CliftonStrengths: Harmony “The Great Negotiator”

People with the theme of harmony believe that there is little to gain from conflict; however, even when there is conflict, people with this theme have the unique ability to see something in common that can bring people together. Nakiya, a campus leader and MU Career Center student employee, explains how her strength of harmony enables her to find the middle ground within a group of people and keep everyone moving forward.

The first step in making your talent themes into your strengths is recognizing them, and if you’re like Nakiya, you may not see how a certain theme applies to you, even if it is the result of your CliftonStrengths test. Asking someone that knows you well about your theme can help bring clarity and understanding to how it applies to you. At first, Nakiya was unsure of how her theme of includer related to her, so she decided to ask her boss. She found out that “the way [she feels] about inclusion and equality is where includer comes in”, but if you are still having a hard time seeing how your themes apply to you, try looking at how your themes work collectively. For Nakiya, her strength of includer influences how she executes her strength of harmony. Through her harmony, Nakiya says, “I want everyone to feel they have a place…it’s tough for me to not include people…I want everyone to be doing well together.” Because your talent themes are influenced by the others that you have, it can be hard to distinguish one from another, but knowing how they work together is just as important as understanding them individually.

In addition, it is also important that you realize the shadow side to your themes to better understand them as a whole. Nakiya explains how “just recognizing [there is] a shadow side and being involved in activities that make [your strengths] seem more long-term helps.” For harmony, the shadow side is avoidance of conflict, and Nakiya explains how she overcomes this tendency by confronting the conflict and doing whatever it takes to get past the situation. This way, Nakiya is able to keep peace and bring coherence to groups she works with to drive them toward the goal of shared success.

While those with the theme of harmony are viewed as peacemakers within a group, that does not mean that they don’t have opinions, only that they try to overcome conflict to connect the group towards one goal. Because she has developed her talent theme of harmony into her strength, Nakiya is happy to share that she is “very good at making groups of people feel comfortable around each other… and fostering that spirit of getting to know each other, let’s all work together, [and] looking for areas of agreement.” Because of this, she also mentions how she likes to bring up other people’s strengths in group work. When you work in groups, it is important to identify and combine complementary strengths because they can be more useful together than as individual skills. As a relationship building strength, harmony can work by bringing together different strengths and emphasizing the importance that each person brings to the table to avoid accusations like people not fairly contributing to the team.

Having the theme of harmony can be beneficial when it comes to bringing consensus to any group you work with, especially when it comes to areas of leadership. The more you invest in your themes, the more skilled you will become at executing them. If you want to better understand any of your strengths, including harmony, or if you are looking for a “harmonious place” on campus, try the MU Career Center located in Lowry Mall. Here, you can even take the CliftonStrengths test to find out your top five talent themes, and you can learn how to build on these themes to make them your strengths.