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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Workplace Conflict: Can Strengths Help?

by Alicia Santamaria

Annie and Christopher had been colleagues at a small nonprofit for about two years when their supervisor called me in to help them resolve some ongoing interpersonal conflict. As often is the case, the well-meaning supervisor had done everything he could to help them find ways to work productively together, even to the point of becoming the go-between for them. I am always encouraged when a leader is open to bringing in a skilled third party because some organizations are slow to acknowledge the high cost of unresolved conflict. Perhaps they fear acknowledging conflict that has reached the point of needing external support because it will reflect negatively on their management and organization? Truth is, every workplace has some conflict. I have spent my career working to help people shift and normalize their perspective on conflict -- to help them see that bringing in conflict-
resolution support is a positive step that should be done sooner rather than later.
When I began working with Annie and Christopher, I sought their permission to include CliftonStrengths in our process. As a Gallup Certified CliftonStrengths Coach, I know the tool is powerful, but what happened surprised even me.

In Annie’s words:

I avoided taking the assessment until the day before our meeting due to pent-up frustrations over the concept of this mediation process. I was on the train heading home after a long day at work, and as I was reading through the results of the assessment, I got teary. The listed strengths defined me better than I could have defined myself. Key phrases and attributes clearly articulated my thought processes, priorities, behaviors and needs. I felt heard before I even spoke.

Annie’s apprehension and skepticism about the mediation experience are common. I always hold preliminary one-on-one conversations before such a joint meeting to address this and to prepare the participants for a productive session. But her experience with the assessment did a lot of that work for me. I was struck by the impact it had on her and how much it benefited me to know both Annie’s and Christopher’s strengths at the start of our work together. My initial trust-building with each of them was accelerated as we talked about their individual roles in the conflict and their needs moving forward toward a more productive relationship. It was powerful to have them step into their mediated discussion from a place of strength.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Self-Assurance -- Direction Comes From Within -- Theme Thursday Season 4

In this Theme Thursday Season Four webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Self-Assurance

The Influencing theme of Self-Assurance describes an instinctive awareness of ability.  People who lead with this theme tend to know what they bring to the table, and confidently bring just that.  They trust themselves as a resource, and know of the boundaries to their own mastery.  This theme is about internal decision making, trusting their gut and intuition. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Using Your Scorecard to Move the Engagement Needle -- Driving Employee Engagement (Q12) -- Gallup Called to Coach: Mike McDonald (S6E47)

On this special edition of Called to Coach, we will spend time investigating the experiential, emotional and empirical aspects of each element of Gallup's Q12 engagement instrument and learning how it increases the power of our coaching as a primary driver of success. This series will be hosted by Dr. Mike McDonald, Senior Workplace Consultant at Gallup, who started at Gallup in 1990 as a manager/team leader and has had a variety of roles but has always led a team. One of his primary concerns for managers is one that he’s experienced himself: How many well-intentioned team leaders are there who are working really hard but don’t have any coaching or context about engagement and how do they lead to engagement through their strengths?

In this session, Mike talks about the Gallup Business Center and the Q12 scorecard. Below is a summary of the conversation. Full audio and video are posted above.

Q12 is a subject -- like strengths -- that you won’t ever be “done” learning. And this is part of the invitation that we get to say “Yes” to. We can go on forever in the discovery aspect of it.
Strengths and engagement put people in control of the destiny of their lives, including in the classroom and academic setting.

We’re going to look at what I (Jim Collison) have done on college campuses -- the University of Maryland and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In these classrooms, they took CliftonStrengths and Q12, and we administered them this year in Lincoln in the middle of the semester (midterms), when stress was greater. We have also done it in the context of team formations, in technology-related fields.

There are many resources available for you on the Q12 site, and you can go back to the videos Mike and I (Jim) have made.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Restorative -- Brokenness Is Not Permanent, Just a Stop on the Way to Improvement -- Theme Thursday Season 4

In this Theme Thursday Season Four webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Restorative

The Restorative theme describes the talent present in individuals who continually and effectively create solutions where others may see problems. They calmly bring back what is off-track to a place, restoring working order and moving forward. People with dominant Restorative talents believe brokenness is not permanent, but something we pass through on the way to improvement. In many cases, this executing theme enables people to interact well with real, practical, and perhaps technical options rather than anticipating imagined solutions. 

CliftonStrengths Coaching Through Change

“Yesterday was complicated; today is complex,” claimed Johnny C. Taylor Jr., CEO of SHRM, on the keynote stage at the 2018 CliftonStrengths Summit.

In order to survive, humans need to be agile. Disruption seems so daily. We live and work in an age of digital transformation, an era of change. Recently, both of us presented on the topic of Change through the lens of CliftonStrengths. The one-two combo of workshops provided information and resources to help people navigate change themselves or lead others through the inevitable torrent of change ahead.

The word change often triggers certain emotional responses. Some people love change; some tolerate it; some deny, ignore or dislike change and may try to stop it. But we don’t always realize that we all have a role to play in change -- even resisters. It is important that we not stick with old, unprofitable ways and that we keep moving forward.

When we ask others which talent themes are best in times of change, we often hear them mention Adaptability, Positivity or Arranger. In truth, all themes bring something and need something in terms of change. 

Take Deliberative. Those with this theme are best known for the serious care they take in making decisions or choices. They anticipate the obstacles. Or Analytical. Those with this theme search for reasons and causes. They have the ability to think about all the factors that might affect a situation. These people might initially be seen as resisters, but they are often the very people who can help keep us from charging headlong into something without the due care that is needed. In many cases, they may indeed be catalysts for change, having anticipated the need from a practical (Analytical) or preventative (Deliberative) mindset. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Harnessing Technology to Make Your Strengths Coaching Endure -- Gallup Called to Coach: Peter Baloh (S6E46)

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Dr. Peter Baloh, Chief Impact Architect at e2grow (a product licensed with Gallup) and a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach based in Slovenia (in Southern Europe). He assists people in transforming their organizational cultures into thriving workplaces, which means embedding strengths into daily conversations and changing the mindsets of managers so they see their employees more as people rather than as “widgets.”

Below is a summary of the conversation. Full audio and video are posted above.

In all of my (Peter’s) career, I’ve been involved with bringing change into organizations. In some companies and teams, it was super frustrating; in others, it was great. Ten or 15 years ago, the enigma I faced was how to unlock the power of teams and of people. It became evident that whatever the vision was, it was about people.

I came across Gallup in 2014, and it became clear to me that there are workplace needs (Q12) that people need to have satisfied. And there is something called strengths that focuses on how people can thrive. And it became clear to me that this is the solution for the future.

So we started thinking about how we can bring this to the organization, and it was extremely important to me to know how to solve the problem of “stickiness” -- how can we ensure that whatever we bring into a company will endure? It is frustrating to have a workshop with a particular team, get them inspired at the moment, and then come back two weeks later and there’s no sign that the workshop ever happened. We found that CEOs and HR people are used to this kind of “flavor of the month” mentality, and we knew that we needed to embed this and make it stick.