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Called to Coach
Input®: Developing Your Leadership Skills
Called to Coach

Input®: Developing Your Leadership Skills

Webcast Details

  • Gallup CliftonStrengths Podcast, Season 2: Input
  • What is the power of Input in a leadership role?
  • How could Input help or hinder you in leading others?

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


Explore Gallup's CliftonStrengths® for Leaders Report and discover its ability to help you maximize the impact of your -- and others' -- unique leadership talents and strengths, in this Season 2 episode of The CliftonStrengths Podcast. Join Jim Collison and Dr. Jaclynn Robinson as they discuss the Input® theme, its power in a leadership role, how it can help or hinder you as you lead others, and how you can leverage it with the CliftonStrengths for Managers and CliftonStrengths for Sales Reports. Unlock the leadership potential of your Input talent -- because everyone leads something.


A leader that has [Input] high is likely to be viewed as a trusted adviser and a credible resource to other people.

Jaclynn Robinson, 1:35

Because they have a knack for gathering information, a leader with high Input can leverage what they've learned about ... what customers ... [or] what their employees need, and then they can really shape products, services, outcomes or offerings, based on that information gathering.

Jaclynn Robinson, 13:28

Jim Collison 0:01
I am Jim Collison, and this is The CliftonStrengths Podcast, Season 2, recorded on November 14, 2022.

Jim Collison 0:21
In this CliftonStrengths Podcast series, we'll look at the CliftonStrengths for Leaders Report one theme at a time, and today's theme is Input. If you're listening live and you don't see the chat room, there's a link to it right above me there. Or if you're listening after the fact and you have questions, you can always send me an email: Dr. Jaclynn Robinson is our host today. She works as a Gallup Learning and Development Consultant and joined me for Season 1 of The CliftonStrengths Podcast, where we looked at the book Wellbeing at Work for each theme. Jaclynn, welcome back!

Jaclynn Robinson 0:50
Thank you.

Introducing Input

Jim Collison 0:52
Let's dive into Input, if we could. Give us a quick theme definition for that.

Jaclynn Robinson 0:58
I think I can do that for us. So those with Input have a need to collect an archive. You may be the person that accumulates a lot of information, ideas, artifacts or even relationships, if this is you.

Jim Collison 1:11
Why do we giggle when we say that? What's the funny part about relationships that makes us giggle? We collect people.

Jaclynn Robinson 1:19
Woo gets that too, don't they? Woo and Input are like, we like people!

What Is the Power of Input in a Leadership Role?

Jim Collison 1:23
We collect -- sometimes, not always. Sometimes -- it all depends, right. What's the power of this theme, what's the power of this theme in a leadership role?

Jaclynn Robinson 1:32
Well, someone with this, or I should say a leader that has this high is likely to be viewed as a trusted adviser and a credible resource to other people. They tend to gather and review information from a number of different sources, and then encourage an environment of knowledge sharing as well.

How Can Those With Input Lead Others?

Jim Collison 1:49
I think in this era of, of DEI, this is really, really important. I mean, it's always been important. But I think it's really, really important from an Input standpoint, because there's so many resources and resources being put out there that are available. I think somebody with high Input could, you could all be helping us out, as we're trying to piece all these, all these things together. And always appreciate, I've always appreciated -- I'll talk about this here in a minute -- the speed at which this information can come back. I get this question the most -- people ask me if I have Input, because I'm so quick. And no, I just maximize the lists. I just have giant lists of things that I go grab and bring them in. And that's maybe a form of Input. But I don't, I don't, I don't naturally lean that way. If you're, if you're leading others, how can this, how can we really, how can others benefit from this theme?

Jaclynn Robinson 2:43
A leader with this theme has a curiosity for what others want to learn or develop. And then they can share resources and opportunities that would best serve that individual. And I think they'd also be really open to information and resources that that person is, you know, interested in investing in for themselves. So it is just that, I love how open that door is of knowledge sharing. And I also see it as one that's really great with development. We talked about Learner last week and how they can be optimal, just naturally, at thinking about the learning and development of other people. And I think this is another one of those themes that would love to just encourage people to go out there and spread their wings and get resources to support them in that process.

Jim Collison 3:30
We've spent some seasons thinking about this, going from "me" to "we" on these themes. And I think that's what you're talking about here is turning that, maybe that natural process of gathering things, helpful things for me, how -- from a team perspective, how do I change that into helpful things for others? Right? How can I be thinking, when I'm somewhere else, and I see something, Oh, that, that, that might be useful for, you know, this person on my team, and, and bringing that in. When we think about, and I didn't prep you for this question, but it just came to mind: When we think about the 4 Needs of Followers, right, where do you think this helps in that, with those 4 Needs? Where do you think this fits in with that, and helping meet one or maybe multiple number of those, of those needs?

Jaclynn Robinson 4:21
I could definitely see Trust, because they are so transparent with knowledge and resources. And they're interested in gathering more information and resources. So I think that level of transparency can build Trust and rapport with individuals. And then the Stability piece. Because of having the resources at hand, they can help other people see that it's been thought through or they are well-resourced in whatever that initiative is or direction they want to move. I think they can also offer Hope in that regard, because they've thought it through and have resources and are more than happy to share out what those resources are, to help people see what that North Star is for the team or organization. And then going back to "me" and "we," that Compassion is, if I think about one-on-ones or team meetings, what is their team or what is that individual need from them so they can be at their best and thrive? Whether that's development, direction, resources. And so it shows that sense of care, because they care about that individual. They care that they have enough information. They care about their development plan. That's a good question.

Jim Collison 5:33
Yeah. No, I think that's maybe one we should probably add in on a regular basis. We won't. It'll come up from time to time. It was just one of those, How does this? -- I think oftentimes, we think of the, the collection or archiving, like you mentioned in the in the definition, as being this collecting thing, but collecting for a reason, right, in, in that. And then as a leader, with the needs of followers really important, How am I using this in a way that's benefiting my followers? Right? And so it just, it just gives us an opportunity to think from the "me" to "we" on that one. One of the areas, whether you, as a leader, you have it or those on your team that you're managing have, has it high, I love this idea of this, leaning into it to focus on their natural inquisitiveness. It's not a word I would normally use, but I pulled it from one of our reports -- their natural inquisitiveness, by asking them to study a topic that's important for your organization. And I alluded to this just a second ago about how important as it is right now that we're spending some time. We might often think of Analytical or Intellection, which we just covered, of doing this, but Input? I hadn't thought of that before -- turning them loose on resources, right to say, Hey, what are some great things out there we could use for the organization? What would you add to that?

Jaclynn Robinson 6:52
I think that's such a great idea. I would even add, what other people, going back to how they can, they can sometimes collect relationships, What other people might they want to build into that study session or prep session that are also highly resourceful or experts in their own area? So when they come together, it's the power of 2 or the power of 4, the power of 5 working with, you know, that, that topic of interest to the organization. Committees, an informal committee or a formal committee.

Jim Collison 7:26
This one may be a good, in the context of the theme dynamic too, like, what is Input paired with Developer or Input paired with Learner? Input paired with Woo, right? In these settings to say, What does that look -- what's the outcomes? And it may be a, What's the driver? Not that Input can drive itself. It can, right, but, but it may be driven by, it may be, you know, taken over or driven effectively by one of those other themes. So I think a great opportunity. One of the, one of the interesting things -- I've seen this come out of my daughter. She's, I think Input's No. 1 for her. And she can find anything on her phone in about 15 seconds. And I always -- she, she just thinks like everybody her age can do that. Right? Yeah, this -- No, it's not, that's not, that's not true. She's able to -- she archives her, she just knows where it's at. And just last night, this obscure topic came up, and she had a video for it in 20 seconds. And I was like, that is just amazing. So I think about the power of that whenever, you know, if we have any kind of family thing that I need to know about, I just go to her. Hey, do you have a -- you have a picture for this?

Jaclynn Robinson 8:37
Stored somewhere.

Jim Collison 8:40
A system will ensure, like, as we think about this, a, she's got a system, and it's her phone, whatever, that works, that you can find it again. Because what good is it if we can't find it? Right? So those who, these, these folks with high Input. Before we look at the way this can get in the way, any other thoughts on, on success with Input?

Jaclynn Robinson 9:00
I think it's well said what you mentioned. Well said.

How Could Input Hinder Your Leadership of Others?

Jim Collison 9:04
All right, well then, let's, let's go right in. Sometimes these themes, they hinder. They're speed bumps. They get in the way a little bit. So how could this theme hinder our leadership of others?

Jaclynn Robinson 9:17
They might share too much information and leave folks stuck in a bit of paralysis analysis, as they're attempting to digest all the information that was just provided to them. And a leader with this theme, I think, also has to be cognizant of not asking too many questions, which could derail a meeting or a one-on-one or the strategy at hand.

Jim Collison 9:39
In my leadership of the community, I have an opportunity. People ask me questions all the time. And of course, I've got all this stuff -- more experience than Input -- but I run that tendency sometimes too, and I've really had to pull back, because the Maximizer wants to drop about 50 links. And while that's helpful, it's not. Like --

Jaclynn Robinson 10:01
Where are your best links, Jim?

Jim Collison 10:04
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, just, just this morning, someone was asking me some questions about StrengthsExplorer. And they were like, "Hey, do you have?" And I'm like, "No, we don't. But we have this." And then I started, you know, and I was like, no, just three. So I'm trying to limit myself. Right? Three, but I love that maybe in our zeal, unintentional, I don't, we don't do this on purpose, right? Unintentional zeal for all these things, we have, to say, This is great. But you have this, and you have this, and you have this. Right, and we overwhelm. I love, I love that, that's, that's a call. Any other, any other hindrances there, as we think about other ways, speed bumps, or the way this might slow us down and get in the way?

Jaclynn Robinson 10:47
Gosh, I was just thinking about the, I was just thinking about the research where they show that when a person has too many choices, they'll just not make any choice. So you just kind of extended where I was going with that hindrance by what you had just mentioned, too, of sending 50 links. A big three is good, or sending only three is better for people to have that good, better, best selection process.

How Can You Use Input as You Lead, Together With the Managers and Sales Reports?

Jim Collison 11:12
I'm going to talk about that specifically, when we talk about the CliftonStrengths for Sales Report. We'll talk about that here in just a second. But just a reminder, lots of resources for -- this is not the exhaustive resource for you on CliftonStrengths for Leaders. Just, we wanted to whet your appetite for it. That's right. So if you haven't, make sure you get out there, purchase your CliftonStrengths for Leaders Report. Lots of information, Top 10 is available for you on there, with all these helps and hinders as well as some, some Action Items for you to go forward on, available for you now out on As a leader, how could I use now -- as thinking about this paired together with the CliftonStrengths for Manager Report that came out last year -- How might I put those two together for greater success?

Jaclynn Robinson 11:54
I love this, because going back to what your daughter does, what I've seen happen with people that have a lot to manage, whether it's people or projects, is they compartmentalize those responsibilities or the people and projects they have, because they tend to know the smartphone apps or the computer programs or the calendar system that allows them to store and manage their day-to-day responsibilities in a way that is very efficient for them. I think that's what helps them continue to manage and be a great manager of people or projects is compartmentalizing and feeling very organized in everything that's floating around in their head or, you know, on a computer.

Jim Collison 12:35
I like to think of it, I'm going to collect some information that's going to help people today. Like, What can I be doing today to be more productive? And then, What types of things, resources, can I have for, for my followers for the future? Like What, what might they want to be thinking about out in the future? Or might, or What might be inspirational for them for the future? We're coming around, as we record this, it's, it's middle of November of 2022. It's going to be January 1, and we're gonna be talking about goals again. Right. And I think there's those leaders, individuals with high Input have the ability to bring all those resources, talk about goals and goal setting. Right. I mean, think about how cool that would be. Let's talk about the CliftonStrengths for Sales Report and this Leaders Report. When we think about putting those two together, what, what could that, how could that help us?

Jaclynn Robinson 13:28
Because they have a knack for gathering information, a leader with high Input can leverage what they've learned about outside competitors or what customers in the market need, what their employees need, and then they can, they can really shape products, services, outcomes or offerings, based on that information gathering.

Jim Collison 13:46
Yeah, that collective intelligence, that market analysis. Yeah, that's, that's what I was gonna mention. You beat me to it. I was hoping you wouldn't have that, but you did. Yeah, collecting that stuff from the market. Like, Hey, this is actually what the market's asking for. This is actually what, what, what's out there and what's available. I would think, in the CliftonStrengths space, we have all these other assessments -- Myers-Briggs, and, you know, the like that are out there. And we get questions, comparison questions all the time. By the way, if you go to, search "comparison" or "strengths comparisons," you get a list of them that are there.

Jim Collison 14:27
For someone with Input, this could be a great exercise to say, Hey, how do all these other assessments compare to CliftonStrengths? That'd be a great Input exercise, right, of thinking, from a collective intelligence standpoint in an organization, that may help shape market pricing or -- not that we have, not that I'm saying this from actual experience, because we've actually done this, right -- what things cost, what we're providing, what other reports are available, some of those kinds of things, right, just thinking through that. Someone who has high Input or a leader with high Input would be able to do that and do that pretty well and enjoy that process. Not fun for me. 15 minutes, I'm done like, OK.

Jaclynn Robinson 15:08
Same. Love to give that to somebody else.

Jim Collison 15:12
What, what is, what is next? Well, those reports are available as well, if you want to go through this exercise. I've been spending some time looking at those reports together. In fact, I'm going to take all three of them and, and do this analysis like we're doing now for Maximizer for me. I told you that in the preshow. That may be a great opportunity for me to, to learn and grow, and maybe for you as well around Input, that might be -- if you have high Input, or even if you don't, maybe a great exercise if it's in your Top 10, to throw those three together. They're available on the store:, if you want to check that out. Jaclynn, any other final thoughts before I wrap this up?

Jaclynn Robinson 15:49
Well, it is the end of the year, to your point. And so those high in Input are great with resources. For some, this is the time of year where it's, you know, time to look at your benefits. Again, I know we're going through our benefits program right now. There might be some programs at the start of the year for folks focused on wellbeing, but what a great time to have high Input to be able to gather what's needed within the organization that employees are interested in and share with them what those resources are. A lot of times, employees don't know what is out there. But there's always that one person in the company they feel that knows, oh, we have this financial resource and this physical resource and this community resource. Or let me help walk you through your benefits program. So whatever it is you're hearing from the, from the crowd, from the followership, you know, now, now's a great time of the year to rally up the troops, rally up the resources and send it over to them.

Jim Collison 16:49
To help us knuckleheads -- this, this guy included right here. I'm like, What do I do? Where's everything at? And they're like, I told, you know, our, our poor benefits people are like, I've told you like three times and you're like, I know, but I forgot already. How do I do this, right?

Jaclynn Robinson 17:03
Where is it? What website? Yes. Input, you are the guide; you're the guiding light.

Jim Collison 17:08
We appreciate you. We appreciate you. Well, with that speaking of Input will remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we do have available. If you don't have it, or if you do, you can head out to Log in. Hit the menu in the upper left, and go to the Resources tab. In our Resources section, search by this theme. You'll see everything we've done around Input; it's available -- all the seasons of Theme Thursday, The CliftonStrengths Podcast are there now. And a great opportunity to get all the resources, all in one place. Whether you have it or not, it'll be a useful tool for you. Stay up to date with all the webcasts by following us: Join us on any social platform by searching "CliftonStrengths," and we really want to thank you for listening today. If you enjoyed it, share it. Don't forget to hit the Subscribe button, so you never miss an episode, whether you're listening to the audio or the video on YouTube. And we want to thank you for coming out. If you're listening live, stay around. We'll do some postshow analysis -- again one of the benefits to coming out live. Thanks for coming out today. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

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

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

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