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Successful Leadership: Leadership vs. Management

Successful Leadership: Leadership vs. Management

Webcast Details

  • How do great leaders differ from great managers?
  • What is involved in creating a culture of inclusive leadership?
  • How is leadership development changing in the workplace?

Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant at Gallup, and Jessica Dawson, Learning and Development Consultant at Gallup, were our guests on a recent Called to Coach. In Part 5 of a series on successful leadership, Maika and Jessica discussed the differences between leadership and management, including some of the characteristics of great leaders. Changes in the workforce -- including the increasing proportion of millennials in the workplace -- are necessitating changes in the way organizations (and coaches) see leadership. New paths to business leadership are being explored outside of the traditional degree-based model; the talent of the individual and creating multiple paths to leadership are becoming more crucial. How can organizations mine the leadership talent they have and create an environment that fosters inclusive leadership, while promoting realistic expectations for aspiring leaders? What does it take to persevere when organizational change seems to be slow? And how can coaches partner with leaders, aspiring leaders and organizations in this process?

Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 9, Episode 11. This is Part 5 of a 7-part series on successful leadership. Access Part 1 of this series on leadership. Access Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 6 and Part 7 of the series.

Leaders typically are more responsible for creating the strategic vision of the overall organization. ... And managers are more so getting people done through the work that they are giving them.

Jessica Dawson, 4:35

The greatest leaders ... [are] aware of who they are; they're aware of who they're not; they're working on those blind spots. But they're also leaning into, Hey, this is my style, and it's OK.

Maika Leibbrandt, 27:58

If we're helping everybody think more from this inclusive leadership perspective ... As we start moving ... managers into leadership, we're creating a better pipeline of those that can then take over the role.

Jaclynn Robinson, 8:53

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison, and live from our virtual studios around the world -- or at least here in the United States -- this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on March 12, 2021.

Jim Collison 0:22

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 live chat -- actually, on the live page, there's a link right above me, and that'll just take you to the YouTube instance. Sign in with your Google account and drop in the chat. Let us know what's going on. There's a bunch out there today, and we'd love to have that. If you're listening after the fact, you can always send us an email, and many of you do. Send that email to Don't forget to subscribe to Called to Coach on any podcasting platform -- a great way to kind of keep up to date with all the things that are going on. If you're on YouTube there, you can subscribe as well, and that way, you get notifications whenever we publish something new. Dr. Jaclynn Robinson is our host today. She works as a Learning and Development Consultant with Gallup. And Jaclynn, always great to have you on Called to Coach. Welcome back!

Jaclynn Robinson 1:17

Thank you. Thank you. Some of you might see a familiar face here. I am so excited to kick off today. I feel like it's a roundtable with two of my favorite females plus Jim Collison, so beyond excited -- and you can be, you can be a female today if you would like, as well, Jim.

Jim Collison 1:34

Honorary. All right, I'm in.

Maika Leibbrandt 1:37

If you feel like a girl, then you real like a girl --

Jaclynn Robinson 1:39

Embrace it.

Jim Collison 1:40

Let's not derail this. Jaclynn, let's introduce our guests.

Jaclynn Robinson 1:44

Yes. So today we've got some guests here. We are going to discuss the difference between leadership versus management because this often arises in the workplace as it relates to responsibilities but also those necessary competencies for each one. So today on our episode of Called to Coach, we are welcoming back Maika Leibbrandt. She is stepping in for Jeremy, who had something arise in his schedule. So I am so thankful that she was able to come in and connect with us today. Maika is a Senior Workplace Consultant who helps leaders improve the lives of their followers. In her more than 10 years with Gallup, she has supported clients from 5 global offices, giving her an expansive expertise in employee and customer engagement. And Maika leads with Strategic, Positivity, Woo, Ideation and Adaptability. So thank you for being adaptable, Maika.

Maika Leibbrandt 2:33

My pleasure. Thanks, it's great to be here.

Jaclynn Robinson 2:37

We have another familiar face for many of you. She was recently on Called to Coach to discuss how to Create a Culture That Inspires. Jessica Dawson is a Learning and Development Consultant at Gallup, and she translates Gallup's research, management science and best practices into practical, compelling and powerful programs. Jessica leads with Futuristic, Relator, Activator, Developer and Individualization. All right, ladies. Welcome, Jessica!

Jessica Dawson 3:07

Thanks. I'm excited to be here with some of my favorite people at Gallup. Yeah. And Gallup and beyond, I should say.

Jaclynn Robinson 3:14

Yes, yes. So let's get right down into it. What is the difference between leadership and management? We get that often in our courses as well, it's like, What, how do they manage differently? How do they lead differently? What's going on here?

Maika Leibbrandt 3:30

I'll jump in, sorry. I think, you know, I don't want today to be an entire TED talk on what, what we should call the people in our organization. But just for glossary terms, typically, I mean, Gallup asks a lot of questions, we ask a lot of questions throughout organizations and try to map what we're learning. And typically, for our own understanding, we do think about a difference between leader and manager being where they fall in the organization. So if you hear a lot of Gallup-speak around what a manager does, what we usually mean is it is somebody who is in charge of leading people. And we do tend to differentiate leader as somehow being in charge of leading people who lead people. So there is a bit of a hierarchy to how we, how we tag those pieces. That's the boring answer. Jessica, do you want to jump in and give a more interesting answer?

Jessica Dawson 4:23

Well, I love the the setup. And there's so much overlap, that it's, it's important to make the distinction. I think the other thing that I would just add is what they are responsible for. So leaders typically are more responsible for creating the strategic vision of the overall organization. They usually are even a little bit more removed from the front lines, right. So when we hear those terminologies of the top of the house, this is who we are usually referring to. And, and managers are more so getting people done through the work that they are giving them, right. So I think it's good to set the definitions up here first, and also just talk about the similarities, because there's a lot of overlap in there as well. But that's how I would kind of differentiate them.

Jaclynn Robinson 5:15

I agree, thank you all. And let's get right into the similarities, because I think that's where a lot of confusion ends up coming to fruition is there does seem to be some overlap in some of the maybe responsibilities that they have, or even some of the competencies that are required to manage and lead. So what would you say is similar about a manager and a leader?

Jessica Dawson 5:35

I'm just gonna jump right in and say, at the core of it, these are people that are managing people, and people are complex, and people are messy. And there's a lot of mess that comes along with managing all of that. So I think that, in terms of the similarities, there is complexity around people. I also think that there is a similarity in terms of managing relationships. So it's not just about the people that are reporting in to you. But it's also about managing all of the relationships that are around you, peers, you know, managing up, managing across, right. And so I know we often will talk about that in our management courses. And it's important to also just be able to call that out -- it's a tough job.

Maika Leibbrandt 6:19

I, that was the No. 1 similarity that came to mind when you asked that, was that it's hard. I, I got to join a client's a town hall this week. And what I was presenting overlapped what one of their senior leaders was presenting. And she said, Hey, if you're looking for, you know, improving across a career ladder, really becoming a manager or a leader here at this organization, first, you've got to know it's really hard. And I think that that's something often we forget, especially when you're a high Achiever or really bent toward any kind of, you know, CliftonStrengths flavor of Execution. And you just want to do the next thing. Sometimes it's an oversimplification for the next thing to be, "Well, I need to be promoted to a manager."

Maika Leibbrandt 7:01

We know from a lot of our research into, into natural talents that just about 1 in 10 human beings is born with the great talent to manage, and an additional 2 in 10 can be taught. That still leaves you with a minority of people who really are going to be world-class in that position. So I mean, the major commonality, I think that, between leaders and managers, however you are defining that in that hierarchy, is that it's a really hard job.

Maika Leibbrandt 7:25

And I think the very best in that role have a couple things that they tend to do. It doesn't come from what their strengths are, but it does come from how they think about what their job truly is. So, I mean Gallup has, has studied the idea of leadership competencies, of manager competencies, and if you want to Google it, you can check out one of Gallup's papers, Competencies 2.0, where we outline 7 pretty universal expectations of great managers. And the cool thing about it is we know these are transferable across a role.

Maika Leibbrandt 7:57

So if you can figure out how to build relationships, develop people, lead change in a manager position, aware, as Jessica mentioned, you're a little bit closer to the front lines, that maybe there is an extension of those same expectations that might just be maybe a different dose or a different audience or a different kind of style on that. But that those expectations do tend to remain the same, whether you are in an individual contributor role, a manager role or a leadership role.

Jaclynn Robinson 8:27

I love that! It's creating that culture of inclusive leadership, where the leader is really encouraging others to be able to, you know, partake in the mission, feel like they can offer best practices, feel like they can be involved in process implementation, and so forth. Everyone has that opportunity and ability to be a leader in their own right, that --

Jaclynn Robinson 8:48

And you know what I love about that, and what you two are both saying is that helps with succession planning. If we're helping everybody think more from this inclusive leadership perspective, and you've got leaders that are helping managers think about, Are you developing your people? But as a leader, they're also developing managers. As we start moving individual contributors into management or managers into leadership, we're creating a better pipeline of those that can then take over the role.

Jessica Dawson 9:16

For sure.

Maika Leibbrandt 9:17

Yeah. And think about how important it is really to democratize leadership development by saying, "Here's what excellence looks like. Your access to that excellence is going to be individual to you, given what your most natural patterns of behavior are. But here's really where we're aiming. Is that something you're interested in?" And then, at the same time, how do we make rock stars in every role, so that if you're not drawn to leadership, if it doesn't light you up to go out there and actively show love to human beings through the systems that your organization has, let's figure out a way for you to be excellent in something else.

Jessica Dawson 9:53

I think the other thing, too, with both of these terms -- leader and manager -- there's a lot of power just in general that we give to verbiage. And so sometimes individual contributors or even managers, they, they give a lot of power to that word "leader." And oftentimes we are demonstrating leadership capabilities or we are leaders in our own right without the title, so I think it's also just good to just be mindful of when you are maybe demonstrating those leadership abilities and you're not necessarily having the title of a leader, and/or maybe you're an individual contributor but you're a person that's demonstrating even manager qualities. What do those look like? So I think that that's also just something to keep in mind.

Jessica Dawson 10:38

I love this notion of democratizing leadership and leadership development overall, because we know that millennials are taking over the workplace and in 4 years, right, 75% of the workplace is going to be millennials. And what do we know about millennials? They are demanding development from their organizations. And the conventional approaches of, you know, maybe going to get your MBA or going to get professional degrees, they're not as shiny as they once were either, right.

Maika Leibbrandt 11:15

So millennials or the degrees?

Jessica Dawson 11:17

The degrees are not as shiny as they once were. The millennials -- and I'm a, I am a millennial and we are still shiny.

Maika Leibbrandt 11:25

Glow, glitter, Jessica.

Jessica Dawson 11:27

Glitter and eye glow.

Jaclynn Robinson 11:30

We're seeing that with Google, actually. Google is now creating that program where they can build skills and provide skills training to those that want to forgo university. So they're still giving them that development and growth. We're seeing a significant just change, I think, within the workplace, and some organizations getting on board to say how do we continue to feed them with that development and growth? And it might look a little different than going to university; it might be you're going straight to business, back to business, and and we're getting you involved in -- down that pipeline that you see for yourself within our organization early on.

Maika Leibbrandt 12:02

So, does that mean, Jessica, that that desire to develop -- does that change the role of what a great manager is? Or does that just say we all need developmental opportunities?

Jessica Dawson 12:15

I think that it's both. I think, from a manager standpoint, the role is constantly evolving absolutely as expectations within the workplace are changing. And as managers, you're going to have to absolutely wear more of that coaching hat. And I also think that developmental opportunities need to be capitalized on. And it doesn't necessarily have to look like it looked traditionally. You can have these, these moments where you're able to learn and stretch and grow within your current role. And maybe it's you're leading the team call, right. You don't necessarily have the title of being the manager, but for that meeting, you're stepping into a leadership type of position. So I think it's about cultivating every single moment, every single opportunity within the roles that you are in, so that we can develop people. Developing people at all corners and in all facets is I think the way to go.

Maika Leibbrandt 13:18

I love that idea of maybe we develop managers to be better coaches, knowing that that coaching skill is something that's going to stick. And then we add key experiences to really develop leaders. Gallup's leadership development framework is this idea of take the talent originally and then multiply it, which is similar to if you're familiar with talent multiplied by investment equals strength. Against the framework of How do you develop leaders on purpose? It's not, you know, Jessica said it's not going to look like it always looked. It's not leave, go get your MBA and come back. What we know tends to work and what we very often work with a lot of our clients on is this idea of multiply the talent by a combination of key experiences and focused development.

Maika Leibbrandt 14:04

And so maybe it is that I'm the one who's leading the meeting or maybe it's I'm going to, you know, take an international assignment or go to a different part of the organization to get that cross-functional experience. But realizing that maybe you can even think about the attractiveness of this to people and figure out, Is that something that's making my, you know, my team's eyes light up? Or, or are they finding purpose and potential and enjoyment somewhere else?

Jessica Dawson 14:31

For sure. I love the callout around the key experiences. I know I've worked on a couple of clients where we actually do a key experience review, where we study the leaders that are currently in those top-of-the-house seats if you will, that C-level, those, those C-level seats. And we are thematically extrapolating, What are those key experiences and how could we re-create them at all levels to build the bench, right, to prepare people to step into those manager seats, and eventually into those, those leadership types of seats. And so this is the type of disruption in thinking around development that I think we're all speaking about. How can we change the game on this, right?

Jaclynn Robinson 15:17

Yeah. So let me ask you all a question. Because you might have people in the audience also saying, you know, if you're just starting to create that culture of coaching as a leader, how do you make that leap if you haven't done it before, where it doesn't look awkward, or you're just coming out of the blue? And you're like, "OK, here we go, managers and employees, we're gonna start coaching." How do you, how do you take that leap?

Jessica Dawson 15:39

Oh, I love this question. I have to say, I've been coaching executives for a financial institution. And the financial institution -- as many of them are, and I came from that background -- it tends to be more of a hierarchy. It tends to be more of a tough culture, especially as it relates to development. I was coaching a couple of, of executives who were newer to the institution. And what they have been finding is that they're meeting, meeting a lot of pushback. And the pushback is not only coming from their peers, but it's also coming from their direct reports. And they're, they're getting feedback, like "You're not tough enough. You're not directive enough. You're not really playing into this hierarchy like you should." '

Jessica Dawson 16:26

And so, for some of you, many of you likely that are listening in to this, you may be trailblazers within your within your organizations. So I think it's just thinking about, What are the small wins? Who are the leaders that you are getting the buy-in from? And maybe it's starting small, and, and maybe it's you are starting a revolution within your organization. Right. But I just think it's interesting to have an employee tell you that you're not tough enough, and that you're not directive enough. But you're really leading the charge of a new way of managing and a new way of leading within that organization.

Maika Leibbrandt 17:06

I mean, if they're coaching, getting that feedback, that their, that coaching is not tough [enough] --

Jessica Dawson 17:11

Coaching, yes, they're coaching the people! And they're like, "Well, just tell me what I should be doing."

Maika Leibbrandt 17:17

Yeah, you know what, I, we just wrapped up a cool Boss to Coach cohort with a client who is still struggling with that idea of, Well, I don't have enough time to coach because I have to tell them what to do. And I have to follow up on what they've done. And probably not just a coincidence that they're also struggling with trusting that people are doing anything if they're working from home. But for them, it is a big leap. So Jaclynn, I appreciate just how do you make the leap, acknowledging that for a lot of organizations and a lot of individuals, being more advisory, asking more than telling -- that is a leap.

Maika Leibbrandt 17:52

And I'm thinking back to the specific client saying, "I don't have time to coach." Another thing that we find to be a new challenge, or maybe a newly spotlighted challenge, is How do you help managers and leaders learn how to prioritize their time? And that idea of OK, we want to nudge you toward more of this advisory role. This is how you develop others. But it is a movement for a lot of people from, "I was a great individual contributor because I worked really hard. And I'm going to work really hard as a manager and think that my job is just to make sure that other people are working really hard."

Maika Leibbrandt 18:27

And maybe you're still using that -- I'm using my hands if you can't see this -- the access of important versus urgent. Well, really great leaders who are, as Brian Brim, I know, said, you know, leading through compassion, are also taking into account what's urgent, what's important and where's the best developmental opportunities? Or where is, where's the people, you know, part of this? What perhaps has the most potential? And coming back to something Jessica said, of realizing I'm getting people done through work; I'm not just getting work done through people.

Maika Leibbrandt 18:58

So taking a pause to say, How am I prioritizing coaching? And know that that, that might mean I come across as soft. But then I think it's also saying, How do I take the feedback I'm getting? How do I add -- if somebody is telling me I'm not being soft enough, how do I hear that? How am I like pliable and moldable enough to say, If we're democratizing leadership development, that means we're inviting people to hold a mirror up to themselves and say, What are my blind spots? What are some of those gaps that I might have? How can I be more mindful of it, either through my own development or through partnership, or through both?

Jessica Dawson 19:35

For sure.

Jaclynn Robinson 19:36

Absolutely. And I think that's to where the, the talent themes can come in handy, where you can, you can be thinking about how you're showing up and presenting to your employees, to the colleagues that you work with, to other leaders that you work with or that you report up to. So you're taking that feedback and then able to self-regulate, to say, What do I need to dial up? What do I maybe need to dial down? Or even to Jessica's point, if you have an employee that comes to you and says, "Just tell me what to do," what are their themes telling you about them? You still want to take that coaching approach, but, you know, are they more Analytical than more Empathy in terms of how they want more facts and information and figures, or want to be able to talk through that with you over maybe feelings? So I think that would be even a useful tool to pull in to help individualize this approach.

Jessica Dawson 20:25

Absolutely. I think the other thing, just to hone in on is, you know, creating buy-in, especially if you are someone that's maybe, you, maybe you feel like you are single-handedly trying to change the culture of the organization. Like there are a lot of "snowball effect" success stories out there, where maybe you were the first one, and then it grew and grew and grew. So I think it's also about sharing your stories, showcasing your stories where you can. So thinking about your, your unique culture that you exist in, where are the opportunities for, for, maybe it's town halls, perhaps it's other recognition opportunities even? So that you can showcase how, how coaching works, why it works from a business standpoint. Because a lot of times that can also get people's attention, especially when you're trying to change a culture, right, bringing it back to the business.

Jaclynn Robinson 21:24

Yeah, great callout. I think that also answers a number of questions that we're seeing in chat related to How do you, how do you impact or create an effect on these resistant managers or leaders that say, "Hey, I just don't have the time." The best-practice sharing is a brilliant way. And it does the hard work for you, the heavy lifting, because you've got the business outcomes and leaders and managers saying, "Hey, it works. And this is how it works. This is this is what we've seen in terms of productivity, retention, reduced absenteeism, team engagement and so forth."

Maika Leibbrandt 21:58

I still think maybe we just honor the research here, and you don't have to come up with the buy-in on your own. I wrote these down; I don't have it memorized. But currently --

Jaclynn Robinson 22:09

You do exactly what I do!

Maika Leibbrandt 22:10

I was about to look real awesome. Less than two in 10 employees strongly agree, "Leadership communicates effectively with the rest of the organization." Only 2 in 10 employees strongly agree that Leadership makes them feel enthusiastic about the future. And only a quarter of us agree our, strongly agree that Our performance is managed in a way that motivates outstanding work. Folks, if that's not enough to say, coaching matters, then you got a bigger problem.

Maika Leibbrandt 22:38

And I think a, you know, a lot of this does come back to seeing coaching not as making you feel better but helping you do better. And really the great, I mean, Jessica is one of my best coaches. And what she does really excellently is holds a space for communication. And, I mean, if, if Start With Why and all the books around why you should start with "Why" -- there is a note to the world that that's an important point that we're missing. Otherwise, those wouldn't be topping charts in, you know, in our, there wouldn't be such a market for us to start with "Why" if we were getting this right. Clearly, part of coaching is not just how clear are you about what the expectations are? But how well are you helping those expectations, those priorities, that passion infiltrate a level below and a level below that?

Maika Leibbrandt 23:28

I think sometimes we can be really clear at a leadership level about where we're going. But it breaks down really quickly. Well, coaching can be the link that keeps your connection between the levels of the organization, whether you're a leader or a manager or, or somebody who's showing up every day just to be a rock star in your individual contributor role. So yes, it is hard, but I think it's also about holding up a mirror to folks and saying, you know, How future-ready are we? Because it's easier now for people just to say, "Sorry, I'm out. I'm going to go to a place where I can wake up in the morning feeling like I know what we're doing and that I love it. And I can do that just by clicking on to a different internet location." Like your talent depends on you getting it right.

Jessica Dawson 24:11

For sure.

Jaclynn Robinson 24:11

Thank you for bringing that up, too, even the aspect of leaders aren't always aware that they might be living in this world up here, but it's not trickling down to the other levels. Even when it comes to, to learning and growth, 58% of leaders would strongly agree that they receive learning and growth. But then you take it down to the next level and only 39% of managers agree that they're receiving learning and growth. These are the people that were, I think most leaders are assuming, they can start to funnel up into a leadership position at some point in time. But if they're not receiving that coaching and the development and growth now, how are they going to perform when they're in that leadership position?

Jaclynn Robinson 24:51

But if there's a disconnect between the, the leaders and managers with, you know, growth and learning and development, then think about the disconnect that's happening between managers and individual contributors. So the more you can get maybe that one leader, even, that's a beacon and says, "Oh, I love the opportunity to coach! I want to do more of it." Or they are doing it, they're implementing it, and it's working. How can you get them to be that shining star and knowledge-share with other leaders so that you can start to have more of that waterfall effect?

Jessica Dawson 25:26

Great question. It's a million-dollar question. I want to go to the waterfall effect as well.

Jaclynn Robinson 25:30

... goodness today.

Jessica Dawson 25:38

I just want to also just encourage folks that a lot of times, it doesn't have to -- you don't have to always start from scratch. I know at Gallup, we are huge, we are big on studying successes, so that you can recreate more of those. So if this is a new initiative, study other initiatives that have worked in the organization. How did that initiative get the traction? How did that initiative transcend throughout the entire organization, right? And I think it comes back down to the expectations around the coaching initiative, around -- I love how Maika said, starting with "Why," right? Why, why does this matter from a business standpoint? So maybe you start with the statistics. And then as you're, you're, you're trying to roll this out, study those successful initiatives that you had in the past and recreate them. Right?

Maika Leibbrandt 26:34

Yeah, I think it's also about studying the individuals, right. So people should feel like, If I want to improve, I can see that I can improve here. And, in fact, it's bigger: It's, it's women's month. They should see that people who look and act like me can get better here, right? So that, so they can look around and realize, development is in my hands. I don't have to wait for somebody to hand it to me. And there's lots of bigger ways than just your formalized programs that that needs to be underscored for folks. But it's also about, How are you telling the story of what excellence looks like? And making sure that it is, you're highlighting managers who think about loving people and process, that you -- I mean, we roll out, Jessica and I work together on a client who we both love, who (we love all our clients; but Jessica and I don't always work together -- let's just go there!).

Jaclynn Robinson 27:25


Maika Leibbrandt 27:26

A disclaimer. We're helping them define some of these expectations, where we say, you know what, really great leaders inspire others. They, they also think critically, and they communicate effectively. And being able to say, "Here's what excellence looks like." And then "Let's, let's take an internal snapshot of who some of those leaders are." It's like building your own version of Gallup's Strengths Based Leadership book, by being able to say, you know what -- and I saw a question in the chat earlier about some types of leadership, or some types of talent tend to be fast-tracked toward leadership. I think what we can say is the greatest leaders don't have their same styles in common. What they have is they're aware of who they are; they're aware of who they're not; they're working on those blind spots. But they're also leaning into, Hey, this is my style, and it's OK.

Maika Leibbrandt 28:11

So let's highlight some of that. It'll do two things. One, it'll make, to your point, Jaclynn, a more inclusive leadership culture. But I think it also encourages people to say, "Let's talk about what leadership means in our organization." So that you can see this is a tough job. This is a job that's about putting others first -- being almost, you know, servant-in-chief. This is a job that's about holding awkward tension and having critical conversations and creating space to coach. And that can be something you can be excellent at.

Jessica Dawson 28:46

I love this callout, Maika, around bringing it down to the individual, and getting really curious there. Because coaching and people are messy, but it can be really interesting to bring that "curious lens" to it to study, to study the people. And I think it also comes down to expectations. Right. So one of the things we know is that people in the workplace want more immediacy within their conversations. And what that creates is not only the space to have different types of conversations, and maybe even more of those future-oriented conversations where you're getting more of an inclination of, Where does this person want to go in their career? But it also allows for you to understand, on a daily basis, What are the barriers that the person is experiencing? What are the needs that this person has from a workplace perspective? What are their talents, and how are they showing up daily, so that you can individualize your approach. So a couple of callouts --

Jaclynn Robinson 29:50

Yes, I think that's what makes it a priority. When leaders might say, "What's the priority behind having these coaching conversations? I don't have the time for it." That's why you need to do it, because you are creating a greater pipeline of productivity by having more of these Quick Connects with your employees and understanding, What are the barriers to their success? What's driving them? Because I might have a project, and this is something I can delegate to them, get it off my plate. It's giving them growth and development. But if they're not having those Quick Connect conversations, they could be creating a large bottleneck of productivity without even knowing it. And if their business outcomes focus, which many are as leaders, that's going to impact your business outcomes. So thank you, Jessica, I think you just, you know, both of you just gave everyone in the audience a great point as to how we can flip this and say, this is why it's a priority. Jim!

Jaclynn Robinson 30:43

I think, yeah, let me let me jump in on this. Because I think, based on what I'm hearing in the chat room, I think sometimes we have an expectation that we can turn this thing on a dime inside organizations. You know, they're frustrated because we have leaders that can't make the leap to being a coach. They are top-down driven. They're, they're not doing their role, kind of as a manager or as a leader. And I think, and I want to quiz you guys, I mean, this takes a while. Jaclynn, you and I are spending a bunch of time about Successful Leadership. That's the series, right. So there's others -- next week, we're gonna talk with Hologic, right? They're coming on to talk with us and give us some best practice.

Jim Collison 31:20

And I think this is actually an element we miss in our success stories series that we have on Called to Coach, where people aren't listening for those -- this didn't happen yesterday. Like, we started this journey 3 to 5 years ago. We, as we think about those steps that are on page 60 of It's the Manager about building a strengths-based culture -- not that I'm geeky about that book, but it's on that page, if you want to find it. Starting with -- it has to start with senior leadership, right? We got to, we, we have to get that. And then no organization is perfect. And so you're, as you're making these transitions, it's gonna take time. And even when you are switching, there's going to be resistance. And so you have to work through that.

Jim Collison 32:01

Maika, I want to throw that to you a little bit. And when we think about best practices for organizations that are working through this, because that's what it takes: it takes several iterations of the Q12. It might take several years of developing a strengths-based culture. As you've looked at, and Jessica, we'll ask you the same question as well. What's common in those organizations that are making the shift or that are doing it right? And what do you see in them that's helping them move along the journey over time, as opposed to, "We want to fix this tomorrow?"

Maika Leibbrandt 32:35

Geekiest question you've ever asked, Jim!

Jaclynn Robinson 32:39

It's great to see you get back in action.

Maika Leibbrandt 32:43

You know, I'm, instantly, I'm thinking that we're talking about change management; we're not just talking about -- if you approach it as, "I just want my managers to be more like, like coaches," and that's in isolation, then it, it, first of all, it'll feel heavier. And second of all, it probably won't last, unless you're relying on sheer talent of a bunch of really great people. I think it's about how do you take better stock of all the systems? So understanding, are we defining excellence through how we rate, rank, count, measure performance? Are we allowing a little bit more space in terms of what we actually expect leaders and managers to spend their time doing? What are we recognizing, informally and formally? What are we saying our priorities are? And how are we walking that walk as well?

Maika Leibbrandt 33:34

And Ralph, I saw in the chat, was challenging this idea that we need to have this waterfall effect of start at the top. But the truth is, if I don't believe it's a leadership priority, I'm never going to get that extra "oomph" of sustainability and of, I think extra energy toward whatever I'm going toward, whether that's adopting more of a coaching culture or, you know, putting my seatbelt on when I drive. Like I have to believe that somebody who is in charge of setting priorities also believes this is a priority.

Maika Leibbrandt 34:05

So best practice in terms of you know, how have we gone about it? First is you see it as a whole systemic change that needs, I think, proper change management approaches around it. Second is that, gosh, you got to think about hope at the same time. So I've, it's, I've just recently rediscovered Making Hope Happen, the book by Shane Lopez. And there is so much even just in the first 10 pages that's just hitting me between the eyes. You know, how are we talking about this in terms of what's going to be better when we get there? Why is that important to us? And what's the next step we can take? So us sitting here saying, gosh, this takes years kind of kills my Adaptability, which you heard I have. I'm thinking, if it takes years -- I have Strategic and Adaptability -- I'm out. I'm gonna go next door.

Jaclynn Robinson 34:52

Maika, to that question -- and let me interrupt your train of thought on this -- to that question, Lisa asks a good one: What are some quick wins? So what have you seen? What are some quick wins that lead to longevity? Because I think we need to have hope both near and far.

Maika Leibbrandt 35:06

Well, and i'm thinking it's not just have hope; it's the practice of hope. It's that you're talking about, what, what can this be in 30 days? When is your next opportunity to coach? What are you going to do in that opportunity? And that comes back to, a quick win, is get those leaders some coaching. Right? Help them experience what it feels like to receive coaching. In many organizations, that means that you're redefining a negative connotation where coaching was a punitive activity. But it's, it's maybe even thinking about coaching circles, where you are bringing in people outside of the traditional HR space who maybe are influencers throughout the organization and saying, "Hey, here's, here's what a 15-minute coaching conversation could sound like. It's ask, listen, respond; that's it.

Maika Leibbrandt 35:52

We've done some really great, I think, interventions that were drawn from other goals -- not just "We want to be better coaches." And I think that's also an important thing is that how could you have this change grow some tentacles of reasons why you're doing it? And one of the organizations I'm thinking about right now, they brought us in to deal with burnout. And so our answer was we're going to bake in coaching habits and we're going to bake in some coaching behaviors. But it wasn't just to drive coaching forward on its own; it was, in -- if we can be better listeners, be more tied in to our people, I mean Jessica mentioned before, people want that immediacy of, "Hey, I just did something hard. Does anybody know?"

Jessica Dawson 36:34

Does anybody care?

Maika Leibbrandt 36:36

Yeah, does anybody want to ask me how it went or help me figure out what i could do better next time? And honestly, great coaching in that moment is -- my, my boss does it to me all the time: "Hey, Maika, I know you had like a 'red day'"; cause I do, he also knows I color-code my calendar based on difficulty. And he'll just say, "Hey, what do you think went well?" He wasn't there. I was on Zoom with, you know, 75 other people in other countries. But he says, "What do you think went well? What do you think you're going to do better next time? When's the next time you can do better?" Those are 3 questions and that is coaching! And, and so I think it is looking for the, the Frozen 2 "next right thing," and doing that, in addition to that systemic treating it like any other change project that you want to adopt.

Jaclynn Robinson 37:18

Jessica, I heard Maika say, "Focus on managers." Like in that, like, maybe a strategy short-term is focus on man -- we've been saying this a lot, I mean, if you're listening to this now, and it's the first time you've heard us say, "Focus on managers" -- what else would you add to what Maika said, Jessica?

Jessica Dawson 37:36

Gosh, I like echo everything that Maika has, has been saying. She's so brilliant! I think, you know, managers are the bedrock of an organization. So it's great to have the focus there. And I would echo the sentiment around like this, this cascading effect that you have to bring into the organization. And culture change is like turning around a ship in an ocean. So I think that you have to celebrate the wins along the journey, you know, and as I think about some of the clients that I've been working with more recently, I think it's also giving yourself grace along the journey.

Jessica Dawson 38:22

So knowing that it's going to be difficult, you're, you may be a trailblazer; you may be meeting a lot of red tape. But the small wins can get you through that red tape. So, you know, for example I gave the, I talked about some of the executives that I'm coaching in this very hierarchical organization where the only places that they actually feel that they can be themselves, for a lot of these leaders, is either with their team -- because they cherry-picked and hand-picked them -- or with maybe one or two other executives and executive leaders that they've cultivated relationships with.

Jessica Dawson 39:04

So I do go back to, yes, it's about the small wins, but it's also about being able to give yourself ease and grace along the journey and having those people that you pick up along the way that maybe you can vent to, that maybe you can bounce ideas off of, that maybe you can just have the space to also communicate the difficulties that you're experiencing. I think it's -- we would be remiss if we just said, "Just deal with it; it'll change eventually." But do what you need to do to be OK along the journey. And I think sometimes we miss that. So that's the only other thing I would add.

Jaclynn Robinson 39:46

Jaclynn, what, what would you add to that conversation of those two?

Jaclynn Robinson 39:50

That's great! Well, what I hear is, even leaping off of, or kind of, I don't know, going off of what Jessica said, that also taps into the wellbeing and burnout piece that leaders might be experiencing. So who are those partners that you feel like you can just, you know, take 5 with or take 10 minutes with, and share out the difficulties you're experiencing, or use them as a thought partner and bounce off some ideas for some challenges that you're incurring, or just to talk through communication for how you want to translate a message down to the rest of the organization.

Jaclynn Robinson 40:26

But then doing so in a space where you're walking outside together, even if it's socially distanced, or you're walking and talking by the phone. I've known a lot of leaders that will just get on the phone with somebody else. And they're walking outside at the same time in completely different neighborhoods, just to be able to share out. But there's a lot to be said about, you know, connecting with a partner as you're going through that experience and sharing the lived experiences together. But then doing so in a way where you might be outdoors, or you're getting your blood flowing too, because we know that, again -- you've heard me say this a number of times in these sessions -- that generates a lot of creativity and thought. And that creates a better sense of wellbeing too, so you're able to tackle what's going on in the workplace and look at it in a new perspective.

Maika Leibbrandt 41:11

I love the idea of getting somebody who can give you real feedback. I mean, this, before I was at Gallup, and even my first few years, we all had Board of Directors meetings, where you would gather your trusted advisers within the organization and have a meeting about how well you're doing. I mean, that probably fits -- Justin, your question about what is focused development. That'd be something I'd classify under focused development is, if me and my 6 most trusted advisers here, I bring them to the seat at the table, and I am the topic; my growth and development; my progression through leadership is the topic. And I trust what they're going to tell me.

Maika Leibbrandt 41:53

I think that's a -- imagine even taking a walk with somebody who could say, "What kind of feedback are you getting? Let's talk about how, how you're inspiring others, how you're leading change, how you're doing these expectations that we have of leaders and of managers." And we're treating your development, your leadership development, just like we would treat any other goal that you're trying to pursue. I think it's so important. I mean, we can't ignore the fact that having a best friend at work is a pretty important thing. What if this was also thinking about those developmental partners who are giving you the real-time feedback in the moment?

Jessica Dawson 42:29

For sure.

Jaclynn Robinson 42:29


Jaclynn Robinson 42:30

What about that element of, of coaching up? You know, I know, as, as, in my role, my manager is really good at some things and less good -- is that, can I say it that way? -- less good at others. And I've kind of learned to lean into what he's best at and get that from him. And when I need coaching, I'll be honest, we, just yesterday, we had a call. Jaclynn and I were spending some time talking about this. Maika jumped in, and I got seriously coached. Right? I got -- and I needed it; in the moment, I needed it. What is the responsibility from individuals -- both leaders, managers, individual contributors -- to understand their leadership structure above them and also lean into that, to know it? To say, "Hey, my current manager or my current boss, whatever, has these strengths, and they do these things well." What's that responsibility look like? And Maika, your, your eyes raised there. What would you say to that?

Maika Leibbrandt 43:25

And that's why we're tribal human beings, Jim. That's so deep! That's why, that's why nobody lives with only one other person. Like, and, and when I had mentioned the Board of Directors, there's more than one other seat. I think it's about identifying your own blind spots and knowing who makes a great partner for you, but also knowing your partner's blind spots. And I do use the word "partner" in place of your own manager, because you should be able, I mean, great collaboration happens there. And you should be able to name, Here's what I bring to the table that they do not. And here's what they bring to the table that I do not. And if we're talking about managing up, they may bring permission, autonomy, funding that you do not.

Maika Leibbrandt 44:10

And you also need to know, OK, if we think about the two of us as a pair, what are we missing? Is it the feedback on how I'm showing up to an audience that my manager doesn't know about? Well, I can't expect them to know that. So either I ask them to figure it out, or I go find it somewhere else. Part of democratizing leadership development is that we're in charge of our own progress. And I think far too often people wait to ask for an opportunity to move up or to develop or they say, they apologize for it. They'll go to their manager and say "Hey, I'm really sorry, but I want to get better at this," or, or "I am interested in doing something different," and they're afraid that somehow it shows some disrespect to what they're doing in the moment. I think we should constantly as leaders, be on the lookout for that kind of energy and say, "Yes, that's fantastic. And I'll help you get there." And one of the ways you can develop your leadership is to expand the circle of people you trust, who can bring different perspective to how you're doing.

Jessica Dawson 45:10

For sure.

Maika Leibbrandt 45:11

So my quick answer, Jim, is stop expecting your manager to be excellent at everything.

Jessica Dawson 45:17

Yeah, or even, or even expecting your manager to know exactly what it is that you need. Right? I think that a lot of times -- and we do this all the time, just not even within the corporate environment, but just as human beings -- we make assumptions, right? So part of the power of being curious and asking questions is being able to go into that space to learn something new about someone. I think CliftonStrengths is a great way to bring a relational shorthand, perhaps if you're newer to that manager, employee relationship, or manager-leader relationship, and starting to get to know that person.

Jessica Dawson 45:54

But I think you have to ask questions around expectations. And the manager should be asking questions for sure. But as the employee, you have a responsibility as well. From an expectation standpoint, we know that within our employee, employee engagement database, only 50% of the folks in our database can give a "5" or a strongly agree to the item, "I know what is expected of me at work." And I think expectations, it's not just about your job functionality, but it also transcends into your developmental needs. And if you're not, if you don't feel like you can be candid about that, start with question-asking about that so that you can do a temperature check on how your manager operates or how your, your executive operates around this, so that you can actually get what you need.

Maika Leibbrandt 46:45

This is why she's my coach.

Jessica Dawson 46:51

Talent in action!

Jaclynn Robinson 46:54

Well, I find sometimes, as we do these sessions, folks are looking for this very prescriptive, like, "Just tell me these things to do," like, or "We've tried that, and it hasn't worked." And this is such a human problem. Like this is such a hard, hard human problem to overcome. And it takes a, it, yes, it's hard; it takes a lot of effort, takes a lot of work. I think the onus is both on us and our structure that exists. You know, at Gallup, we're such a flat structure. And sometimes I, you know, we, a lot of folks see leadership as this, this up and down. And I really, I really see it as a, as a sideways. In fact, the folks that, that are responsible underneath me for leadership, I put them ahead of me, like in that, and saying, "You're really, really important to me." But we all play a role, right? It's not like, we have workers and we have managers. I mean, I know a lot of managers, including me, who do a lot of work. Like there's a lot of things I'm responsible for.

Jim Collison 47:57

Jaclynn, in your experience, are you seeing, is the trend in the work that you're doing -- and maybe for the 3 of you -- is it getting better? Are we seeing changes where that leadership, that boss-to-coach is, it's flattening? Do you see any of that, Jaclynn?

Jaclynn Robinson 48:14

I think it varies by organization and their, their attitude and their desire to want to create that inclusive leadership culture and this culture of coaching. When they are all on board, and it's all-hands-on-deck, you just see the momentum. And those, the, the small wildfires, as I call them, just burn across the organization, and you just see momentum with strengths or engagement or performance. When you have some on board and others aren't, I feel like it's a little bit slower of a burn. And we celebrate those wins and we knowledge-share: What are the best practices? What are they doing so that we can spread the good news, the great business outcomes and so forth? And then some are just more resistant. And if you're in one of those organizations, and you're you're trying to get them bought in, who do you have? Who's that one stakeholder that's a leader that is, you know, their eyes and ears are open to what you have to say, and they're interested in seeing the shift? And then start small. But what would you say, ladies? What have you seen in your experience? It's varied so much for me.

Jessica Dawson 49:20

I mean, I think you're spot-on, Jaclynn. I love the callout of the variability within the workplace. I do think that we are at the tip of the iceberg on this. You know, we just think about mature economies, and I'll just take the U.S. for example. From an economics perspective, the last thing to develop is the human being. So for a long time, we went down this rabbit hole of Six Sigma and being lean and squeezing out efficiencies. And now we are at the top of the food chain here, from an economics perspective and cultivating human potential, cultivating human capital. And I think that there's going to be a lot of innovation still to come and a lot of tweaks, because I don't think that we have gotten it right so far. But I also think that it speaks to the complexity of human beings. There's not necessarily one approach that's blanketed and works across all organizations, because, I don't know, I think a lot of times, organizations are like human beings in their complexities.

Jaclynn Robinson 50:25

You are not wrong.

Maika Leibbrandt 50:25

I think -- I'm going to take a dose of my own medicine of treat it like an entire change in a system. And I am seeing a change in the idea of how we define what it, what the role of a manager is. That is changing, if you look at even how we're educating business students. I'm lucky enough to be here in the state of Nebraska, and we've got the CliftonStrengths Institute that says, Hey, if you're going to be a business student, you're going to study what's right with people and how to coach them. When I was going to school, if you were smart, you were a lawyer or a doctor. That was it. If you had a business idea, you just went out and did it. And if you majored in business, sorry, in my limited perspective when I was 17, the only people who majored in business were the ones who didn't know what else to do. And I, to my knowledge, that's, that's really not true anymore.

Maika Leibbrandt 51:14

I look at how we celebrate great managers. If you even just check out, you know, Gallup has a Manager of the Year that we give as an award, you know, across our client base. We talk about great places to work. Students today talk about what they want to be when they grow up, and we can navigate toward How do you want to feel when you work? I mean that's a, even the fact that we talk about mental health and we talk about burnout, and it's OK to bring up how you feel and how you feel at work. That to me is a monumental shift. And I think that's what it's going to take is to be able to say, you know, you have influence based on who you are. Your strengths are probably your best avenue to influence, and you don't have that just so you can lead. You have that so that you can love. And, and if you, if that's something that attracts you, then maybe being a manager is a great job for you. And if it's not, let's figure out what you love and who you love and how you love and how you offer that compassion in a different way and also have that be OK.

Jim Collison 52:13

I think, Maika, what I hear is it's gonna take one person at a time. I think sometimes we've approached this so systematically in the same manufacturing -- Jessica, to what you just said, the Six Sigma and lean and all those things, like, those were an attempt to simplify and, at an organizational level, kind of change everything. And, and I think what I'm hearing and what you guys are saying is it's still about coaching, and it's about coaching one person at a time, right. It's about getting managers straightened, fixed -- not; those are all wrong words -- coached in being better managers, right. It's about helping individual contributors and SMEs get coached. It's about executive and leadership teams being coached, right. One person at a time is what's gonna take to get this done. Jaclynn, unfortunately, like this has been a lot of fun. We should do this every Friday!

Jessica Dawson 53:07

That'd be awesome!

Maika Leibbrandt 53:09

Thanks, Jeremy, for having a conflict! He's actually tied up in my basement because I wanted the role instead -- and said he was busy.

Jim Collison 53:17

Have a flat tire on the side of the road somewhere. Jaclynn, we're coming up on time. Why don't you do a job, your job to wrap this up for us and kind of bring us in for a landing.

Jaclynn Robinson 53:28

Yes. I was looking at a lot of the comments that were coming through in chat too, and I feel like this really resonates. And a lot of the audience is seeing there's a significant opportunity for us to coach managers -- whether it's an internal coach that's within the organization already and can work with the leader to help highlight the, the value and importance of coaching their managers, or whether you are a leader yourself and you recognize that this is an opportunity not just for you but for your fellow leader colleagues, so to speak. There's a lot of value in being able to, you know, take, take what we've learned today and individualize; start going from one manager to one manager to one manager and really helping them grow and develop. Because again, based on what Gallup's research is telling us, 39% of managers strongly agree that they're receiving learning and growth opportunities. And if we want to funnel them up and create leaders out of them, we need to be focused on that people development now.

Jaclynn Robinson 54:26

We're, we are going to follow this topic next week with a case study, so we're really bringing this to life with Allison Bebo, who is the Senior Vice President, the Global Head of Human Resources at Hologic. And she will be sharing out from her perspective as a leader how are they creating a culture of, you know, strengths-based, engagement-oriented, performance-focused work. How is this culture -- where did it come from? How did it start? How long did it take them? You will hear it all. So we will really bring this to life even further with a leader that will come in and speak to us. And then after that, you'll hear from Ruth and Jackie, and they will give some best practices on how they coach leaders.

Jim Collison 55:14

Yeah, I'm excited what's coming up. Robert Gabsa is also joining us next week. And we recorded him last year on the 5 you know, the 5 things it takes to build a strengths-based culture. And they, at the time, they were doing this at Hologic. This is super cool. Like, this is a follow-up a year later, to be like, OK, what, what actually happens? So if you want real stories, you got to join us next week. Head over to right now and register. And, and join us, join us live so you can ask these questions live.

Jim Collison 55:44

With that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we have available now in Gallup Access. And there's a lot; they keep adding more every day. So go to Or if you can't remember that -- I didn't, I didn't realize this till this week -- if you go to, it takes you to the same spot. So I don't know how the guy who does this --

Jaclynn Robinson 56:04

Gotta love the land of websites -- we learn something new every day!

Maika Leibbrandt 56:07

Glad doesn't take you somewhere else.

Jim Collison 56:11

I know. It's great. No, it gets to there as well. If you have any, if you're looking for coaching, master coaching or you want to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, or you want help with your organization to do some of the things that we talked about, send us an email: coaching@gallupcom. We'll get back right to you. We're excited to talk about the 2021 Gallup at Work Summit that is coming up June 8 and 9; we're super pumped about it. Two days this year, lots of sessions. Satya Nadella from Microsoft is coming to be our keynote. It's going to be pretty great. You can register right now: gallupatwork -- all one word -- You can find us on any social platform. And apparently this thing called Instagram is super hot right now. I don't know, Maika's all over it.

Jaclynn Robinson 56:49

What are we getting on TikTok?

Jim Collison 56:51

Yeah, let's not do that. Can we not? Can we not do TikTok? But you can follow us on any social site just by searching "CliftonStrengths," and we'd love to have you do that there as well. Thanks for listening. Because we went long, there'll be no postshow. But thanks for coming out. We'll see you next Friday. With that, we'll say Goodbye, everybody.

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

Maika Leibbrandt's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Strategic, Positivity, Woo, Ideation and Adaptability.

Jessica Dawson's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Futuristic, Relator, Activator, Developer and Individualization.

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

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