Harmony: Striving for Consensus

A CliftonStrengths Theme Spotlight

"People exceptionally talented in the Harmony theme look for consensus. They don't enjoy conflict; rather, they seek areas of agreement." -The Gallup Organization

The Talents of People High in Harmony

People high in the Harmony theme are peacemakers. They are emotionally efficient by nature and believe that unity and togetherness is more important than individual preference or opinion. They are concerned about reaching consensus and have the ability to help others find common ground when conflict arises. They also have the ability to speak to multiple viewpoints, play devil's advocate, and facilitate discussion around areas of disagreement or disunity.

Just like well-arranged musical notes produce beautiful sounds, groups of people working together in harmony produce beautiful relationships and outcomes. This doesn't mean that everything is sunshine and rainbows, though. The Harmony theme doesn't mean we're frolicking in fields of flowers. Rather, it means we're working together toward the same goals. It means we're unified and concerned about the good of the group over the preferences of each individual in the group.

Because of this, when working with others, people high in Harmony are pragmatic. Desiring to enhance the unity of the group, they're often striving to help others regulate their expectations or understand the "why" behind decisions or perspectives. Oftentimes they have a natural talent for negotiating. However, this doesn't necessarily mean they enjoy the negotiating -their strong desire to avoid conflict sometimes keeps them from developing or exercising this natural talent.

In our experience, this theme can be a challenging one to develop for some people. Because of the dislike for conflict, people high in Harmony are sometimes unaware that they possess the ability to help others resolve conflict. One manager we know with Harmony said this:

"When I was first promoted to management, I really struggled with my Harmony theme because I was so tentative about addressing problems. I didn't want there to be any drama and so I didn't address things, just hoping they would go away. Over the years I've learned how to have hard conversations, and now my colleagues tell me I'm better at delivering bad news than anyone they know! I think that's because I really try to speak to what we can agree on or the purpose in what we're doing when things are tense. I also know now I can't make everyone happy. I stopped expecting that for sure. Now I focus more on, "How can we come together at a deeper level and move forward together?""

The Temptations for People High in Harmony

Because people high in Harmony need and desire relational unity in order to thrive, they can sometimes struggle with being non-confrontational when a situation warrants it. Their peace-loving approach might mean that they don't have eyes to see the ways that addressing conflict could be profitable and fruitful.

Because of these reasons, people high in Harmony might be perceived by others as weak, indecisive, or lacking courage. Their desire to "go along to get along" can also impact their overall productivity and well-being. For example, several clients with Harmony have reported that they are less likely to share their own feelings or opinions at work because they are anxious about what might happen as a result.

As leaders, those high in Harmony can sometimes fail to address problems or conflict until it's too late. Unfortunately this often results in them losing the trust of their team members. If they aren't careful, they can also adopt a "bury my head in the sand" approach that neglects to lead out in areas of tension and conflict. Similarly, they can fail to advocate for others because they don't want to get in the middle of conflict.

Here's how one client put it:

"I don't want there to be any tension at all! I hate that feeling when I walk in the office and can tell that people are upset about a decision I've made or the way a conversation went. I want us all to be on the same page and bought-in, but sadly, I bury those feelings a lot at work and take them home instead. I'll lose sleep for days over a small conflict or an awkward comment someone made."


Here are a couple of quick ideas to get you thinking about how to leverage and self-regulate if you've got a dominant Harmony theme:

  1. Look for opportunities to help others mediate or negotiate conflict in productive and actionable ways. Your ability to sense areas of common ground can be an important conversational starting place when your team members are stuck in areas of disagreement or tension.

  2. When you need to deliver less-than-positive news, consider partnering with others high in Influencing themes such as Woo or Communication to help you craft these important messages. Their ability to speak to a broader audience pairs well with your emphasis on practical areas of consensus.

  3. When leading a team or working with others, make sure you communicate about your Harmony theme in ways that highlight your emphasis on emotional efficiency. Your Harmony theme doesn't make you weak. Rather, it equips you with the tools necessary to keep everyone working together with unity and purpose.

At ROI Talent Development, we try to help people fall in love with every single talent theme, even if it isn't dominant in their own theme sequence. Because when we all take the time to understand and appreciate one another, we build happy and healthy workplaces where employee talents are valued and developed.

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