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CliftonStrengths Significance Theme: Teams and Managers

CliftonStrengths Significance Theme: Teams and Managers

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Theme Thursday Webcast Series
  • Season 6, Significance
  • Strong themes, stronger teams": Learn how your team can own its Significance 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 Significance 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 0:00

I am Jim Collison, and live from our virtual home studios, this is Gallup's Theme Thursday, Season 6, recorded on April 16, 2020.

Jim Collison 0:22

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's theme is Significance. So if you're listening live, we'd love to have you join us in our chat room. There's actually a link to it right above me, if you're on our live page. That'll take you to a YouTube instance. And then the chat room is over to the right or down below, and you can -- there's three little dots. You can pop that chat room out. Join us there. If you have questions after the fact, send us an email: Don't forget to subscribe to us on YouTube, that subscription right, right below there, whether you're on the live page or on our recorded channel. Love to have you do that as well, and give us a "thumbs up." I appreciate it. That -- all those things help us out. Maika Leibbrandt is our host today. She's a Workplace Consultant with me here at Gallup. Maika, always great to see you. Welcome back to Theme Thursday!

Maika Leibbrandt 1:07

Thanks, Jim. Gosh, it's great to be here. I think Significance was the first Theme Thursday I ever did. So, yeah, it was in Season 1. And it was one that -- it was not one of our first 24 that we had done. And I got to interview -- John Liesveld, about, about Significance. That's a fun one.

Jim Collison 1:28

Very special season, that Season 1. But we are in Season 6. What do we have today?

Maika Leibbrandt 1:32

Today, this entire season really is about exploring every theme through the lens of a team. And we know from our studies in leadership that strong teams have 5 things in common. We're going to use those 5 strengths or 5 Truths of a Strong Team to unpack Significance today. And very often when managers or consultants or leaders are looking at their team, they'll look domain by domain, so we're going through alphabetically by domain this season and those leadership domains are a really great way to simplify all 34 themes into 4 answers of how does this person lead or where is their default? But those 4, I think, need to be understood as being incredibly rich and having lots of different notes and, and intensities across them. So instead of just being able to say, oh, they're an Influencer, I hope after today's podcast, you can really dive in and understand how Significance influences.

Maika Leibbrandt 2:28

So let's start with the short definition. If you have dominant Significance, you want to make a big impact. You are independent, and you prioritize projects based on how much influence they will have on your organization or on people around you. The first truth of strong teams has to do with how that team approaches conflict. It is that "Conflict does not destroy them, because strong teams focus on results."

Jim Collison 2:55

So let's focus on that idea of focusing on results. How does that happen for someone with Significance?

Maika Leibbrandt 3:01

You know, we sometimes describe Significance as being a natural performer, somebody who's comfortable in the spotlight. I think the real truth about Significance comes not from this desire to be seen or be applauded, but instead from an awareness that in life, no one hides. That their comfort in the spotlight, I think, comes from two places. One, it's that enduring realization that what they do affects other people. And two, it's the desire for that effect to be meaningful. So results that matter most to Significance are those that are filtered through the reaction of other people. That means that feedback matters, ratings matter. They focus on results really as a way to track their influence that they're having on other people.

Jim Collison 3:50

Let's dig a little bit more into that, because I think like when we were in the Executing Domain, focusing on, or this idea of tracking progress made sense. With Influencing it's been a little bit different and you've had some great insights on that. So how does Significance track progress?

Maika Leibbrandt 4:03

Yeah, I think they'll, they'll probably look for ways that they can improve the footprint that they leave on, on their community, on relationships with other people. Can they expand their reach? Can they influence more people? Can they really, I think, broaden the space that they have within the hearts and minds of those that they have reached? That might look like increasing trust with followers and really going deep, or it might be being the partner of choice for more people, sort of being that discoverable place that more, more of their audience or more of their consumers wants to go to first.

Jim Collison 4:39

And it might just be Likes on a YouTube channel or number of downloads, right? And not that anybody has any experience with that. Right?

Maika Leibbrandt 4:46

It is progress toward something. And I think, when you think about progress, it's, again, coming back to that truth is really what are they focusing on that isn't derailing them when conflict comes up? And I think for Significance, the answer is, I'm looking at a splash instead. I'm looking at the impact; I'm looking at that if there's conflict within my team, what, what cost is that going to have on how we affect other people? And that, in turn, makes them to kind of set their sights more toward the impacts, toward what's going to outlast them, toward the result, and less about what's happening within the team when conflict does happen.

Jim Collison 5:18

Yeah, I think that's really clear. No. 2.

Maika Leibbrandt 5:20

"Strong teams prioritize what's best for the organization, and then they move forward."

Jim Collison 5:25

So how does someone with Significance focus on the larger goal or purpose and maybe not just themselves?

Maika Leibbrandt 5:32

I think it's by filtering that goal through the lens or the viewpoint of audience, stakeholder or end user. They'll light up and take action when they know that that action they're about to take really matters to somebody else. So to make this practical, you can explore with somebody with high Significance, who is it who counts on them? Who will notice if they do a great job? Who will be negatively affected when they fail? And how are these people or groups of people connecting with them?

Jim Collison 6:01

And what inspires someone with Significance to take action?

Maika Leibbrandt 6:06

Frequent check-ins with an audience. I don't use the word "audience" to mean that they're on stage or somehow different or inauthentic compared to who they are when they're not. But part of the integrity of Significance is that they're always aware that their actions impact other people. And they want to do meaningful work -- work that outlasts them or expands beyond their own experience and spills into the lives of other people. So I think it's opportunities to do work that they know will be noticed or work that will have a lasting effect on a population or an industry that they care about is, is pretty inspiring to them.

Jim Collison 6:46

Let's look at No. 3.

Maika Leibbrandt 6:48

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

Jim Collison 6:53

So how does show -- how does Significance show up in someone's personal life?

Maika Leibbrandt 6:58

I am going out on a limb here; none of this is the scientific definition of Significance. But what I have noticed about people in -- in my life who I love and who I coach that have high Significance, they tend to have a style, a signature or a swagger about them. It's a presence. It's born of this awareness, again, that other people are around them and that other people matter. And they might filter the investment that they make, how they spend their time, how they spend their resources, based on what will make a lasting impact for other people, or just a lasting impact in the world.

Jim Collison 7:35

So what kind of questions could a manager ask to kind of tap into this, you know, personal side of Significance?

Maika Leibbrandt 7:41

You could say, What do you hope people will say at your retirement party? How do you get feedback from those you believe matter? Who do you like to receive feedback from? What contribution do you hope to make? Who or what has had a lasting impact on your leadership? Who inspires you? How would you describe your signature style?

Jim Collison 8:07

Coaches, during this season, Maika has been asking these questions in this section on every single episode that we've done. It may be smart to go back and dig in on this section and actually kind of write these questions down. They're great questions, not only for you, but to really kind of teach your managers to take to their coaching conversations that they might be having. So just a little side programming note, having said that on the other programs, but as we think of Significance, may be a good opportunity to do that. How about No. 4?

Maika Leibbrandt 8:37

No. 4 is "Strong teams embrace diversity." Now, diversity is a much bigger issue and a gigantic topic, but more than looking at CliftonStrengths as an answer to improving diversity, what this, what this truth is about is that we all do better when we are valuing our differences and bringing those to the table than if we are all coming from the same place. So to dive into this idea around diversity, what we're really going to look at is, How can we see somebody for their talent, and, and how does that specific talent -- in this case, Significance -- stand apart from others?

Jim Collison 9:13

We have some descriptor words. Another thing, another good thing to take some notes on, as well, that we've been using throughout the season. What are a few of those, Maika, that would really kind of describe someone with Significance?

Maika Leibbrandt 9:23

You could say they're outgoing, externally aware, motivated to inspire, connected to their audience, fueled by feedback, in touch with people, aware of what might outlast them, pioneering. I think there's an element of desire that shows up with Significance, this real magnetic attraction toward doing something important, and passion.

Jim Collison 9:51

Yeah, those are some great words. And so what unique perspective then does Significance bring to a team?

Maika Leibbrandt 9:58

They've got this ability to sort to what's going to make the biggest splash for key stakeholders, and that can help a team narrow their focus. They can keep their eye out for ways to measure their impact that really elevate what the team can contribute. Think about awards, classifications or even just social circles that make your team or your product more discoverable by people who need it or want it.

Jim Collison 10:25

So what -- how might you describe the gifts of Significance? What, what does it bring to a team that others want more of?

Maika Leibbrandt 10:31

Yeah. So looking at what's so great about Significance and what kind of a gift does it create? I think it's about that, that elevation of the work that will outlast them, the quickness to celebrate things that are really making a difference. What we know about our 5th truth of strong teams is that they turn into these magnets for talent; a way to spot a strong team is to look for the team that everybody wants to be a part of. And so, you can, you can imagine why people would want to be a part of a team with somebody who has Significance on it.

Maika Leibbrandt 11:05

When you think about what's attractive about it, it's this courage to be seen. And I think that can be really disarming and comforting to people. People with Significance don't pretend to hide, and they don't expect other people to hide either. That can look and translate like transparency, like honesty, like credibility, which does accelerate the building of relationships and connections within your team. There's this desire to work on meaningful, lasting projects, things that can inspire other people. And I think that can inspire their desire to look at almost a choosiness of where they want to spend their time, based on what's going to make a big impact, can inspire other people to set aside work that isn't going anywhere in favor of spending more time in those areas that are going to give you a greater return on investment.

Jim Collison 11:53

So any other thoughts on descriptors, you know, as we think about what this brings to a team or that other people want more of?

Maika Leibbrandt 12:00

Yeah, I think it's about keeping their eye out for what other people are looking for. A lot of these Influencing themes we talked about with Competition, being able to say, I'm not just going to get stuck with my head in the sand or stuck looking at our own personal results; I'm also going to be able to look left and right, and sort of understand what's relevant. And so, even from a strategic standpoint, that's another gift that Significance will bring to a team.

Jim Collison 12:24

OK, let's review those 5.

Maika Leibbrandt 12:26

So it's 1) Results, not conflict; 2) Do what's best for the organization and then move forward; 3) Work and personal lives matter; 4) They embrace diversity; and 5) They're magnets for talent. That 5th one might be a result of all the other 4 really firing on all cylinders, but use those to think about how you might evaluate a team through those truths. There is no one dream combination of talents, or of domains of talent, on a team. It's not about being well-balanced. It's about honoring the talents of the people that you do have in order to solve the challenges that you have in front of you.

Jim Collison 12:59

Maika, we've been spending all of this season and past season in Season 5 talking about this idea, talent-mindfulness, I think more important today than it's ever been. Take us through what you have for us today.

Maika Leibbrandt 13:10

This one's fun. So this is a practice to turn your focus on yourself and your own talents. It's not meant to unpack any themes but your own. And it's going to take us 3 to 5 minutes, and this will end our episode. So if talent-mindfulness isn't for you, you can go ahead and click ahead to hear Jim's final reminders toward the end.

Maika Leibbrandt 13:29

Here we go. Let's separate this exercise from the rest of your day. We'll make it -- separation happen here with a deep breath in. Fill your lungs and really hold that breath. Feel those lungs expand at the top. Release and exhale all the way out. Inhale again through your nose a breath full of refreshing air. And now we're ready to dive in. As you continue to breathe normally, you are welcome to close your eyes if you like, or just focus on yourself in a way that is comfortable to you. One of the 5 Clues to Talent is something we call "glimpses of excellence." I want to read you a passage from Soar With Your Strengths from Don Clifton. I've got the -- if you're watching a video, I have the old cover; doesn't look like this anymore, but I really like it. I think this has a lot to do with what we're talking about today. And hopefully it'll translate to you, even if you don't have Significance. It's about glimpses of excellence.

Maika Leibbrandt 14:42

You can spot a strength by glimpsing a moment of excellence within a performance. When we speak of performance, we're referring to a finite activity: the singing of a song, the writing of a letter, the presenting of a speech, the greeting of people at a function, the tallying of a hotel bill, the servicing of a customer in a restaurant. A performance is made up of a series of moments that can offer clues to a strength." Let's skip ahead to a little bit more about this where it goes further and says, Only the trained eye can glimpse moments of excellence. A top sales manager is able to glimpse a moment of excellence in a salesperson when they can clearly and directly ask for the order, zero in on the need and the thoughts of the customer, and ask exactly the right question, or exhibit perfect timing by knowing the right moment during the sale to ask, 'Can we sign?' One of the most effective ways to master this technique is by studying success. Only when you know what success looks like can you see its subtleties.

Maika Leibbrandt 15:54

For example, only when you study a Rolls Royce up close can you know what the hood ornament looks like. Notice the people around you, your associates, coworkers and directors. Watch them when they're at the peak of their performance. Notice how the chairman makes the decision and directs the company, the way your receptionist makes people feel very special, or how your top salesperson pauses dramatically while the prospect reaches for a pen. The more you study success, the more you will begin to see it. Along with that special insight comes the responsibility to applaud those glimpses in others as often as possible. As you go about your day today, do it with your eyes open to excellence. Make a point to applaud at least one moment of excellence that you see demonstrated in someone else. It won't help just them; it'll train your eye. And like tuning the radio past the static to the purest sound, adjusting our focus to something greater than "good," it helps us really pay attention to excellence. And that's your talent-mindfulness for today.

Jim Collison 17:25

Maika, where is Significance for you?

Maika Leibbrandt 17:29

The middle somewhere, not super high.

Jim Collison 17:33

Same, same for me. Mark had asked a question in the chat room about overlapping talents. We'll talk a little bit about that in the midshow. Just a great opportunity if you're ever able to join us live. And you can do that. Keep -- keep up with us; head out to Follow us there and you can do that as well.

Jim Collison 17:49

With that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantages of all the resources -- and I can't imagine we're making any more resources than we've ever made right now. Like I have never been so busy in the things that we're doing, either creating webcasts or writing content. You can get that all over at And if you want all the strengths-related go to And we have a lot of information available for you there, including, and it just came out today, the CliftonStrengths Community Insight Newsletter available for you there. You can subscribe to that at the bottom of any of those pages there. We'll deliver that to your inbox each and every month and some great opportunities. Today, right now, every, the whole world is talking about COVID-19. And we're spending a lot of time talking about that as well. But there will be other things in the future that will be there. And so you want to subscribe to stay up to date on that. If you have any questions after the fact, you can always send us an email: I mentioned about signing up at Eventbrite. But you can also follow us as a podcast. So if you haven't started doing that yet, either iPhone or Android both have a podcast app that you can use. And you can start downloading and listening to our podcasts. Just search "Gallup Webcasts." If you're on YouTube, there's a subscription button that's right below Maika right now. You can click on that; hit the "thumbs up" if you like the video. All those things are helpful to us. It just doesn't make us feel good; it actually promotes CliftonStrengths to the rest of the world. And so if you want to give us a "thumbs up" on that, greatly appreciated. Don't forget, we've just converted over the 2020 Gallup at Work Summit is now completely virtual. People been asking for that forever, as long as I can remember. And Maika is part of the group that put that together and is switching that over. And so if you haven't signed up, you can do it right now: $195 for everybody around the world, no matter what. You can just sign up, join us virtually, you can join us in those time zones, you can watch it later. There's going to be lots of great information that is there available. You can register between now and the beginning of June -- get that done sooner rather than later. We'd love everybody in the world to do it: Don't forget to join us in our Facebook group: Or on LinkedIn, you can search "CliftonStrengths Trained Coaches" and we will let you in there as well. I want to thank you for joining us today. If you're listening live, stay around for some midshow, and Woo, which is next. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

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