4 Leadership Domains – Part 1

Strategic Thinking Influencing Relationship Building Executing Leadership DomainsUnderstanding all the 34 CliftonStrengths® themes of talent can be a lot to initially comprehend. Dividing them down into 4 Domains of Leadership, provides a clearer perspective of how the themes operate. A distribution of themes across the Domains creates a balanced team that can be more effective and deliver better results.

Here we look at each Domain in turn.

Strategic Thinking Domain

Themes: Analytical®, Context®, Futuristic®, Ideation®, Input®, Intellection®, Learner® and Strategic®. These are the thinking themes that deeply understand what is going on. Knowing where we have come from and with a fountain of knowledge they look to the horizon for inspiration to define what can be created. Supported by factual evidence they know which way we should proceed. They become the foundation for establishing the best course of action.

Influencing Domain

Themes: Activator®, Command®, Communication®, Competition®, Maximizer®, Self-Assurance®, Significance® and Woo®. This is the powerhouse of motivation and drive crafted with the art of persuasion. Delivering a compelling message to get everyone on board they know how and when to take charge, speak up and provide a voice for driving things forward. They bring the energy and inertia to get the party started causing others to think, act and want to join in.

Relationship Building Domain

Themes: Adaptability®, Connectedness®, Developer®, Empathy®, Harmony®, Includer®, Individualization®, Positivity® and Relator®. These people build strong relationships deeply understanding the unique needs and feelings of others. They draw in those on the outside and bind the team together. They know how each person can play their part and smooth out interactions encouraging investment for personal growth. Realising a wider concept and through collaboration they recognise that together great things can happen.

Executing Domain

Themes: Achiever®, Arranger®, Belief®, Consistency®, Deliberative®, Discipline®, Focus®, Responsibility® and Restorative®. These are the people who can get things done and done well. Clarifying the purpose and setting out a structure they make the most of the resources available. They provide the stamina to reach the goal and take ownership of what needs to happen. They anticipate the risks, picking up the pieces when things fall down, so they can deliver consistent results every time.

Creating Flow

Does it matter the which order we consider the four Leaderships Domains? Maybe not. However, working out what to do and getting everyone on board might need to come before embarking on the task. Setting out the Domains in this order demonstrates the flow within a team.

  • The Strategic Thinkers establish the ‘What’ of what needs to happen. Gathering the evidence to deliver the ‘Why’ of why we should do it.
  • The Influences take the ‘Why’ to get everyone on board by embracing the ‘What’.
  • The Relationship Builders keep everyone together establishing the ‘Who’ of who can do each part.
  • The Executers delight in the ‘How’, considering how to do it properly and ‘When’.

Going a step further, the Enhanced Team Grid places the 4 Domains deliberately in this order to help facilitate team discussions.

 Team Balance

A balanced team needs people to work in all four Domains. If the presence of a Domain is absent or underutilised the team may excel in some aspects but fail in others.

  • Without the Strategic Thinking Domain the team may work effectively together and make progress, but are they doing the right things?
  • Lacking in the Influencing themes a team may understand each other but they could feel disconnected, undervalued or misunderstood by those in the wider environment.
  • Missing the Relationship Building themes may result in people working in isolation and focusing more on the task, than the people completing the task. It may feel like a functional group of people rather that a collective team.
  • A team with the absence of the Executing themes may have some great plans, buy into the vision and appreciate each other’s company. How efficiently will they achieve results?

Contrastingly, the over dominance of themes in a Domain may skew a team in a different way.

  • Strong Strategic Thinking themes would increase the seriousness and intensity of a team. This could result in lots of planning with not so much action.
  • Big Influencing themes provide bundles of energy and enthusiasm that some may find a little overwhelming, perhaps undervaluing their need to think. Occasionally the team may dart off in any number of directions, which could cause frustrations with colleagues who are not ready to proceed.
  • Lots of Relationship Building themes creates a very social environment which works well if everyone is in agreement. However, there may be the avoidance of initiating a change or challenging an issue, to save rocking the boat or causing an upset.
  • An abundance of the Executing themes will create a lot of detail with highly efficient processes, however the human needs may take second place to achieving the end result.

Effective working and collaboration comes from understanding what each of the Leadership Domains can contribute and how they depend on each other. In Part 2 we will discuss what the people in each Domain need in order to thrive.