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CliftonStrengths Relator Theme: Teams and Managers

CliftonStrengths Relator Theme: Teams and Managers

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Theme Thursday Webcast Series
  • Season 6, Relator
  • "Strong themes, stronger teams": Learn how your team can own its Relator 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 Relator 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, this is Gallup's Theme Thursday, Season 6, recorded on June 25, 2020.

Jim Collison 0:19

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 Relator. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in our chat room. That's actually in a link right above us on main video window. Join us in there check in let us know you're listening. If you have questions after the fact you can send us an email: Don't forget, if you're on YouTube, subscribe and click the notification bell and select "All"; that way you get notified whenever we go live or we produce something new. There's a -- there's also a Like button down there. That's also super helpful, not vain, but go ahead and click on it. We appreciate it; helps us get discovered. And then if you want to listen to us as a podcast, just search "Gallup Webcasts" on any podcast platform. Maika Leibbrandt is our host today. She's a Senior Workplace Consultant with me here at Gallup. Maika, always great to see you. And welcome back to this unprecedented third-in-a-row Theme Thursday!

Maika Leibbrandt 1:07

Thank you. It's great to be here. "Unprecedented" might describe Season 6; I think it's only the second time that we've gone domain by domain. And it's been really fun to progress through each of the 4 Leadership Domains of CliftonStrengths, and dive into them. And not just say, Gosh, what does it mean? But what does this uniquely mean for how every single theme leads to stronger teams? So this season, we're going to explore every single theme through the 5 Truths of a Strong Team. It's not a scientific connection; it's just a really great, consistent way for us to think about how do we honor and amplify every single theme on a team?

Maika Leibbrandt 1:44

So today, we're talking about Relator. Relator is a pretty common theme, actually, when it shows up in our entire database in people's Top 5. So chances are, if you don't have it yourself, you know or love someone who does, and I'm excited that by the end of our time together today, we'll help you think about Relator as it relates to a team.

Maika Leibbrandt 2:03

So let's start with the quick definition. If you have high Relator, you enjoy close relationships with other people. You find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal. And the first truth of a strong team that we'll explore Relator through is how they handle conflict. So "Conflict does not destroy strong teams, because they are prepared instead to focus on results."

Jim Collison 2:27

What does it mean -- so for someone who has high Relator, what does it mean, "focus on results"? Because you're working with people, so that might seem a little self serving. Maika, clear that up.

Maika Leibbrandt 2:36

Well, Relator is inspired by goals that they share with people that they care deeply about. To someone with dominant Relator talent, results matter even more when they live outside their own independent experience. If you're leading a team with lots of Relator talent on it, you might notice that you have to build those bridges between people's goals; that they might not automatically open them up and share them or sense them. But when each person understands the, the results that are important to the people that they're working with, and when you get that opportunity to share them out loud across the team, there's really great power in their ability to, I think, build a net and, and move forward in honor of and with enthusiasm toward the shared goals of other people.

Jim Collison 3:22

I have a team member -- I have high Relator, and I have a team member that I meet with every day and I really enjoy that time that we have together to kind of plan and prepare and talk about some things. How can a Relator -- how does Relator track that progress then?

Maika Leibbrandt 3:36

I think through the lens of their closest friends or their closest confidants. You might find that, in general, people with high Relator tend to think best through people that they trust. So they'll need to look to those people who they're close to for feedback, for encouragement, even for development. And that'll likely mean the most to them when it comes from people that they have an existing important relationship with. So I would say, if you want to look at tracking progress, encourage them to share their progress with their best friend, with a mentor, or even, as you mentioned, Jim, with somebody else every day.

Jim Collison 4:08

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

Maika Leibbrandt 4:11

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

Jim Collison 4:16

And how can someone with Relator kind of focus on that larger goal, rather than just their own?

Maika Leibbrandt 4:21

Relator is about the one-on-one relationships, more than it is the connection to a big group of people. So help them get inspired by what's best for the organization by highlighting what that means on a one-on-one level. So you might talk about values that the organization stands for -- anything you can do to humanize the team or the company's priorities by sharing stories of what those goals mean, one person at a time. I think that's going to help Relator naturally see how what they care about and what they want to work hard for is coming back to relationships and, and individual people.

Jim Collison 4:56

And what inspires someone with Relator to take action?

Maika Leibbrandt 4:59

You can see in the definition that it really is about working hard with close friends. So sometimes in practice, that can look like defending people that they care about; opportunities to deepen existing relationships. So, from a practical standpoint, think about Relators getting to work with other Relators on a project. You'll find that someone with Relator tends to be more comfortable around people they already know and share a relationship with than they are with newer people. And you'll likely find a different energy about them when they're in those, those one-on-one, close-colleague places. It doesn't mean you shouldn't introduce them to somebody else. It does mean that if you need to pair up, or I think we even talk about really great practices for -- across generations within a workplace is this idea of mutual mentorship. Set it up and care for the introduction of that relationship just as you would caring for the goal that the -- that that partnership needs to adhere.

Jim Collison 5:57

Yeah, like what I kind of hear you saying is for Relators, this, this -- it can be a talent amplification in the context of these relationships. The relationships themselves amplify talent.

Maika Leibbrandt 6:09

I like "talent amplification"! That sounds like something you should be able to like plug in to the -- somewhere!

Jim Collison 6:16

Kind of wonder-twin powers. OK, let's look at truth No. 3.

Maika Leibbrandt 6:20

That's the best thing you've ever said in 7 years! "Wonder twin powers"; "Talent amplification!" Focus, Maika! All right. No. 3: "Members of strong teams" -- here we go -- "are as committed to their personal lives as they are to their work."

Jim Collison 6:36

And how, for Relator, how does it show up maybe in someone's personal life?

Maika Leibbrandt 6:39

It doesn't turn off, right. So their personal life and their relationships are the, are the same thing. And they're are a whole lot stronger when they can find some of those best friends at work, right, when it feels like the people that they're working with would also be the people that they would hang out with. It doesn't mean they're always going to be. If you think about what does Relator look like outside of work, they probably have fewer friends, but they're very close. They probably enjoy spending time with their VIP tribe. When they're around people that they know and love, there's this extra beauty and energy to them.

Maika Leibbrandt 7:10

They might take a while to get to know because they want to invest their social resources into those places that are going to yield really beautiful long-term connections. That doesn't mean they're, they're closed. In fact, it means that they've always got that "connection radar" up in some way. They are seeing people through potential to connect, potential for authenticity and honesty and sincerity and, really, I think relationship longevity.

Jim Collison 7:36

What questions could a manager or a coach ask to kind of tap into this personal side of Relator?

Maika Leibbrandt 7:43

Who are some of your oldest, closest friends? What do you love about your close circle of friends? What kind of a person do you like working with? What makes you a good listener? Who do you enjoy spending time with? What is a success in the life of a friend or a family member? So asking them, again, to identify the successes of other people. What do you love most about the place where you live?

Jim Collison 8:11

How about truth No. 4?

Maika Leibbrandt 8:14

Truth No. 4 is -- it's only four words, and I think it can be quickly misunderstood. "Strong teams embrace diversity." This is bigger than saying that a difference of CliftonStrengths means you've got diversity handled. What this really means is that we know strong teams are made up of people with different ideas and different experiences. And that difference accounts for a lot of their success. So in this one, we're talking about Relator, and what kind of a difference it brings that other themes don't.

Jim Collison 8:42

And what kind of descriptor words can we use for this?

Maika Leibbrandt 8:45

Relator -- I think you can talk about them as being loyal, honest, trustworthy. It's a social depth. We've done three -- we've recorded three live [Theme Thursday webcasts] today, and I think I've had social depth, social courage and social comfort.

Jim Collison 9:00

That, that sounds like a Curt-esque triplet!

Maika Leibbrandt 9:02

I caught that one. The others were Includer and Harmony. Authentic -- sometimes you could talk about Relator on your team as being the "friendship glue," loving, connected, a defender or a champion.

Jim Collison 9:16

And what unique perspective does Relator bring to a team?

Maika Leibbrandt 9:19

When someone with Relator is solving a problem, they're going to likely turn to other people they know well as a first resource in search of solutions. So you can tap into this talent; you can ask the Relator on your team to consider who do they know that has expertise in a specific area? Who in their circle has prevailed over a similar challenge? Or maybe even simply, who do you want to work with more closely in order to come up with a new solution?

Jim Collison 9:43

All right, let's look at truth No. 5.

Maika Leibbrandt 9:46

This is "Strong teams are magnets for talent." Or, another way to spot a strong team is to look for the one everyone wants to be a part of.

Jim Collison 9:53

Yeah, and this kind of seems like a no-brainer, but what will others be attracted to in Relator?

Maika Leibbrandt 9:58

There's an honesty and an authenticity about Relator. There really isn't a desire for pretense or, you know, longing to make small talk or enter into social circumstance just for the sake of it. If they're interested and curious about you, they're fully present. They're not just sort of dipping their toe into the water. I think there's something really attractive and magnetic about the longevity of relationships that people with high Relator have. They are especially talented at picking up where they left off. They're those people in your life who maybe you don't talk to for years, but when you do, it feels like no time has passed. They're very good at caring for the people in their life and tending to and maintaining the connections with those people. So they'll remind you to nurture the collaboration on your team and not just execute on the goal.

Jim Collison 10:44

How might you describe that gift that Relator brings to a team that others may be attracted to and want more of?

Maika Leibbrandt 10:50

They keep the group connected. I think about Relator as potentially being a conduit between people. They aren't casting a wide net to be everyone's bestie. But among the people they're really close to, they're really close to them. So they'll champion their cause; they'll defend them boldly. Having somebody like this stand up for you, or even stand up for your team as a whole, that's something that keeps the entire team, I think, repeating that same kind of positive behavior.

Jim Collison 11:20

Had a conversation yesterday with, with a kind of a new team member that we had, you know, started at a 15-minute phone call that went an hour and a half and got really, really serious and very, very deep in a conversation that was very, very important. And it, that just kind of reminds me of this as we think about Relator. That just kind of reminds me of that team effect of being able to, to really go deep and dig in and talk about some pretty difficult conversations to have in there. Maika, remind us of these 5 again.

Maika Leibbrandt 11:52

These are the 5 Truths of a Strong Team. You can read more in Strengths Based Leadership. It's 1) Focus on results, not conflict. 2) Do what's best for the organization and then move forward. 3) Work lives and personal lives are equally important. 4) They embrace diversity. And 5) They are magnets for talent. You might use these 5 to name what's going really well and explore how you could repeat some of those behaviors to solve maybe some problems or challenges that your team is working with.

Jim Collison 12:17

Maika, during the season and last, we've been spending some time doing talent, talent-mindfulness exercises. Really looking forward to this one. So what do you have for us today?

Maika Leibbrandt 12:25

Maybe we could call it "talentful-mindedness"; I like that even better.

Jim Collison 12:28

Well, after doing three in a row, that's probably the way I'd say it. So looking forward to this.

Maika Leibbrandt 12:32

We're at that place right now. This is a practice for you. It's our attempt to practically apply the research that we have that suggests strengths discovery and strengths identification are not the same thing. So strengths development, really, that, that desire to make more of the identification that you've, you've made by taking the assessment, has to be focused and has to be frequent. So we're going to help you focus for just 5 minutes. And if you're doing this every week, hopefully it's frequent. But just spend the next 3 to 5 minutes on yourself, really turning your attention inward to your own talent. You are worth it!

Maika Leibbrandt 13:09

This one's fun. It's a bit of a visualization exercise. I'd like you to maybe close your eyes, if you're comfortable with that. Imagine you're in charge of a very important mission. You are about to embark on something risky, something high-profile, something meaningful to you that will shape your very future on this planet. Now, imagine a room that's been set up for you to go to just to plan this mission. It is well-stocked with refreshments, with resources. This room has been arranged to match and support the very best ways that you think, the very best ways that you communicate, and the very best, most unique ways that you plan and execute. There's no one else in the room.

Maika Leibbrandt 14:02

Imagine walking around this room, seeing what's there. What kinds of resources are in this strategy room for you? What tools do you see? Imagine picking up something in this room that you're especially excited to have there as part of your mission-planning space. Explore it, appreciate it and set it back down. As you're exploring this, this specially curated space, notice there's a table in the room with just a few chairs. They're all empty. Imagine yourself taking a seat in the one that you like best. And as you sit at this table, allow yourself to be reminded of the seriousness of your calling. Remember, you're about to embark on the most meaningful mission of your life -- one that will be fraught with danger, risk, potential to change you and others, hopefully for the better, but definitely for good. And now you notice, there are 3 empty chairs. Let's spend the rest of our time thinking about who you want sitting with you.

Maika Leibbrandt 15:25

You can select anyone that you know personally, and we're going to have a practical "ask" at the end of this. So they do need to be currently living and reachable and someone you have a personal relationship with -- not a celebrity or a figure that you can sort of dream up in your head.

Maika Leibbrandt 15:44

In the first empty chair, I'd like you to think about inviting someone who helps you grow. Who in your life challenges you to be better? This is a person who guides and inspires you. Who would you nominate to sit in that chair as a great developer of you? ...

Maika Leibbrandt 16:24

In the next chair, let's select someone else. In this chair, invite someone who helps you get things done. Who in your life helps you execute? Who is easy to work alongside? Who are you around when you're doing your best work or producing really great results? ...

Maika Leibbrandt 17:00

And then the third chair, invite someone who creates joy in your life. In all the people that you know, who makes you feel like you can exhale, like you can relax and just be yourself? Offer this chair to someone you just really like to be around.

Maika Leibbrandt 17:32

We could keep going. In fact, Gallup research would suggest there are 8 different kinds of vital friends that we all need in our lives. But for today, I'd like you to stay in this imaginary mission-planning room and look around the table at 3 of your most vital partners. Imagine they look back at you with a knowing smile, and allow yourself to feel the expanse of potential that you have together. You're ready to go now; you've assembled at least your VIP table of supporters, and you will together take on this mission because the mission is your life. Your one precious life that is yours to direct, yours to use, yours to enjoy.

Maika Leibbrandt 18:28

Now before you leave this perfectly curated imaginary room, take one last look around the table and consider what you are doing in real life to care for these relationships. How can you in real life make a commitment, before you leave this brain space, to improve each of these relationships by just 1%? What can you do today? What can you do over the next week? ...

Maika Leibbrandt 19:07

You might need to continue to think about that. So let's take a deep breath and come back to the space that we're all sharing outside of our own mission-planning rooms. Active investment in our relationships is investment in ourselves. It's how we build and maintain the container for our potential. Our relationships, in many ways, are the representation of how our talent exists outside of ourselves. The mission that you have has never been more crucial. Invest in your people. Enjoy your people. That's your talent-mindfulness for today.

Jim Collison 20:01

Maika, I think I mentioned this at the beginning of the show, but I have spent more time practicing this Relator theme for me than, than I've gotten a chance to do maybe in a lifetime. As I reach out to people, as I've gotten to spend more time with family that way, and it's been great. And I think I'm getting better at it. Right. That's the idea, right, that we turn these, these, you know, these themes into strengths and that we practice them. And it's, it has been, it's, it's, I've certainly made lemonade out of lemons, I guess, during this time, if we're going to say it that way. So, thanks for that -- for thinking -- having us think through that. I think it's really important that we think about it intentionally. And the "who." Who can we, whether it's a high theme for you or not, there are some great opportunities in relationships to partner, to be, to have those, those, those friends, those "best friends at work" to work through that with you. So thanks for taking us through that.

Maika Leibbrandt 20:57

Before we end here, I saw a lot of questions because I mentioned "Best friend at work." And I was a little bit surprised at this community for needing to know more about that. So let's make sure everybody knows there's also Mike McDonald's podcast where we talk about all 12 of our Gallup engagement items. So if you're already following Gallup Webcasts, you should have it right there at your fingertips. And if you need to know more specifically about that question, he did a fantastic podcast on the entire thing.

Jim Collison 21:22

Easy to find on YouTube. So just go to; search for "Q12." That's the letter "Q" 12. One word, Q12 for coaches. Easy to find; it should be the first result that you, you get there. Mike and I spent -- and Q10 is that question of "Do I have a best friend at work?" And so, great opportunities to work through that. Maika, one of the things I've appreciated about Gallup, especially, is that it's an amp -- it's an organization that amplifies that "best friend at work" idea and makes us, makes those relationships with high impact. And it makes a huge difference. Indeed, we could talk about this all day.

Jim Collison 21:58

We'll remind everyone to take full advantages of all the resources we do have available: is the site to go to. Lots of resources written. We've got a bunch of podcasts; we have a bunch of videos for you out there. And all the links to get to them are there as well. If you have any questions, you can always send us an email. If you can't find something, send us an email: We'll get back to you with that information. You can join us on our Facebook groups -- another great place to do that, as well: On LinkedIn, you can join us "CliftonStrengths Trained Coaches," not as active as a group, but we'd love to have you out there as well. And then if you want to follow us and join us live -- and why wouldn't you want to spend an hour and a half with us, just today? We're normally about 60 minutes, but we would love to have you follow us on Eventbrite. Go to Love to have you join us there. Thanks for joining us today; special marathon episode. If you're listening as a podcast, you missed it. It's OK, you can join us live, or just go to the next one. We thank you for listening and thanks for joining us today. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

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