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

Relator®: Developing Your Leadership Skills

Webcast Details

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


[Leaders with Relator] see the value and importance of establishing connections in the workplace, knowing that that's going to support engagement, wellbeing and productivity as well.

Jaclynn Robinson, 4:15

As a result of the effort they put into relationships, their team members feel like this [leader] is someone that is creating that culture of trust and communication and collaboration.

Jaclynn Robinson, 12:40

Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and this is The CliftonStrengths Podcast, Season 2, recorded on April 4, 2023.

Jim Collison 0:07
In this CliftonStrengths Podcast series, we look at the CliftonStrengths for Leaders Report one theme at a time, and today's theme is Relator. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in the chat room. Or if you have questions after the fact, maybe on the podcast or there on YouTube, you can always send us an email: 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, the book Wellbeing at Work, one theme at a time. Always great to be with you, Jaclynn. Welcome back!

Jaclynn Robinson 0:52
Thanks! Good to be here.

Introducing Relator

Jim Collison 0:54
We are spending some time talking about Relator today, and it's 9 for me; 5 for you. We're excited to be that real high. Give us a quick intro to it. What do we mean when we say Relator?

Jaclynn Robinson 1:06
So if you have Relator high, you enjoy close relationships with others. You find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.

What Is the Power of Relator in a Leadership Role?

Jim Collison 1:14
I feel fortunate that I have both Woo and Relator high. People say how does that work? And I, that old song, "Deep and Wide," with relationships is what comes up. That's, it kind of works for me. And I enjoy both, right: working a room, but also meeting people and, and getting to know them very, very well -- of course, all in the context of influence. Let's spend time, we're spending some time thinking about this in the context of leadership, right? And so what is, what is the power of this theme in a leadership role?

Jaclynn Robinson 1:46
Well, I think if you're a leader with this theme, individuals notice the time, attention and investment that you're putting into them, which can help build camaraderie and compassion; I would also say rapport and trust. And that makes it more likely for others to come to you with different perspectives and ideas to move the company forward. Because there is that level of comfort or maybe, Oh, this person gets me or wants to get me or wants to understand me.

Jim Collison 2:08
You use the word individuals in there in the small "i" context. We sometimes see Relator come with Individualization, that's, those are often to that end up, they're buddies together. For you, you don't have that; Individualization's a little farther down the line. In your leadership roles, as you think of Relator without Individualization, what does that look like for you?

Jaclynn Robinson 2:34
Ooh, that's good. I still find that uniqueness. And I think it's just because I, I am so curious about what's going on in other people's lives, and that's so top-of-mind for me, and maybe with other folks that have Relator high too. You know, before I share about myself, a lot of times, I'm like, "What's going on in your world? Tell me more; I want to know more about you." Recalling events that they, you know, maybe just came back from; asking them about their family or friends. Even in the workplace, you know, those that I'm closest to or talk to a lot, I know a lot about their family life. So it might show up to others as Individualization, even though it's Relator.

Jim Collison 3:24
Yeah, no, I like --

Jaclynn Robinson 3:25
That's one of those where I'm just kind of sitting on and thinking of it with you. But that's probably a good reason why we can't always guess what someone's talent themes are, because it might look like Individualization to some people. But it's definitely the Relator.

How Can Those With Relator Lead Others?

Jim Collison 3:38
That's a coaching question, right? I'm asking you like, "Hey, how does this show up for you? And what does this kind of look like?" And, you know, I see that play out in our conversations preshow, where you're ask, like, you know my kids' names. You know, you know, you know some history about, and you bring back things as we're talking about this in a way, because you've remembered, we've spent all this time talking about it. As we think about how this theme, so there's a great example for you, but as we think about how this theme could lead others, generally speaking, how can, how could high Relator use this to lead others?

Jaclynn Robinson 4:15
They see the value and importance of establishing connections in the workplace, knowing that that's going to support engagement, wellbeing and productivity as well. So just even role modeling the behaviors alone can spread that sphere of influence they have, where other leaders start looking for opportunities to connect more intentionally, whether it's colleagues, you know, leader to leader, manager to manager, or the employees that they lead, because they're probably like, there's something going on here. There's something in that water in that department, or people are just drawn to that leader because, you know, they'll engage whoever it is they might be talking with. I gotta, I gotta do more of that! What questions are you asking over there? How are you recognizing people? So I think just role modeling alone is how, even though it's a Relationship Building theme, it can look like an Influencing theme -- they can influence through that regard.

How Could Relator Hinder Your Leadership of Others?

Jim Collison 5:07
Yeah. Yeah, no, right on. I like to think too about, in the context of teams for individuals that do have high Relator. And using that, you know, maybe you have a team with a leader that doesn't have it -- not required, right. Not required; anybody can lead with any set of the themes. But of using that superpower to, to build team cohesiveness with the concept of deep, deeper relationships, what kinds of things can we do? And even what kind of tricks can we deploy in the team to help those who don't have it understand or know or reminders of things? Right? I always appreciate those, from a team perspective, right? Some ways for the leader to embrace that, even if they don't have it, right. Let's talk about that for a second: How can this theme hinder the leadership of others?

Jaclynn Robinson 6:00
Well, given this leader's comfort level in one-on-one conversations or more smaller team settings, this leader is someone that's likely going to need to be more intentional about building those connections beyond the people or teams that they spend the time, I would say, spend their time with the most, just to ensure that there's still active communication and cross-collaboration. Otherwise, what can end up happening is workplace silos might take place, even though that's not what they're trying to do, just because that comfort level is with their team or with that division or that department.

Jim Collison 6:31
Yeah, this isn't one I have thought about, and I need to, this may be one to think through is, as a leader, how does my Relator play out across a team? I have high Individualization. So that works out well. But maybe, if I have higher Consistency, and how, how does that work fairly across the teams? How am I spreading my time across teams? How am I spend, who am I investing in? That might, those just might be some questions, as a leader, when we think of hindering those may be some questions you might want to ask yourself, or coaches, you might want to ask them, like, How are you investing your time in people? What does that look like? And how is that working, you know, across the team? As we think about this in the context of the 4 Needs of Followers -- Hope, Stability, Compassion and Trust -- where do you think Relator -- it can fit across all four. But what comes to mind when you're thinking about that?

Jaclynn Robinson 7:27
Trust for sure, bold and underlined, I would say. I think that's one of the reasons Relators are drawn to one-on-ones and, or smaller team settings, because you can start to build safety in the room -- psychological safety, emotional safety -- in that smaller setting and deepen the trust and rapport maybe more quickly than you could if you're in a larger environment. But it's a slow build, a slow-burning relationship that they're still, you know, achieving. So I would say Trust, because that's, that's, just, it seems to be in the sphere of someone high in Relator. And then Compassion, of wanting to truly get to know somebody. What are your goals here in the organization? What are some barriers? How can I support you? What are your hobbies and interests, so I can connect with you on that? Just looking for opportunities to have that common ground and show that you genuinely care about somebody and want something that's authentic. So I could see Trust and Compassion, just right off the bat. How about you?

Jim Collison 8:25
It kind of reminds me of --

Jaclynn Robinson 8:34
Having this yourself?

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

Jim Collison 8:35
Yeah, kind of reminds me of the Q10 question [of Gallup's Q12® employee engagement survey], like having a Best friend at work. And listen, all themes can create friendships, and all themes can build relationships. So it's not like Relator has the corner of the market on it; it just does this well for success factors, right, in creating success. And, and I often, you know, kind of, you know, I just think of that Best friends at work and being able to create those of having that ability to help create those relationships that may lead to those deep, impactful relationships, right, that, that build that, like you said, I think, in some ways, build Stability. We ask that question, and I think a lot of times, that question is, the Best friend isn't about, you know, do I have them? It's that when I do have them, it gives me some stability, right, at work. And so some interesting thoughts in there. I'd love to see, we've been asking this question, as we're recording this, we're coming up, we're just, this is it for -- we have two more and we're, we're done. But I'd love to, for all of these is in your coaching sessions is to think about how, especially with leaders, is say with each of these themes, How does this play in for those 4 Needs, right? And, and spend some time thinking about that. I think it's a good model to kind of bring in. OK, we, we are spending this, some time this season thinking about these, this idea of report dynamics. What if we jam two of our role-based reports together? We're looking at CliftonStrengths for Leaders; let's bring in CliftonStrengths for Sales. What could that look like -- bringing those two reports together, what does that do for us?

Jaclynn Robinson 9:10
If we mash them up, this could be a sales leader who really gets to know their clients. And so they've got this portfolio of, likely, full-on, long-term clients, just given their interest in getting to know them and the extra effort that they're putting forth to really support them. And the benefit to that is, not only do they continue to build and grow that account, but if one of those stakeholders from that other organization leaves and goes elsewhere, they remember that person; they want to work with that person again. And so the new logos or new clients that the sales leader is pulling in is likely someone that they've already known that just went to a different organization. So they start to extend their network that way, so to speak, through, through the relationships that they've built and grown.

Jim Collison 11:04
Yeah, I love that. I think, let me, let me admit something here. It's an area, even though I have high Relator, I really need to still work on and practice and find some ways. People ask me all the time, "Hey, do you know a coach -- ?" and then they fill in this, these descriptors. And yeah, there's 14,000; I can't remember them all. But I could do a better job of remembering more than I do in that. It's just a, it's a, it's a skill I still need to work on. Right? These things, while it's No. 9, it's not, just doesn't work; I need to practice it. And so I probably need to do some more thinking along those lines of Relator, especially in -- yeah, yeah, do some home-, do some things to help build that strength. Do some things to make it better, right, make it more successful. What about if we jam the CliftonStrengths for Leaders together -- I always think of this like Reese's Peanut Butter Cup -- together (which is my favorite, by the way) with the Manager? What are those, what are those two? How do they come together?

Jaclynn Robinson 12:05
Well, because this is a people leader that enjoys connections and genuine connections with their team members and getting to know them, this is probably going to be that people manager that's supporting and encouraging connections between team members too. So if someone's new to the role, I can see this leader encouraging that team member to schedule some time to connect with 10 other people in the organization or 5 other people on the team, just to start to build those partnerships. I can see this person wanting to focus on team retreats, team discussions, partnerships, celebrating team wins together. So as a result of the effort they put into relationships, their team members feel like this is someone that is creating that culture of trust and communication and collaboration.

Jim Collison 12:53
Yeah, and Jaclynn I'm, I'm gonna ask you to kind of wrap this here in a second. But as we think about advice, I, this, we put a lot of pressure on leaders in this area; a lot of the things that you just talked about in Manager, Leader are kind of some basic expectations for a team. We, we give a lot of advice around teams. And so for those leaders who may not have it as high, and we think about, and you think about in your role, what kind of advice would we give to them, knowing these are some basic things that need to happen on a team? We don't do this a lot and talking about it, but it's such pressure, I think, for, for leaders, managers. What kind of advice would you give to a leader or manager maybe where it's lower; they're not having, that doesn't come naturally, but we know we need some of these kinds of things on a team? What kind of advice would you give them?

Jaclynn Robinson 13:42
Yes, that's a good one. I think it's going back to even Q10. Our, I have a best friend at work engagement item as part of our engagement survey and highlighting what that is. It's, Do I have a trusted confidant at work? Do I have someone that I've got trust and rapport with? When I have a good day, do I have that person I can celebrate wins with? When I have a bad day, is there someone I can just unpack with? Get it out in the open and then I feel comfortable going back to my role? Is it a thought partner that I love to just ideate with or problem-solve with or is very resourceful in nature? So for someone that might have Relator low or might not understand why close connections in the workplace are applicable, when you break it down with those types of examples, that resonates even to them, where they go, Oh, that makes sense. I can see how that can create camaraderie in a really productive way as well. Or in a really conducive way, because they're supporting each other's wellbeing. They're supporting each other's burnout. They're problem-solving together. It's taking less off my shoulders, because they have more people they can go to for support. So that's what I would share is, now go back to your team and ask, when do we feel most connected as a team? What are we doing? How can we do more of that?

Jim Collison 15:06
Wow. It's good, some good thoughts. I always think, you know, even for me, I've got some things to work on with this. Like, that we're not always just there. You know, we get, oftentimes we've got some things to figure out. This is a, this is an area of real need for me, as I think about, Yeah, it's there, but I got some, I still have some real work to do on that and want to be challenged on it, and want to kind of think through it a little bit. Final thoughts? As we kind of wrap up Relator, anything else you'd wrap this with?

Jaclynn Robinson 15:35
Well, if somebody doesn't have it, you know, and you know someone with Relator on the team, and you're looking to build connections, you might be able to pick their brain. In other words, you know, ask them for some ideas or best practices on how they're creating those connections. There might be something that you could take for your own team. But if you have Relator high, what I have been encouraging a lot, because it's something that's coming up in engagement data, making sure that those that are new to a company, especially if they're remote workers, are having opportunities in that onboarding process to start extending their arm's reach, so to speak, and connecting with other team members. So that's where the manager, if you've got Relator high, you could make a list of folks that they could reach out to. What do you appreciate about the company? What's your role? What can set me up for success? And just have them start to build those friendships. It's taken longer if they're working remote, because they're not able to just see those folks on site. And that's a really good way to engage them early on. Or maybe if they've just, in the last 3 years, as a part of the pandemic, they've been hired in, and they're remote workers, now's a good time to just make sure they've got those partnerships.

Jim Collison 16:52
Yeah, good, good time for a review. How are we doing in this area? You know, and a good time. Well, 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 and sign in with your account there. And then go to the Resources tab, upper left corner, choose Resources, boom, put in this theme. All the resources we have available are there and available for you. Check those out. Stay up to date with all the webcasts by following us at Create an account there and just follow Gallup, and you'll get a notification via email whenever we do something new. Join us on any social platform by searching "CliftonStrengths," and we want to thank you for listening today. If you enjoyed it, share it, like it, subscribe, do all those things that you need to do, so you never miss an episode. Thanks for listening. For those who are listening live, stay around for a little bit of mid-show. And with that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

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

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

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