skip to main content
Called to Coach
Communication®: Developing Your Leadership Skills
Called to Coach

Communication®: Developing Your Leadership Skills

Webcast Details

  • Gallup CliftonStrengths Podcast, Season 2: Communication
  • What is the power of Communication in a leadership role?
  • How could Communication 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 Communication® 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 Communication talent -- because everyone leads something.


[Those with Communication high] have a knack for helping others gain clarity on issues by asking questions and bringing their thoughts out in the open.

Jaclynn Robinson, 13:40

There's just nothing better than the look on someone's face when you repeat [what they've said] back in a way that shows understanding. ... Especially if they're people who have never been heard before.

Jim Collison, 11:32

Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and this is The CliftonStrengths Podcast, Season 2, recorded on February 14, 2023.

Jim Collison 0:06
In this CliftonStrengths Podcast series, we'll look at the CliftonStrengths for Leaders Report one theme at a time; today's theme is Communication. If you're listening live, and you don't see the chat room, there should be a link to it right above me there on our live, live page. Or if you're listening after the fact, maybe as a podcast or on YouTube, you can send us your questions: Dr. Jaclynn Robinson is our host today. She works as a Senior Learning and Development Consultant and joined me for Season 1 of The CliftonStrengths Podcast, where we looked at Wellbeing at Work, each theme at a time or one theme at a time. And Jaclynn, welcome back!

Jaclynn Robinson 0:54
Thank you.

Introducing Communication

Jim Collison 0:56
We are spending some time today looking at Communication, one of my favorites. So I'm excited -- I'm excited for this one. Let's dig in with a little bit of an intro. What is Communication?

Jaclynn Robinson 1:07
Yes. So if you have Communication high, you generally find it easy to put your thoughts into words. You're a good conversationalist and presenter. Love these people! I like having them in my life.

Jim Collison 1:20
It's, I never get tired of it. You know, I've done 6 or 7 podcasts in a day. People are like, Oh, man, that's just way too much talking.

Jaclynn Robinson 1:28
That'd be so hard, but bless your souls.

What Is the Power of Communication in a Leadership Role?

Jim Collison 1:31
I'm more fired up at the end of the day. Well, you saw -- we did four, we did four of these in a row, right? And I was all, I was kind of down in the dumps when we started. And by the end, I was flying. And so we're, OK, we're not talking about me. I want you to talk about me. But the, the, we're looking at this in the in the context of leadership, with this brand new CliftonStrengths for Leaders Report. And so what is the power of this theme in a leadership role?

Jaclynn Robinson 1:57
Ooh. They spark engagement across the organization through their expressive way of discussing the company mission or client success stories. They just know how to captivate their audience or their employees. Really good spidey sense of being able to read the room and navigate a conversation, based on what is going to engage that audience.

Jim Collison 2:17
Yeah, reading the room, I think, is the key, one of those key, you talk about spidey senses -- if you're not familiar with that, this innate awareness to be able to read without asking, in some regards. And it's so innate in me. I cannot, I can't, this is why I have to have the camera on. Like, I can't do it if I can't see you. Because I can't predict where you're going. I can't see if the words I'm saying -- I couldn't ima -- like my podcasting would be 1/10th effective because I can't, I'm reading your facial expressions the whole time we're doing this. I know when you want to talk; I know when there's a point that I've hit that you like, so that then then I'd be like, Oh, OK, Jaclynn. What do you think about that? Right? I say that all the time on this because I'm reading your body language, right. And I think Commun-, those with high Communication have the ability to say or present things and then see what comes back. Right. It's also a thinking, we often equate this with the ability to think out loud. You know, I think by, and the chat room earlier was talking about this. Can you add a little bit to that as well, maybe from a leadership perspective, of this idea of maybe gaining consensus, because you're talking about things before you do them?

Jaclynn Robinson 3:34
Yes. This comes up a lot in leadership, especially when Communication is lower, because we have that Webster's Dictionary version of Communication. So I communicate every day. How is that so low? But what we recognize with Communication as a CliftonStrengths theme is the strand of external thinking, and being at their best when they can think out loud or bounce thoughts and ideas off of other people, or help other people find clarity by pulling out thoughts and ideas and just kind of, you know, letting it marinate out loud with one another. So that's a key difference, key difference.

How Can Those With Communication Lead Others?

Jim Collison 4:10
I like, I like using it in a room to let people talk and then try to summarize -- OK, here's where we're all trying to go. Or here are the things that I hear being said. That's what I do in this podcast with you, right? I heard you say this; let's talk about it some more. Let's pull it out. Let's get some nuances associated with it. What do you think, as the leaders that you've worked with, what kind of things have you seen them do specifically in, with, with groups and those that they're leading that may be leaning on that Communication talent?

Jaclynn Robinson 4:49
Ooh. Well, we have our friend at work, Austin, with Communication high as well. And many of you might have seen him on podcasts. And he's got that high, and I just love hearing him speak because, to your point, you do this too. It's, it's, it's getting the consensus. What are you hearing in the room? Let me summarize this in a way that sounds like poetry. I mean, that's why I love this theme -- it just comes out of your mouth like poetry with you all. But a really good way of summarizing it, but then also maybe offering a new question or a new insight and having people really think about that, which just deepens and furthers the conversation in the room. I've seen that work very well. Or using a story, going back to how they can share success stories or experiences, but being able to share a story that people really resonate with and go, Wow, I didn't consider it from that perspective! Or, you just helped deepen my learning because of the story you shared. And I don't know if that's always, you know, repeatable, because when I've talked to somebody with Communication, say, "Ooh, that's a great joke, or that's a great story." They're like, "That's it. I shared it in the moment, but I can't just repeat that." That's out there. It's out there now. That's, it's not repeatable. So it's that, that lived experience in the moment of Communication I've, I've recognized when I work with leaders or speakers.

Jim Collison 6:20
Yeah, sometimes it's gone as quick as it was there. You know, you're like, I didn't, I didn't even realize I did it. Everybody, everybody's taking notes. And you're like, Wait a minute! could you give me the notes back? I need to remember what I said. I was just talking.

Jaclynn Robinson 6:34
Just in the moment.

Jim Collison 6:35
It was just a moment, but, but very focused, very intentional in the moment. Very appropriate. I mean, at times -- "appropriate's" the wrong word, but providing that --

Jaclynn Robinson 6:46

How Could Communication Hinder Your Leadership of Others?

Jim Collison 6:47
Yeah. I like intentional. Yeah. Yeah, very intentional, but maybe not remembered a few seconds later. When, also in the report, so if you, for your CliftonStrengths for Leaders Report, there's all these that we just, we're just scratching the surface on what's available for you there. There's some great ways to think about it, and how you can, the power of it. But we also have a section on hinder. And so how could this theme hinder the leadership of others?

Jaclynn Robinson 7:10
Yeah, well, at times this leader could get carried away in conversation and not realize they've quieted the voices of others in the room or others who might have something that they feel would be important to share. So in the process of overcommunicating, the ultimate message or thought might get lost and lead to redundancy or confusion or oversharing, and quiet the voices of others in the room. Yeah.

Jim Collison 7:36
I have found, for me, just because I said it doesn't make it right. You know, sometimes we get, we get used to being right. That sounds pretty arrogant. But, but you know what I mean? We do this. We do it well. It comes out; in most cases, it works. But then you start believing in yourself a little too much. And you're like, Oh, yeah, no, you should, then you're like, actually, that doesn't make any sense. I've had to put kind of a secondary check in my own personality. Like, I know we said this, but let's test this thing before we actually do some things with it. I don't know, I made it sound really good. But maybe I made it sound too good. It needs a little, it needs some, it might need a quality check, you know, so to speak. Can we actually achieve this? Is this as, is this actually possible? I don't know. Does that stir -- what would you add to that?

Jaclynn Robinson 8:27
That's a really good self-awareness check. And for people without Communication high, if they have a theme like Intellection, especially where that's real internal deep thinking, those, those gentle pauses in Communication help the other person process. Otherwise, it's not just oversharing, but it can be so much being delivered at once that the person doesn't have time to absorb it, if they're more of a Strategic Thinking individual or an internal processor. So I think alongside the, I'm just going to check in; does that resonate with you? Let's do a quality check. Those check-ins are helpful too, because it creates a pause for the person to process what was just said -- maybe even share it back so that it's, it's more solidified in their brain, and then they can help you noodle through it.

Jim Collison 9:19
Yeah. I've gotten into the habit of saying, "Let's, let's sleep on this." Like, let's, Yes, it sounds like a great idea right now. It'll be a great idea tomorrow, if it's a great idea. Like let's, and I've, like, I've had that situation here. I've left, and on the drive home, I've convinced myself it was a terrible idea. Like OK, actually, now that I've thought about it myself, there's all these things -- no, that's, that's not good, and that's not good. And then we reconvene the next day, I'm like, "I don't know, what do you think?" I'm not, you know, I had them convinced when we left it was the right thing to do. Now I got to talk them back out of it the next day. It's like, it's not such a great idea. Sometimes they're very gracious, and they're like, "Yeah, I was gonna, that's gonna say that. But I didn't want to hurt your feelings." Like, Don't worry about it. It's OK. We, we're also, oh, let's, let's spend a little time thinking about 4 Needs of Followers on this, as we think Hope, Stability, Compassion and Trust. Where does Communication -- where do you think that fits in in that, in that framework?

Jaclynn Robinson 10:23
You know, we haven't talked about Compassion and Hope too much. I could really see it with these, with, with this theme. That Communication of just being able to hear from the room and have thoughts and opinions and voices just speak out loud and resonate with that offers that sense of Compassion of, I'm hearing your lived experience, or I'm hearing what your opinion or voice is. And then that Hope piece, because they're such an engaging speaker, they can create Hope for what the future could look like, or what the future can be through an engaging story or through, you know, a success. Anything. But I see those two coming out.

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

Jim Collison 11:06
Yeah, I like Compassion. I like Compassion. Like, it's hear, it's hearing. It's, and sometimes it's repeating. Right. It's, "I heard you" -- not just listening, but repeating it back: "Here's how I heard you." And I think, I think that's an act of Compassion. I mean, I think the result is Trust. But I think that the process is Compassion. Just saying, "Hey, no, I hear what you're saying. I hear this. Let me repeat it back to you the way I understand it." And there's just nothing better than the look on someone's face when you repeat it back in a way that shows understanding. And they're like, Oh, yeah! Especially if they're people who have never been heard before. Right. You know, they've been talking, but they've never been heard. And when you can repeat that back, that's pretty amazing. I think as a, as a leader, you got to work. That's what you're, that's the, that's the golden ticket, so to speak -- when you do that, and the, the, who you're working with goes, "Yeah, you understand me." All right, game on, Let's do this thing. Through the, through the season, we've been doing report dynamics -- trademark. Gallup trademark. So we're putting this together with the CliftonStrengths for Sales Report, just thinking about it. Like if I had both reports, how could I use those together for success? What could that look like with the Sales Report?

Jaclynn Robinson 12:24
Ooh, well, once the Sales Leader has an idea what the client seeks, they can put together a presentation or sales pitch that wows -- whether speaking on a client success story (I'm going to keep bringing up stories; they're great at them) or business and customer impact that they've created, they just know how to engage the audience in front of them, based on the uniqueness of that person that's in front of them or the uniqueness of the organization. So again, that innate, natural sense of how to engage with that individual can really help them wow during a pitch or presentation.

Jim Collison 12:58
You hear some Maximizer in this, because I have 3 -- Maximizer's 3; Communication's 4, but I love to get groups doing more of stuff, like, Hey, we did this; we could do even more, like, and then tell a story about how we're gonna go, you know, you know, we're gonna go and do this, and it's gonna be even bigger. I love that. It's one of my favorite things to do. Yeah, we're just gonna crush this thing. It's gonna be awesome. So what about, so the CliftonStrengths for Managers Report, we think about those roles responsible, that a manager is responsible, putting this together with what we offer in the Leadership Report. What do you see there?

Jaclynn Robinson 13:34
They can help their direct reports talk through ideas, concerns, their short-term goals or long-term goals. They have a knack for helping others gain clarity on issues by asking questions and bringing their thoughts out in the open. And then when they're in the open, they and the team member can work through that particular matter together. Yeah.

Jim Collison 13:54
Yeah, this is where I think the individualization that a manager can bring -- small "i," by the way; I don't think you have to have Individualization to, as a manager to treat people individually in this. You're just better at it if you do. But, but I think this is those areas where you talk about a knack for gaining clarity on issues of asking, like, Hey, let's go through this a little bit. Tell me a little bit more. Let's, right. And then I'm gonna repeat that back to you or whatever. Yeah, I love that. Final, final thoughts as we think, as we kind of wrap Communication here? Anything else that, or put a bow on this one. Maybe I should say that; put a bow on Communication.

Jaclynn Robinson 14:32
Gosh, I feel like I should serve it back to you, with you having it so high. I love people with Communication, though, because they can, they have their own way of sorting through the fuss and just helping create clarity for people. And so, going back to even the 4 Needs of Followers, Stability's another one I think they can do well, because they can bring everything out in the open and say, "Let's talk through this" or "Have we talked through this? Let's make sure we're all on the same page; we're even, even Steven, so to speak, and move forward." But I, this is one of those themes I have theme envy over at times, because of that ability to just verbalize their thoughts in a way that really resonates with the audience that's in front of them, without much prep work ahead of time.

Jim Collison 15:23
Well, but Jaclynn, let's be really clear. Like, your, your preparation makes me better; it improves my Communication, doesn't make it worse, right? I mean, I am nothing without your preparation. I need your preparation to be able, I couldn't do these things on my own; I don't have enough behind the scenes to put, to put enough into this to get it done. So I think oftentimes, we with high Communication, we need those individuals to pull that stuff forward -- whatever that looks like; whatever task you're in, we've figured out a way to make that work, right, in a way that's beneficial to those who listen.

Jaclynn Robinson 16:02
Good callout! Power of 2 partnership.

Jim Collison 16:05
Boom! All right, well, that's it. Let's, let's close this thing up. With that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we do have available now in Gallup Access. Head out to Sign in with your Gallup Access account, and then upper-left corner, drop down the menu. Some of you may not even knew that menu existed, right? It's tons of resources there for you. By the way, coaches, the Learning Center is there; that's where your kits are. But for everybody else, go to the Resources tab. Type in "Communication," and all the webcasts we've ever done -- Season 1 of The CliftonStrengths Podcast, all of, all 6 seasons of Theme Thursday -- they're all out there, available for you. Many, many of you ask me, How do I get all those? There you go. There's the secret. Get it done. That's my Communication trying to influence you to get it done. Stay up to date with all the webcasts by following us at -- B-R-I-T-E. Follow us there, and you'll get a notification whenever I post a new episode that is coming out. Join us on any social platform by searching "CliftonStrengths," and thanks for listening today. If you enjoyed it, share it. Like, these, we make these available for you to share, if you want to get that done. Like and Subscribe and all those other things that you're supposed to do on these social media platforms. We appreciate that as well. Thanks for listening. If you are listening live, stay around for a little bit of a postshow. 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:

Gallup®, CliftonStrengths® and each of the 34 CliftonStrengths theme names are trademarks of Gallup. Copyright © 2000 Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved.

Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A
+1 202.715.3030