- How can you connect the opportunities and limitations of your strengths with greater success?
- What role does greater acceptance of your strengths play in reaching success?
- How can coaches and managers help coachees and teams move out of a deficit-oriented mindset?
Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 11, Episode 8.
Below are audio and video plus a transcript of the conversation, including time stamps.
Anyone who coaches strengths knows the human tendency to focus on weakness, and the need for coachees to manage it. But our own strengths have limitations that can keep us from success and can hinder our work and personal relationships -- something that a deep understanding of them can help us overcome. Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach Antje Bauer, currently based in India, has discovered how strengths self-awareness can remove hindrances and can propel individuals and teams to greater success. Join us for an informative webcast.
That's the classical journey of your rising self-awareness; with that automatically comes the awareness of other people, but it has to start with yourself.Antje Bauer, 32:21
What does the strength mean? How does it manifest itself positively? How can it work against you? ... And then [connect] that to your behaviors and [make] the necessary changes.Antje Bauer, 39:27
Sometimes it just takes a tiny, tiny tweak [of a strength], and what you have actually been ... criticized for in the past becomes the polished diamond that you're looking for.Antje Bauer, 19:32
Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on January 11, 2023.
Jim Collison 0:18
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 and you don't see the chat room, there's a link right above us there to it. We'd love to have you sign in to the chat. We'll be taking your questions live during the program. Or if you have questions after the fact, you can always send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast app or right there on YouTube. Hit the Subscribe button so you never miss an episode. Deepanjan Deb is our host today. DD, as we like to call him, is our Market Leader for Gallup and is located in India. His Top 5 are Context, Individualization, Learner, Strategic and Achiever. And DD, it's always a great day when I have you back on Called to Coach. Welcome back!
Deepanjan Deb 1:06
Thank you so much, Jim, and a very Happy New Year to you as well as everyone who's watching the show. It's always a pleasure and privilege to be a part of this initiative, which, you know, was conceptualized way, way back, when the StrengthsFinder was still very nascent in terms of its application globally. And it gives me a great joy to see that the way we have progressed with this, and the maturity and the development of content in these shows, you know, has led to essentially becoming a case study for us.
Meet Our Guest on This Episode
Jim Collison 1:37
Indeed. We have done, we've started our 11th season. I think we've done at least 10 of those in India. So excited for this as well today. We have a fabulous guest. Why don't you take a second and introduce her?
Deepanjan Deb 1:48
Absolutely, Jim, and I think this, these, this, these shows are not much about me and you, and it's more about the people we get to host. So with a very, very lovely lady to start off the year, you know, for us in 2023, Antje, as we popularly call her is, is based out of Pune in India. But she's from Germany, has worked in the U.S. and has spent a significant amount of time in Basel, Switzerland. Got involved with the StrengthsFinder I think about a decade and a half back -- I think 2010. Got certified from Gallup in India in 2018 and has been doing some phenomenally brilliant work across diverse spheres. I will not take much of her time and share her introduction. So first of all, Antje, thank you so much for being a part of this, and welcome to, to Called to Coach!
Antje Bauer 2:46
Thank you, DD, for the lovely introduction. Good morning to you. Good evening, I guess good late evening to Jim over in the States. Yeah, my name is Antje. I'm originally from Germany, but have been living and working in India or am living and working in India, in my 10th year here. I originally came here from my ex-employer to build up an offshore shared service center. And after leaving that employer, I decided to come back with my husband and start our own businesses here in India. We have two major businesses: One is my coaching and consulting business, and the other one is a regenerative farm outside of Pune. I have been working with CliftonStrengths since 2010, when I was introduced to it by a team member of mine at that time, who suggested that I introduce the team to StrengthsFinder at that time, which I did. And that had such a lasting impact that I continuously worked with CliftonStrengths while I was still in corporate life. And as soon as I left corporate life, I took the opportunity to finally get certified and move to the other side, where I'm basically now guiding primarily teams to find out more about their strengths and apply them wisely and use them for the collective growth of the team and the individual growth. So --
Deepanjan Deb 4:23
That's a very, very nice and crisp introduction, Antje. Before we go deep into, you know, our discussion around the various points that we would want to know from you, why don't we first start with, you know, a little bit about your Top 5. And before that, I just want to -- I just have a curiosity, because you have mentioned time and again that you nurture people and soil, right?
Antje Bauer 4:49
Deepanjan Deb 4:51
And that is something that intrigues me, and I just want to know a little bit more about you, because you do a lot of work in the farming space. So What do you mean when you say that you're nurture people -- no.
Antje Bauer 5:03
People and soil.
Deepanjan Deb 5:06
And also, why don't you tell us a little bit about your Top 5. I know Activator is your No. 1, you know? So why don't you tell us a little bit about your Top 5, as well as the deeper meaning around what do you mean by nurturing people and soil?
Antje Bauer 5:21
Let me start with my Top 5, because that will automatically lead into nurturing people and nurturing soil. So as you rightly said, my, my No. 1 is Activator. I then have Strategic, Restorative, Responsibility and Communication. And I'll start by sharing how, what happened when I first found out about my Top 5. So when I took the, the assessment in, it's actually 2011 -- I've just looked in my, in my file. When I got it and read through the, the Top 5 talent themes, it was like a complete revelation to me. And the fantastic thing is that I suddenly had words to describe me. I'm someone who has always struggled to sell myself, to kind of tell people of what I'm good at, and so on. And when I got the report, it was so factual that I thought, well, Activator describes me so well. I'm the person to get in for the beginnings.
Antje Bauer 6:24
And I told my boss just after getting the report, You know what? If you have a place where there's procrastination, and you want to bring in someone to shake people up and get things going again; if you have a new project, and you're looking for someone to set it up, to bring the right people on board to develop the plan, that's me. I'm not the person for the kind of the endings and closing things up and doing the last nitty-gritties and doing the documentation; that bores me to death. So bring me in at the beginnings of project. That was my first revelation. So my No. 1 is very present in me. I would say since I first got my report, it's gone down a little bit.
Antje Bauer 7:05
Now the other one that is really, really important for me is Restorative. It's my No. 3. And today, I would say Restorative is probably my No. 1. And the analogy, of course, to coaching is seeing the potential in other people and helping them tweak or learn or develop themselves to, to uncover that potential. And at my farm, I'm doing the same. So I started, we started with a piece of barren land. It had nothing on it; we're in a very extreme climate here. We have 6 weeks of humid, 6 weeks of complete dryness here. And it was a barren piece of land with just a few shrubs on it. Now, only 3 years later, the entire land is covered with a young and immature, but fully covered with a jungle. And regenerating land, restoring land, for me, is the most basic way of using Restorative.
Antje Bauer 8:11
And when I was kind of in the first lockdown during the pandemic, I spent a lot of time walking this land and reflecting and meditating. And I suddenly realized the, the similarity of working with people to help them uncover their potential and working with land to regenerate the soil, make the soil healthy again, and through that, allow other things to grow on it. So they're so connected and so similar. Plus, of course, we humans live off the produce of land. And the better the soil is, the better our food becomes, which again, nurtures us. So it's all, in my mind, all intertwined and connected.
Antje Bauer 8:58
Coming back to my Top 5, I mean, I could talk a lot about each of them. Strategic for me over the, how many years is it now? 12 years that I've been working with strengths has changed a lot. Initially, I only saw the long-term development of options in it, but my personal, my personal manifestation of strengths is seeing and recognizing and interpreting patterns. That is what is most prevalent in me. I think I have an outstanding ability to recognize patterns and make sense of them and draw conclusions based on them, and not so much the options piece of it, which I can do as well, but that's not what I would say is the main characteristic of me.
Antje Bauer 9:47
Responsibility, I think, is so well known, I'm not going to talk about that. I've gone through all the downsides of it of taking too much on, not being able to deliver, close to burnout, all those things. But I will be a responsible person for the rest of my life. And Communication, I guess, is another one of my favorites, because Communication is what gives me the joy of telling stories, of sharing my own experiences, my own stories with strengths, my own stories as a leader, because I always tell the people that I work with that everything I teach or I convey to them is something I've experienced myself. I, I totally speak from experience, never from theory, and that ability to, to convert what I've experienced into stories that inspire others, I really, really love doing that over and over again. I'll never get bored with it.
Deepanjan Deb 10:43
Thank you so much. This has been a very, very interesting, you know, way of explaining your, you know, the themes and how it interplays with you. And eventually, I think you have also answered the first question that I asked, people and soil, right? Now before we go deeper into that, Jim, any, any first thoughts from your end, you know, to Antje?
Moving Out of a Deficit-Oriented Mindset
Jim Collison 11:05
Yeah, yeah, Antje, I'm, Antje, I'm, I'm interested in this, this idea, when you think about the soil and individuals, their own soil, if our, if our wellbeing would be that. How important? I mean, you know, when, when we're improving real soil, we put things into it. What kind of things, what's, where does that analogy go with people? You know, I naturally go to recognition as being one of those input devices as I, as we think about improving someone soil or improving their wellbeing. Are there other analogies that you can draw from that? I'm kind of, I'm kind of a soil nerd as well. I like, you know, my backyard, but I was just thinking about with people, you know, we invest so much time in people. Any, any thoughts on that as, as maybe stretching that analogy out just a little bit?
Antje Bauer 11:56
No, absolutely. Absolutely. Elaborate on that. So, as you all know, I spend the majority of my time working with Indian individuals and teams, I think I'm just gonna close my window, because there seems to be some military flights going on here. Just a second.
Jim Collison 12:15
We'll have Roy edit this part out, DD. Never fails, never fails that I think the military is, the military is clued in to when we're doing things on Called to Coach. It's time to start flying some exercises. So let me ask you that, let me ask you that question again, as we think about those, those similarities in pouring into humans, what kind of things has, have you seen work for you?
Antje Bauer 12:42
So as I said, I've worked primarily with Indian communities. And one of the differences that I've observed as comparing to Western teams and individuals in, I mean, my experience is mainly Central Europe before that, and a little bit North America, is that the level of self-awareness in the average Indian person is much, much, much, much lower than it would be in a Western European or North American person. I think growing up in the center of Europe, I have had access to psychology classes as early as high school. And most people in Western Europe and I think even more so in North America will have taken some psychological therapeutic advice during their, you know, during their lifetime. That is totally different here in India. You basically work with a, with a population that has very, very little development of self-awareness. If it is there, it is primarily through religious practice.
Antje Bauer 13:51
So one of the things that I find nurturing for people is to grant access to knowledge, knowledge about themselves. And this is always one of the things that happens in my workshops, and also with individuals that I work with, is this great Aha! moment of for the first time being kind of like given a mirror that you can look into and where you can read something about yourself. Personally, I think CliftonStrengths is one of the best entry tools into this discovery of self. There are other tools we all know, tons of other tools, but as an entry tool, I think CliftonStrengths is amazing, and I can only recommend it to everyone. And that is one of the ways I nurture, through the practice with strengths.
Antje Bauer 14:47
The other one is, I mean, we're in the space of positive psychology. India is an extremely deficit-oriented society still, where school education is a lot about, you've got to do maths. You've got to become an engineer. You have to be good in the natural sciences. And everything outside of that is not really appreciated, except in people belonging to upper-middle class and above. But the broad population is still very much on the, on the track that, again, Western societies were in maybe 30, 40 years ago, where there's no recognition of arts, of humanities, all these things. And coming from, from this approach based on positive psychology, just the sheer fact that you're reassuring people that what they bring to the table is good, even if it's not in that center of societal attention. And even if their focus is on Relationship Building, for example, if they are really great at dealing with other people, at seeing other people, at, you know, being individual, individualistic, using their Individualization, their Developer, etc., that there's a value in that. That is another thing that I find very nurturing for people here.
Antje Bauer 16:16
Because it's, it's like some people I've met, they will say, "I never knew that this trait that I have is something good." I had a, again, it's a Restorative conversation, I had a conversation with one team member once where I was describing how Restorative can manifest itself. And after the workshop, this person came to me and said, "You know what? I take immense pleasure in repairing household appliances. And I, I watch YouTube videos that show me how to do it, and I can fix any electrical device in our household. And my whole family and the neighborhood have just been laughing about me and saying kind of, you, 'Do you not want to afford to give it away to someone to repair it?' But I really enjoy it. And I didn't understand that this is actually a talent." This guy was like, he had a complete self-confidence boost after that session, with such a simple thing, you know? And yeah, so those two things are the key things that come to my mind, Jim. Don't know if that's the answer you were looking for.
Jim Collison 17:18
Conversation is what I'm looking for. I think one of the things, and we were talking before the program about this, I think, you know, sometimes when we think of a deficit culture, and that exists in a lot of the cultures, maybe more so in India, but it gets to one of the things I want to, I always want to remind us of as we're thinking about this is the end goal. Sometimes we never leave that deficit, right. And what I heard you just say in that is, we begin with, you know what? And you said it in these terms -- my whole life, I've been made fun of, or I've been told this wasn't helpful, or I have been punished for it. And, and those, those things that, you know, much like me, I talked a lot when I was younger. And my teachers would say, "Jim would be great if he just didn't talk so much," right. But, but what I hear you saying is quickly turning that, once you've discovered those, begin to say pull those out and say, You know what? Actually, there's some hidden talent in there. Or if there's maybe some not-so-hidden talent in there, right, that is what makes you great. And, and begin to flip that. I think if we live in the negative, we never get to the good stuff. Would that be an accurate, would that be, did, is that what I heard you -- ?
Antje Bauer 18:32
Totally, totally. I mean, I love it that you just quoted Communication there. Because DD, what I, what I always say to people, "Who in the room here has been chooped as a child, right? Who has heard, 'You better be choop,'" which is the kind of be quiet as a child. And then, like, oops, hands go up. And then I tell these people, "Well, I bet you, you have Communication in your Top 5 or your Top 10?" "Yes, sure. Yes." "See, you have always been expressive. And as a child, you've been told that shut up will be better. So let's think about how to, how to find the right dosage of the Communication. Do you always want to have the last word? Or can you give other people the space to share their opinions, to express themselves and just listen?" And that is that flipping it around and showing that sometimes it just takes a tiny, tiny tweak, and what you have actually been punished, criticized for in the past becomes the polished diamond that you're looking for.
Jim Collison 19:46
Yeah. Or could become that, with some, with some, with some work, right. DD, back to you.
Deepanjan Deb 19:53
Thank you so much. I was, you know, listening with rapt attention, because Antje was talking on a very, very powerful theme, you know. If you look at, you know, I think the India of today is changing, where people are taking decisions where they want to, you know, do things that they're genuinely good at, right? So in fact, I can give my example, and I know I'm on air, but I started from one of India's top engineering colleges, and I still believed that I shouldn't perhaps have studied engineering. Somewhere down the line, I went into the flow, because I was a decent enough student, cleared in the entrance examination, got into engineering. But when I was in engineering, I realized that, you know, I studied mechanical engineering, and I, I realized that this does not, would I want to do this for the rest of my life? Perhaps no, right? Eventually, I ended up where I ended up. But if I would have had the self-awareness or, you know, the training, perhaps I would have started economics, given a, given a choice.
Deepanjan Deb 20:54
Now, why do we do that, a lot of cultural reasons behind it, behind it, because everyone, you know, you follow what has been done by your predecessors, and there was, at least, you know, I graduated in 2007, and at that point of time, there was a thing that if your, it was still predominantly for a good student, perhaps you should take sci, take up science. But now that's changing, because whatever you want to do, avenues have opened up and you do not necessarily need to be biased towards something, right. And that is how you create brilliance in anything. Otherwise, what happens is that you, if you follow something, you're eventually not, you cannot sustain there, right. So that's a very important point that Antje brought out. And I think today's generation is seeing the change, and you're not seeing that focused biasness towards, you know, towards, towards that.
Deepanjan Deb 21:54
Now, Antje, you talked about Restorative, you know. And I was listening to your example of the, of the farm that now, when you talk about Restorative, you talk about the fact that it's problem-solving. What attracts you is problem-solving, right? You do have Restorative, and you have dealt with people who have Restorative. And you give the example of the person who had been told that, Why can't he give it to the people? But the point, the basic point here is that once you are aware, once you are scientifically aware that who you are as a person, for someone who has high Restorative, that person likes to solve problems. If, there will be people who will be, you know, dismayed by the breakdown, but this person can be energized. You, you enjoy the challenge of perhaps analyzing a symptom, identifying what is wrong and eventually finding the solution.
Self-Awareness and Strengths in Global Settings
Deepanjan Deb 22:52
Now, the point here is that one thing is that you enjoy it. The other thing is that when you're working with a group of people, other people must understand and acknowledge the fact that you enjoy it, right. It's like, for example, I am Empathetic. But if I'm working with a set of people, they also must realize that I'm Empathetic. That is when it marries, right, eventually. So that, that brings into my next question around the fact that when you have worked with a group of people, you know, on this piece, how have you seen the, you know, you know, self-awareness manifest, within, within people in groups, both in India as well as your, in your work in Europe?
Antje Bauer 23:40
Yeah, that's an excellent question, DD. So I primarily work with teams. So I experience that very, very frequently, and I normally, kind of when I do a journey with a team, of course, I start with the self-understanding of the participants. So usually, there's a whole section around understanding their CliftonStrengths reports, their Top 5 or Top 10, depending on which report I work with. And then I go into the team's collective talent themes. Now, I work a lot with the team map, and with anecdotes around the different talent themes. So when I, when I go to the team map, and I'll go through the, the analysis of who has which strengths, one example -- I mean, I work a lot with tech communities. And you, you often have quite a number of people in there with Analytical in their Top 5. And when I introduce Analytical to the tech teams, I will tell them, Well, this is what Analytical about, is about, going into the detail and really getting to the bottom of a problem and finding out, what is it, and kind of draw an analogy to a Six Sigma, 5 whys.
Antje Bauer 25:08
And then I tend to ask them, so sometimes these people are the ones who, who, when you think the conversation is over, they'll come with another question. And then you see the guys who have Analytical going, "Oh, yeah, yeah, that's me! I've been told that so often." And the team starts laughing, right? So I try to keep it on a light note, to get the team to, sometimes to provoke them a little bit with these stereotypes of, well, I would call it an overexpression of a talent theme. And the fact that both the person who shows this behavior and the team can laugh about it opens up the floor for a conversation around, so, team, did you realize that this is a person that you can rely on to really get to the bottom of a problem, to find out what the root cause of something is, to really find the answer to a challenge that you have? And the person realizes that maybe sometimes, they don't have to ask that last question, right.
Antje Bauer 26:29
So what I'm trying to say is mixing the actual explanation of the talent theme with pointing out certain behaviors that people might observe in individuals who have this talent theme, and then working with the reaction of the team is what I like to do. Maybe sounds a little bit wishy-washy, but I do this very much in the moment, and based on the talent themes that are available in a team. Another one, one of my favorites, actually, to work with teams on is Deliberative, where explaining to people that people with Deliberative are, you know, sometimes misperceived to be the ones who are really, really get stuck in the detail and always raising the risks of something. And maybe the others want to move on fast, but, but as a team, it's really useful to realize that these are like, these are people who are like safety rings for the rest of the team, who will make sure that no major mistakes are made or that the risks are considered in the plans.
Antje Bauer 27:48
And I think it's this kind of open dialogue where you involve a person representing a talent or having a talent and the team and you get them to talk about these reactions. And regularly after the workshops, I find that teams have a different appreciation of their colleagues. I mean, I think that's nothing, nothing special; probably happens to every strengths coach, but it's, it's a great experience every time, I think.
Growing in Your Awareness of Your Own Strengths
Deepanjan Deb 28:20
Absolutely. And you have, you've touched down on the deeper, deeper application of the, of the talent themes. Now you mentioned Deliberative. And I, I just got a chance to now quiz you on something -- I didn't plan to, but you have No. 1 is Activator, right. And Activator and Deliberative are just essentially the diametrically opposite. So when you have Activator, you know who you are, and you would want to make your hands dirty, your, things excite you, right, at the beginning. You don't care what is right or wrong; you just want to be there. You will eventually find your path and you will, you will get your path. But when you deal with people who are Deliberative, right. Now, this is, this is just, question is to you as a, as an individual as well as to a practitioner. When you deal with people who have high Deliberative, it means that they are careful, they are vigilant, they're private. They know, they want answers before they will respond. Right?
Antje Bauer 29:21
Deepanjan Deb 29:21
How do you, how do you manifest that? Because that's an example we've been taking for years now. I have --
Antje Bauer 29:27
It's one of -- great question. I love the question. So I mean, I've been working with my same CliftonStrengths report since 2011. I'm not a fan of retaking the report, and I try to tell people, you, I still find new things in my report after 12 years. And Deliberative is a really interesting one, because when my self-awareness was not as high as it is today, people who have Deliberative, they rubbed me up completely the wrong way. I would have had very unfriendly terms to describe them, which I'm not going to repeat here, because they were the people who tried to stop me. Yeah. And they kept coming up with their concerns about this and that, and I just wanted to push forward, right?
Antje Bauer 30:11
Now, as my self-awareness grew, and I started realizing, holy crap, I miss out on things. I do miss out on things, because I don't go enough into the detail. I need these people. And I had, actually the, yeah, it was a gift to experience a previous team member of mine when I was still in corporate life who was a data expert; deep, deep, deep detail data expert. And actually, the entire organization did not understand this guy. And he ended up working for me. And at the beginning, I didn't understand him, either. But then it happened to me two or three times, it was my pattern recognition, that this guy told me something which I ignored. And a few months later, suddenly what he had said happened. And then I realized that this guy had a real kind of smell for things that could go wrong and happen. But nobody ever listened to him. And at that point in time, I started putting myself in front of him. He was like two levels down in my organization, so not even reporting to me directly. And, because people were putting him on lists to be, you know, put into a restructuring program and etc. And I kept saying, "No! Nobody is touching this guy. Because this guy knows where we are exposed, what can happen. And he says the right things, but we don't have the bandwidth or the attention span to listen to him. And we have to listen to him."
Antje Bauer 31:43
And he stayed there until his official retirement age in a protected spot. But I had to put myself in front, because the organizational DNA was not to listen to such type of a person. Long story short, today, I recognize people with Deliberative pretty quickly, because it's still, I still get impatient with them. But then, of course, I have this inner voice which has developed, which is now saying, no, no, no, hang on. Slow down, let them make their point. Even if you're not interested in the point right now, they may have a point, and you have to listen. And I think that's the classical journey of your rising self-awareness; with that automatically comes the awareness of other people, but it has to start with yourself. If you don't start with yourself, you, you cannot other, understand other people either.
Deepanjan Deb 32:36
Absolutely. And you know, a classic case of, you know, an Activator versus a Deliberative can be something like, yeah, for example, imagine the fact that I have a very high Deliberative, and you have high Activator, right? And we're working together. You send me an email. And I don't respond, because, I don't respond because I don't have the answer. Right. Now, when you don't know who I am, it might lead you to the fact that, you know, why is DD not responding to my email? It's basic courtesy, right? Or he's not paying me the basic respect that a colleague or a person deserves. But I am not thinking it that way. I am thinking that let me have the answer, and then I'll respond to Antje. Now when both of us are in our own loop, without being aware of who we are, these kind of things can manifest. I'm just giving one example of one time. But the moment you are aware who I am, right, you will, in your, as you said, right, first be aware of yourself and then be aware of the people around you, which is when listening becomes a very important factor or interacting with people becomes a very important factor.
Antje Bauer 33:51
Another really nice example for that, in the context of working with leaders and managers, are Developer and Individualization. Where, I mean, their, their gift is to really make other individuals flourish. So as a manager, they're usually very much liked by their teams and so on. However, when it comes to difficult situation in companies, they're also the ones that are extremely protective of their teams. They don't want to kind of resize their teams, let go of anybody. Nobody is a bad performer in their teams. And kind of, first of all, making these people aware that their gift can also really stand in their way, when it comes to taking tough decisions around people. But then also getting their peers and their managers to, to recognize that these are not softies or kind of, you know, they don't understand the company policy. They're just very concerned about their people, and that they might need the help from another colleague to, you know, to work through those difficult situations. And on the other hand, they're usually a good temperature checker on the, the health, the mental health or the wellbeing of a team, because they're so close to their people, right. So the mutual understanding takes the entire team to the next level, basically.
Accepting and Managing Your Weaknesses
Deepanjan Deb 35:26
My last question on this, because I just want to continue the flow around it, because you mentioned, right, you are way more self-aware now that, than you were perhaps 10, 11 years back. Now, my question to you is that What, what daily changes have you seen yourself incorporate, either consciously or unconsciously -- subconsciously, sorry -- now that you, you know who you are, right? When, once you start knowing who you are, what happens is that you not only enter into a space where you know what you need to do; you also are aware what you don't need to do or don't want to do. Right? So we generally advise that you should not retake the assessment unless you've gone through a life-changing event, right? Yeah. So where have you seen your self-awareness, the change or the perceived increase in self-awareness change your daily activities or change your approach to life? What are the, what are the, what are the, someone who applies strengths in their daily life, and also someone who practices it professionally.
Antje Bauer 36:48
So I'll, I'll again go back to an example of my early days with strengths. My No. 34 is Empathy. You said you have it very high. Now you, you can imagine when I got my All 34 for the first time, I looked at and I was like, Ooh, am I a monster or an ice block? Or what am I, right? And I was really, really concerned. Now I'm a mother, I have two sons, anybody will tell you that I was the most cuddly and caring and loving mother for my sons. And I couldn't relate to that at all. Yeah? Cut, a few weeks later, I have a conversation with one of my team. No, actually, no, I remember a conversation with one of my team members from very, very early on in my career, like 30, 25 years ago. My first team I was leading, I had a performance review conversation with the team member. And at the end of the conversation, I said to the person, "Would you like to give me some feedback?" And he was like, "Yeah, I'm actually really hurt. Because sometimes you don't greet me in the morning. And I don't understand why." For, for years -- I didn't know why he told me that. I did make an immediate change at that point in time. Because I went out of the conversation and said, I'm doing something wrong. I have to make sure I greet people when I come into the office in the morning. So I did that. But I didn't understand why.
Antje Bauer 38:26
So when I got the All 34 and started processing this kind of why is Empathy so low? After a while, of course, it dawned on me that I'm a very cognitive person. You know, I'm, I'm, I usually process in my mind. I'm not emotional, too emotional about things. I'm very outspoken, but I'm not emotional about things. And yeah, when I left my car in the morning, I was already thinking about what's my first meeting? What do I have to accomplish today? Which questions do I have to work on? And I just wandered through the corridors and just didn't see people. As simple as that. I was so deep in thought that I didn't notice who was coming my way or passing by me. The immediate change I took was, No, I'm gonna consciously look at people and say, "Good morning." And I've done that since then. But it still happens to me, it still happens to me.
Antje Bauer 39:23
So, So I think there's always this realization of what does the strength mean? How does it manifest itself positively? How can it work against you? How can it cast a shadow on you? And then connecting that to your behaviors and making the necessary changes. Another change in my personal case was Restorative. Because I did countless 360-degree reviews during my career. And I always came out really good with my relationship to my superiors and to my team members, but my peer level was never really good. Guess why? What does Restorative do? Keep telling people what they should be doing different and kind of making comments about things that are none of your business. That took me a long time to understand that my Restorative was getting in my way, and that I need to really decide where to apply it. So yeah.
Deepanjan Deb 40:27
You have, you've actually directed me to the next question, but I'll pause, and I've kept Jim waiting for a long time.
Jim Collison 40:34
No, DD, go, go, let's keep the momentum going. You keep going.
Coaching to Overcome a Team Focus on Weakness
Deepanjan Deb 40:40
So we always talk about what is right with people. And that's how the whole philosophy of the StrengthsFinder came into picture. But sometimes what happens is that our strength comes in the way of our success price. Right? And, and how do we manage those barriers of essentially not overplaying too much with our strengths, right. And that is where the example of, the example that you gave, right, your, your Restorative is coming in your way, right? Now, there are so many different ways to, you know, to, to highlight this scenario. But if we stay within the boundaries of the of the talent themes and how Gallup defines StrengthsFinder, How do you think people can -- because always, I hear this question so many times with clients -- with, with people from the educational space, that you talk about what is right with people. You talk about what are your strengths, but how do we manage our weakness?
Deepanjan Deb 41:44
And, and I still don't understand why people have that fascination for weakness. Because even now, I see, even at my relatives' place, if, if a student has got, in almost all subjects, 90+ out of 100, but one subject, he or she has got 70 or 80, that is where the eyes of the parents go. The focus towards weakness is still something which dominates our, our thinking. But the moment we start thinking, what, what we are good at, many things can change in our lives -- perhaps even our decisional areas, what we do, right? So how, how, from your experience, have you helped people manage their strengths in an efficient way where it doesn't come in their, you know, and how have you managed the weak, weakness conversation? Because that's something that is very, very -- many people ask us, right? So we don't like to use the word "weakness"; we call them "lesser talents," but, but it eventually comes everywhere.
Antje Bauer 42:49
Yeah. So I'll connect that back to the cultural sphere in which I operate, again, in India. And when I started giving my workshops here, I made an experience which I found extremely frustrating. So I talked all day about the talents, how to develop them, and, you know, did all the things we do. And then at the end of the workshop, I did a checkout round with the team, where I said, "What's your one biggest takeaway?" And 80% of the people would come up with, Yeah, my biggest takeaway is I don't have Strategic; I have to develop Strategic. So they would always look at their strengths, identify the gap, and say, "This is what I have to develop," which is totally against what I try to teach people and what Gallup tries to give people, right.
Antje Bauer 43:51
So I kept thinking, what is wrong here? And this is when I, after a few of these workshops, came to the conclusion, the deficit orientation is so strong that it automatically overtakes. Same thing that you said, DD, the example, somebody can have, in 9 out of 10 subjects, great marks; the parents will focus on the one with the bad marks. And exactly the same thing was happening in the workshops. Until that, I hadn't had the barriers, enablers, hinders -- whatever we call them -- in my programs. And then I started to include them and actually spent quite a bit of time on them. So what I usually do is I take the Top 10 of the team and -- the aggregated Top 10 of a team -- and then I talk through those Top 10 talents in detail. Until then, I had only been talking about what is the positive manifestation of the talent, and then I included what is, how can it stand in the way of success? How can it cast a shade on people, especially in the perception of others?
Antje Bauer 44:57
And that was like unlocking this for people, because at that moment, they started to understand that, and they started to recognize some of the feedback that they had been given. So what we as Gallup coaches term as a, as a "hinder," they had received as negative feedbacks. Which then allowed me to say, OK, so let's look at how this talent can make you shine and how to invest in this talent to build up knowledge, skills -- how to practice it to really get you to a point where you don't get that feedback anymore. And that's when the checkout session started to change also. When I, when I suddenly got people saying, "OK, I want to develop my such-and-such talent more," rather than focusing on the talents they don't have.
Antje Bauer 45:49
The other thing that I now do regularly is to take a closer look at the Bottom 5, if I have them, if I work with the All 34. Because I also realized over time that blind spots can become, can really become blockers for people, for individuals, but also for teams. And I'll, I'll share, one that I've come across very commonly here, which is Context. Context seems to end up very, very low in individuals and teams on average.
Deepanjan Deb 46:24
It's my No. 1.
Antje Bauer 46:25
It's your No. 1 -- wonderful, you're an exception, in my experience. So what happens if a collective has Context very, very low? It means that they have no appreciation for what lies behind them. They don't think about the history of the company, the team, themselves; it's all forward-looking, which means they're constantly reinventing the wheel on everything, right? And they don't celebrate the past, nothing. So, so it's kind of making them aware of what does this collective blind spot -- what does that, what is the behavior it leads to? And these things, so that's just one example.
Deepanjan Deb 47:09
Perfect, Antje. When I, when I first joined Gallup, and, you know, I had already taken the StrengthsFinder by the time I joined, and I had my coaching session with a very senior lady in Singapore. And my first question to her was that, "Can I remove Context from my life? Because people always tell me they don't go into the past." She said that, though. she was laughing, and said that "No, no, you cannot do that. But you can use it as a, as a strength." And in fact, since then, I have, because I can't, I like being in the past. I like to analyze data and then use to reconstruct my future. And I just can't change myself; accept the fact, you know. So that's, so absolutely, thank you for bringing that up. But, Jim, I've taken enough time of yours, so I'll let you, you know, with your follow-up question on the, on the topics that we discussed.
Managing Team Strengths
Jim Collison 47:57
DD, you're the host here. You're the host. Let me, well, let me -- I will ask this question, though. As we're thinking about that, we've spent the last couple years thinking about managers and giving them the tools that they need, right? Managers are just, they're absolutely just getting destroyed at the moment, when we think about that. When you think about using CliftonStrengths from a team perspective, and maybe even I think a lot of managers struggle with the performance management piece, we've alluded to it several times, right? Really developing and managing their people from that perspective. How can that help? How can them knowing both individual and team help them maybe relook at the way they do performance management?
Antje Bauer 48:39
Yeah, so when it comes to organizational rollout of strengths, that is, for me, the icing on the cake. And every organization that basically rolls out strengths at large scale, I think, has an opportunity there to not, not ignore or let go of. Because basically, if we think of performance management, the performance management cycle, which starts with setting targets, usually having a midyear review and then an end-year review and often some kind of calibration related to it. I try to teach managers that they can use conversations about talents and strengths in each of these conversations.
Antje Bauer 49:31
So let me give an example. If you start with target setting, of course, targets are usually some kind of numeric targets for many people, like increase sales by X; improve KPIY by Z, etc. And people say Well, how can I use my talents to improve that? Right? And that's exactly the question I would like to see managers asking their team members. So your target for the next year is to increase sales. DD, your target is to increase sales by 10%. How do you think you can use your Context to achieve that? How can your Context help you achieve that target? And then the other targets.
Antje Bauer 50:20
Now, of course, the prerequisite to being able to do that is that the manager has quite a decent knowledge of talent themes and strengths. So it's a journey to get there. You can't teach a manager about their own strengths, and then expect them to do that. And I would love to see programs and more organizations investing time on how can we adjust our HR processes? If we say we're a strengths-based company culture, we have strengths-based cultures, culture, how can we adjust our people processes to really reflect that? Now, as an external coach, you have limitations, how far you can go in there, because the accountability of the HR teams. But if you ask me, "What's your dream for the next 5 years?" I would say, "Ah, I'd be thrilled to be in a project where an organization says, 'We want to reconfigure our HR processes to really operate based on strengths. And to kind of teach these.'"
Antje Bauer 51:19
I've seen one organization that does it pretty well, where they've really created a lot of handbooks and things to guide their managers. But I think there's still quite a way to go on that. And the same you can then do, of course, in the review: How did you use this talent? If you have a very well-versed manager, they can even make suggestions around what to change or how to use other talents or which talents maybe to give more attention and focus in these processes. Yeah.
Strengths and Onboarding
Jim Collison 51:52
When, when we think about performance management, we often think about the ongoing conversations that go on. I think ... good at those. I think oftentimes we miss this concept of onboarding, though, and taking advantage of setting the record or the expectations straight from the very beginning, like, someone's beginning. In your work, as you think about the best, some of the best onboarding you've seen, especially strengths related -- or maybe you've gotten an opportunity to participate in, in, in that area where getting people to see themselves in that way, from the very beginning, from the very start of their time. What have you seen that's worked really well, in that area of getting folks onboarded, kind of right from Day 1?
Antje Bauer 52:39
I mean, the ones where I see it working is the one, the companies who have really embedded strengths-based development quite deeply in, in all their artifacts, basically. I mean, there's some companies where you can find it, even on their webpages to the, to the external world. What I've, what I don't see working, I've seen other companies who basically ask everybody to take their Top 5 very early, not even, maybe not in the onboarding, but as they do their first developmental activity. But it's basically they let them take their Top 5, give them the results, and a like 1 1/2-hour introduction into strengths-based thinking, and that's it. That is pretty much the same as doing nothing. It doesn't have, in my experience, a lasting impact. So I, if I would, if I were to opt for or recommend a way to onboard people into a strengths-based development journey, I would always say an investment of half a day to a day at the beginning of the journey will bring you the bigger return on investment than just asking them to take the assessment and not having any kind of deeper introduction or induction into the topic. Is that what you were looking? I'm not sure I got the question totally right.
Jim Collison 54:03
No, I'm just asking, just asking the question. And I think the importance comes back to this manager conversation, where we're thinking about, OK, so I'm starting new. I now understand the culture -- I understand the strengths-based culture. And then I need to know what's going to be expected of me. That begins with the manager, right? So the manager starts saying, OK, as I'm going to onboard you to the team now, there are some certain things that you need to understand about your job -- all coming from a strengths-based perspective. And I think it's really tough to do that as a manager if they don't have a grip or a handle on, you know, we want them to know that they can do what they do best every day. Right? So that's a strengths question. Right? They've got to know that coming in. So those, those are pillars built. I always just like to find out, you know, from folks. I like that. I think, I think onboarding is the single most important things companies get wrong most of the time; they just don't do a very good job of doing it very well. They spend thousands on coaching after the fact on mistakes that they made. They could have fixed them in the very beginning with onboarding. So DD, let me, let me pass it back to you. And I know we kind of need to bring this thing in for a landing.
Deepanjan Deb 55:17
Thank you so much. You know, very, very interesting thoughts from both of you around this. And, in fact, Jim, your last point around the fact that onboarding, and this leads to a very, you know, I know we don't have time for that. But what happens is that many organizations reach out to us, saying that we need to fix managers, because managers are the reason why people are leaving. But the point is that, unlike what Gallup does, in, in the definition of managers, many organizations mean, what, what happens with them is that promotion means you suddenly become a manager. But you may not want to manage people. Your strength might lie, lie somewhere else, right? It's, I know, it's a different discussion altogether. It'll take hours to have a detailed discussion on this.
Deepanjan Deb 56:03
But I'd like to end, Antje -- this has been one of my best experiences ever. And, you know, and I've been part of many, many Called to Coaches. So my last question to you as we end is that you have been a kind of a global citizen having, you know, worked in so many different parts of the world. You have been in India for almost 10 years now. And what are the cultural changes that you have seen over time, working with people in India, from your experience in Europe, Western Europe, as well as in the U.S.? And then how is India responding to your, you know, the changes that is happening with, with time, especially around your work in the strengths space?
Antje Bauer 56:48
Yeah, wow. So first of all, I'm here because I believe in the potential of this country and its people. I'm here because I consciously decided I want to be in this company, which is striving upward, rather than where I come from, where everything seems to be going down. I'm here because people here want to achieve something; they are open to change; they are very, very adaptable. And I think there's a huge potential in the country. I can't talk as much about that as I would now, but -- and I think CliftonStrengths have a huge role to play in this journey, for the reasons that I elaborated on early. For me, it's a great tool to start this journey of self-exploration and exploration of teams. So I hope I can be part of that journey for many years to come and contribute actively to getting as many people on board as possible. It's, I love doing it. And I'm really, really happy about the Leader and the Manager Report. So keep going, Jim, with more stuff like that.
Deepanjan Deb 58:02
And I think, I don't, I don't think that there is a better way to end this when you say that I love doing it. Because that's essentially what the StrengthsFinder talks about, that we help you to figure out who you are. And the more you do things that you really love, that's when you create brilliance; that's when you create innovation; that's what you create a situation where you really, really thrive with what you're doing, right. So I think that's all from me, Jim. It has been a really, really enriching discussion with Antje. Over to you.
Jim Collison 58:32
Yeah. Antje, thank you for, for being a part of this. Good to see you again. And good to talk to you again on it. It's, I get excited thinking about now I'm like, oh, spring is, spring is still like 8 or 10 or maybe 12 weeks away. And, you know, that's my, that's my favorite time of the year. And yet, I think, as I hear about you and your coaching, I get that sense of spring from you and your coaching -- that working with people, it's like every day is spring, and there's new things to do and new things to grow and to flourish. And so thank you for, thanks for doing that. And thanks for being in India to do it.
Antje Bauer 59:09
Thank you! Thank you both, and thanks for your great questions.
Jim Collison 59:13
Yeah, no, it's great spending time with you. You guys hang tight with me for one second. We'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources. You might be wondering, like, Hey, well, how do we get more information about some of these things that we talked about? Well, it's in Gallup Access. Head out to gallup.com/cliftonstrengths. Tons of resources for you there. If you log in, if you've taken your CliftonStrengths, if you log in and go to the Resources tab, there's tons of resources. Like any of these themes, you can type it in, it'll give you all the stuff that we've ever done on it right there for you. And if you're a Learner or Input, you'll love it as well. For coaching, master coaching, or if you want to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, you can contact us. Send us an email: email@example.com, and we will get someone to get back with you on that. Don't forget, the Summit is coming up here. It's, I know it's in the United States; it'll be virtual as well. But our Summit is coming up here in June, the 2023 Summit. Details: gallupatwork.com. Don't forget to join us on any social network by searching "CliftonStrengths," and we want to thank you for joining us today -- whether you watched us live or you listened to this in the podcast. Listen, I know many of you listening to this podcast right now, you hear about a lot of things that are going on around the world. This is pretty important stuff. So hopefully, today it's gotten you to think a little bit more about what's going on in India. Thanks for joining us today. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.
Antje Bauer's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Activator, Strategic, Restorative, Responsibility and Communication.
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