- Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series
- Season 8, Episode 60
- Learn the importance of communication in the workplace and how your strengths can inform your (and others') unique way of communicating and make it more effective.
- Interested in learning more on this topic? Read more about how to improve teamwork in the workplace.
Dr. Rachel Maglinger, Psychologist and Senior Analyst at Gallup, was our guest on a recent Called to Coach. In Part 10 of a webcast series focusing on Creating a Culture That Inspires, Rachel discussed the importance of communication in the workplace, including:
- How your strengths -- and others' -- should inform good communication
- How effective communication can come from a variety of CliftonStrengths
- The goal of clear communication in coaching and other conversations
Below is a full transcript of the conversation, including time stamps. Full audio and video are posted above.
Everybody has a unique way of communicating based on who they are, and your strengths can really help you figure that out.Dr. Rachel Maglinger, 2:15
There's lots of different strengths that help someone communicate well. So it isn't just if you have Communication in your Top 5 that you're a great communicator.Dr. Rachel Maglinger, 8:00
So when you think about those 5 conversations ... , as a coach, sometimes you can get distracted by all the techniques. It's actually being in the moment with that individual. That's where the magic happens.Dr. Rachel Maglinger, 13:08
Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and live from the Gallup Studios here in Omaha, Nebraska, this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on July 10, 2020.
Jim Collison 0:20
Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you're listening live, we'd love to have you in our chat room. There's actually a live page right above me, there's just a link there to our YouTube instance. And by the way, while you're there on YouTube, just go ahead and hit the Like button down there and subscribe. That way you get notifications anytime we do go live. You can click on that link and join us in the live chat room. If you have questions after the fact, you can send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget, you can subscribe there on YouTube or as a podcast; just search "Gallup Webcasts" on any podcast platform. Dr. Rachel Maglinger there is our host today. Rachel is a Psychologist and Senior Analyst here at Gallup. Rachel, great to have you on Called to Coach!
Rachel Maglinger 1:07
Thank you. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening, depending on where you're calling from. Looks like we've got a lot of international folks here. So that's exciting. And thank you for who got up really early to listen to me today. I'm really excited to be here.
Jim Collison 1:21
And maybe "Good night" for some of those who have stayed up late into the evening to do it as well. We always appreciate that. Rachel, we've been going through this series on How to Inspire a Strengths-Based Culture, and the subject we have today is on communication. Very, very important, and it is kind of a foundation in a lot of ways. If, if you have poor communication in an organization, no matter what you're doing, it's going to struggle. And so what is it about a strengths-based culture that helps create good communication?
Rachel Maglinger 1:51
I think that's a great question, Jim, when you think about what strengths can do for an organization. And I think over my course of experiences of 15 years of seeing teams who really embrace a strengths-based culture, probably one of the No. 1 one things that I hear around communication is it really helps people be more aware of how they best communicate based on their strengths. So when you think about everybody has a unique way of communicating based on who they are, and your strengths can really help you figure that out. If you're the type of person who needs a lot of time to think before you have something to say -- so you may need to take notes ahead of time or ask for an agenda or get with that partner to say, I need to think about these things before I just fill out all my thoughts, right?
Rachel Maglinger 2:38
Then we have people on the opposite end of the spectrum, probably more like myself, who I like to think as I'm talking. And when I'm with people, I can have my best thinking to communicate the words that I'm trying to say. And so I think it's really about how do you best communicate and what you need from other people in order to increase your partnership, right? And I think that collaboration comes kind of vice versa. And you can really learn about that other person and how they best communicate based on their strengths. And I think part of that goes back to, you know, what do you need from me, Jim, in order to help you be the best communicator that you can be? And vice versa. And I think having those really open conversations based on what you do, like I have Input really high. So I ask tons and tons of questions when I'm learning and trying to understand information. And I'll often say, Hey, does this make sense to you? Can I clarify this for you?
Rachel Maglinger 3:39
So it's all based on kind of your individual, natural ways of communicating and processing information. So I think that that's really important. And we know based on our research around communication, that thinking about what the person needs to know, and what information is relevant to the conversation, really creates better communication. So when I thought about what do I want to share with you all today around that ability to communicate, I had to really think about my audience. And knowing a lot of you are coaches and have clients who you're trying to help them be better communicators, I thought about what strengths can help me do this today? My Relator's really high. So thinking about how do I connect with you over a virtual session versus in person, you know, and how do I help you know I'm here to help you be all you can be. So I think that's really important.
Jim Collison 4:32
You know, it also -- oftentimes when we think about strengths, it creates this common language right, it creates this, this, this framework, this structure, in which we can all at least understand the terminology or understand these themes when we are speaking with each other. Why is that important? Like how -- or maybe a better question is, How is that important? Like what, what kind of benefits does that bring? That self-awareness, what kind of self-awareness benefits does that bring?
Rachel Maglinger 5:03
Oh, I think when you look at just strengths creates a platform to discuss behavior, right, in a really positive way. So as a psychologist, it's really thinking about how am I showing up with this partnership based on this common language. So when, Jim, when I talk about my Relator, you already have behavioral thoughts in your mind, right, of what that means and how that shows up. And being able to get people to discuss behavior in a very positive way is incredibly powerful. So you have language around the things that you're describing or things you're working on. And at Gallup, it's so natural for us to just talk about our strengths in a regular conversation, right? It's just very easy for us to describe. "Oh, OK, so I need to know that Jim has high Woo and Communication; based on that's why he's so good at what he does on this show." Right? I see this as a show. It's so awesome.
Rachel Maglinger 5:59
And I think about as you're using it, there's so many ways to create common language, right? So when you think about what do you need for me in this situation to be the best partner for you? I use it often in conflict resolution, because sometimes there's not a common language, right? That's why there is this conflict. So strengths can just open up this whole world of better communication because you start understanding that's why that person does that, you know, that's why this person is behaving and looking at something. I'm seeing something very different based on my strengths in this same situation. So it kind of helps you understand where that person's coming from, which can create a lot better partnerships and workplace environment. I'd also say, when you have common language, it helps create better team goals because you're all on the same page, right, based on your strengths and what you're trying to do and what are we trying to accomplish during this project or task?
Rachel Maglinger 6:57
I work a lot with executive teams. And I think sometimes just not having a common goal creates a lot of stress. And I think strengths helps let's look at what are we trying to accomplish here and figure out how we're all going to contribute to that.
Jim Collison 7:13
Rachel, when we think about when we're going to talk a little here in just a second about tools, but when -- for individuals or even for teams, you know, maybe an individual gets their All 34 report and Communication's low. Or a team is going through a team grid and those Communication themes are in the lower 30s. Does that necessarily mean they're off the hook for communicating? Can they then just kind of say, Well, we're not good at it. Like so what's, what's your advice to teams or individuals where, especially around communication, where that may not show up high. Because, you know, we have a theme named Communication. What are some tricks or strategies around that?
Rachel Maglinger 7:51
Well, I think one of the things -- I want to change the premise a little bit because I look at communication as a behavior, like here's the destination. And I think there's lots of different strengths that help someone communicate well. So it isn't just if you have Communication in your Top 5 that you're a great communicator. That's one way of doing it. So I think sometimes it's backing that premise up a little bit and thinking about what is it this this team needs to accomplish around communication that's a barrier for that? And then you start delving into, What is the behavior actually trying to accomplish? And saying, just because you have Communication low in your mind, as an individual or as a team, I think it's sometimes challenging that premise to think about what -- when you use that word "communication," what are you actually trying to accomplish? What behavior are you trying to get to? And then I start looking at their strengths, either as the individual, and say, Here's some strengths that can really help you.
Rachel Maglinger 8:45
Like Learner can be a great communication strength, because you're naturally a very curious person and you want to know more, so anytime you have a conversation where you ask open-ended questions. Input's another great one that asks really good questions. Woo can be a very good communicator -- I mean, there's just so many strengths that help someone. And sometimes it's just helping them unlock it and even asking questions about, Well, what happens when you feel like you're communicating the best? And then you start hearing their strengths, right? And then you can kind of go from there.
Jim Collison 9:15
Yeah, that's such a great --
Rachel Maglinger 9:16
You can't be off the hook for being a bad communicator.
Jim Collison 9:20
I think that's such a great -- you said two points in there, I think, that are really important. Is one is, What are you trying to accomplish with this? Like, where are we going? What, what are we trying to achieve with communication? Because not all tasks are going to need high communication, right? They may, there may be some where it's not even beneficial. Let's just, let's just move things forward. And then I love the fact that you ask the team, what have we done when our communication has been the best? I love that question. So that's a great coaching tool. We've given them kind of No. 1. What other coaching tools might we have if they want to -- if coaches want to help individuals or teams around this idea of communication, what else is available?
Rachel Maglinger 9:54
Oh, I'm so glad you asked that. I'm doing a really cool project for the state of Nebraska. We're getting ready to launch it. And the governor has been able to help small businesses who are really struggling right now to go through this training called Boss to Coach. And it's amazing about how much we're training leaders to better communicate with their team. So I encourage anyone that could take that course to go through it. But I was looking through some of my notes last night, and there's just really -- they're talking about 5 key conversations as a leader to have with individuals.
Rachel Maglinger 10:29
So you look at individual conversations, you can share strengths as a partner and there's a whole guide to giving you the right questions to talk about, from "Here's my partnership, here's my strengths. How do we work best together?" They also have a team conversation that looks at How do we look as a team? Like "You get the best of me when --" you know, that type of thing. "You get the worst of me when -- " "This is what I need from you. This is what you can rely on me for." I think those are so powerful. And then there's also one that talks about the Team Grid conversation. And it's not, it's actually getting the manager to start having some of these conversations. So it's very prescriptive and ask these questions, follow this worksheet. Here's the PDF. I think it's just a very powerful tool to do that.
Rachel Maglinger 11:14
Then they also get into, what do we have around those Quick Connects with people. Because communication isn't just like, OK, I'm, I have a PowerPoint for you, right? It's really looking at, I check in with you. Those 10- to 15-minute conversations every day can be really powerful in leading teams. And I think if you're an individual who's coaching the leader, these can be really important things to kind of help them think about how they're approaching their people, because I think sometimes people, based on their strengths, do struggle on What does the Quick Connect look like? How do I just have a little bit of small chitchat? That's sometimes very hard for introverted leaders, right, who are definitely all those Thinking themes are super high and their Executing and maybe those Relationship themes are lower -- to your point, Jim.
Rachel Maglinger 11:59
So I think I've just been really impressed with that particular offering that we have recently that really has -- almost everything that you do, when I think of my own individual coaching, that training really supports what I talk about individually with people based on a group setting. And they really challenge you to have a cohort of people that are going through the training with you so you can get that communication dialogue on best practices and what are you doing? How are you communicating with your team? How's this helping you? So you kind of have some accountability there. So I could go on and on. It's a great program.
Jim Collison 12:30
We did spend some time on the 5 Coaching Conversations in a series that we, you know, we got super creative and called it the 5 Coaching Conversations. So that was earlier in the year. We spent some time talking about that. Anything else, though, Rachel, from those coaching conversations that you, that you want to pull out as we think about the importance of them and what they mean to not only the individual but the team, anything else that you want to add around those 5 coaching conversations?
Rachel Maglinger 12:55
You know, I guess when I think about communication, probably the most important thing goes back to what I said earlier is, What does this person need to know after they've left this conversation with me? So when you think about those 5 conversations around coaching, as a coach, sometimes you can get distracted by all the techniques. It's actually being in the moment with that individual. That's where the magic happens in coaching, right, when you're really listening to what are they needing right now for me as their coach to help them be successful? And so that I think is always the construct is, is have some framework, but go back to what are, what are they needing from me as the individual? And as a coach, how am I showing up so they can feel really supported, they can be their best selves and go accomplish what they need to? I think right now during COVID it's just so important to have that, because there's just so much stress that people are dealing with still. So --
Jim Collison 13:53
If you were to give advice to some teams as far as getting started with this, or even continuing on with some activities or some things that they can do. When we think about building a strengths-based culture, what kind of advice, as we kind of close this part on communication, what kind of advice that you might give to them of some easy activities or some easy habits? That's the -- I think that's the, we want to make these things habits. So what are some, what are some easy habits they could follow?
Rachel Maglinger 14:17
Yeah, well, I think it goes back to those simple things about Name, Claim, Aim, right, around your communication. What are you trying to accomplish? What strengths can help you be a better communicator? How do you best communicate. We've talked a little bit about that? And what -- I always go back to what do you need to do to be a better commun -- why do you think you're a bad communicator? Right? I think you have to go back to that and think about where -- how can we aim your strengths toward what, what you do best?
Rachel Maglinger 14:44
And I really am a big fan of the Strengths Grid. I think as a team, you should, you should you put that out there every time you have a meeting with a team is let's look at our strengths first, before we jump into the agenda, to see who we are and what we need to do to operate. I think that's really important. You can start having some really good conversations around that. And I think it's sometimes it's taking time to have a session around What is stopping us from being better communicators? I almost think, too, like rules of engagement. Let's talk about this as a team. Are we all email people? Do we do just quick texting? Are we people who need that face-to-face Zoom all the time? Are you Zoomed out? Right? I mean, I think there's just so many ways to think about the best way to communicate with each other. And I think sometimes people don't even have it -- I'm thinking of someone I've been coaching recently and her boss, it's just been really difficult for her to think about how this person best -- I think you have to set up those kind of rules of engagement from the get-go.
Jim Collison 15:46
Rachel, we spent a little time with Jessica Dawson at the very beginning of this series talking about Name, Claim and Aim, and then give 22 practical ways to kind of reinforce or create a habit inside organizations of activities they can do. So we'll refer back to those as well. I think, you know, communication's that bedrock on a team. It does create that framework, it does create that consistency that allows teams to grow. Without it, teams are going to struggle. And we've got some great resources available in both those, those webcasts that are available. Again, you can go back and search for Name, Claim and Aim. You'll find that at gallup.com. Or -- I should say "and" in this case, because then afterwards, listen to the 22 ways to embed (and there's more than 22 in there; we just use that number) 22 ways you can embed. And we -- by the way, we'd love to hear from you on ways you're embedding strengths in your culture as well. Rachel, thank you for spending some time with us today on communication. We're looking forward to Collaboration next on this. Any final thoughts before we wrap it up?
Rachel Maglinger 16:43
I think it just goes back to the 3 points I want to make is strengths-based culture and communication is about more awareness of how someone best communicates based on their strengths. We also know working on focusing on clear objectives and get each person contributing to the goal creates good teamwork around that, and how you create a common language around strengths and what behavior that strengths can potentially represent are really important points around good communication and why strengths is the bedrock of that.
Jim Collison 17:15
All right, and we've got more resources available If folks, I'll remind them, they can head out to gallup.com/cliftonstrengths. Lots of free resources available for you. You can also log into your Gallup Access account from that platform as well. Actually a redesigned front page on that and we'd love to see you head out there, again: gallup.com/cliftonstrengths. While you're there, at the bottom of the page, you can sign up for the CliftonStrengths Community Newsletter available to anybody. We'll send it to you monthly, just a way of keeping track of everything that's going on in the strengths community. If you have any questions after the fact, you can send us an email: email@example.com. Many of you are now, which is great. I've been saying that email address for years and all of a sudden everybody started using it. So we're excited to have your questions; send them in again: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to follow us on our live for our live podcasts, and you want to join us like you're, like many are today: gallup.eventbrite.com. Just follow us there, and you'll get a notification every time I create something new. In our social groups: facebook.com/groups/calledtocoach, and many of you find your way there as well. Maybe you're not a Facebooker; on LinkedIn, search "CliftonStrengths Trained Coaches," and I'll let you in that group as well. Thanks for joining us today. If you're listening live, stay around for Collaboration. If you're listening to the recorded version, just click Next. You're probably -- that one's there for -- waiting for you right now. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.
Dr. Rachel Maglinger's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Individualization, Maximizer, Strategic, Input and Relator.