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

Focus®: Developing Your Leadership Skills

Webcast Details

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


[Leaders with Focus] can tune out distractions or outside noise to keep those within their influence really clear-headed and moving towards those goals or objectives.

Jaclynn Robinson, 3:29

Active listening ... can create a sense of Compassion of, Oh, this person's genuinely listening to me, and they want to make sure that they're supporting me in the best way.

Jaclynn Robinson, 4:49

Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and this is The CliftonStrengths Podcast, Season 2, recorded on February 28, 2023.

Jim Collison 0:05
In this CliftonStrengths Podcast series, we'll look at the CliftonStrengths for Leaders Report one theme at a time, and today's theme is Focus. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in the chat room. If you don't see it, there's a link to it right above me. Or if you're listening after the fact, and you have questions, you can always send us an email: Dr. Jaclynn Robinson is our host today. She works as a Senior Learning and Development Consultant and has joined me for Season 1 of The CliftonStrengths Podcast. Maybe you didn't even know there's a Season 1, and there is. Head out -- the, all our high Focus people are like, I heard low Focus, like, I didn't even know it was there. Head out to Season 1 of the CliftonStrengths Podcast, where we looked at Wellbeing at Work one theme at a time; Jaclynn did that with me as well. Jaclynn, Welcome back!

Jaclynn Robinson 0:59
Thank you.

Introducing Focus

Jim Collison 1:02
We are spending some time talking about Focus today. 34 for me; it's going to show. I just, I'm gonna admit it right off the bat, right off the bat.

Jaclynn Robinson 1:10
Own it.

Jim Collison 1:11
Yeah, here we go. Let's, let's dig in a little bit. What, when we talk about Focus, what do we mean?

Jaclynn Robinson 1:17
Yeah, someone with Focus can take a direction, follow through and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. You prioritize, then act.

What Is the Power of Focus in a Leadership Role?

Jim Collison 1:28
Yeah, not so good for -- well, but high Adaptability, some of these, high Arranger allows me to do some, some other things; maybe just not quite with that Focus. We're spending this season talking about the power of these themes in the context of the CliftonStrengths for Leaders Report. As we talk to leaders, what is the power of this theme in a leadership role?

Jaclynn Robinson 1:48
Yeah, this theme can help guide the leadership team in a clear, streamlined direction, with a singular focus. They're probably going to be asking questions like, What's the primary goal here? What's our strategic initiative for the year? Are we keeping the mission of the organization top of mind? So with that answer in mind, they can ensure everyone then stays on course.

Jim Collison 2:10
Sounds pretty important. Can I be a leader without Focus? I mean, I hope so. But can I be a leader without Focus? I mean, do I have -- is Focus one of those required themes for leadership? Can, can --

Jaclynn Robinson 2:22

Jim Collison 2:22
OK. Talk a little bit --

Jaclynn Robinson 2:23
No, yeah, I'd say, what do you use instead to motivate you, to course-correct, to keep you on track? Might not be even something that they naturally feel they do. But there's an accountability partner or there's a business partner or a fellow leader that they lean on that continues to direct them. So I'd say, what are you using instead? Or what systems are you using instead?

Jim Collison 2:48
Yeah, yeah, you gotta, you gotta come up, things have to get done. Right? You can't just be -- well, I don't have any Focus. We can't do anything. Sorry. It also, I don't think, I think this is one of those excuse themes at times, where those of us that don't have it go, Well, don't have it. You're screwed. Sorry. Exactly.

Jaclynn Robinson 3:09
We're gonna just chase squirrels all day in this organization.

How Can Those With Focus Lead Others?

Jim Collison 3:11
And it's gonna be OK. Because that's -- and you're like, no, that's not, that's not the way you use these kinds of things, right. And so that doesn't give us an excuse to just be like, you know, whatever. Hey, let's just goof around. Right? So as we're thinking about this, in the context of leaders, how could this theme lead others?

Jaclynn Robinson 3:29
They can tune out distractions or outside noise to keep those within their influence really clear-headed and moving towards those goals or objectives. They create Stability by highlighting the North star for everyone to see, and then that path for how to get there. So in turn, I think that really inspires Hope. But even if change is occurring around us, and we're in this whirlwind, there's a clear end in sight. And Hey, I've got it, and, and I'm guiding you there.

Jim Collison 3:56
Yeah, you already mentioned we spent some time looking at the needs -- 4 Needs, 4 Needs of Followers. And you mentioned Hope and Stability already. Any other thoughts, as we think along those lines of, does the -- and I think, you know, oftentimes say that Stability creates Hope. Any other thoughts on that? We'll just cover that now, since you mentioned those. Any other thoughts on that, when we think about needs of followers?

Jaclynn Robinson 4:21
I could see Compassion, because, I see this in coaching sometimes, where you might have someone that comes to you with a range of different challenges or goals that they want to discuss, and someone with Focus will redirect or take a moment, and just pause to say, "Hey, you know, we're talking through this issue. Earlier, you had mentioned, X, Y and Z. Is this still what you want to talk about at this point in time, or would you like to discuss, you know, what you had brought in earlier?" There's that active listening that takes place, and I think that can create a sense of Compassion of, Oh, this person's genuinely listening to me, and they want to make sure that they're supporting me in the best way. So they're, you know, just laying out everything I've shared so far to see what we want to tackle today.

How Could Focus Hinder Your Leadership of Others?

Jim Collison 5:06
I love that idea of Compassion with leaders, in the sense that sometimes groups can be overwhelmingly unfocused at times. And, and for whatever reason, either due to the task or due to the, the needs of the individuals. I mean, there are being a, being a leader is oftentimes knowing your followers. Right? I think that's part of the gig. Like it's tough to lead people if you don't know them. I think sometimes we get leaders who think they just, all they're there for is direction, and you're not going to get that direction if you don't know who you're, who you're leading, right. So to get that ability to create that Focus for a team, because there's people who need it -- both who have it and who don't. And they both need it, right, they both need that bringing that around. We kind of said, I was, I, during the midshow was saying how you bring this kind of, this, this softness to it, this soft Focus to it. And I think, because it's not a, it's not a hammer to beat somebody over the head. Right? Yes. Speaking of beating people over the head with it, how can this theme hinder the leadership of others?

Jaclynn Robinson 6:20
Well, a couple of ways. So too many voices, ideas or goals in a room can mentally overwhelm this leader; it's just a lot of stimulus coming at once. And that can lead them to either tune out or steer the conversation in one direction. And if you've got a team of people together, and the idea is idea generation or brainstorming, then you're disrupting what was just taking place, and that can make others feel like their voice is either ignored, dismissed or shut down. So I think there just has to be that awareness with others.

Jim Collison 6:55
As you were saying that, I was thinking of inclusivity, and Focus being able to bring, you know, I think you said it, something like their, their voice was ignored, dismissed or shut down? I think that's what you said. And so, to me, that sounds like Focus can bring some inclusivity into a team, to say, is every, I'm going to focus long enough on what the team is doing to make sure everybody is heard. I don't know, does that make, does that make sense?

Jaclynn Robinson 7:25
Ooh, so that's a great way of using that theme as a help. I think that would be more of that soft Focus way that you had talked about of, you know, you might be guiding people back to say, we've heard all of these ideas. Is there one that we want to settle on? Versus just steering people in one direction. Because that could then sound dismissive. And it could be more exclusive? And they're like, Ooh, I just put this idea out there, but you just, you're already moving us in a direction and, yeah, so that can be the, the upside down.

Jim Collison 8:02
Well, I haven't, I've never thought of Focus as being an in, in, you know, an inclusive, a tool for that. But as you were saying that, I was thinking, oh, yeah, that could be a -- I mean, and all the themes can bring some elements --

Jaclynn Robinson 8:15
I could see that in its mature, in a mature form. Because certainly that hindrance could be little too exclusive or too in their own world. Someone says, Hey, and they're just in their own element, honed in on the work. They don't even recognize there's other people out there.

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

Jim Collison 8:32
Again, we spend time thinking about these themes in the context by themselves. And of course, they're influenced by the themes that are around them. And so your mileage may vary on some of those. But I think it's a great way to look at it. Let's spend some more time thinking about this idea of inclusivity with Focus, of bringing, the importance of that to teams, because certainly if the team's out of Focus, maybe not everybody's being included in that. So we are also spending some time this season thinking about this in the context of our other two role-based reports -- CliftonStrengths for Sales and CliftonStrengths for Managers. If we took the two, if we took the Sales Report, and now this Leaders Report, kind of jammed them together, what kind of things do you think we could -- success factors could we pull out of that?

Jaclynn Robinson 9:18
This sales leader can help their team identify the prospects that are most likely to close by prioritizing the most realistic leads with the greatest return on investment. He doesn't like that ROI word. Once the sale is closed, then I can see this leader helping both the client and team members. They can rely on this leader to really support what the timelines or the milestones, the key priorities, the budget, etc.

Jim Collison 9:41
I can think of kickoff sales -- this is a little, maybe a little bit different, but sales campaigns, sales processes, kickoffs. Focus -- all right, guys, there's, there's 1,000 things to think about. Let's focus in on what we need to do here. Or what are we working on that we need to focus in and hone in on? What's the priorities? What's important? And maybe even turning that towards the customer. Like, I think last week we talked about, you know, we don't sell; we create solutions, right? And keeping the solution mindset in focus, so we don't lose, right, we don't lose that, we don't lose that piece. What about with the manager? If we took the CliftonStrengths for Managers and Leaders Report and mixed them together, what kind of success factors do you see there?

Jaclynn Robinson 10:28
With that natural mindset towards the end goal or outcome, oftentimes, you'll hear someone with Focus say, "What's the goal, or what's the outcome we're trying to achieve?" Employees can appreciate how this manager helps them craft their career development plan with present responsibilities, development stretch goals, all in alignment with that long-term career trajectory. And then those regular Check-Ins then become that opportune time to make sure that they're still on course. So I think they'd be really good at helping them see that long-term goal -- and the present steps of getting there.

Jim Collison 10:58
Yeah, two, two words: Developmental Review, right in our 5 Coaching Conversations, right, of spending that time focusing in -- OK, let's not get lost. It's super easy, when we're doing those, to let those become performance reviews. That's not what they are. It's not a performance review. It's a developmental time, it's to spend some time looking ahead, staying focused on that from how are we, how are you developing? Where are you getting better? Where are you, where are you having successes from an internal learning standpoint, in the way you're doing that? That's to develop you, right? Outcomes are, outcomes are a little different. But we mix them together; we often mix them together. And sometimes they're hard to separate, just to be honest. But, but I think it's a good, this is a good one with Focus to make sure we're keeping the right conversations in the right places when they're happening. So as we wrap this, Jaclynn, any, anything else that -- how would you wrap it? Anything else you want to say before we close it up?

Jaclynn Robinson 12:01
Well, because this, someone high in Focus is, is really good at having that North star in mind, right now, at least, what I'm seeing in engagement surveys, you've got a lot of followers in an organization that are really trying to understand where the company's taking them. So if there's a leader or leader of a department that has Focus high, this is such a great time to really help steer the leadership team and say, Are we clear on what our initiative is? Have we shared that down with our managers and our employees, so that everyone knows what they're working towards, and why? So this is something I think they could really partake in, at this point in time. Always, but I'm especially seeing that now, just in the engagement data, as of the last year.

Jim Collison 12:49
Well, it's, there's still some uncertainty as to how everything's, how everything is shaking out, right? And the reality is, however it's shaking out, we're there today. That's the reality, like, you'll never get more present than today. So, like, we have to, we have to do some things right now. I think we've been so focused on, like, where is it going? Because, right, well, it's gone. It's gone. And we're there. Wherever it's going, we're there today. And so I think with Focus, we get this opportunity to really kind of drive in like, OK, what, what's happening? What's the, where are we at right now? What are the -- I even, just, just as a side note, we're doing a bunch of furniture reconfiguration here on the, on the Riverfront Campus in a lot of our offices. Five years ago, we were jamming a cube in every spot we could, because we had so many people on campus. That's not the, that's not what's happening today. You know, forget about the future. What about today? And so what's happening today is a lot of those cubes are coming down. And we've got some other things coming in to open those spaces up a little bit more, just because of the hybrid, of the way we have chosen to be hybrid. To be honest, 5 years ago, we were hybrid; we were just a different kind of hybrid, right? And so anyways, we get, we get to this idea of where are we at today? And what's the focus on what we're doing right now? And how are we, how are we helping people? And what I heard you say just a minute ago, in the engagement numbers, are how are we helping them to be engaged -- not in the future, but right now? Right? In what they're doing -- well --

Jaclynn Robinson 14:26
Yes, and where are we taking them? What are we doing now? And where are we going?

Jim Collison 14:31
We have to focus on the future for sure. But today can't get, you can't miss today, right?

Jaclynn Robinson 14:36
That's right.

Jim Collison 14:36
You can't miss it in the process. Well, with that we want to remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we have available now in Gallup Access. Head out to Hit the menu, upper left-hand corner, choose Resources. By the way, there's a whole bunch of other things there that you can, since we're talking about Focus, that you can focus on -- your Learning Center is there; your code management is there, if that's important to you as a coach. Some of those things, that's, that's the menu where it's at. And then choose Resources, and go over to the Search tab, put in "Focus," and everything we've done on it is available for you there. Great resources, a great resource for you to be able to stay up to date. Stay up to date with all the webcasts by finding us on Eventbrite: Create an account, follow us there; you'll get a notification when I post new things. And then join us on any social platform -- you can tell I've been talking for an hour -- by searching "CliftonStrengths." And we want to thank you for coming out today. Of course, if you enjoyed it, Share it, Like it you know, hit all those buttons, Subscribe, all those other things that you're supposed to do. And for those who are listening live, we'll do a smidgen of 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.

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