Harmony Strength: Get Known For Your Talent

I hear a lot of curiosity about how to apply your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Harmony to your career.

In this series, I break down one strength per post — so that you can add to the insights from your StrengthsFinder report and make a better alignment between your job and your strengths.

- If you’re exploring this concept as a manager, use this series for career development ideas and even new clues about responsibilities you could give a person with this talent theme so that they can show up at their best.

- If you’re exploring this concept for yourself, use this as a chance to build a reputation for your strengths so that you’re more likely to be given assignments that live in your strengths zone.

You’ll get three layers to chew on:

1. Career Branding
2. Red Flag Situations At Work
3. Fresh Application Ideas

Career Branding For The Harmony Strength

You probably already have a reputation for what you know. Think about your personal resume, CV, or your LinkedIn profile, I bet it's full of “the what,” which are things like job titles, skills, knowledge, expertise, or the degree you earned. What’s missing is usually "the how,” and this is where your StrengthsFinder talent themes live.

Chances are good that you are a lot like my StrengthsFinder training clients, where you don’t physically see your teammates and customers every day. That’s why LinkedIn has become so important for career branding. It’s how your teammates, customers, and vendors go look you up before a meeting - to see who they’re about to talk to. And rather than only telling them what you know, you should also give them a peek at how it is to work with you.

Here are a bunch of adjectives to consider using in your career branding efforts and your LinkedIn profile when you lead through the Harmony strength:

  • Agreeable
  • Mediator
  • Pragmatist
  • Peacemaker
  • Tactful
  • Ambassador
  • Sympathetic
  • Diplomatic
  • Ruffled Feather Smoother
  • Similarity Spotter
  • Consensus Finder
  • Collaborator

Red Flag Situations When You Lead With The Harmony Strength

These are the cultures, interactions, or situations that feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the talent theme of Harmony. They might even make you want to quit the team. So I’ll give you a couple of these to be on watch for — because if they fester, you might get the urge to quit the job or become detached and disengaged at work.

Here are a couple of Red flags for the Harmony strength (talent theme):

  1. The Awkward Hushes: Imagine the situation where you walk into the kitchen at work, and you hear two of your teammates talking about another colleague and how to undo that thing that they all got pressured into. This makes you feel super uncomfortable, because you don’t like constant conflict - and it bugs you that they won’t work it out in a healthy way in the room together. If you see a lot of closed-door conversations or offline conversations that seem secretive, this environment might feel toxic to you.

  2. The My Way Or The Highway Team: Lets say you’re are a member of a team that has a few very strong personalities. Instead of focusing on what needs to be done during a meeting, many of the team members spend a good chunk of the time re-hashing things that you thought were addressed last week. They tend to do this. When they don’t get their way, they won’t let a topic die. This meeting deja vu is wasting your time, and it might crush your mental energy because you can so clearly see the common ground that they can’t see because they’re unwilling to hear the other party’s point of view.

3 Fresh Application Ideas For The Harmony Strength

These are ways to apply the talent theme of Harmony at work , even when the job duties on the team feel pretty locked in. If you’re exploring this concept as a team manager, be sure to have a conversation around these ideas. You’ll both be able to come up with places to apply them.

For someone who leads through the Harmony strength, put the talent to good use with one of these options:

  1. Find The Same Page. When you’re on a team that has a lot of unproductive fighting, ask your person who leads through the Harmony strength to give voice to the things that they agree on. It can add a lot of value to the team to say, “It strikes me that we agree on these 4 things, and that item #5 is the only one we need to work out.” It will feel like Mr. Obvious to someone with Harmony, yet often with internal battles, people get lost in the argument and can’t stay clear and objective about what they’re negotiating.

  2. Set Agreements In Advance. If you see an issue that will likely lead to conflict with your team member who leads through the Harmony strength, have them consider what could go wrong in advance. Have them chat about expectations with their teammates before the issue happens so that when it comes up, it’s easier to raise the situation. This will keep them out of conflict avoidance mode.

  3. Get A Wingman. Ha! Not in that way. It’s a talent wing man. This is to have the person who leads through the Harmony strength to match up with a person who leads through Command or Self-Assurance or Activator, basically, someone who will not waffle on a topic - they’ll be a partner who can help things move along and not get stuck when conflict arises. This partner can sometimes take over the conflict resolution. And, this person can also be a conflict-mentor who helps the person with Harmony see how things go down when they are addressed immediately and firmly. Although the person with Harmony won’t deliver the messages in the same way, they’ll get some resolution ideas and confidence by watching the masters at work.

Here's Your Personal Branding Homework For The Harmony Strength

  1. Go take action on your LinkedIn profile with the career branding section. Challenge yourself to write one sentence in the Summary section of LinkedIn that captures how you collaborate as a teammate at work.
  2. Then think over the red flags to see if there’s anything you need to get in front of before it brings you down.
  3. Volunteer your talents through the application ideas. And if you’re a manager, have a conversation with your team members about which of these things sound like something they’d love to have more of.
  4. Dig into the Harmony strength all the way. You can really nerd out on the nuances on the Harmony Talent Theme Page.

 

Here's A Full Transcript Of The 12 Minute Episode

You're listening to lead through strengths, where you'll learn to apply your greatest strengths at work. I'm your host, Lisa Cummings, and I got to tell you, it's hard to find something more energizing than using your strengths every day at work. Now, on this topic, I get a lot of questions about how to align your talent themes from CliftonStrengths with your career.

So in this series, you get one strength per episode, so that you can add to the insights that you already have in your StrengthsFinder report, and then make a clearer and clearer match between what you see on the report and how you actually apply it on the job, during your tasks and responsibilities when you're interacting with your manager, and when you're just navigating how you fit in to that work culture.

If you're listening in as a manager of someone who has the Harmony talent theme, listen to this episode with the thoughts and mind about what kind of interactions would be useful for this person, what kind of job responsibilities could you assign them or not, and be thinking of it as a career development tool, and your conversation guide for the kind of things that this person would need or bring in the workplace.

Now, if you're listening for yourself, because you're thinking about your own career, then use this as a chance to build your reputation for your strength of Harmony, so that you're more likely to be given assignments that are in your strength zone.

Today, you've probably guessed because you heard me say the word. The talent theme of the episode is Harmony. You're going to get three layers to chew on. One is career branding. The second is red flag situations at work. And the third is application ideas.

So, starting with career branding, most people already have a reputation for what it is they know. They have skills, expertise, knowledge areas, things they've earned a degree in, on the job skills. They may even have cultural knowledge that they've taken in of that how to get things done at that company. And most people have branded their career around those kind of things, skills, knowledge experiences.

What most people miss in their career branding, that is so powerful, but you're not like most people, what they normally miss is the ‘how’. And the StrengthsFinder talent themes tell you how you act at your natural default - how you think, how you act, how you feel when you're sitting around at your default, best.

So, using this episode, what you can do is take that knowledge and some of these adjectives I'm about to say out loud for you to ponder, is be thinking about which of these would I love to get known for. And if I could get known for working in this way, I would like my job even more. So, check these out.

People who lead through Harmony are often agreeable, mediators, pragmatists, diplomats, tactful ambassadors, sympathetic, diplomatic, ruffled feathers smoother (How do you like that one? I got a kick out of writing that one), similarity spotters and consensus finders.

So, think about those and see, did any stand out for you we go? Oh, yeah, I would love to be known as the person who delivers tactful diplomatic messages to X people when X situation comes up. If something stood out for you, write it down, and begin to think about how you could build that into what you're known for so that you can continue to get more known for it and get more assignments that lead you to live in that space that you love so much.

Now, let's move on to red flag situations. This is the downside. These are the cultures like company cultures, team cultures, these are the people interactions, the situations that are really going to make work feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with a talent theme of Harmony.  They might even make you want to quit the team. So, I'm going to give you a couple of these to be on watch for because if these are a big part of your life, and you let them fester, it really can give you that urge to quit or be detached or even just feel really burned out and bros? about going to work every day, and nobody wants to feel like that.

So, first red flag for Harmony, we're going to call it the awkward hushes. So, imagine this situation where you walk into the kitchen at work, and you hear two of your teammates, lower their voice, because as you walked in, they were talking about another colleague and how to undo that thing that they all got pressured into in that last meeting, this kind of thing makes you feel super uncomfortable when you lead through the Harmony talent because you don't like constant conflict and they've been doing this for months and it bugs you. They won't work it out in a healthy way in the room together when all the people are in the room at the same time.

So, if this resonated with you, if you see a lot of closed-door conversations, or those offline conversations that seem like they're offline, because they're secretive, not because it's more efficient, and it doesn't relate to some of the people in the room, this environment could actually feel toxic to you, where others might just consider that, “oh, that's part of how things get done.”

This is something that you might pick-up on. And maybe in the past, you've called it politicking, or that there are certain people who have favor, or there's an in-group or an out-group, there are different ways this gets received by people who lead through the Harmony talent theme. But it's likely going to be really frustrating with you, because it feels like all this extra angst of conflict that is totally unnecessary, because they just could have worked that out in the room together when they were sitting in the meeting in front of each other.

Okay, the next red flag, we're going to call it the, my way or the highway team. So, let's say you're a team member, and you're on this team that has a few really strong personalities. And instead of focusing on what needs to be done, many of your team members or teammates are spending a good chunk of the time rehashing things that were already addressed last week, but they keep bringing them up. They tend to do this. When they don't get their way, they won't let a topic die. And then you have meeting deja vu and this meeting deja vu is a total waste of your time because you keep seeing the same meeting over and over and over again. And you feel like it's not only crushing your calendar, but it's crushing your mental energy because you can see so clearly the common ground that they're unwilling to see, because they're unwilling to hear the other person's point of view.

Those are the kind of things when you get someone who is steadfast in their opinion. It's my way or the highway, and they won't listen to others’ opinion. Even if they agree with you, and you agree with them, but you're watching them be disagreeable just because to someone else, that's still going to be extremely frustrating to someone who leads through the Harmony talent theme. It's not about who agrees with you, it's about the wasted disagreements or unproductive disagreements that are going on around you. And this is something that people with the Harmony talent, they often don't realize, is sucking the life out of them because they think, -

“Oh, it should only be the conflicts that affect me directly.”

But it's not. It's the fact that those kind of conflicts are living all around them in their present, in their life that in itself can be quite draining if you lead through the Harmony talent theme.

Okay, moving to three application ideas that you may not have thought of before for the Harmony talent theme. I'm going to address these as if you're a manager thinking of action items for someone who leads through Harmony. But if you are leading through it yourself, just think, “How could I volunteer myself to be in these kind of situations?”

Okay, number one, call it find the same page. When you're on a team that has a bunch of unproductive fighting, ask your person who leads through the Harmony talent theme to give voice to the things that are already agreed upon. It can add a lot of value to the team when someone with the Harmony talent team can very clearly see and say something like, -

“Hey, it strikes me that we agree on these four things over here, there's only this one thing remaining. So, let's focus our energy on working out the expectations and the decision points on that, and then we're going to be golden. We're right there, we have this thing locked up.”

So, use that person, because someone with Harmony already knows all of the agreement points. They already know how much commonality and how much agreement exists in the room and that's why some of this unproductive conflict is so frustrating to them because they can see all the other good points but then you get focused in on that one conflict that won't die.

So, these things by the way, the same page, this is going to feel like Mr. Obvious to somebody who leads to the talent theme of Harmony. They already know all the common ground points. But this is not Mr. Obvious to somebody who's in the middle of the battle, because the people who are doing the unproductive battle often are so caught up in winning the fight that they can't see that they actually agree on so many points.

Okay, second one, set agreements in advance. This is an action item that is great to assign if you're a manager. It's also a great one to take on yourself if you lead through Harmony. Just decide that you're going to make this a practice in your life if you lead through Harmony. This is where you see an issue that you bet is going to lead to conflict in the future. You can see it coming. You can look down the road and see that something is likely to happen, a conflict that you know is coming. So then consider in advance, -

“Well what is going to be going wrong? What are the positions of different people on this issue? And then what agreements do we need to make in advance about how we will decide?”

It's like the, decide how to decide in advance. It could be, decide how we are going to handle this agreement in advance. Find the thing that for you, if Harmony is your talent theme or the other person, that you have trouble bringing up. If there's an area that brings you conflict avoidance, like, if you just don't feel comfortable being disagreeable, then make that what you agree on in advance. “Hey, how are we going to raise this when we have disagreement?”

If you know that there's a specific conflict, then get ahead of that. But the point is, when you decide in advance together, then raising the conflict doesn't feel like a conflict and doesn't give you all the internal strife because you've already agreed on how it's going to go down. And then it just feels natural. And you don't have to work yourself up on the inside, to be able to make the conversation come out on the outside. So, it's get agreement in advance.

The last application idea is, get a wingman. Haha, so not in that way, you're not at the bar. It's a talent wing man. And it's like a talent theme wingman. And that is to have the person who leads through Harmony match up with a person who leads through something like Command or Self-assurance or Activator. Find somebody who doesn't waffle on topics. And then make them the partner to the person with Harmony.

And by the way, if you lead through Harmony, just find this person in your life. Find somebody who just takes conflict head on confidently and quickly is the key point here. Then they can be your partner who can help you move things along. They can help you not get stuck when conflict arises. That can be because they actually take over the conflict resolution because they're involved in the thing, and it doesn't bother them to bring it up. So, there you go. You get to outsource it to your friends, it's nice. But also, this person can be like a conflict mentor, because someone with Harmony can watch how things go down when someone is just willing to address things immediately, and firmly.

Now the person with the Harmony talent theme isn't going to deliver the message in the same way, as someone with the Command talent theme. It will sound different. But you will also be able to pick things up that are kind of like conflict tax, so that you get ideas for how to address it and feel a little more natural about feel like basically you're learning from somebody who's super comfortable in that space so you can watch and learn from the best of the best because they're well practiced at it because they've likely always been comfortable, just taking on conflict straight on.

So, there you have it. That's a quick tour for building your career through the talent theme of Harmony. So, here's the homework.

Number one, go take action on the career brand part, whether that is updating the LinkedIn summary of your profile, putting a personal motto in a social profile, or updating something on your resume, or even just deciding, you know, I want to be known for being a brainstormer. And I'm just going to use that word. I'm in brainstorming mode, you know, get that thing out there.

So, you can begin to get known for the word that really resonated with you because if you interrupt any meeting, when you're ready to give your piece and you say, “oh yeah, well, with my innovation hat on, this is what I'm thinking of”. And then you start to get known for being innovative. And it really is that easy. It takes some repetition. And you don't want to sound like a total broken record. So, you have to watch it. But it's pretty cool. Just mention those words and have that intention.

Second one for homework is to just consider those two red flags that I mentioned. Those are the awkward hushes, and the ‘my way or the highway’ team. and see if any of those are getting in your way.

And then finally, volunteer your talents through Harmony. Now, final thought for Harmony. This is really important for managers to hear and also for you. If you have the talent theme of Harmony, but especially for the managers, when people have the Harmony talent theme, often managers will think, -

“Oh, they're really good at smoothing things over and making them harmonious.”

“Oh, look, we have a couple of team members who are fighting over there. Let's go insert this person because they'll be able to help them meet their conflict resolution.”

No, you're just sending the person with Harmony straight into conflict, which they don't like to be in. See, they might be good at resolving it, but they also don't want to just go run headlong into the conflict awkwardly.

And the other thing that is really different by person is this concept of being a mediator, being a diplomat. Some people with the Harmony talent theme feel comfortable being in conflict. Some don't. Some really want to avoid it. So, if you suddenly say,” Oh look, they love to get us to Harmony, so we're going to take all of our customer service escalations and throw them right into all irate customers so that they can bring Harmony to the situation”, they will probably be able to bring Harmony to the situation, but living in conflict all day every day might not be great for your person who leads through Harmony.

You need to know a little bit about the individual flavor of this talent theme because that's a mistake. I do see many managers think, “Oh, this will be perfect to assign that.” And the person who gets assigned is thinking, “No, that is my worst nightmare.” That sounds like a complete recipe for burnout.

So, there's just an extra tip and a watch out just in case because this one is easy to misinterpret, and it's definitely personal to each person who has the talent theme and what it is blended with.

With that, I'm your host, Lisa Cummings from Lead Through Strengths. If you're thinking about doing a virtual or an in-person event to kick-off a strengths-based culture with your team, or do a refresher because you don't want to forget it all after you've done the book together, then head over to leadthroughstrengths.com/training to see all of our current offerings, and see if anything is a good fit for you.

Until next time. Thank you for being part of this powerful movement that helps people unleash the awesomeness that is already inside of them.

About Deena Silverman

Deena Silverman is the Director of Customer Experience at Lead Through Strengths, where she helps teams improve their productivity by focusing on their natural talents. Deena helps leaders pull off seamless strengths-based events that change the culture of their company. One of her greatest joys is studying human behavior and helping others achieve their goals. When she's not using her organizational strengths to create awesome events, you can find her running around with her two special boys and her unique dog, Ranger. Or she might be hunting for Gary, her repeat-escapee hamster with a top talent of persistence. Her Top 5 StrengthsFinder Talents are: Individualization | Achiever | Learner | Input | Activator.