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Successful Leadership: Making Great Decisions

Successful Leadership: Making Great Decisions

Webcast Details

  • What role does self-awareness play in leaders' decisions?
  • What are the barriers to good decision-making, especially during a pandemic?
  • How does strengths-based leadership provide greater clarity in decision-making?

Jaclynn Robinson, Learning Development Consultant with Gallup, was our guest on a recent Called to Coach. In Part 2 of a series on successful leadership, Jaclynn shared some insights about leaders and decision-making. Leaders in 2021 are facing barriers to great decision-making that include social isolation, Zoom fatigue, lack of focus on their own wellbeing, burnout and employees' worries about the future. How can greater self-awareness, plus an understanding of the way their own strengths operate, help them chart a path to better decisions? How do they address the barriers that their own fears and assumptions may create, and leverage the challenges of 2020 and 2021 to gain increased clarity in their decision-making? And how can they effectively communicate to managers and front-line workers? Listen to this webcast to find out.

Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 9, Part 3. This is Part 2 of a 7-part series on successful leadership. Access Part 1 of the series on leadership. Access Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7 of the series.

If leaders are self-aware, and they are self-regulating their talent themes, that's going to impact their decision-making.

Jaclynn Robinson, 3:07

If folks are feeling down, they're having trouble making great decisions, I think you jump-start that with recognition.

Jim Collison, 39:22

I like to think about the career/purpose wellbeing to help [leaders] think about purposeful productivity. What [do] you currently have on your plate? And then what can you eliminate, delegate or automate to make your life easier?

Jaclynn Robinson, 33:25

Jim Collison 0:01

I am Jim Collison, and live from our virtual studios around the world -- at least here today in the United States -- this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on January 22, 2021.

Jim Collison 0:21

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, love to have you join us in our chat room. There's just a link right above me there to that chat room, and sign in with your Google account. You can leave your questions for us there. If you're listening after the fact, send us an email: Many of you are using that address. We love it. It's just kind of a great way to get questions in to us about anything. Don't forget to subscribe there on YouTube, or subscribe in your favorite podcast app. You can just search "Called to coach." Subscribe there and you'll never miss an episode. Dr. Jaclynn Robinson is our host today. She works as a Learning Development Consultant with Gallup. I wish, Jaclynn, you were here in Omaha, Nebraska. You're somewhere in Southern California, whatever. Welcome to Called to Coach!

Jaclynn Robinson 1:16

Thank you!

Jim Collison 1:17

Good. Good to have you.

Jaclynn Robinson 1:19


Jim Collison 1:20

Good to have you. Welcome back! We'll be -- you'll be with us for, through this series. And I'm trying to talk you into doing more. So, excited to have you kind of as our host for 20 -- to kind of kick off 2021. We spent some time last week, Vibhas came on and talked a little bit about creating a vision through inspiration and kind of doing that, like, we need inspiration during these difficult times, right. So we kind of went over that, you know, kind of the expectation, and leaders are taking it on the chin, right? They need to be on the tip of the spear. But they've been on the tip of the spear for a while through this, right, to get it done. Hard to make great decisions. And that's kind of our topic today, like making great decisions. Hard to make great decisions when you're struggling to even know yourself. So we're going to kind of dig in a little bit on leaders, right? We've been kind of hammering on leaders; I think today is a day for some leader love, right, as we --

Jaclynn Robinson 2:12

Yeah, I like that. Yeah.

Jim Collison 2:13

Yeah, there you go. Why do you think it's important for leaders to know their own strengths, or at least have that lens, a strengths lens on the world?

Jaclynn Robinson 2:23

Yes. And all the coaches in the room, I'm sure this is something that's been so important to you as well, but self-awareness is everything. I heard a phrase. I'm a fan of podcasts and I was listening to a John Maxwell pet podcast and they said, you know, "Attitude enters the room before you do. Inward feelings become outward behavior." And that connected. And I think that resonates with all of us in terms of, the more self-aware you are, the more prepared you are whenever you walk into a situation. We know that if leaders are self-aware, and they are self-regulating their talent themes, that's going to impact their decision-making, that impacts the relationships they have, the thought process that they take in terms of setting themselves up for success with decision-making.

Jaclynn Robinson 3:10

So it is, it is what is going to really support them, and I would even say, more importantly, the employees and the managers that they're trying to impact and influence with, like what we talked about last week, that vision that they have. And right now it's just not landing for some leaders. And they're saying, you know, Why isn't my messaging landing? I've got this vision; I'm trying to inspire. But if, if they're not self-aware, then it might not be filtering through the right way to their, their constituents.

Jim Collison 3:43

What specifically is it impacting, do you think in, in that space, then?

Jaclynn Robinson 3:49

I don't think the, the messaging is always landing. So I think self-awareness of who they are -- let's say it's a leader that's high in Relationship Building but they have an organization that are high Executers. Well, if you're talking feelings versus, "This is what we can do. And this is what we are doing," then your vision might be falling short. So I think that's one way we can think about how self-awareness helps impact your relationships better within the workplace.

Jaclynn Robinson 4:19

If we think about the decisions, if they're stuck in their head a lot because they're Strategic Thinkers and they're not thinking about those partnerships on the leadership team that can support them, and thinking about how to build relationships. You know, How can I -- I've got this idea in my mind. How can I communicate this in a way that's going to land, whether it's Influencing or Relationship Building? Help me help them. So this is what I'm thinking about as it relates to decision-making, relationships, thought process. The more clarity they have, the more they can self-express and self-regulate.

Jim Collison 4:55

Yeah. What do you think are the barriers to that today? When we think about, you know, the world's changed over the last year. You and I in preshow were just kind of talking about, like, a year ago, I was going back to my, my own calendar -- which is a little depressing, by the way. I don't, I wouldn't recommend everybody do this. But I went back to my calendar and looked at January last year. Like, what was I doing this week last year? And a little, a little sobering, right, as we think about that. When we think about leaders today and this idea of they're, they're under attack; they're under fire. What are those, specifically, what do you think? What are some of those barriers that are maybe different today than they were a year ago?

Jaclynn Robinson 5:33

I think that you've got leaders that feel like they're kind of on an island by themselves, something we talked about. And they're not necessarily leaning into the constituents that they've, that they've got in their little network. And it could be someone that's within their organization, it could be someone that they're connecting with outside of the organization or outside of industry, but are they leaning into other friendships and partnerships they have to realize that they're not on an island by themselves? And that social isolation, I think, is, has just become kind of at the forefront of everything these days because of COVID. We're sitting behind screens and we don't realize that we can be even more intentional about thought partners. So I think that's been a barrier is social isolation.

Jaclynn Robinson 6:20

Kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum, what I've seen is Zoom fatigue. So you're talking to so many people; at that point, you're burned out, and you don't even really want to reach out to other people in industry or other people in your organization that can support you and help you walk through challenges or walk through the goals that you have in mind.

Jaclynn Robinson 6:40

Another big one is wellbeing. Are they getting rest? Are they getting the right nutrition? Are they getting out and getting some exercise? Because if they're not focused on their wellbeing, they're not really taking the time to get clear on goals, challenges, they're not getting clear on solutions or problems that need to be solved in the here and now because they're just in the weeds. It's just one thing after another thing after another thing. So a barrier to wellbeing and social isolation, I think are, are significant.

Jim Collison 7:12

Yeah, well, it's interesting, as we think about making great decisions, I always kind of think back of when I've made my worst decisions, you know. What's been going on around me? And oftentimes, all those things that you mentioned have this impact, right? That's, it's not just, OK, I'm gonna think about it and then I'm gonna make a great decision. I've got, I've almost like, it's almost like a general ledger. And I've got 100, you know, I've got a score of 100. And then you start subtracting. Like, at 100, I make really good decisions. But then I start subtracting these pieces, right?

Jim Collison 7:48

And I think that happens to all of us. But you started this with the context of self-awareness. And I think oftentimes, we don't even know, as leaders, we're making bad decisions, because we don't have that self-awareness that the ledger has run short, right? The ledger is getting, is getting low, or I'm going into debt. Right? I'm running, I'm running a negative balance on it. And so it -- that, that idea of self-awareness, Lisa mentions in the chat room, you know, this is in, we have this Strengths Based Leadership book, right, which talks about leading from our areas of the greatest, of greatest strengths.

Jim Collison 8:25

Before we kind of dig in on some tools, can you talk, Jessica, talk a little bit about, give us a little overview. How important is it that as a leader, we've got that handle on, Hey, these are things I'm great at. Cause, listen, there's no, there's no worse area where people think they have to be well-rounded than in leadership sometimes, right? You see this all the time is, Oh, no, I gotta be able to do everything. And we know, we can, we can debunk that myth, right. We know even leaders can specialize. But give us a little kind of round us out, as we think about strengths. What's the importance of that as we think about leaders knowing who they are through the lens of strengths?

Jaclynn Robinson 9:05

I think it's incredibly important for them. And it's a great tool to use in conjunction with other tools that help them gain greater self-awareness, blind spots that they're not even aware of, and would be aware of if they'd have 360s. I use 360 feedbacks in conjunction with CliftonStrengths all the time with executives and leaders. And that helps also in just soothing them a little bit, to say, you know, we've got this 360. We know it can, it can be daunting at times because you're, you're more focused on the constructive and critical feedback than the positives. But know that we're talking about your, your themes first. And then we'll pull out the 360 feedback because now you know yourself. You're gonna see where you've got that power and edge and you relate to it. And then there's going to be that constructive feedback. But now you know what themes it's connected to because you've, you've gained that greater self-awareness in the one or two coaching sessions we've had previously. What can you do to rectify that moving forward?

Jaclynn Robinson 10:03

So I think, I think CliftonStrengths is a great foundation that we can help leaders gain some clarity on how they're thinking, feeling behaving. And then when you use that in relation with 360 feedback, or asking friends, family, close colleagues, those that are really honest with you -- we know they're the most honest folks in the room -- you know, what feedback do you have for me? What can I do a little bit differently? Asking colleagues, going back to colleagues, Who do you have near you? Who do you have outside of industry or organization that just know you and have no attachment to the organization, that can share out some feedback for you? So I think CliftonStrengths is incredibly pertinent. And then when you compare that with feedback they're hearing from others, that gives them some greater awareness of blind spots they might, they might not have been aware of.

Jim Collison 10:56

Jaclynn, during Season 6 of Theme Thursday, we spent a lot of time -- Maika spent a lot of time -- as we went through each of the themes, we actually kind of talked about, that, that it, this, we don't take this in the context of just work, but that these themes come home with us. And I was, I smiled when I saw, when I saw in the notes, "Ask family, friends," right. Now, as we think, we spent -- some of us have spent -- a lot of time at home. We've spent way more time with family. And I've gone on record as saying the hardest management job I ever did was managing my own family.

Jim Collison 11:31

And so how important is that, especially during these times, that we kind of reflect on those family moments or, or even building ourselves up, getting that feedback, right? I mean, that is, would be a very valid feedback loop from our family. Right? They know us now, they may know us now better. Talk a little bit about that. Yeah.

Jaclynn Robinson 11:48

Yeah, it is such a safe space. And you're right, they have a different lens on our lives now, because we're working from home. So they're seeing us in this personal, through the personal lens, but now they're seeing us through the professional lens, too (unless you're, you know, kind of holed up in a room where you you might have some confidential conversations). We've all seen the partners or the pets or the children walk back and forth behind the screen. So they're picking up on some of the conversations you're having, or they're seeing how late you might be working as a leader.

Jaclynn Robinson 12:19

And coaches, these are questions you might be inquiring about to the leaders as well, as, What does your work-life integration look like? Because that's what it is these days. It's not balance, we know. And what is your family telling you? What's some feedback you're getting from them? Are you working until 11 p.m.? That cir, that brings us right back to wellbeing. Are you getting enough time for rest and food and exercise? And our family is going to be very aware of that and can make sure that we're at least attending to wellbeing.

Jim Collison 12:46

Yeah, be, be good accountability partners in that area. I was on a call -- we were recording a Called to Coach this morning in German, which was a ton of fun. So I was producing, super great. And in the middle of the call, one of the children walked in. And, and Michelle -- one of our Gallup employees out of Berlin -- she handled it so great. She brought her over and gave her a hug and a kiss and the guests stopped for a second. And we just had this really touching moment. Nobody cared. Right? And then, and then she, she whispered to her to go out. And you know, we're all experiencing those kinds of moments.

Jim Collison 13:22

I think early on, it was harder, it -- I think it, for some folks, it's kind of, it's kind of getting easier. You, you mentioned in that, in the, in the wellbeing space, sometimes we think wellbeing is just fitness and sleep. But we know from our research, right, that there's this element of social wellbeing, of community wellbeing and financial wellbeing. As we think about making great decisions in those contexts, if my financial, if I'm here worried about my finances, whether I'm at work or at home, it could, right, that worry could begin to affect my decision-making process. So I think, I think sometimes we even get a little pigeonholed when we think about wellbeing, right.

Jim Collison 14:06

Talk a little bit, a little bit more about those other areas, because social wellbeing is hard. Right? It's hard right now. But what are some ways leaders -- we know from our Q12, leaders need friends at work, too. Right? How can leaders get beyond, how can they get kind of beyond the four walls? Or, listen, I've said this before, we sometimes think everybody went home. And we have essential workers, healthcare workers, first responders who are out there under those stressful environments, right, doing this. How do we lean on some of those other areas of wellbeing maybe for, for leaders to make great decisions?

Jaclynn Robinson 14:42

That's a good question. And that reminds me of some of the mapping we're doing right now with CliftonStrengths and wellbeing so that people can start to think about their, their Top 5 or Top 10 themes and elements of wellbeing that might not feel as fulfilling, to say, How can I lean into one of my themes or a couple of my themes to support me in this area?

Jaclynn Robinson 15:04

So I think, as we go back to, to self-awareness and how important it is for leaders, if they're feeling off in one of those other elements, it's probably going to carry into the workplace too. Their engagement is probably going to feel off. I just had this conversation this morning too. If someone's wellbeing is off, might they feel less engaged in the community, socially, at work, personally? They say, "Yes." If your engagement and wellbeing is off, how do your strengths feel? And they were like, "Oh, it feels off, it feels different."

Jaclynn Robinson 15:36

So I think there's, there's something to be said about, about that, Jim. So I would ask, I think a question I would ask leaders, and I do ask leaders, is, If you had to look at the 5 areas of wellbeing (the 5 elements of wellbeing, I should say), where do you feel you're thriving? And where do you feel you might be struggling, or at least that bucket doesn't feel as full as it could be? And then based on that, what do you -- whatever that element is, let's say it's financial wellbeing, where do you see yourself a year from now? What's your vision for your financial wellbeing a year from now? And they'll say, "XYZ." OK, what's the first step we can take now moving forward? And what's that theme that you're going to use to support you?

Jaclynn Robinson 16:22

So step by step, what I like about that is we can get into the weeds of where they're thriving, where they're, they're struggling, and we can pull them up and say, OK, what's ideal? And then bring them back to the present. Now, let's think about a solution moving you forward. So it feels like they have some control. And if they feel better there, then that's going to translate into the workplace with their engagement and their productivity and performance.

Jim Collison 16:49

Yeah, it's really that three-pronged process, right, strengths, engagement and wellbeing kind of being in sync. By the way, they don't stay in sync. I mean, we have pressures coming in from all sides all the time. As we think about our coaches, coaches working with leaders, what are some questions? What are some additional questions you think? What are some probing, what do you, what kind of questions do you use to kind of help leaders get to that point? Because, by the way, I don't, I don't think just asking the question gets the job done. You have to set the stage, right. You have to gain the trust. You've got to show it that it's going somewhere. Just having great questions doesn't get you there. Think there's some talent involved in getting there. But what would be some great, some additional great questions you think you would pull from to help coaches help leaders?

Jaclynn Robinson 17:40

If you've got leaders, and I feel like a lot are here now, because, like you said earlier, Jim, they're, they've been carrying the torch, and they're tired and they're second-guessing themselves. So a lot are starting to struggle with their decision-making in terms of Did I make the right decision? There's, there's fear of failure, there's, there's fear of doing something the wrong way for the group. There's assumptions they might have.

Jaclynn Robinson 18:06

So one thing I like to ask is, Are you, are you coming through this lens operating from faith or fear? And that's OK if that's a "yes" or "no," because I just want them to initially identify, yeah, is this something that I'm just fearful in? And if so, let's get to the root cause of that. What's creating that fear? "I'm not sure if it's the right decision that, that should be made." Is there a way you can get more clarity? Is there someone else you can go to to just bounce that idea off of, or that thought process you have? Or what makes you feel like it might be the wrong decision, or the right decision?

Jaclynn Robinson 18:44

So I like asking that question. I like asking them -- I wrote some of these down so I wouldn't forget too. What assumptions are rooted in what I just said? So if you're a coach, then you're obviously going to say, "What assumptions are rooted in what you just said?" So you want them to really get into the nitty gritty of, This is my perspective but, oh, yeah, it's my perspective, someone else might see this very differently.

Jaclynn Robinson 19:10

I like to ask questions, too, about what does the slowdown mean for my life? Some are maybe in more of a lull. I haven't necessarily always seen that with leadership, but some managers might feel that way. But what does this slowdown mean for my life? What can I now do as a result of what this space has created? Another question I like to ask is related to How can I make this problem more enjoyable using my CliftonStrengths? Because there's a lot of problems that we're facing right now. You've got, you've got employees that are, are starting to worry about, as we think about, you know, some of the, the themes that we're hearing, employees are starting to worry about coming back into the workplace. So that's something that's on leaders' minds. That's, that feels like a problem to them. So how can you make this problem more enjoyable? That's something I think about.

Jim Collison 20:06

Those are, those are, those are all great questions spinning through my head. I was just thinking, you know, that one that's really powerful is How can I take my themes and lean into this? And I think, you know, I leaned heavily on Woo before the pandemic, and I've actually leaned heavy into Arranger-Maximizer. Like that has been, if you were to ask me, What am I, what am I having the most effect on? It's solving problems, solving big complex problems, or creating big complex, you know, we did 81 Called to Coaches last year. Eight, that's just, that's not even Theme Thursday; that's just just Called to Coaches. And that's a lot of work, a lot of work. We said a lot of words; it needed to be said, right. It needed to be done; we needed to get work done.

Jim Collison 20:51

I enjoyed every single second of that, not from a Woo perspective, but from an Arranger perspective of -- and a Maximizer -- doing more and, and orchestrating all of that all at the same time, with all the other chaos going on around me, right. And I think that's a great opportunity, coaches, with your leaders to say, Maybe we need to rethink the way you're doing things based on your Top 5. How could we do things differently? There's many nights I go to bed thinking about problems, because I, that's how I -- it's crazy, but it's how I put myself to sleep. I want to think but it calms me it's a we -- I know that's weird, for some people, that's weird. But it's a calming effect as I kind of think through solutions and scenarios -- I have Ideation high too, so -- think through the scenarios.

Jim Collison 21:34

So, so, so I love the way you're kind of thinking about this, like, how do we get into this? And then how do we maybe change predisposed biases that we had, predisposed things about ourselves, right?

Jaclynn Robinson 21:47


Jim Collison 21:48

I love the question of, "If I could do it differently, how would I do it?" Like, putting barriers aside, if I could do it differently, I think now is a good time to ask those questions, because lots of things have changed, right? Would you add anything else to that?

Jaclynn Robinson 22:01

I just love what you said. Because it's, it's come up a lot where people are realizing their themes are showing up differently, because of the, the environment that they find themselves in, which is now impacting their engagement and wellbeing. So I like that you called that out and you even had an example of how you used to really lean into one theme. And now it's, it's 2 others that you're leaning into.

Jaclynn Robinson 22:22

So I think giving people permission, to say, It's OK, if if your theme dynamic changes in terms of how you see, you see your themes showing up daily. It might feel, it might feel weird because you're used to using them one way and now you're adjusting. But it's similar to what we talk about with with themes whenever we go from one role to another, or from an individual contributor or manager position. There's kind of that adjustment period while you feel out and figure out how you're going to apply your themes differently in that new context.

Jim Collison 22:54

Jaclynn, how are you getting, how are you getting feedback today that was different than the way you got it a year ago? If you thought about that, this, that idea of what -- how have your channels changed? And how have you adapted to it, maybe?

Jaclynn Robinson 23:10

It's more over the phone. And at Gallup, you know, we're very Zoom-happy, and that's how many organizations are right now. So it's on Zoom, it's having the, the, the open bridge of communication to connect with my Go To whenever, whenever I need to. It's making adjustments. I think there's a lot of flexibility with, with the leadership to say, If you need that pause, because it's Zoom after Zoom after Zoom, take it. You know, I'm glad you're taking a day to just be off calls and focus on the work that needs to get done in terms of, you know, administration or writing or what not.

Jaclynn Robinson 23:54

So I'd say that's changed. I'm being more cognizant in terms of my themes of maybe dialing down No. 1 Achiever at times and digging into Strategic. And Strategic needs that space. I need the, the downtime, as opposed to the back-to-back-to-backs in order to again gain clarity and think through solutions and different paths and reprioritize my day.

Jaclynn Robinson 24:19

Focus is No. 8 too, so it's really focused on OK, where do I need to time block or make sure that I'm managing my time effectively? So I've leaned in on my side, I would say, to Strategic and Focus more, as opposed to Achiever and Arranger that's just like, "Come on, come on. Let's do it."

Jim Collison 24:38

Yeah, yeah, well, and I think giving some space, giving some time, giving some thinking time. I don't know prepandemic if I ever had thinking time; let's just be really clear. Like I was so busy. This is one of those things where it changed for the better for me, like I think I'm a better leader today than I was a year ago because I was just moving, moving, moving. I was commuting, I was listening to podcasts, I was getting to work. I was moving, moving, moving. I was driving home, I, you know, the routines had kind of become, move, move, move, move to the next, move to the next. And now, and now I've got some time -- because I'm not doing those things, I've actually got some thinking time. Maybe the first time in my career I've actually had some time to sit and kind of think through some things.

Jim Collison 25:29

It's also intentionally made me lock down one-on-one, which I was a big group, like I was, I was in meetings all the time and group, group think, group. Those group conversations are different. And I've actually, you know, Adam, I mentioned earlier, Adam Hickman called me today, it was one-on-one time. And I'm doing way more one-on-one and taking advantage of that. From a leadership standpoint, it means I get to have, I spent, I spent an hour with Mike McDonald today. And if you know Mike, like, I mean, he's a big deal, right. And I got this opportunity to pick his brain. Right. And it was a calming, I'm gonna make better decisions now because I got this hour with him. Right. And so I think some things have changed there.

Jim Collison 26:10

As we think, Jaclynn, as we think about the future and what's on the minds of leaders today, and I think it's a year out now, it's very different than it was a year ago. What do you think's on the minds of leaders today?

Jaclynn Robinson 26:24

I think you hit the nail on the head. It's what's happening with my managers, because we know that's their direct reports. And they're also thinking, What's on the minds of my employees? I'm hearing some things surface where, you know, they're worried about coming back into the workspace, because now there's the vaccination that's coming out. And so we know, eventually, we're going to be getting back into work. And it might be sooner than later. So that's on leaders' minds.

Jaclynn Robinson 26:51

There's still that tension between those that have to be on site, the frontline workers, versus those that can work remote. And I think making sure that there's some harmony created there is on their minds as well. What's another thing I wrote down? Inspiring teams is on their minds. Again, they've got, they've got a message they want to communicate for 2021. And it still might feel a little bit unclear because they're not sure when people are returning to work, or at least when most of the workforce will be back on site, if that's the way they used to do it previously. So there's still some things up in the air, which I think is the value of having them be self-aware of their themes and start to ask these questions, so that they can get some clarity.

Jaclynn Robinson 27:35

But it goes back to individualizing. Are they actually engaging with the managers so that they are very aware of what's happening at the front line, and there isn't that disconnect between leadership and, and frontline employees? And once they're engaging with the managers to hear what's happening, are they empathizing and sympathizing, then, with the, with the group of employees, inclusive of managers, to say, "I understand. I know that some of you have to come into the office, and you might be a little bit fearful of that or worried. We appreciate you. We value you." So to what Vibhas said last week, recognition is everything right now and showing that you value the employees.

Jaclynn Robinson 28:21

We've got the "drops" in our Gallup store, where leaders can simply just write a "drop" and say, you know, and mail it to them. That handwritten drop is everything to an employee that might have to come into the office, or that's on the front line, just to say, "I value you. And this is the impact you're making for internal customers or external customers." But without engaging and individualizing that approach with the one-on-ones, they're not going to hear that and know how to get ahead of it. So I think that's big. And then, you know, that would help them explain the vision because now they know, What are, what are my my people worried about? How can I relate to them? And then how can I connect what I see for the future and incorporate what I'm hearing into that, that future messaging so that it lands and it's connected to the vision I see and the mission that we have?

Jim Collison 29:11

So Lisa in chat, says, says to you, Jaclynn, This is all great, but can you give us a specific example of a leader who was stuck, how you coached them and how they used their maybe strengths to get unstuck?

Jaclynn Robinson 29:26

Yes. I have all kinds of things going in my mind, Strategic Thinking and all different ones. I would say there's, so there's, there's a couple of leaders I've worked with. Well, I can give two different scenarios too of just what I've seen recently. So one being, "I've got people coming into the workplace potentially soon. How do I get ahead of that?" And so in that decision-making process, it was thinking about, you know, Have you connected with the management team that directly report in to you to ask them, "Do you enjoy working remote? Are you excited about coming in to the office?"

Jaclynn Robinson 30:06

So first, again, challenging that assumption that there's something to worry about; there might not be anything to worry about. But knowing that it's brewing, I think was already starting to create a little bit of anxiety. So recently just had a coaching conversation related to that. And we talked through it, and then proactively, the idea is, yeah, let me actually go out, engage with my management team, ask them what they're hearing so that if they are worried because they love working remote, I can start asking, What is it that you enjoy the most about working remote? Is it flexibility that they're looking for is it the fact that they get to see their, their kids on breaks? So now the leader can make better decisions to say, If we do have to go back on site, now my messaging is geared to say, you know, I'm going to allow for you all to work Monday, Wednesday, Friday from the office; Tuesday, Thursday, we'll rotate and you can be at home. But getting ahead of it. So that's one example. And that, that put the leader at ease. And a leader that, that leads with themes like Harmony and Deliberative, Analytical -- things where you'd like more of that data, but you also want to keep the peace.

Jaclynn Robinson 31:17

And then I also had a leader that was more or less feeling that social isolation, and like just a person that was on a remote island, and with everything happening this year, just wanting to be vulnerable with someone. And this person realized that vulnerability would come better if it was from other leaders that were outside of the organization -- same industry, but outside of it, and then they could share out best practices and challenges. And that leader led with themes like Relator, Achiever, Responsibility, Belief. And so there was a lot of, of wanting to express what was going on in the world in a way that felt safe.

Jaclynn Robinson 32:01

And I saw in the chat, that vulnerability came through a few times too, just in terms of how important it is to be vulnerable. So I think it is important that a leader knows who they can reach out to, and be really genuine and authentic. So I hope those two examples help. Those are recent ones that came up with, with leaders I was coaching.

Jim Collison 32:19

Yeah, I think so. I think great examples of kind of how to approach that. So that's kind of a framework of saying, OK, here's what's in my toolbox. How can I approach this? I mean, I don't know -- there's a lot of work after that question. But that's kind of what kick-starts this, right. It's kind of what, kind of what gets it's going, gets it going. Kim asks, What elements of wellbeing are being stretched most with leaders these days? Are there patterns that you're seeing? Are you, and typically in this, as we think about those 5, anything that's really standing out to you in some of the coaching that you're doing?

Jaclynn Robinson 32:55

Definitely social and community. Those have been the two biggest ones that I've seen come up. I've also been highlighting purpose, which we also call career, but "purpose" specifically, because people -- leaders have so much on their plates right now. And they're really burned out because they've, they've been having to support management and employees and try to balance out their own feelings and emotions and just everything from the year. So it's, it's been compounded.

Jaclynn Robinson 33:24

So I like to think about the career/purpose wellbeing to help them think about purposeful productivity. What is it that you currently have on your plate? And then what can you eliminate delegate or automate to make your life easier, and to make sure that you are actually focused on the North Star and what you're doing is in alignment with what gives you a lot of passion?

Jaclynn Robinson 33:47

That just naturally starts to enhance their wellbeing. But it also frees up the space that is currently overburdened with responsibilities so they can then focus on social or community wellbeing and have that time carved out to connect with their, with their community, even if it's social distancing, from one neighbor's yard to another neighbor's yard and kind of waving and sitting in chairs. But they can't do that if they're overburdened and overworked and tired. So --

Jim Collison 34:14

Yeah, I've been, my neighbor, we take each other's garbage out for each other. So there's kind of a race to see who can get the garbage out first. And if mine is there when he's taking his out, he'll take mine out with it. And it's, you know, we had a --

Jaclynn Robinson 34:28

The little things.

Jim Collison 34:28

Yeah, it is. We had a snowstorm a couple weeks ago, and everybody raced to see who could clear driveways the fastest. And for those that were working, we cleared their driveways. Like everybody got together and, and, you know, my son who was out shoveling said it was like all the guys got out there to see who had the biggest snowblower, right. But, but everybody pitched in and like, you know, we got 8 inches of snow, and so it was, it was those who were there could clear for those that weren't and then tried to help each other out. I think it's those little, it's those little moments, right. I think we've sent Gallup in a box to everybody.

Jaclynn Robinson 34:30


Jim Collison 34:34

Rright. One of those --

Jaclynn Robinson 35:06

It was great! It was a surprise, folks.

Jim Collison 35:11

Yeah. It was even a surprise to me! I usually know everything that's going on around here.

Jaclynn Robinson 35:18

It's a great way leaders can engage their teams.

Jim Collison 35:18

Yeah, and you know what, I think leaders need to take an inventory, because it's tough to make great decisions when you're struggling. Right? It just, it just is. Justin asks, Are there any particular types of decisions that you find leaders most struggle with?

Jaclynn Robinson 35:40

I would say the themes I've shared have been -- I don't know if it's the most difficult; it's the most, those are the questions most on their minds is really trying to navigate the conflict between the on-sites and the remote workers, thinking about what it's going to look like when people come back into the office. I think there is some genuine anxiety behind that and the messaging that they're going to have. Not that I can necessarily think of.

Jim Collison 36:12

OK, and then Steve asks this question. Let me throw this in too. He says, we've been talking about the "do's" for making decisions. Are there any "don'ts" that leaders need to be aware of right now? We're not a big don't, we're not a big don't culture, but --

Jaclynn Robinson 36:24

I know we aren't, but it does come to mind is don't sit too long on messaging if there's a transition or something that might impact the workplace. I think one thing that they, they at least have to do as a leader is just be transparent and say, "We're still working through it." Because that void, especially with 2021, a lot of leaders are thinking about the performance plans. They're starting to set pay for the new year, they're, they're goal-setting. So that's something that they have to think about is just, you know, Are we going to reinstate some of the benefits that we cut last year? Are we reinstating pensions if we, you know, didn't? Are we going to have promotions this year? Are we going to have bonuses this year? A lot of leaders know that employees are wondering that. And it's probably going to come up in the, the conversations they're having with managers over goal-setting, performance, salary.

Jaclynn Robinson 37:23

So we'd actually say that is on the minds, and the more that they don't speak about it, the more paranoid and fearful and anxious employees are getting. So that is a "don't" is don't sit on it for too long. But actually engage, go back down to the front lines and just say, "We're still working through it."

Jim Collison 37:40

I think we've, we've, we may have highlighted this last week, as we were talking with Vibhas about this, but I think that right now in this, leaders get ahead of this with recognition. I think that's one of those Mike McDonald said to me in a conversation we were having today, recognition doesn't always mean saying nice, and, and watching what people are doing and saying nice things about it. Oftentimes is recognition is listening to what people are saying about their role and acknowledging it. Like giving them the opportunity to have, say, "Hey, you know, this is what I did." So you got to listen, as a leader, and then recognizing that for what it is. I think sometimes we feel as leaders, we got to be watching everything, and we got to surprise them with something -- that's just insane. That's just too much pressure.

Jim Collison 38:27

I think we have to, we have to provide avenues for people to celebrate their own successes, and then come alongside and celebrate them with them, with, with them. Recognition, recognition has its own strengths bend as well. There are certain, right, certain themes lend themselves into doing things. I'm a big open, let's celebrate, let's go out and do some things because that's the way I'm wired. Right? Other people like to write really meaningful notes. Some, you know, some people like to have a conversation with that, right.

Jim Collison 38:59

But recognition goes both ways, both realizing how I like to be recognized and how you like to be recognized. And that's different, right, in knowing that. So I think we kick-start this recovery that we're going into -- I'm saying that with confidence, I hope, with recognition. I think, I think this is, you know, I think if folks are feeling down, they're having trouble making great decisions, I think you jump-start that with, you jump-start that with recognition. You start doing some things -- just get out and start recognizing people. Just give them a call and say, "I saw you do a really great job," or, or, or whatever, right. Write them a note, do whatever, if that makes sense. Jaclynn, anything else you would add to this?

Jaclynn Robinson 39:46

Well, right to your point too, as, as coaches, we can recognize leaders and give them that boost because they might not be receiving it from, from others right now, and encouraging them to connect again with their friends and family and colleagues in the community to recognize one another and, and continue to receive that, but it's a great point with recognition. And that's where we can also support leaders is recognizing them and saying, "You've got this! Look at these themes that you have!" You know, of course, you're, you're, you know, "You've got the themes that are needed to do this. Let's talk about how you can use them in the situation." And then, of course, to your point, encouraging them to recognize others.

Jim Collison 40:26

Yeah. And it's, it oftentimes, it's not easy for everybody. I get that. It's not an easy thing to do. But I kind of think we should, this is one of those areas, you just got to start it. It will get contagious. And maybe it's too early to talk about contagious type of things. But recognition, recognition can be contagious in that sense. And it will start other people I say, you know, I say something to you. Hey, it is so great. You know, I told you before we started, like, I've been waiting all week to spend time with you. Like, starting Monday, I was like, "Yes, this is the week we get to do it again!" Like cause we just have so much fun. I mean, seriously, I'm not, I'm not saying this to make up an example. I, honestly, I really enjoy spending time with you. We just have a lot of fun together, both pre- and postshow and during the show as well. But I told you that. I was just like, they got on and I'm like, Man, I've been waiting all week for this. Well --

Jaclynn Robinson 41:19

It was great. It's like that extra pep in the step too. Like yeah!

Jim Collison 41:23

And I think leaders, leaders can jump-start that in their teams. And that will come back. Like --

Jaclynn Robinson 41:29

Yes, Creating a culture of recognition.

Jim Collison 41:32

It will, it will start indeed. Well, anything else before I wrap this?

Jaclynn Robinson 41:37

No, I would say if there might be some saying, How do we help leaders that don't do that naturally think about it? I've had some leaders that build that into their calendar, even if they have to move it to the next day, they see it and that gets them kind of kick-started into remembering to go stop by (pre-COVID) someone's office. But now, you know, they can just ping them on Slack or Teams. So finding what works, in terms of a strategy. What, what do you typically use as prompts to help you remember to do something? And then have them do that with recognition until it becomes something that they're not complacent in but consistent in.

Jim Collison 42:16

I do think, I think that's fantastic. I do think there's an opportunity for leaders to support other leaders. By the way, nobody quite understands the pressure of managing and leading and directing and, you know, than leaders themselves. And I think this is an area, coaches, you can have the greatest impact and encouraging not just the coaching that you're doing but encouraging those leaders to reach out to other leaders, whether it's in their organization or outside of their organization.

Jim Collison 42:45

I think of the CHRO Council that, that we put together at Gallup, that, right, an opportunity for CHROs to come together and kind of talk about what's going on in the world. There may be an opportunity for you to help other leaders, or leaders, if you're listening to this, to find, find other managers, find other leaders, find other executives in that space and spend some time talking about this. I think that's a great opportunity to to get that done.

Jaclynn Robinson 43:16

Hear, hear.

Jim Collison 43:18

Advantage of the resources. Well, hear, hear to that. I feel like we need to toast to that. We'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we have available now, now on Gallup Access. So head out to Sign in there. At the very bottom of the page, you can actually sign up for the CliftonStrengths Community Newsletter, which this month, in January, they started personalizing it. So if you sign up for it, we'll take your Top 5 and each month we'll send you some personal advice, whatever on, on one of your themes. And so maybe you want to get signed up for that. It's at the bottom of the page, again: Scroll to the bottom of the page. Click on it. There's a signup for the newsletter, signup for the CliftonStrengths Community Newsletter -- I think it's called "Insight," not "Community," so CliftonStrengths Insight Newsletter. Kind of cool; just started this month, so you might want to sign up for it as well. If you have questions, you can send us an email: Stay up to date with all our webcasts: Join us for the virtual Clif -- Gallup at Work Summit that's coming up here June 8 and 9. Registration is open right now: I'd love to see you there. I think, I've gotten some sneak peek into some of the technology they're going to use for this. It's going to be pretty cool. So pretty exciting to see you all there. I want to thank you for listening today. If you found this useful, share it. Take this to your leaders, give them an opportunity. It's free for you. It's our recognition to you as coaches. Thanks for all the work that you do. And thanks for being on the front lines for us and for, for the world because that's the right thing to do. And so, go out and share it. Thanks for coming out today. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Jaclynn Robinson's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Achiever, Strategic, Maximizer, Positivity and Relator.

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