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CliftonStrengths Harmony Theme: Teams and Managers

CliftonStrengths Harmony Theme: Teams and Managers

Webcast Details

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

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison, and live from our virtual studios around the world, or at least in Nebraska, this is Gallup's Theme Thursday, Season 6, recorded on June 25, 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's theme is Harmony. If you're listening live, join us in the chat room. If you're on the YouTube page, or if you're on our live page, there's a link right above me that has the YouTube instance, you can take it to it. That also works, or the recorded version, by the way, the chat room will go along with the video. So if you've missed it, or if you're listening on the podcast side of things, head out to YouTube, check it out. It's a great experience. If you have questions after the fact, you can always send us an email: And I mentioned, subscribe to us there on YouTube; like the video -- that, that always helps us out, and then you can subscribe to this as a podcast just by searching "Gallup Webcasts." Maika Leibbrandt is our host today. She's a Workplace Consultant with me here at Gallup. And Maika, great to see you. Welcome back to Theme Thursday!

Maika Leibbrandt 1:08

Thanks, Jim. Great to be here. You know, this season we are talking about managers and teams. And in order to do that, we're diving into every single one of our 34 CliftonStrengths themes through the lens of team. We know from our studies in leadership that strong teams have 5 things going for them. You can read more about those 5 in the introductory pages around page 27, in the English copy of the book, Strengths Based Leadership. Today, we're going to use these 5 Truths of a Strong Team to talk about Harmony, and we're going domain by domain. So we are kind of right there, marinating in the middle of those Relationship Building themes. And I hope that after we've unpacked Harmony across these 5 truths of how they contribute to, to a strong team, you can walk away with a greater appreciation for what this theme brings individually. Not just saying, "Oh, it's a Relationship Building theme, so it means they build relationships," but in instead, really being able to honor and appreciate and maybe, actively even use, your Harmony to answer that question of how do they build relationships? And how does that connect to strengthening a team?

Maika Leibbrandt 2:11

So let's start here with a short definition of Harmony that you'll find written this way, if it's on your Top 5 or your Top 10 of your CliftonStrengths 34 Report. If you have Harmony, you look for consensus, you don't enjoy conflict, rather you seek areas of agreement. And as a quick reminder, we've got 5 previous seasons that go even deeper into defining and helping you name and value Harmony. What we're going to talk about today is, How do we aim that toward, toward helping create a stronger team? The first truth of strong teams is fun to talk about with Harmony because it's specifically about conflict, which we talked about in the definition. The first truth of a strong team is how they handle conflict. "Conflict doesn't destroy a strong team because strong teams focus on results."

Jim Collison 2:59

So while there might be conflict in the title, or the definition of this one, when we think about focusing on results with Harmony, that's kind of interesting. So Maika, what does it mean to focus on results with Harmony?

Maika Leibbrandt 3:09

So someone with dominant Harmony talent is going to calibrate on shared goals across a team. They can quickly focus on what is similar across people -- what they agree on. They can find those areas where they're on the same page. They can also create them, through, I think, snippets of agreement, and then branch out from there. So, if you were setting a scale to weigh something, Harmony is going to set that empty weight, or that tare, as where we agree. That, that's their starting point. So focusing on results for Harmony means they'll do 2 things. 1) They're going to be drawn to the shared goals or the shared agreement across the team -- the goals or the results that are equally important to people; and 2) Their own results that they're focusing on, or their own goals are going to be those that create agreement or consensus among others.

Jim Collison 4:00

So how would Harmony track progress then?

Maika Leibbrandt 4:03

Probably by checking in with other people -- either out loud or even through their own gut feeling on how everyone is responding to or feeling regarding the progress toward a goal. So we might all start at the same beginning and all have this agreement of here's where we're going. But someone with Harmony can help your team understand what has changed as we get closer to those results that we're aiming toward. They can help you understand what the implications of anything that, that anything that has changed maybe, and how we can recalibrate, to continue to progress together through areas of agreement.

Jim Collison 4:40

OK, let's look at truth No. 2.

Maika Leibbrandt 4:42

The second truth of strong teams -- it says "Strong teams prioritize what's best for the organization, and then they move forward."

Jim Collison 4:50

So how does someone with Harmony focus kind of on the, the larger goal, rather than just their own?

Maika Leibbrandt 4:55

Pretty naturally. You'll find with a lot of these Relationship Building themes that they are pretty others-focused, or they make sense of things through other people. It's no different for Harmony. It might be incredibly important, I think for someone with dominant Harmony to always have a home base, a comfort zone of at least one shared priority across the team, or across the organization. That's going to help them account for variance in areas where people are not on the same page -- in areas where there is conflict or disagreement, or even just emotionally differing perspectives. But if that person with Harmony can explicitly see the areas of agreement that hold true to, say, one shared value or one shared agreement of where we're going, and what's important, that's going to help them have a platform to stand on when they can bring other people into agreement, and help us practically move forward together.

Maika Leibbrandt 5:51

So you might consider, if this is somebody on your team, you might consider making them the defender of the team values, or providing them a platform to share what those ultimate shared motivations are for the team, the organization or the community. Now depending on their other themes, this might be something that you just want them to whisper into your ear as the manager, knowing that they've got their finger on the pulse of where we agree and where we don't. It may also be something that you want to hand them the microphone, and help them sort of -- hand them the megaphone might even be a better picture, and help them shout it from the rooftops.

Jim Collison 6:23

What might inspire someone with Harmony to take action?

Maika Leibbrandt 6:27

You know, they're going to notice areas where conflict is not necessary, because to them, consensus speaks more loudly. So I would say that someone with Harmony is inspired when they see potential to agree more than we already are. In order to activate on that insight, someone with Harmony needs exposure to everyone who's involved. So find ways that they can spend time -- either individually or as a group, with their team, with their coworkers. Encourage them to discuss their approach to a current challenge or even just share meaningful, personal motivations because the closer they can get to the people, the more they can understand, and sort of, I think, feel out those areas of potential agreement.

Jim Collison 7:13

Sounds like we need some Harmony folks right now. Doesn't it?

Maika Leibbrandt 7:16

We sure do. I think -- you'll notice in the talent-mindfulness today, this one's pretty different. But it really is -- I think about somebody with Harmony in a team being the person who can take those highs and lows of the emotion of a team, and sort of just soften the peaks and valleys. They're the, the emotional neutralizer.

Jim Collison 7:34

Especially as we think at a, at a national or global level, sometimes it seems we can get a little, you know, we can get a little hopeless because it's like, I don't know if I can have an effect and yet, at the local level -- down when we meet in teams, and in groups, that can have -- people with Harmony can have a huge impact.

Maika Leibbrandt 7:49

I think about, you know, set against where we are right now, and I know that people will listen to this for decades to come, but as humans we're always in conflict, right? Guns, germs, steel. But the effect that Harmony can always have isn't, I'm going to solve it. I'm going to make everybody get along. It's, I found a place where we can start. Right? It's, it's not, This is going to be the solution, but it is, Hey guys, I see one simple area that we agree upon, and if we can -- it's sort of like, I think about somebody with Harmony as being -- if you're climbing a mountain, they're that one foothold that helps you take the next step.

Jim Collison 8:24

I used the word "consensus," and I really, earlier -- I really like that word. OK. Let's look at truth No. 3.

Maika Leibbrandt 8:31

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

Jim Collison 8:36

And how might Harmony show up in somebody's personal life?

Maika Leibbrandt 8:39

I think sometimes they could appear to be eagerly agreeable. It doesn't mean they don't have their own opinions. When they share what they're feeling, you will know. They're likely good at helping defuse emotion, finding ways to go around conflict toward agreement instead, instead of through conflict toward agreement. They might be advocates for change; champions offering solutions other than argument. I think maybe social justice issues could be incredibly important or even just conversations about collaboration, about togetherness, about where we agree.

Jim Collison 9:17

One of the tools we've been giving, as, I think, a really important part of the podcast this season in Season 6, are these questions that managers can use. Maybe they see this in someone's personal life, and that can translate in what they're doing on the team. What are some questions, and by the way, they're in this for every one we've done this season, go back, they're available in the transcripts if you want to see those. What are some questions a manager could bring -- or could ask someone with Harmony?

Maika Leibbrandt 9:39

You could say, What brings you peace? How have you helped people reach agreement? What do you like best about your community? What sorts of activities make you feel calm or connected? Jim mentioned, all these are in every single podcast; you could ask them yourself. You could also ask everybody on your team to listen to one of these podcasts of their Top 5 and come with some answers to those questions.

Jim Collison 10:03

I like No. 2; that's my favorite. Truth No. 4.

Maika Leibbrandt 10:07

"Strong teams embrace diversity." What we know is that having a team composed of individuals who look at issues similarly, or have been the product of comparable backgrounds, who have experienced similar track records of, and approaches of solving problems, is not a sound basis for success -- that when we come from different places, we're actually quite, quite a bit stronger.

Jim Collison 10:28

And if we're gonna boil this down, what would be some descriptors that we could use for Harmony?

Maika Leibbrandt 10:32

Yeah, so what we're looking at across this truth is just what is different about the theme that you might not get from other themes, and one way to do that is to give it some descriptive words. So for somebody with Harmony, you might call them intuitive, a referee, a connector, a builder. There's an element of social efficiency to Harmony, that it really is, I think, practical, agreement-seeking; in some ways, quietly influential, and -- I threw in this word too -- focused. I think that there is something about Harmony, where it's almost an impatience with -- arguments that they know are not going to go anywhere, and a desire to laser beam in on something that we can all see from a similar angle -- looking for consensus and really focusing on it.

Jim Collison 11:18

What, what unique perspective does Harmony bring to a team, do you think?

Maika Leibbrandt 11:21

Well, they can help focus the team on areas where we agree. They can spend more of their energy moving forward, or the whole team can, once we do that -- and less energy aligning together. So, you know, to borrow something maybe most of us are familiar with, it's less storming and more forming -- or less forming and more storming. So it's, it's less about how do we get along, and more about let's move forward -- here's where we agree. I think when tensions rise, they can defuse the emotions of extremes. We talked about that sort of neutralizing the highs and lows, bringing everyone back to a positive space. They don't really run super hot or super cold. They tend to be pretty steady, and that can create stability and comfort. I think it's one of those things that you certainly notice when they're gone. It's, Harmony tends to be a little bit quieter, a little bit gentler than some of these other themes. But gosh, when they're not around, you, you certainly miss that that quiet calmness.

Jim Collison 12:17

I like, I think you said quiet influencer. I like that. I like that term. OK, let's look at truth No. 5.

Maika Leibbrandt 12:23

This is "Strong teams are magnets for talent." We know that great talent hangs out with with other great talent. But that's sort of the, the, the result of all of this, and what, what this truth is really about is, if you want to spot a strong team or figure out where you're really strong, look at that team that everybody's scrambling to be a part of.

Jim Collison 12:42

And what are others attracted to? What is this Harmony? What does it do to attract people?

Maika Leibbrandt 12:46

What's magnetic about it, right? The emotional safety of not getting too wrapped up in, in conflict -- the practical comfort of getting to work on areas that we agree upon. Their instinctive ability to detect common ground. They can find potential for really great shared goals that other people might miss altogether simply because they're not looking for them.

Jim Collison 13:10

And how might you describe that gift that Harmony brings, that others will want more of?

Maika Leibbrandt 13:15

You know, there, there's something steady about the way that they approach their work. They're likely to find something that they can agree with, and align with, and that makes them excellent supporters, but it also makes them truly inspirational leaders. If you can have -- if you're lucky enough to have someone on your team with high Harmony -- make an intentional effort to pick up on what they're picking up. Ask them if there are opportunities for partnership, or for collaboration among the team that maybe we're missing. Ask them about motivations of individuals that are distracting. They can bring really, I think, a focused sense of emotion that helps everyone move forward.

Jim Collison 13:51

All right, let's review the 5 again.

Maika Leibbrandt 13:53

1) Results, not conflict. 2) Do what's best for the organization, and then move forward. 3) Work and personal lives are equally important. 4) They embrace diversity, and 5) strong teams are magnets for talent. You can read more about these in Strengths Based Leadership, you can hire a Gallup-Certified Coach to help your team work through it. You can also just think about these 5 as, perhaps, opportunities for you to aim toward. I think it's important that when you're looking at the strengths DNA of your team profile, you're doing it in pursuit of a specific goal. Here's 5 goals that you could choose to focus on.

Jim Collison 14:26

Coaches, it may be a great idea to walk your managers through these goals to remind them, just like we've done for you every single week here on Theme Thursday. Just a great opportunity to work through this. Speaking of great opportunity, Maika, we've spent a bunch of time this season, and last, working through some talent-mindfulnesses. What do you have for us? Did I say "talent-mindfulnesses"? Are they ... ?

Maika Leibbrandt 14:44

I think I planted that in your brain by saying multiple mindfulnesses. I got this one. If you're new to this, talent-mindfulness is different from the rest of our podcast. It will be the last 3 to 5 minutes, and we'll wrap up Harmony after this. So if it's not for you, just skip ahead and hear Jim close. But today is gonna be a little bit different than previous talent-mindfulness exercises. This is still a practice for you. So set down that idea to learn more about Harmony, and instead shuffle into a different space, if you can. The, what makes today's different is, it's not reflection, and it's not projection. It's just 3 to 5 minutes where I invite you to clear your head and pay attention to the natural rhythms of thought and feeling that you have inside you. It's not scientifically or overtly linked to the Harmony theme, but it might help you experience, through mindfulness, one of the effects that someone with Harmony can bring to a team.

Maika Leibbrandt 15:46

So get comfortable; do something to focus your attention. Close your eyes if you can. This is one you shouldn't do if you're driving. So if you're listening to this while you're driving, just press pause, flag this and come back to it later. Slow your breathing. Slow your thinking. Slow the cycle of "must do," "should do," "need to do" that spins inside your head. Imagine a single string of brightly colored yarn tied to you on one end, and on the other end, tied to each thing you need to do. Maybe you have lots of strings coming out of you, in many different directions. One string for every commitment you have today -- every task, every person, every expectation. It can feel tense. It can feel overwhelming. It can feel like a messy knot. Allow that feeling to be there.

Maika Leibbrandt 17:02

And for this time right now, you have no job to do. The only commitment that matters is for you to be here with yourself. The only person you're accountable for, in this moment, is you. For the next few minutes -- and those might be the only few minutes of your week even -- you are not available for anyone or anything else. Imagine the tension of those strings of yarn releasing. That bright-colored yarn that was once connected to so many other places is released, and falls to the floor. As you look down, before you can see those piles of yarn on the floor, they disappear into thin air, and they're gone. You are free to be present with yourself. So let's make the most of that. For just a while, I'm going to be silent and let you get acquainted with your own self. If you need something to hold your attention in this space, you might focus on your breath. Or you might focus on this phrase: "All I need is within me now." ...

Maika Leibbrandt 18:48

Without the highs and lows of your commitments, your expectations or your plans, where does your mind go? Imagine this sacred space lasted. If you had the rest of this day to follow your own ideas or desires, what would you most want to spend it doing? ... What does that tell you about your strengths? ... Which of your strengths is yearning to be called upon? ... Which of your instincts is ready to help you solve a problem? ... What part of you do you need to listen to more closely? ... What answer do you have within you, just begging for you to hear? ... I'll be quiet for just a few more moments. ...

Maika Leibbrandt 20:50

Remember those pieces of yarn? They're beautiful. Our connection to work, our promises that we make to ourselves and to others -- we're wired for that. We are -- we're made to make great things, to do great things. Life isn't about retreat or release. It's about using what we have to improve our lives and the lives of others. Each of those brightly colored pieces of yarn -- each of those must-dos, and should-dos and said-I-woulds -- they each work better when we listen, when we offer just enough patience to hear others, and serve others, and be present with others. But we have to start by paying ourselves and our own talents that same grace. Thanks for listening to yourself today. Next, you can take those pieces of yarn back and listen more intentionally to other people. That's your talent-mindfulness for today.

Jim Collison 22:04

Thanks for doing that, Maika. Appreciate that. Always good to have some time of reflection. We'd love to hear, by the way, how you're using these. What, what kind of results are you seeing with them? Send us an email: We'd love to, love to hear from you, that as well.

Jim Collison 22:20

Just a couple reminders on the way out. One, if you want to get access to all our resources around strengths, available on our CliftonStrengths page, just go to, really the portal -- and actually it's got a brand-new kind of front-end, look, look and feel. We, we just updated that here last weekend. Check it out. If you haven't been out there in a while, -- the easiest way to sign into Gallup Access that way. As well, if you have questions, you can email us: If you want to follow the live schedule of all the live programs we do, maybe you should come out and join us live -- the best is live -- follow us on Eventbrite: Love to have you join us on our Facebook group: And of course on LinkedIn -- maybe you're not a Facebooker, and that's OK -- join us by searching "CliftonStrengths Trained Coaches" on LinkedIn. We'd love to have you do that as well. If you're listening live, stay around for a little bit of the midshow. We'll do that, and again, live is best, but thanks for listening to the recorded version as well. We'll see you back here. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

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

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