Understanding 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 balanced team has a distribution of themes across each of the Domains which can be more productive and deliver better results.
Here we look at the four Domains in turn.
Strategic Thinking Domain
Themes: Analytical®, Context®, Futuristic®, Ideation®, Input®, Intellection®, Learner® and Strategic®.
The Strategic Thinking Domain is all about the What. They know what to do.
These are the thinking themes that deeply know what is going on. They assess the situation and understand the past. Using their fountain of knowledge, they look to the horizon for inspiration to define what can be possible. Supported by factual evidence they know which way we should proceed. They become the foundation for establishing the best course of action.
Themes: Activator®, Command®, Communication®, Competition®, Maximizer®, Self-Assurance®, Significance® and Woo®.
The Influencing Domain is all about the Why. They bring why we need to do something.
This is the powerhouse of motivation and drive, crafted with the art of persuasion. Delivering a compelling message they can get everyone on board. They know how and when to take charge, speak up and provide a voice for moving 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®.
The Relationship Building Domain is about the Who. They know who to involve and who is best for each task.
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.
Themes: Achiever®, Arranger®, Belief®, Consistency®, Deliberative®, Discipline®, Focus®, Responsibility® and Restorative®.
The Executing Domain is about the How. They know how to do something and can do it well.
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 – What, Why, Who, How
Knowing where each Domain is coming from, helps to understand how they can interact with each other.
Does it matter the which order we consider the four Leadership 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 Influencers take the What and get everyone on board by embracing the Why.
- The Relationship Builders keep everyone together establishing the Who of who can do each part.
- The Executors delight in the How, considering how to do it properly and ‘When’.
Going a step further, the Enhanced Team Grid in Cascade places the 4 Domains deliberately in this order to help facilitate team discussions. Seeing the link between the domains provides more meaning when creating fully functioning teams. Gallup places the Domains in alphabetical order.
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.
Missing Leadership Domains
- 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 than 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?
Dominant Leadership Domains
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 achieve the end result.
Effective working and collaboration come 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.
CliftonStrengths® was formerly called StrengthsFinder®, click here to find out more.