Since moving to St. Petersburg, FL on Thanksgiving Day 2019, I have been traveling A LOT to keep up with work, research, friends, and family. Being on the road so much has given me tons of time to engage in one of my favorite pastimes—listening to podcasts! Like everything else in my life, I hear the 34 CliftonStrengthsⓇ come out to play in people’s stories through these podcasts. After 5 flights and 4 cities in 1 week, I am excited to share how one strength continues to jump out for me.
It is HarmonyⓇ! In my opinion, HarmonyⓇ is the most misunderstood strength of the thirty-four. I imagine HarmonyⓇ as Rodney Dangerfield yanking his tie and saying, “I get no respect.” Many people stereotype Harmony as hippies that sit around campfires singing kumbaya. When in fact, that could not be farther from the truth. Yes, HarmonyⓇ likes peace and wants to avoid conflict, but not for that reason alone.
HarmonyⓇ is about social efficiency! Harmonizers know that the quickest and easiest way to accomplish anything is by working with everyone, especially the people they don’t like. If everyone is not at the table, there will be additional hurdles later on down the line. As a result, difficult people don’t even know that Harmonizers don’t like them because Harmonizers work to maintain cordial, effective relationships no matter what. I even know of one Harmonizer that is nicknamed the “old white man whisperer” because she is notorious for getting would-be grumpy curmudgeons to collaborate.
I could also see that nickname applying to the late Barbara Jordan, a Texan congresswoman renown for her flexibility in working with politicians of every party. The “This American Life” podcast covered Jordan’s leadership of a bipartisan team on immigration in the 1990’s. Listen to it here: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/665/before-things-went-to-hell/act-one-4
Interestingly, I think most politicians that are skilled at working on both sides of the aisle have HarmonyⓇ. Even if their views may be on a polar end, Harmonizers prioritize consensus and are willing to forgo some of their convictions as a result. If you have HarmonyⓇ, just be careful with this because being treated like a doormat is your talent in the basement.
Annoyance with being a doormat was a major point of conversation in “By The Book’s” episode on Dr. Harriet Lerner’s book “The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships.” In summary, Kristen, one of the hosts, 1) rarely argues and 2) rarely argues with her husband, Dean. The book forced, both, husband and wife, to examine one of their rare arguments and habits of opting for fun over fighting. Listen to the episode here: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/stitcher/by-the-book/e/67471527
As a Gallup-certified strengths coach, this was a great example of a conversation between two people with HarmonyⓇ. In my experience, two Harmonies are the toughest pair to coach because they are both so nice and eager to agree that it can be difficult to get to the heart of the matter. When we finally get to a rare disagreement, it can quickly lead to deeper, hurtful, unaddressed frustrations. However, thanks to Dean and Kristen’s willingness to communicate and be vulnerable with one another, they navigate their misunderstanding with textbook precision. Go, Dean and Kristen!
So, if you have HarmonyⓇ, don’t be afraid to voice your vulnerabilities as a way to resolve conflict. It can really work! And, if you know of someone with HarmonyⓇ, know that you could actively be agitating them and you don’t know it. So, reflect on your relationship and be sure to not take advantage of their kindness. What do you all think?
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