People who are Includers® love to stretch the circle wider and are adept at being inclusive. Includers dislike thinking of people being left out and often cannot concentrate until everyone is included. Not surprisingly, Includers are incredibly accepting, non-judgmental people. Individuals with the Includer strength are able to see past a person’s flaws and accept them unconditionally.

Includers have a tendency to pick up strays. I know an Includer with six adopted pets. It’s part of his strength—he doesn’t want an animal to be left out in the cold. This applies to people, too. Includers pick up the underdog or the person who may not have a group or cause. Thus, Includers must learn to temper their compassion; there is a limit to how many pets we can have in our home and how many people we can have in our lives. 

The Gallup website tells us “People exceptionally talented in the Includer theme accept others. They show awareness of those who feel left out and make an effort to include them.

Your accepting nature does not necessarily rest on a belief that each of us is different and that one should respect these differences. Rather, it rests on your conviction that fundamentally we are all the same. We are all equally important. Thus, no one should be ignored. Each of us should be included. It is the least we all deserve.”

For the past two decades, Dr. Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, has done research regarding those who feel left out. Not whom we usually think of as left out, not the oblivious but the hidden things that make us feel left out. She dug below the surface, studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy to get to the root core of what makes us feel this way and help us find our way back. Brené Brown studies human connection.

Her path forward in doing this work was not exactly what she thought it would be. Funny how it is that way with so many things in our lives. We think it is going one way, and then it takes an entirely different route. Sometimes our strengths are so strong in us that we use them without conscious thought.

For Dr. Brown, it was not such a conscious choice. She had been studying shame and vulnerability for several years when, in 2010, she was asked to do a TEDxHouston talk on The Power of Vulnerability. It was in this talk that she showed up with her vulnerability. When she was willing to reach out with her imperfections and show other people that she was there with them, the inclusion people felt was overwhelming. “The Power of Vulnerability” is one of the top five most viewed TED talks, with over 48 million views.

After the unexpected popularity of her TEDx talk, she began to move her career forward. She is the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of ImperfectionDaring GreatlyRising StrongBraving the Wildernessand her latest book, Dare to Leadwhich is the culmination of a seven-year study on courage and leadership. She is a leadership consultant to the likes of Pixar, IBM, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She has been featured on Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday. 

Dr. Brown’s company now includes 27 employees. Her company provides training for therapists and coaches who want to be certified in Brown’s methods and licensed to use her intellectual property. In 2015, the online education portion of her business was launched. Her “Courage Works” course was immediately successful. This course alone generated $6 million in revenue and 100,000 customers in its first year. If Brene Brown can move her career forward, inspire human transformation, and monetize her strengths – how about you!

One of the ladies that works with me was part of the first Courage Works class. 

She had been reading and studying Brene Brown’s work for years. She says that by studying the work of Brene Brown, her life did a 180-degree turn. Though broken in many places, she hopes to honor those places and heal.  

She also told me that no discussion of Brene Brown would be complete without the Theodore Roosevelt quote that inspired her and inspires millions more today because of Brene Brown, making them know they are included. So here it is:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

There is great power in being an Includer. By bringing someone in who does not feel like they are worthy of belonging you help them find their power and purpose.

How are you using your Includer strength in marketing, sales, team building, and customer engagement? What ways do you see that you include the disenfranchised in your life, business, and monetize your gift like Brene Brown? How could someone with that strength assist you to build your business?

Let me know in the comments below. Want to talk with me about how you could monetize your strengths or other business-building questions you have? Please schedule you free Ask Brent Anything call, and Let’s Talk Strengths.

 

People with the Harmony® strength are natural peacemakers, they are adept at helping team members to understand and respect each other to get along better. Harmonious individuals are practical, especially in terms of strategic planning and executing difficult tasks.

They look for ways to promote agreement and consensus. They dislike the unproductive nature of fighting and are interested in keeping the peace in order to get more done. When it comes to theory or opinion, Harmonious individuals tend to shy away and focus on concrete ways to connect.

For that reason, a Harmonious person will likely defer to what they are really thinking. They may hold their tongue for the sake of agreement because they don’t want to rock the boat. Moreover, they believe firmly in mutual respect. People with the Harmony strength believe, when you hurt someone else, you hurt yourself.

However, many times other people try to take advantage of a person with the Harmony strength because a Harmonious person avoids confrontation and will compromise to make peace. In order for a Harmonious person to balance their strength, they must learn to stand up for themselves, especially if someone else is hurting them or the organization. For a Harmonious person to learn how to cope with conflict, I recommend various CAREfrontation techniques. 

CAREfrontation is a system I developed to deal with conflict and confrontation in a caring fashion. CAREfrontation teaches people how to connect, assert, resolve, and engage in the face of conflict. All Harmonious individuals could benefit from working smarter in their conflict resolution skills. 

Henry Kissinger served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under the presidential administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. His family fled Nazi Germany in 1938 when Kissinger was 15 years old. He went from being a refugee to become National Security Advisor in 1969 and U.S. Secretary of State in 1973. Kissinger played a large part in the foreign policy of the United States between the years of 1969 and 1977. His accomplishments during this time include:

  • Establishing the policy of détentewith the Soviet Union
  • Opening of relations with the People’s Republic of China
  • Engaged in what became known as shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East to end the Yom Kippur War
  • Negotiated the Paris Peace Accords
  • Ending American involvement in the Vietnam War 

For his actions negotiating a ceasefire in Vietnam, Kissinger received the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize.

This is the top prize that anyone can win for bringing harmony to difficult situations. The Peace Prize is awarded to the person or persons who, in the preceding year, shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” These are the instructions for the prize left by Alfred Nobel’s will. It would be interesting to know how many Nobel Peace Prize winners have Harmony in their top five strengths, as peace making is what they are all about.

Just as in politics and world affairs, business needs negotiators with the harmony strength. After leaving the government, Kissinger formed Kissinger Associates, an international geopolitical consulting firm. Kissinger has written over one dozen books on diplomatic history and international relations.

On May 27, 2020, Henry Kissinger will be 97. For more than sixty-year Henry Kissinger’s name has been synonymous with harmony and negotiation. He used this refined strength to build a net worth of over $20 million.

Harmony has the power to bring rivals together, a war zone, a workplace, a homestead, no matter the setting, into a miraculous smarter, caring environment. How are you monetizing your Harmony strength? What ways do you see that you can use this strength to conduct negotiations that are beneficial for your business? Let me know in the comments below. Want to talk with me about how you could monetize your strengths or other business-building questions you have? Please schedule you free Ask Brent Anything call, and Let’s Talk Strengths.

   

 

People with Empathy® have “emotion thermometers.” They have an innate ability to tune into the emotional world, and their emotional thermometers can sense both pleasant and unpleasant emotions. Individuals with Empathy see the world through other people’s eyes. Their emotional intuition enables them to understand others.

People with Empathy give a voice to the emotional world. The Dutch Post-Impressionist painter, Vincent van Gogh, said that emotions are the captains of our lives, meaning that whether you like emotions or not, your life is influenced by them. Empathetic people understand Van Gogh’s famous statement and see how emotions guide the lives of others.

Empathy is an uncommon strength. Gallup says that only 18% of people who’ve completed the CliftonStrengths® assessment have Empathy in their top five. This tells us that most people don’t automatically respond with empathy.

Professor at the University of Houston, Dr. Brené Brown, believes that “Empathy fuels connection,” and “Sympathy drives disconnection.” She has a Netflix special that is intended to delve even deeper into how important empathy is in our lives. Simon Sinek, author and former Columbia University professor, believes that “Empathy is the most important instrument in a leader’s toolbox.”

If you are one of those 18%, who have the strength of empathy, you can not only authentically lead people with empathy but build a viable business on your talent.

Someone who has made a career by using empathy is Oprah Winfrey – it is her empathy and ability to connect to people who have made her successful. Oprah Winfrey came from nothing and built a media empire.

When dealing with others’ emotions, Oprah puts herself in their shoes and pauses to reflect on what she can do to be most helpful in any given situation. You can do the same thing with your clients. Listen to what your clients are telling you and figure out how you can help them in the situation they are in.

Using her power of empathy, she develops a high degree of trust, rapport, and mutual respect with her guests. She does this by asking thoughtful and probing questions that draw out implications and feelings, which in turn, fosters a deeper connection. When she builds this level of trust with people on the show, people who watch the show or read her books or come to her conferences feel this connection also. Do the same with your clients and watch what happens.

Oprah not only does this with her guests but with the people who work for her. She firmly believes that empathy is a glue for engaged teams.

Janet Lee worked as senior field producer for the Oprah Winfrey show for 20 years.  In a 2011 interview that she did with Emily Co, Janet shared some insight into what it was like to work for Oprah.

In her account, she talks about Oprah as an empathetic leader who is kind to everyone who works for her, from the janitor to executives.

Though she is a billionaire entrepreneur, Oprah makes an effort to know what is going on in the lives of her employees. This kind of care and consideration from managers boosts productivity and job satisfaction.

‘She always knew my name, she knew what was going on, and would surprise me when she would know my next assignment. I’ll be in the audio booth with her, recording some voiceovers, and she would say, ‘Oh gosh, you just came back from Dallas, and now you have to do that shoot over in New Orleans to cover the Katrina floods?’ It was just amazing — how would she even know that?”’ She would know that by using her empathy to care about what was going on with the people who worked for her. We sometimes get so focused on the outcome of the job that we forget the person who is doing the job.

Do you use your strength of empathy to build trust with your current staff? How could you like Oprah use this strength to build trust with your customers and also become that billionaire entrepreneur? Let me know in the comments below. Want to talk with me about how you could monetize your strengths or other business-building questions you have? Please schedule you free Ask Brent Anything call, and let’s talk strengths.