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Called to Coach
How to Manage Better Using Your Strengths
Called to Coach

How to Manage Better Using Your Strengths

Webcast Details

  • What makes someone a good manager?
  • How can managers build developmental opportunities for employees, using their strengths?
  • What does it take for managers -- and coaches -- to keep employees engaged, and how can they avoid micromanaging them?

Below are audio and video plus a transcript of the conversation, including time stamps.

As a manager, you bring a sizable portion of talent to the table. As you develop these talents into strengths, they can help you navigate change, maximize team members' development, and keep individual and team engagement high. Gallup Senior Workplace Consultant Mike McDonald shares managing and workplace insights -- including some practical questions -- that will enable you to steer away from micromanaging and toward team engagement, through applying your own strengths and helping your team members apply theirs effectively in their roles. Join us and see how you can grow as a manager and a coach.

Every single change and transition, regardless of how comfortable or uncomfortable it is, whether it was done with intentionality or something that we're reacting to in the marketplace, is always a growth opportunity.

Mike McDonald, 4:25

As leaders, our strengths are kind of for us. But they're really for the benefit of our team. ... Curt Liesveld a long time ago ... talked about, How do we give our strengths away? And I think that's a great leadership attitude.

Mike McDonald, 6:17

If we use our strengths well, the very involvement and execution of our role at a high level is the best learning opportunity we're ever going to have.

Mike McDonald, 8:25

Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and welcome to the CliftonStrengths Podcast. On this podcast, we'll be covering topics such as wellbeing, teamwork, professional development and more. Now enjoy this episode.

Meet Our Guest on This Episode

Jim Collison 0:10
This episode was previously recorded on LinkedIn Live. I'm here with Mike McDonald. Mike, let's get to know you a little bit today. Give us a little bit about what we pay you to do at Gallup and maybe a little bit of your background.

Mike McDonald 0:27
Yeah, love to. And Jim, I'll pour some gas on the fire that you've started here. So for those of you in the chat, like just think about key words; don't even worry about a phrase or a sentence. So it's like, what are the first two or three words that popped to your mind immediately to Jim's invitation? Best manager you've ever had, and just keywords that are characteristics, attributes of who they are, and we can drive off of that.

Jim Collison 0:50
Yeah. And Mike, if your --

Mike McDonald 0:51
Stimulus response on display, I think.

Jim Collison 0:53
If folks are listening to this in the podcast form, we do have a CliftonStrengths Podcast. If you haven't subscribed to that, and you want more content like that, after we're done today, just go, search "CliftonStrengths Podcast" and get it subscribed. If you're listening in your car, or maybe you're on a walk listening to that, I want you to think about those words now before we dive in; maybe identify a few in your own mind as we go forward. But, Mike, let's get to know you a little bit. Again, a little bit of your background and what we pay you to do here at Gallup.

Mike McDonald 1:20
Yeah, so officially my title is Gallup Senior Workplace Consultant. I think, Jim, what I try to translate that to mean in a, as succinct a way as I can is to help organizations learn better so that they can lead better. And, you know, there's, there's a lot in between that learn and lead space about what that really looks like from the organization level down to the individual team, team level. And there might be a bit of my strengths bias coming out in some of that style of expression as well, Jim. But yeah, and just for full disclosure, since we're all exchanging our Top 5, I am Ideation, Input, Learner, Achiever and Focus. So I think my strengths probably reveal themselves as much as anything in my, my title and my job description about how I see my role.

What Makes a Good Manager?

Jim Collison 2:06
Great. Thanks for coming out today. Arranger, Woo, Maximizer, Communication and Activator on this side. You see what a hot mess that can be. Mike, as we talk about how to manage better using your strengths, I think the very first question we got to ask is, What makes a good manager? And we got a lot of data around this. So talk a little bit of -- briefly, but talk a little bit about it, as we think, What are those things that makes a good manager? We have lots of comments coming in, but, but what makes them great?

Mike McDonald 2:33
Yeah, that, the comments are just on fire. You know, Jim, if I was just to drive off a theme that I want to take advantage of, I think if we saw a cue, I guess, I won't say a listen-for, but a perspective in the chat, "authentic" has come up I think as kind of the leader of the pack so far. And I think there is something, when we think about strengths and what makes a good manager and that being comfortable in who you are -- like clearly who you are, clearly who you are not, and not getting tempted to blur the two. But I think a good manager, you know, to your point, the data, it's, it's a tough, it's a tough job that's not getting any easier. So I'll just put a little context to it.

Mike McDonald 3:11
So right now, what makes a good manager is they've got to persevere through maybe some of the challenges and points of resistance of the workplace. But the threat if we don't do this well is that managers are no more engaged than the teams they are leading. So if we look at engagement across, you know, all of our measures, managers are eyeball to eyeball with the teams they are leading, which is a losing proposition. We will not move organizations forward unless the most vital feature of our organization's culture actually is pulling in our favor. So managers -- I like to think about this, Jim -- they have to consume these types of experiences so they can create it optimally for their team. We've got a gap there.

Mike McDonald 3:48
But in terms of what makes a good manager, a couple of things that really, I think, are pushing their way to the front of the line. And we're seeing this over and over again, but honestly, how effectively are they -- where's their capacity to lead through change and transition? And I don't mean that to sound like trite or cliché, but we've all learned lessons in the past 24 months, and still continue to, about change and transition. But I think, I would hope that our ability or positioning of change and transition, not as something we simply survive.

Mike McDonald 4:17
But I think there's opportunities that we should -- we can, if we're good managers -- seize, really actively, and I'd maybe even say aggressively. That every single change and transition, regardless of how comfortable or uncomfortable it is, whether it was done with intentionality or something that we're reacting to in the marketplace, is always a growth opportunity. Development was something we developmentally maximize or max our maximization of development was one of the key phrases in the chat. How do we see change and transition as development opportunities, as growth -- the capacity to do something better than we've ever done before? That means everything -- now we, we convert anything to, you know, a wildly new opportunity. It's not just simply something we have to figure out or survive on the other side.

Mike McDonald 5:03
And I think that's where strengths, right, I would actually put that as maybe one of the key considerations for managers when we think about our strengths: Which of your Top 5 or Top 10 strengths causes you to lead through or navigate change most effectively with your team? And I don't know that we should ever stop asking ourselves that question. Maybe it's a different strength for change and transition relative to those circumstances. So I think about that a lot, Jim, as, it's a primary calling, and managers have to translate that capably and effectively.

How Managers Can "Give Away" Their Own Strengths

Jim Collison 5:34
Mike, when we, when, let's, let's dig in a little bit on that one. Think about the power of strengths on teams, how can managers really take full advantage? You know, we have, sometimes we have folks take the CliftonStrengths tool. It gets printed in a report. It gets put, they talk about it one time, and it gets put in a drawer. How can managers working with their teams pull that report out and continue to use it in a way that's, that's powerful for that team? What are just some tips?

Mike McDonald 6:02
I, so I love, let's start off with kind of the theme of that attitude. I really like our leadership stance around strengths. You've heard this from a variety of our thought leaders; I'm a huge fan of this statement. But our strengths are, for, as, as managers, as leaders, our strengths are kind of for us. But they're really for the benefit of our team. And so it's that, you know, it's that call to action. And, and, Jim, I know with even your work with Curt Liesveld a long time ago, he talked about, How do we give our strengths away? And I think that's a great leadership attitude.

Mike McDonald 6:34
Now let's think about this in reality. So I'm Ideation No. 1. That doesn't mean I can instill that as a strength in everyone on my team who doesn't have Ideation. But what I can do is I can sure help my team think more creatively than they would otherwise. I can help them, innovate, invent, think outside the box, be a little more ambiguity-tolerant. And maybe if they think they're faced with only two options, maybe we just invent a third option and just have that attitude, you know, that flexibility where maybe we crowdsource our creativity, once we pool our resources. And so there's a shift, there's a mindset shift, as I, as I hold myself accountable to How do I give that strength away? So I think when we know that about ourselves, I would encourage every well-intended team leader, keep pulling out that CliftonStrengths for Managers Report and think about, What's at the core of each of your Top 5 strengths? And then How do you commoditize that? And what would be the evidence that it's actually showing up to move the success of your team forward with that type of approach and attitude? This one, as we set the edges, Jim, I think that's where the best of some of that examination could translate.

Tips for New Managers: Asking Two Questions

Jim Collison 7:42
We've got a manager; we've got a team. They've taken CliftonStrengths. As you, as you work with managers -- and you work with a lot of managers around the world -- what's a simple tip for, for a new manager who may not be in an infrastructure where they're getting some direction, but they may have this or they may be thinking about, about getting this for their team? What would be a simple tip, just to get a manager started with their team, using those reports in a team setting?

Mike McDonald 8:12
Yeah, so I, there's just, there's so many organic opportunities developmentally that I think we have the chance to take full advantage of. I will, I do want to say, I think, you know, Jim, we need to keep leaning in on this. Because if we use our strengths well, the very involvement and execution of our role at a high level is the best learning opportunity we're ever going to have. And I think strengths really causes us to see that with wide-open opportunities. I think, Jim, as we, if we were to coach ourselves as managers, and to really think about Where are our strengths in action? I, and seeing our team's strengths in action, I would encourage us to think about just, just two simple questions.

Mike McDonald 8:50
Every month, I would love it as a habit and default, if every manager would just pause and think about their team and simply ask and answer, What have I learned about my team in this past month that I didn't know before? So, so it puts us in that position where we're studying our team -- and not just studying our team, but we're studying their interpersonal dynamics; we're studying their preferences, where they show up at their best; and we're, we're capturing the evidence of success accordingly, as well. So what are we learning about our team each and every month? And then I think, Jim, the most important follow-up on that is, How then does that change the way we lead our team moving forward? And in my strengths, intuitively respond as I ask and answer those questions. And strengths is the study of success. So when we look and examine our team and map our own leadership involvement through our own strengths contribution, I think it keeps us really uniform and driving forward in, again, the performance-based ways that we know categorically qualify as strength.

Building Team Developmental Opportunities

Jim Collison 9:54
We saw in the chat a lot of answers like accountability or like support and being there. As we think about a manager using their own strengths, and then a team that may be aware of theirs, and we think about career development, right? We just passed through this time of the Great Resignation. Everybody's changing jobs, and they have, they have new op -- not everybody, but a lot of people sure did, right. And we've got some new opportunities, there's some new development opportunities. How can we use that information, Mike, from a developmental standpoint? How could a manager really start building in developmental opportunities for their team members kind of around their strengths?

Mike McDonald 10:33
Yeah, no, it's, it's, it's terrific. So first off, I think it's such an important discussion, because we really need to get our head right about what development actually is. And I think we're doing a great job of elbowing our way past the, the stereotype -- the unfortunate trap-door stereotype of development. So Jim, the world keeps trying to say, without any evidence, that development is explained by, Did I get a promotion, and am I getting paid more? Which inevitably may take me out of that slipstream of where I'm absolutely at my best, right? But we're gonna push somebody to lead a team, because that's the only opportunity they have, because we've defined and restricted development to simply that.

Mike McDonald 11:15
And so, Jim, I think if we redefine development, you know, qualitatively around what our research is saying, development is, in large part, the leading indicator to anything we want to have happen, is simply, Am I getting better at my job? So let's start there. And how far can we go, right, maybe forever? There's deep mastery and expertise out there. I think you and I are strong examples of, you know, of that. And then, Is it happening on purpose? Not just is it, you know, not just Am I getting better? But, you know, sometimes I don't want it to accidentally happen, where I had to, you know, out of circumstantial conditions; I want to know that I've got a partner, a collaborator, a manager or somebody working with me to make that, that getting better at something happening on purpose. And then we need to have evidence of success, right? That it's predicted excess -- success -- that we saw happening. And that propels itself forward in a really loud way.

Mike McDonald 12:07
Well, now, all of a sudden, Jim, when we think about this broad band of development, what you, what we all find is our very best have an almost insatiable appetite for feedback, and an almost insatiable appetite to create broader and bigger impact. Well, how do we do that outside the role? And I think there's, you know, we kind of, we call it our core coaching performance alignment, but it's useful if you think about how much horizon we have developmentally with the people on our team. As they find success in their role, that's terrific. And I think there is self-to-role coaching comparison that we can create. And there's a strengths awareness, right? What's the output of my job expected to do? And how do my strengths drive that?

Mike McDonald 12:53
But then, Jim, at some point, maybe I really arrive at an elite level of that individual level of performance, but I have an appetite to create bigger impact and develop in that extension. Well, Jim, align me then -- Well, Mike, what's the impact do you think you could have on the team now? Beyond your role, What, how could you help others as you transmit your success to where, where would that benefit them? And so now, where would my strengths start to extend, and maybe that gets into more partnership, collaboration, knowledge transfer, mentoring -- who knows where that could show up?

Mike McDonald 13:26
But now there's a whole nother series of chapters that we could write, in terms of my development. And let's say I really get established there. And I really have a presence and identity around that. The third, then, chapter, I think, where we can continue to add then is, so it's role to, we have role to self, role to self -- self to role, self to team, and then go self to organization. And now be thinking about, well, how many bridges can I cross? Or how many cross-functional types of impact can I create, as I just, you know, aim and add the value of my own experience, talent and skills to how we can all now move forward? And that just, oh my gosh, for the best of the best, again, that's the appetite. That's where they want to go. And, and literally, in our coaching, we haven't had to take that person out of their functional role at all; we've just been able to keep using that as the genesis for all, genesis for all of these things to happen.

Jim Collison 14:19
Mike, I love the theme of what you're talking about there, as we think about teams that are functioning well together, knowing who they are, knowing their roles and responsibility, and then how they're deploying their strengths, right, how they're deploying these themes in a way that for powerful teamwork. And they begin to stop thinking about their own success and begin to think about the success of others. And then we always know that's, the, success is way more powerful in the context of relationships, right? As, as people are, as you're having group success, that has, that has the ability to be infinitely more powerful in what it can do from an organizational standpoint. Instead of having one person succeed, right, one person rise to the top, where those tides are rising, you know, all ships, right, from that perspective. We want to take some Q&A from the chat room here in a second. Mike, I have a couple more questions for you. So if you've got some questions, throw them in the chat room, and Reilly will identify those for me.

What's the Difference Between Micromanaging and Engaging a Team?

Jim Collison 15:13
But, Mike, as we were talking about development, and as I was looking at the feedback we were getting about best managers, there were some comments about people who don't micromanage. And yet, in, in individual development, sometimes it takes some micro-Individualization to make that work. Right. So when we think, What's the difference, as you think about the difference between micromanaging and truly engaging and developing a team, are there, are there differences that we can, we can identify that help people see the difference between the two? Because I think sometimes they think they're developing, and they're micromanaging. But we want to continue to say, you got to be engaged. Right? Can you talk a little bit about that?

Mike McDonald 15:58
Yeah, well, I think so a couple of things. First and foremost, and we all, this is a strengths-based audience. But this is, this is where I think, you know, Jim, early on, we set the edges. Like where am I my best as a leader? How do I commoditize my strengths and create that optimal impact? But we all know the other edge of this, where I think the boundary shows up, which is in the language around those blind spots, or I think specifically, Jim, when I talk to a lot of audiences, I lean heavily on that 1 in 33 million number.

Mike McDonald 16:23
So if we think about this -- and you all know it; I'll say it just for the good of the order -- the odds of Jim and I or anyone having the same Top 5 strengths in the same order are 1 in 33 million. As we set the edges of it, that's recreational math, maybe. But what it really teaches us about leadership or manager behavior is the fact that, on my worst moment, if I was to make a really lazy assumption, I would be better off assuming every single person on my team sees and interacts with the world in the exact opposite way that I do than to start to assume that they see it in the same way that I do. So I think, Jim, then what that allows me to have an appreciation for, and to your question, is that I need to, I better find out what the motivational core that represents each person by their strengths, not mine. Where are they emotionally charged?

Mike McDonald 17:17
And that then plays itself forward, Jim, to your question, because here's what we know: What releases me from being a micromanager, if I'm operating those blind spots. I can't figure this out, Jim. Because you and I had a conversation; I told you how to do it. And it's my way, and it's worked for me. But I haven't spoken any of your language. I've limited you. You're working really hard. The gains are incremental if they happen at all. And so I'm a micromanager, and I'm just having to, step by step, hold your hand and push it all the way through.

Mike McDonald 17:44
The other thing that it actually disconnects from is let's think about our definition of somebody who's categorically engaged. If somebody is categorically engaged, they are involved, they're enthusiastic, and they're committed. Now think how strengths explains, right, how involved I'm going to, I'm going to volunteer my effort. Think about the, if they're involved, they're enthusiastic, think about the emotional charge. Think about strengths and how we feel when we get to use our strengths more often. And in that commitment, right, that we, we have a progression, a momentum around our strengths that follows through, that sees success on through the finish line.

Mike McDonald 18:22
So I like to think about the economy of all of those, Jim, and I think that it works dramatically in the favor of a effective manager. But if my team is involved, I don't have to recruit effort. So I get time back there. I'm not a micromanager. If they're enthusiastic, they're already emotionally charged. I don't have to run around and give these wild pep rallies and halftime speeches, etcetera, to motivate them; they carry that with them. So there's another release I don't have to micromanage around. And if they're committed, this is where really, if they're committed, and they feel like they want to and really do want to do this work -- versus have to -- well, that commitment now releases me as well. So there's a whole repositioning of where now I don't micromanage and actually equip them so that they can own and see their own success on through. So that's the way I see those features all kind of working together, Jim.

Jim Collison 19:14
Love it. I think there's a fine line between the two, in some regards of, especially in a caring situation where you really, you really care about the folks, and you may feel like they're not getting it, and you begin then to overcompensate for their learning, for their development by micromanaging. I think sometimes we think that term "micromanaging" is always somebody who's just wanting to be mean or wanting, right, or they're a control freak. I think actually micromanagement comes out of, comes out of more care and concern than it comes out of that. Every situation is different. But again, we're taking your questions if you want to throw them in chat. I'm always excited to see a Gallup coaching class -- so it's a GGSC in Chicago, taking a lunch break, jumping in and joining us today. So that's always, that's always great.

Tips for Keeping Managers Focused on Their Teams

Jim Collison 20:05
Quick question: At times, I see managers being aware but not fully utilizing strengths. I mean, they recognize it for themselves but tend to forget about it for their directs. Mike, I like the advice that you gave about one time a month, do a purposeful review of, of your team's strengths and, and create, maybe create an action plan to move forward with that. As we think, any other tips in that area as we think of, How can managers not just focus on themselves, but really focus on the team? Other things you've seen to keep that at the forefront?

Mike McDonald 20:42
Yeah, well, a couple of layers. So, and I'm just gonna stay as true as I can, because I just love, I mean, again, this is where Don took us from the very beginning -- that study of success, positioning and attitude. I don't know if there's a better conversation to continually have about studying your team member at the individual level or team success at the collective level. And then how do we use that to mass-produce even more success with intentionality? And I think what's interesting, you know, one feature I would add to that is, if you were to coach your team, or the individuals on your team, asking them questions like, In the past month, what accomplishments -- where did you find the most success? What was the most successful for you in the last month? And then tap into it -- and Jim, you talked about this -- that emotion. And then, what were you most proud of about that accomplishment?

Mike McDonald 21:30
So then we get this emotional connection to an outcome that causes them to want to repeat it. Because now we're starting to experience and play out, This is how I will feel in the execution, in the effort towards another series of success. So I, you know, I think it's simply, What was your strongest success in the past month? What were you most, why, what, what caused you to be most proud about that success? Which of your strengths contributed most to it? And then how can we create more oppor-, more similar opportunities for that same type of outcome? So I think that's the, effective at the individual level. At the team level, I will tell you as a habit and default that I think broadens this back out is, and I love it. We did a best-practice series of interviews with some of our own internal client leaders who are the best of the best, trended top decile and beyond engagement scores.

Mike McDonald 22:24
One of the interviews I conducted with a team leader, and I give her full credit, I stole this from her as fast as it came off her tongue; it was so good. But she contends that she coaches her team by asking them one question. And it's the same question as a habit and a default every Friday. And the team knows it in advance. But she simply gets her team together, and she asks them: Where did we see the best of our team this week? So think about this, Jim, and her contention -- and it's, she's right, we're talking about performance, best practices, discoveries, things that we, through our collective lens, added most value. But then inevitably, right, underneath that, collectively, we're going to recognize ourselves as a team. So the identity of the team gets really intact. And then they start to see the agility and the insights of where, Jim, was your unique strengths contribution to that success? Where was mine?

Mike McDonald 23:16
And so it's a really powerful draw for us to see our own most unique contribution against the backdrop of a team level of success, which is just a great framework and positioning. And she unapologetically says, she goes, I won't change the question, because the response to it is always dynamic. It's always in real time and relevant. And the third feature she adds on the other side is she contends it literally changes their behavior -- not just on that Friday when they get together, but literally throughout the week. Because now, Jim, I probably won't wait to talk about it with you. And I'll probably call out a moment in real time where I saw you do that thing that I think is going to matter later on, when we reflect on it on Friday. So I think --

Jim Collison 23:54
The power of the habit in that conversation, right, where, where the team begins to each week start to look for it. They want to begin to find those moments to share. And so instead of it getting to Friday, and thinking, OK, I got to think of something, you know, what happened? They've begun to look for it during the week.

Mike McDonald 24:16
100%. Yeah. But it's great, because now they're, they're not just collecting the evidence of the content they'll discuss; they're creating the evidence of the content that they want to discuss. And I think that changes the whole thing. Yeah, that's awesome.

Jim Collison 24:31
We often spend time thinking about Q03, Question 3 on our Q12®. You and I have spent a lot of time together talking about that assessment. But that question is, "I get the opportunity to do what I do best every day." And I think that can be a framework managers can use in the same context. Then say, "Did you get the opportunity to do -- this week -- what you do best, right? You can take it right from that. And, and I love that idea of thinking through -- as, as I worked with our interns here, I'd always say, "What do we have you doing?" And "Are you getting an opportunity to do what you do best?" Right? Because they're brand new, right? They're brand new; we don't know with them.

Facilitating Strengths Sessions for Larger Groups

Jim Collison 25:10
And so Jason asks a good question I want you to chime in on. He says, I've been coaching, facilitating small groups through their strengths. But I have an up-and-coming opportunity to facilitate a large-group interaction with leaders and teams, about 90 minutes for about 150 -- so a good-sized group. Mike, as we think about doing these big group things, any advice to the leader of those big group in saying, How can we continue to maximize the strengths investment in that forum?

Mike McDonald 25:39
I, well, so a pretty simple framework, and I think, I hope Jason, keep me honest, if this speaks to what you're, what you're asking about. I think you can have an incredibly accelerated session with this, with this group. And here's what I like to have them do. And I think there's really kind of three specific chapters that you get to put together. But first and foremost, get them in, get them inside the report. And, you know, you kind of do that speed level of examination, where what I'll typically do is say, Hey, go to your first strength; I'm gonna give you 60 seconds. Skim the definition of that strength, you only get to circle, highlight or underline one sentence or phrase that captures the best of you as a leader or as a manager; you only get that one desert island statement that you have to walk away with.

Mike McDonald 26:23
And then on the other side of that, what I do is I say, OK, the best source of our content and the best way for us to learn about strengths is hearing about how somebody else uses that strength. So Jim, then what I do is I say, OK, you all have 5 minutes. I want you to have as many cross-pollinated discussions as you can with as many people in the room. But here's the truth of the matter: I don't really care about your individual answer. I want to know, What was the most powerful story, the most powerful example you heard from somebody else about what they claimed as a sentence or a phrase? And how are they using that as their best as a leader? And that really gets the room revved up. But again, we're crowdsourcing and really collaborating to our collective learning.

Mike McDonald 27:06
Then you, what you can do on the other side is maybe give them a, you know, a moment, give them 5 minutes to go through strengths 2, 3, 4 and 5, and circle, highlight or establish the best in those. That's a reflective moment. The other side of that, then, Jason, to your callout, is then have them think about those blind spots. And I typically will say, OK, you've had a chance to look at your report. You have 3 minutes. Read through your blind spots, and identify the one, the one that threatens or most gets in the way of who you are at your best as a team leader. And then I want you to look at your Top 10 strengths and think about Where are you drawing from on a different strength to help offset or make sure that that's always true, to its best contribution?

Mike McDonald 27:48
The other side of that, then, I think you can do lots of different things. But if you start off with the entry point to that conversation, you can then aim it at whatever output, you know, topic that you want -- DEI, change and transition, performance development, manager growth and development, whatever would, I think, come out of that, because you've got a really strong presence of the Name, Jim; now we've got the Claim. And then the Aim just opens it up to where you can take the group towards this accountability to doing something better than they did before.

Jim Collison 28:20
I love it. And what, as you were talking about that, I was thinking, you don't have to be a coach to do those with your team, if you're a manager. Now, we've been spending a lot of time, this idea of going from boss to coach, taking your, as a manager, acting more like a coach in a lot of ways. And that's what that means, in a lot of ways, is you as a manager, you as the supervisor, you as the leader, you as the influencer -- whatever that is in that group -- of being able to pull that group together and having that conversation, Mike, that could be a 15-minute conversation that opens a meeting.

Mike McDonald 28:55
Oh, yeah, yeah. Oh, without a doubt. Yeah. And it's, and again, it's eternally dynamic. Like it'll never plateau.

Jim Collison 29:04
Right. Yeah.

Mike McDonald 29:05
But the one thing, the one callout, I would, I would keep putting in front of this, and Jim, you said something earlier that, I think was, oh, because you were talking about micromanager and, and the bandwidth there. I just want to, I think one of the -- here's what -- I love strengths; we all do. Right? But sometimes I think it can be so dangerously recreational, and I just want to put an edge of accountability out there for all of us that we constantly true to Don's, you know, you know, identification of what a strength is, are we doing something better? Are we doing something better? And Jim, to your point, I don't think that has to sound mean; with strengths, it shouldn't sound mean. But there is accountability because the tragedy of this all, right, is it'll fade away, will, will, you know, it'll be this fleeting recreational spa day, you know, where we just simply didn't do work, but we didn't really drive anything individually or collectively. And I just think that we keep having to come back around to a wrap, and to the point where, with your point about that bandwidth, Jim, about micromanagement or not, it's always in relationship to the performance.

Mike McDonald 30:07
If you think about our blind spots, the best way to offset our blind spots is always be mindful of the performance in front of us. And then intuition and instinct really becomes natural and comfortable. Because I know, hey, if we're going to present to a client, and it's 5 minutes before we walk in, that's probably not a great spot, Jim, for my Ideation to kick in. Maybe a week before, you know, when we're putting the deck together or the presentation or our storyline, we can take a novel approach to our positioning of that discussion. But 5 minutes, we probably need a Maximizer, Jim; we probably need something else that's on display at that point, and I just needed to shut it down. So, but that's only in the context relative to the performance. Otherwise, I'll just keep the popcorn going and annoy the heck out of all of this and maybe confuse the client in that discussion.

Becoming a Better Coach -- Keeping Employees Engaged

Jim Collison 30:50
I love it. I love it. And I think, as we think about micromanagers, there's only one thing worse, and that's someone who's not managing at all. Like, they're in the role. But nobody's home.

Mike McDonald 31:03
You know the data on this. Right?

Jim Collison 31:04

Mike McDonald 31:05
So it's, it's, I think it's an impressive story. So if we think about coaching relative to, if we think about coaching, let's think about the strengths mindfulness and its relationship to engagement and how it can qualify, qualify all of us to coach better. I'll do this really fast here, Jim, succinctly. We ask people, if, you know, what, what was the priority of their day spent focused on? Was it focused on what they do well? Was it focused on what they don't do well? Or were they largely left ignored or unattended throughout the course of their day? The population, predictably, who said that they, they're focused on what they do well, 61%, on the basis of that position alone, were categorically engaged. I don't think that surprises anybody.

Mike McDonald 31:47
But it was interesting, even going to the, the weakness focus for the course of the day, like 45%, 48%, were still categorically engaged. So we're losing more than we're winning. But I think, to be honest, that was a higher number than I thought it would be. But Jim, this is where you're gonna love the point you're making. We asked the, the population, you know, who reacted and said that they were largely left ignored or unattended throughout the course of their day; only 2% were categorically engaged. So Jim, I like to play out the reality. Let's just play, let's just set the, another table here. That means that, Jim, I would prefer that you follow me around all day long and say, "Mike, you didn't do this, but you should have." Or "Mike, you did this, but you didn't do it very well" by 20 times more, by more than 20 times you just saying, "Hey, Mike, no news is good news. I'm just gonna set you adrift and catch up to you later on." I always laugh because I'm like, well, talk about lowering the barrier of entry to being a coach. I mean, if I did it completely wrong, we're still 20 times better than me just turning my back on my team, as well-intended as that might be.

Jim Collison 32:55
On teams. Well, some great information. Dr. Mike McDonald, I've got to call you that at least once here during the session. Mike, thanks for taking the time today to be a part of this. And thanks for coming. I think we've gotten some good feedback from the chat room. But thank you for chiming in here. I appreciate it.

Mike McDonald 33:11
Yeah, Jason keep me honest. Good luck with your session. It was a great question and positioning for all of us. But you'll have a blast, I think, with kickstarting that.

Jim Collison 33:18
Couple, a couple of reminders on the way out before we let you go. One, if you haven't subscribed to the CliftonStrengths podcast, you should do that now. Now that we're done -- take a second, let us finish this. And then head out to, just search, in your favorite podcast app, just search "The CliftonStrengths Podcast," and subscribe to that. You'll get wellbeing updates by each of the CliftonStrengths themes that we're currently working our way through; we almost have them all out there. And then you get content like this -- some great sessions in that, including How to Have a Strengths Conversation With Your Friend, right? It would seem intuitive, but we know that has been our most listened-to episode, Mike, out there. It's crazy. People want to have those conversations. And we're talking about this in the sense of managing, but how powerful can it be in the context of a friendship? And hopefully your best friend is at work. Right? That's where, that's where we'd love to see it. So, Mike, thanks for coming out. Everybody who joined us live in the chat room, we appreciate you. We appreciate your comments and your questions. If we missed anything, or if you continue to have a question after the fact, send us an email: You don't have to be a coach to use that email address; it's just the easiest one to remember if you got a question for us. Or anything we talked about, if you want to take advantage of in your organization, we'd love to hear from you. Again, that's Thanks for coming out today. Have a great afternoon or evening or maybe even morning, if you've caught us on the other side of the world. With that, we'll say Goodbye, everybody.

Jim Collison 34:43
Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of the CliftonStrengths podcast. Make sure you like and subscribe wherever you listen, so you never miss an episode. And if you're really enjoying this podcast, please leave a review. This helps us promote strengths globally.

Mike McDonald's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Ideation, Input, Learner, Achiever and Focus.

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