is an affront, or a confrontation on something that matters to them. So often, Self-Assurance might fly under the radar. It's not Command. We'll talk about Command, or we actually we already have, haven't we? That's more about the ability to quickly and effortlessly delegate and guide others. It's, it's almost more external than Self-Assurance is; Self-Assurance is about your own internal confidence to manage your life, to manage your decisions. So, when someone with Self-Assurance is put in a place that challenges those decisions or those choices, they'll sort it out on a gut level. And they might, in fact, do really well exploring truth and implications of their choices when they're challenged or when they're put to the test.

Jim Collison 8:21

Let's look at No. 3.

Maika Leibbrandt 8:22

No. 3, "Members of strong teams are as committed to their personal lives as they are to their work."

Jim Collison 8:28

And so how does Self-Assurance show up maybe in someone's personal life?

Maika Leibbrandt 8:32

They're not easily swayed by popular opinions or trends. This might translate as confidence. But I've coached plenty of people with Self-Assurance who tell me they don't feel confident and they don't like it when it looks like confidence on their talent profile. And I think if we really dive into Self-Assurance, it's not the same thing as all-encompassing confidence. But what it does equal, is trusting yourself more than you trust outside influence. And when that happens, when someone knows they're certain about what they're doing, they can look pretty unstoppable. And that can look like confidence.

Maika Leibbrandt 9:07

So in someone's personal life, Self-Assurance might look like a comfort with risk that no one else is taking. Now, they probably don't set out to say, "I'm going to do this because it's divergent, or because it's independent." They probably are just not paying attention to what other people are doing as much as they are tuning in to their own compass, their own voice their own -- I'm trying not to quote Buzz Lightyear and Toy Story 4, where he says, "Listen to your own internal voice." But that's what Self-Assurance is. It's, it's tuning in to what your own voice is saying. It might look like a lack of fear when it comes to being alone -- or when it comes to taking the less popular path, again, because that voice comes from within in a louder way than the voices that they hear of other people.

Jim Collison 9:50

Because this season, we're kind of focusing on teams and managers where we ask this question of How could a manager, so knowing this, in someone's personal life, maybe seeing that, how could they tap into it, on, using Self-Assurance for the team?

Maika Leibbrandt 10:02

What guides your decision-making? What do you know you should be doing more of? What gives you certainty? When do you feel most at peace? What do you rely on other people for? What is the best way someone else can support you?

Jim Collison 10:23

By the way, those questions could be great coaching, coaching questions, as well, as we think about it, or teaching managers to ask those questions, as well. Let's look at No. 4.

Maika Leibbrandt 10:33

No. 4, the fourth Truth of a Strong Team is that "They embrace diversity." Now, diversity is a much bigger issue than just having a variety of CliftonStrengths themes. But when we talk about this one, we want to be able to say, What does Self-Assurance bring that nobody else does that offers a differing opinion and a, a different experience, a different lens on, on the problem that your team is facing?

Jim Collison 10:54

Maika, I have to say I'm going to go off the script for a little bit, for just a moment. The notes are really good, this on, for Self-Assurance, like the, the descriptors we're going to talk about. So what are some descriptors for Self-Assurance? Typically, it would just be a single column. You did like 2 columns. Like things were highlighted really well, I mean, so, so nice job.

Maika Leibbrandt 11:12

I, you know, it's probably because I did Maximizer right before it. It was not fancy or pretty, I color-coded things --

Jim Collison 11:19

Yeah, you did! I was like, Wow, these notes are really --

Maika Leibbrandt 11:21

You can actually read it? Well, maybe it's also a harkening back to Season 5 of Self-Assurance, which, as you remember, was the one where I accidentally deleted the notes and didn't know it was happening until we were live and just had to do it without notes! So there you go --

Jim Collison 11:34

So great -- so what are a few descriptor words you can use for Self-Assurance?

Maika Leibbrandt 11:37

In 2 columns, here are some descriptor words: independent, autonomous, self-determining, confident, certain, introspective, influential, an early adopter.

Jim Collison 11:50

And what unique perspective does Self-Assurance bring to a team?

Maika Leibbrandt 11:55

A steady certainty that can help take on challenges that the team might otherwise shy away from. I think that, that steadfastness in the face of adversity, a belief in what they can contribute, and a release of what they cannot. Clear and consistent awareness of what they bring to the team, and clear and consistent awareness of what others could bring, in a way that's better than they could. Again, that's why it's not, it's not, "I can do this; I've got everything." Self-Assurance is not about being a one-man band. It's, it's about knowing what you contribute and what other people contribute, and kind of standing real firm in that.

Jim Collison 12:36

It's super powerful and I think it's gonna be powerful in No. 5.

Maika Leibbrandt 12:40

Because No. 5 is, "Strong teams are magnets for talent." Another way to spot a strong team is to look for the one that everyone wants to be a part of.

Jim Collison 12:47

Yeah, and what specifically attracts people to this?

Maika Leibbrandt 12:50

There is a very attractive quality in certainty. Unwavering, unquestioning clarity that can accelerate a team when they need to take action. Sometimes, especially in times of chaos, what you need most is not the option to explore. It is someone to have an internal truth that they trust, so that you can get your feet underneath you and and move forward. Typically, people with Self-Assurance don't believe they can and should do everything. But when it comes to their own self-concept, they do have that kind of certainty about their own talents and how they can best contribute and how they can best serve others. And that sets other people up really well.

Jim Collison 13:30

Hmm. Pretty great that we're talking about that quality right now. You know, you may be listening to this in other times than April 2020, but you know, things are a little chaotic. And so as we think about this gift that Self-Assurance brings to a team, what else might be there that people want more of?

Maika Leibbrandt 13:48

You know, sometimes the influence of Self-Assurance can be loud. And I think as we're describing it, it sounds -- outwardly powerful, but it's important to realize sometimes it can also be quiet. It's, it can look like a sense of faith that blankets people together, or builds them up so that they can do hard things, with more assuredness. When you have to go to battle on something, you want someone with Self-Assurance, who believes in their gut, in what you're fighting for. And this doesn't have to be battle in the sense of you're winning and someone else is losing. It doesn't even have to be conflict. It can look like education. It can look like influence. It can look like storytelling. It can just be lending that kind of certainty in a way that inspires other people to grow.

Jim Collison 14:42

Maika, I'm gonna ask you in the postshow, so for folks who have joined us live, that's the opportunity to come out and ask questions. Somebody asked a question about Self-Assurance and Belief. So we'll talk about those two a little bit in the postshow. Let's review those 5 again.

Maika Leibbrandt 14:55

1) Results, not conflict; 2) Do what's best for the organization and then move forward; 3) Work and personal life matter; 4) Embrace diversity; 5) Magnets for talent. You might want to think about those 5 as you evaluate your own team. What currently are you doing great? What are you stumbling on? And really great teams aren't about picking and choosing some sort of dream sequence or, or being balanced across all 4 Domains. It's, great teams honor the talent that they have, so they can solve the challenge in front of them.

Jim Collison 15:24

We've been spending some time at the end of this season, as well as Season 5 talking about talent-mindfulness. You have another exercise for us today. What do you have?

Maika Leibbrandt 15:31

So this is a practice for you. Realizing that strengths-based development is not simply naming a talent, it's not even just claiming and valuing a talent, it's aiming it. And what we mean by that is that practice of intentionally creating action that utilizes the best of yourself in a way that only you can do. It takes courage. It takes creativity. Sometimes it takes a coach or a podcast or other external support to acknowledge that there are ways of going about your day in your life that are more aligned to who you naturally are. And in that acknowledgment, bravely admitting those ways might be different than what's popular. They might be different than what's written in a book or different than what you've been taught. So join me for the next 3 to 5 minutes; we're going to focus on your best ways of going about your life, exploring your day and reaching your goals. You might want to close your eyes if that's available to you. If not, just take a deep breath. In through your nose and release. You can breathe out through your mouth.

Maika Leibbrandt 16:42

One indicator of when we're truly in our dominant talents is our energy. We know when we're operating from our optimal patterns of thinking and feeling and behaving that we can work harder during those times and we can work longer. We experience greater focus. We solve problems more nimbly. We have more fun doing it. When you work really hard at something, you create energy.

Maika Leibbrandt 17:12

You can visualize this by thinking of your own hard work as generating electricity. When your neurons are firing at the top of their ability, imagine that work, powering one single light bulb. During moments of real flow, when you're totally in that talent stream, that light bulb shines bright and consistently. When you're working in patterns that don't feed your talent, you can keep the light on, but there are more flickers. It's not as bright. It's not as consistent, and it takes more work to get there.

Maika Leibbrandt 17:59

Now imagine if you had a way to capture that light that you're creating -- a container to hold all the energy you generate when your light is shining at its bright -- at its brightest, its best, its most consistent. If you had a container to capture all of that, you'd realize the energy that you create from your moments in the talent zone is marvelous. It's valuable. It doesn't fit in a container. It overflows, even as you try to keep it in. So as you're working really hard, as you're sweating, and striving, and thinking, and solving and communicating, you are creating something. That energy is powerful. It's also fragile.

Maika Leibbrandt 18:53

Today, I want you to consider the energy you create when you're at your best. So that you can protect that energy for yourself and for the people you love. We're going to reverse-engineer this by focusing on energy as the outcome, and hopefully find a couple clues to your talent along the way. Here are 3 important questions to help you do that. No. 1: Over the past 48 hours, what were you doing when you felt a significant boost in energy? I'll ask it again. Over the past 48 hours, or 2 days ago, what were you doing when you felt a significant boost in energy? ...

Maika Leibbrandt 19:56

No 2: Shorten the time frame. During the past 24 hours, what were you doing that required you to reach deep into your energy reserves in order to get going? Something that drained or strained your energy. ... I'll ask it again. During the past 24 hours, what were you doing that required you to reach deep into your reserves of energy in order to get going? Something that drained or strained your energy. ...

Maika Leibbrandt 20:43

And the third and final question is this: Over the next 12 hours, what can you do that will help you preserve or simply enjoy your own energy for yourself and the people you love? ... Third one's a big one; it's a challenge, so I'm going to ask it again. Over the next 12 hours, what can you do that will preserve or simply just help you enjoy your own energy, for yourself and the people you love? That is your talent-mindfulness for today.

Jim Collison 21:28

Maika, I have to admit, my energy is different now than it was just an hour ago, when we started, right? And since this, over the last couple of weeks, it's been interesting to see all of our registrations and live programs have doubled. Which has been great to have. We hope that this is bringing, and folks are showing up in larger groups, because it's bringing you more energy. So we hope, we hope for that, and I know I'm, I experienced it myself today. I do these things and, you know, coming, so Maika, thanks for being a great partner to me, in this, in just building that energy in as we're doing this together -- yes, even in your job, these things can happen.

Jim Collison 22:10

And with that, we want to remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we have available, now in the new Gallup Access. Head out to, kind of the easiest way to get into Access. You can sign in there, take you right to your Strengths Dashboard, a great way to kind of experience it. And then while you're on, we have tons of resources that are available for you out there: lots of stuff to read, visualize, you can watch these videos, all that stuff is out there, might be a good opportunity to just get to know it a little bit during these times. While you're there, bottom of the page, subscribe to the CliftonStrengths Community Newsletter that's available for you once a month to kind of keep you up to date on everything that's going on in the Strengths Community. If you're on YouTube, subscribe to us, you'll get a notification when we produce a video or we go live, a great way to have a reminder. If you're not listening to us as a podcast, and you want to do that, just search "Gallup Webcasts" on any one of our platforms. You'll see we have 7 or 8 different podcasts that are available for you out there, subscribe to them, great opportunity to learn. Maybe some things have changed for you during this time. Maybe they haven't. Maybe we're all back to work and everything's going well and you just want to subscribe. So get that done today. If you have any questions, you can send us an email: If you want to attend live, and live is just way more fun, so, I mean, if you're listening to the recorded version, we don't want to take anything away from it, but live is a blast. And we'd love to have you here. If you want to know whenever we're live, head out to and follow us there, you'll get a notification. Just about every day during the week, I am posting something new, just kind of a great way to stay up, download the calendar invite, you'll get some reminders. That's really the value to subscribing and the value to registering for one of our events that's available. Speaking of events, we're excited to announce that the 2020 Gallup at Work Summit is going to be completely virtual this year. And so if you're always wishing, like, Oh, I always wish I could go, but I could never go to Omaha, well, we have a solution for you today: And we have some special pricing that's available for everybody out there. We'd love to have you join us virtually for that as well. And that is coming up June 2, right? Do I have that right? Is it on the 2nd?

Maika Leibbrandt 24:09

It's June 2; it's Tuesday.

Jim Collison 24:10

June 2 is the day for that, yeah. I haven't said that officially yet, so that's pretty cool. Join us in our Facebook Group: If you're on LinkedIn, maybe you're not on Facebook, or maybe you want to do LinkedIn as well. "CliftonStrengths Trained Coaches" -- just search for that group, ask to be invited in, and I will let you in there as well. We want to thank you for joining us today. We'll stay around for a little bit of a postshow here at the end. With that, we'll say Goodbye, everybody.

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