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CliftonStrengths Includer Theme: Teams and Managers

CliftonStrengths Includer Theme: Teams and Managers

Webcast Details

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

I am Jim Collison, and live from our virtual studios around the world, this is Gallup's Theme Thursday, Season 6, recorded on June 25, 2020.

Jim Collison 0:20

Theme Thursday is a Gallup webcast series that dives deep into the CliftonStrengths themes, one theme at a time -- and this season, is based on developing teams and managers with CliftonStrengths. And today's theme is Includer. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in our chat room. Actually, on the live page, there's a link right above me to that YouTube instance. Sign into the chat so we know that you are there. If you're listening after the fact and you have a question, you can always email us: And if you're listening on YouTube, go ahead and like and subscribe down below. It just kind of helps us get discovered. It is good on YouTube, and if you want to kind of advance strengths that way, it's very, very helpful. And of course in any podcast app, you can just search "Gallup Webcasts." Maika Leibbrandt is our host today. She's a Senior Workplace Consultant with me here at Gallup. Maika, always great to see you. Welcome to Nebraska!

Maika Leibbrandt 1:03

Thank you! It's great to be here. And great to be here in the shared space. I'm pretty excited about what we're doing this season -- it is going domain by domain, and really getting to understand and -- I think swim through the variance between every theme, to answer the question, not just, What is it that they do, but how do they do it? So we're in Relationship Building today. And we get to say, How does Includer help a team with this Relationship Building Domain? So really is about the idea of how do we create stronger teams by strengthening all the themes involved? I hope by the end of our session today, you don't just say, "Oh, Includer -- Relationship Building," but you can say, "Includer -- here's how they contribute to a strong team." And we're going to use the 5 Truths of Strong Teams that you can read a little bit more about in Strengths Based Leadership. But these 5 Truths are something that we've come to notice set really exceptionally strong teams apart from others.

Maika Leibbrandt 1:57

So let's do this. We'll dive into Includer across these 5. It's not scientifically connected, but it does offer, I think, a really great, consistent platform for us to more deeply understand the theme. The definition of Includer -- the short one -- is you accept others. You show awareness of those who feel left out and you make an effort to include them. And the first truth that we're going to explore Includer through is that "Conflict does not destroy strong teams, because strong teams focus instead on results."

Jim Collison 2:30

Maika, I've noticed for me, as we've been going through the Relationship Building themes, oftentimes those themes don't lend themselves to this idea of being results-oriented. They're kind of relationship-oriented. I don't think we always make that connection between -- our relationships and results. So how, how does focus, how do we, with -- in high Includer, focus on results?

Maika Leibbrandt 2:53

So, I think they'll see the value in incorporating everyone's individual results and motivations, when they consider a group and where the group wants to go. So to inspire someone with dominant Includer, to focus on results, you can do 2 things: First, you could ask them to educate the group on the individual goals that exist of every member. Second, you could focus on results that benefit everybody. So sort of 2 ways to really light up that Includer talent. But really, the truth that we're talking about here is about not just results, but the fact that results are more valuable than internal team conflict. So perhaps one unique value that Includer contributes to this team is that ability to naturally spot where people are coming from, especially when it's outside the gravitational pull of the whole team, and make room for those differences in a way that feels comfortable and integrated.

Jim Collison 3:46

And again, we wouldn't think of Includer as necessarily tracking that progress. But, I think it's important that they do -- how would they do that?

Maika Leibbrandt 3:52

I mean, everybody tracks progress, right? Probably shows up for Includer -- they're not just tracking their own scores, or their own milestones, but they're also curious about how other people are doing. So they might be great at helping your team consider what we are doing better together, how we could be incorporating different ideas, different people, or further expanding our perspectives, as part of an effort to progress toward creating those results that we all want to accomplish together.

Jim Collison 4:17

Now, that's great. Let's look at truth No. 2.

Maika Leibbrandt 4:21

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

Jim Collison 4:26

And how does someone with Includer focus on the larger goal or purpose, rather than just their own?

Maika Leibbrandt 4:32

I think if you set this up as a challenge for Includer, it could be some -- an opportunity for them to assert their, their influence here. You could say, "OK, how do we include the idea of the whole organization knowing that that is our charge in order to strengthen our team?" Includer, I think, in some ways helps expand our focus beyond just What's our team doing to what are other teams doing, what is the entire organization doing? It might be that someone with Includer focuses on the goals of people who are excluded within that team. If you have somebody with, with strong Includer on your team, feed that talent by asking them to partner more intentionally with teams outside of your own. I think about that as they can kind of -- create a collaborative bridge. And once that happens, ideas and innovation and perspectives can flow, flow more openly in both directions across that bridge.

Jim Collison 5:24

Yeah, and I love that idea of Includer focusing not on the benefit for me, but the benefit for we, in that, in that setting, right? Looking beyond themselves -- how would someone, how or what would inspire someone with Includer to take action?

Maika Leibbrandt 5:38

When they see someone being excluded or marginalized, they'll make an effort to even the playing field or expand the circle. They tend to have -- I mean this in a really positive way, but it's going to sound a little bit provocative -- they tend to have a very shallow entry to social connection. What I mean by that is, it doesn't take very much for them to extend an invitation, and that can mean, Hey, you can sit here or, you know, Come on in and see what our team is working on, or, Hey, we don't know you, and we want you to be part of it. In some ways, I think action, for somebody with Includer, is inspired simply by the opportunity to create a social connection. You might find that Includers are best among larger groups of people -- they might also be really great one-on-one, but the common theme is their ability to make other people feel like they are part of the whole, very quickly and very authentically.

Jim Collison 6:33

Yeah, we should quote that, feel like they're a part of the whole, like, I think that's a --

Maika Leibbrandt 6:38

With a "w."

Jim Collison 6:40

Correct. I guess context would matter. Let's look at No. 3.

Maika Leibbrandt 6:43

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

Jim Collison 6:48

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

Maika Leibbrandt 6:50

They're quick to extend a hand to invite people. It might feel like they have -- you know, they don't really have social walls. I'd say maybe they have social, like, speed bumps -- basically everyone gets in. They're quick to notice when someone is being excluded. They probably have a large circle of acquaintances. It doesn't mean they aren't choosy about close friends, and trusted advisers, but they're likely not drawn to exclusive situations or rules. They're more at ease when they know everyone has a fair shot.

Jim Collison 7:21

And what questions could a manager or a coach asked to help tap into this personal side of Includer?

Maika Leibbrandt 7:26

You could say, what is something interesting about your team? How do you quickly build rapport? What do you like best about your team, your neighborhood, your community? What's your favorite way to make someone feel welcome? I love that question. Who should we think about inviting to our next team meeting? Or who have you learned from lately?

Jim Collison 7:47

I do like that next team meeting idea of, at the end of the meeting, say, Hey, the next time we do this, who else should we invite? I think that's a just a super great question. Let's look at truth No. 4.

Maika Leibbrandt 7:58

This is that "Strong teams embrace diversity." They see the differences in each other. They know that when we honor those and help them have a voice to be heard, that we are stronger because of it. This is not saying that having different CliftonStrengths themes equals diversity. But what we are using this truth to do is to really say, What's different about Includer? What's, what value does it bring that, that creates a unique perspective?

Jim Collison 8:21

And what kind of descriptors could we use for this theme?

Maika Leibbrandt 8:24

Yeah, the people who have Includer on your team you could call them welcoming, inviting, inclusive -- I know, but it sounded, like, important to say. Open -- I think there's a social courage to Includer. They're your greeters, your comforters, and they tend to be pretty open-minded.

Jim Collison 8:43

And what is that unique perspective that Includer brings to a team?

Maika Leibbrandt 8:47
I think in expanding the team circle wider, they cultivate innovation. They're open to new people who typically bring different experiences, and that can keep the team fresh; it can keep the team creative. It can keep the team current and relevant. They care for the individuals on the team. They're aware of when we're making sweeping generalizations that don't necessarily account for everyone. They can be a champion for individual attention and really stand up for people who need a voice, or who need representation.

Jim Collison 9:19

If you can have a fave for truths, this is mine: truth No. 5.

Maika Leibbrandt 9:23

What do you love so much about this one, Jim?

Jim Collison 9:25

I just -- oh, I love the fact, I think teams -- teams working well just draw people to them. And, and that, that is just an amazing truth. Yeah. Let's talk about it.

Maika Leibbrandt 9:34

Yeah. And the way that we titled this is, "Strong teams are magnets for talent." But the way that you said it was even better -- teams that are really firing on all cylinders are drawing people toward them.

Jim Collison 9:43

Yeah. What is it about it that others are attracted to with Includer specifically?

Maika Leibbrandt 9:48

They notice you, especially when you feel like no one else is. They can remind you to consider perspectives that you might otherwise miss. And they are quickly comfortable around all kinds of people. Having someone on your team who's comfortable creates comfort for you. I think that encourages other people to let down their guard, or even at the very least, just to lead with positive expectations. That's sort of the, the barrier, or the entry point is, Let's just expect the best. Maybe the best is, Let's be seriously authentic together.

Jim Collison 10:19

Yeah. How would you describe that gift that Includer brings to a team that others would really want more of?

Maika Leibbrandt 10:24

They're easy to be around. I think their gift is social comfort; you'll feel like you fit in when you're with an Includer. And we could all use more of that. It's even better when you look around and see the diversity that they've brought to the table, right? So not only do you feel like you fit in, but somebody who might otherwise not be in your circle, also feels like they fit in, and that's, that's pretty powerful and magical.

Jim Collison 10:46

All right, let's review those 5 again.

Maika Leibbrandt 10:47

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) they are magnets for talent. So these again, are just 5 Truths of a Strong Team. Another way to say it is, there are 5 things that really exceptional teams we notice have going for them. So you might use these if you're coaching a team, or if you're helping a manager think about how their team could be a little bit more effective. Use these as areas that you could aim toward. And also, don't miss the opportunity to say, Which of these are we already great at? And why? How are we great at that? What kind of habits or unwritten rules exist here that we need to learn more from and re-create?

Jim Collison 11:28

Yeah, powerful in a team setting, for sure. We've been spending some time this season and last, talking through some talent-mindfulness exercises. I'm all geared up for this one. So Maika, what do you have for us today?

Maika Leibbrandt 11:38

Great. So this is a practice for you, about you, up to you. Just as a reminder, we know that strengths development doesn't just happen by taking the assessment, and it doesn't just happen by listening to this really great podcast. It takes purposeful focus on the best ways that your talent shows up in the world. So talent-mindfulness is a practice to help you remain in the space of strength, but make it more about you, and less about the specific theme we're talking about.

Maika Leibbrandt 12:07

Talent shows up all the time. Sometimes it shows up more obviously than others. Today, I want you to allow yourself a few minutes to reflect on a time in your recent memory, let's say the past 10 days, when you felt especially in the talent zone. So give yourself a moment. If you can, go ahead and close your eyes, relax your shoulders, maybe shake out your wrists and just feel your tension melt away a bit. I'd like you to take 10 seconds just to slow down your breathing a bit. ...

Maika Leibbrandt 12:53

Once you're here in this different space, try to think about all the big moments you've had in the past week. ... When was a time you experienced success? ... What went well, even if it seems kind of small or insignificant right now? ... What was a time recently, when you did something that you'd write down as being a win? ... If you can narrow your focus just on one recent win in the past 10 days -- let's get a little bit more detailed. We're going to study this moment. What exactly did you do? Where were you? What sounds did you hear? If you were going to go and, and replay the tape, what would you notice?

Maika Leibbrandt 14:18

Now let's stay on that idea of replaying the tape of the success. And let's say you could zoom out a little bit -- that the tape recorded a bigger picture than, than even you were seeing. As you zoom out in that highlight reel, who else would you notice contributed to your success? This time, don't just think about what you did. But imagine, you have the ability to scroll left or right, or up or down, and, and find someone who supported you. Maybe their support came as encouragement. Maybe it showed up as a challenge. Maybe they contributed to your success through conflict or difference. Maybe it's someone who just expected you to do great things. ...

Maika Leibbrandt 15:22

I'd like to help you narrow your focus even farther now. Just a few discoveries you'll carry with you today. I'm going to read you 2 very specific questions. You fill in the answers in your brain. And if you want, later, you can replay this, and write them down. Question 1: When you were successful recently, which of your talents was showing up best? ... Question 2: What is one way someone else supported your success? ...

Maika Leibbrandt 16:19

Sometimes that's all it takes -- mindful reflection on what works when it's working. That's your talent-mindfulness for today.

Jim Collison 16:29

I'd love to hear some of those stories. The success stories, like, you know, we get so, sometimes we get so few of those moments that -- this is one of the things I've appreciated about this talent-mindfulness, Maika, is you bring us to remember those things that are important. Like, and I think too often, we let those moments pass by.

Jim Collison 16:52

I was spending some time last night on the deck with Sammy, my daughter -- many of you, if you listen, you listen long enough, you know her -- she's a big strengths fan. And she just thanked me for being a good Dad. Like, and you, like you don't get, when, when do you get that? Yeah, it was pretty great. It's pretty great. We've had an extended time together, you know, during this pandemic, and she's been home, and we've spent a lot of time together. And you just -- it's easy to let one of those things go by, like, you know, it's just easy to kind of just think, "OK, you're welcome." You know, whatever, right?

Jim Collison 17:23

But to, I think, to sit down and really bring those moments back -- those successful moments, and I think this can be in any theme. You know, talent-mindfulness didn't dig in just on Includer, although that's part of it -- but, but, you know, I think it's, I think it's important that we replay those successes, because we surely -- we surely replay those failures -- a lot. And, and I think we have good opportunity to replay those, to replay those successes.

Jim Collison 17:49

So speaking of success, we'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we have available now on Gallup Access. Easiest way to access that: And there's more resources than you can consume out there. So give it a try. I'd love you to try to -- have you get to the end of the internet on that one: We've got a lot of stuff available for you out there as well. If you want to listen to us as a podcast, you can do that as well: search "Gallup Webcasts" on any podcast platform. If you're on YouTube, like and subscribe while you're out there. If you have any questions, send us an email: Join us on Eventbrite to make, stay up-to-date on all the new programs that are coming out, and we have a ton coming up for you. Head out to On Facebook, you can join us at, and I think someone joined us already, from just the last live show. So thanks for jumping in that Facebook group, and great, great conversations going on there. If you don't want to do Facebook, and that's OK, LinkedIn search "Gallup" -- sorry, search: "CliftonStrengths Trained Coaches." And that will get you there as well. We'll get Maika back here for the, for the midshow. And I want to say thank you for joining us today. We'll be back with one more, if you're listening live, and with that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

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