"I like to hear what everyone thinks"
People with Harmony in their top 5 Strengthsfinder results believe that there is little to be gained from conflicts. They believe that conflicts produce too many negative emotions that drain the energy of people. Instead, they aim to find areas of agreement. Because of their dislike for conflict, the first instinct for people with Harmony is to be peacemakers. They might operate as mediators whenever conflicts happen to people around them. The genius of the Harmony talent is in the natural practicality and preference for emotional efficiency: People with Harmony help others reach common ground by drawing attention to the practical side of things, where agreement is easier. This way, inefficiency caused by conflict is minimized.
However, people with Harmony can sometimes be labelled as “fence-sitter”, indecisive, conflict-avoider, and might be seen as pushovers (because often their opinions are not voiced out). People with Harmony prefer to let others speak first. Many times, people with Harmony have their own opinions or ideas, but may prefer to keep to themselves if they perceive that voicing their opinion compromises the greater good of consensus or alignment. In fact, if someone else has voiced out what they have in their thoughts, people with Harmony will prefer to stay silent. Many with Harmony often have a modus operandi of first hearing what others have to say and not adding unnecessary comments or opinions during meetings. The less that is spoken, the lower the probability of conflicts. The most important objective during discussions is to find a consensus and to move forward quickly. Many with Harmony willingly modify their own objectives to merge with others in the team (as long as their basic values do not clash). Having said the above, some with Harmony can be confrontational when situations do not sit well with their beliefs. Not having the inner peace can cause some with Harmony to be vocal rather than silent.
People with Harmony also like to see themselves as team players. They find ways to collaborate with others. They may even dislike people who are more individualistic and prefer to work independently. They thrive in an environment where team members value relationship building. Often it’s the people with Harmony that contribute effectively towards team bonding. They enjoy organizing meals and activities together, ensuring members of the team have opportunities to get to know one another. They also encourage collaborations between team members. People with Harmony act as the glue to a highly dynamic and high performing team.
How can a person with Harmony turn this talent into a Strength? Here are some suggestions:
1. EXERCISE DISCERNMENT IN CONFLICTS
People with Harmony are sometimes known to be people who prefer to avoid conflicts. However, some conflicts cannot be avoided. In maturity, the person with Harmony is likely to be discerning, contributing meaningfully and engaging in necessary conflicts while avoiding unnecessary ones.
There are times when conflict avoidance will be the best thing to do - for example, when the outcome is not important in the grand scheme of things or when tensions are already very high. But sometimes, people with Harmony need to engage in a conflict to avoid going against their own core values or when morals could be compromised. If people with Harmony sacrifice any of their core beliefs by avoiding a conflict, the consequence can be a loss of a sense of self-respect. For some, that loss of self-respect can result in a loss of identity as well. Discernment is very much needed in these scenarios.
In dynamic and fast-paced Singapore, many organizations require critical and innovative thinking to stay on the cutting edge. Conflicts and tensions happen naturally as more people challenge old ways of thinking and methodologies. There is a need to recognize that conflicts may stimulate innovation and creativity, which can lead to greater decisions made in teams. Alternative solutions to problems may be discovered as a result of conflicts. People with Harmony need great discernment in engaging conflicts as they grow in leadership and influence.
To grow in this area, understanding conflict management styles could be a good way to start. The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument is one of the many good resources to explore.
2. HAVING A PEACE-MAKING PROCESS
One of the most draining parts of a peace-making process is when mediation seems to be moving nowhere. When one party in a conflict is not ready to find common ground and to explore a solution, then the outcome of a peace treaty is often jeopardized. It is important for people with Harmony to set the right expectations and the right boundaries at the start of a mediation process. An example of a set expectation is that both parties agree to take ownership to work towards the desired outcome. Examples of good boundaries can include: one party listening when the other is talking during mediation, refraining from posting on social media regarding the conflict issue, etc. Such basic disciplines can help people with Harmony be very good peacemakers in different environments. It is also important to note that people with Harmony should not be too hard on themselves whenever a consensus cannot be reached.
3. SEEK COMPLEMENTARY PARTNERSHIPS
- Partner people with Ideation or Strategic
People with Ideation often love to think out of the box while people with Strategic love to explore different alternatives to reach a goal. Both parties intuitively love to challenge the status quo. In contrast, people with Harmony may prefer to stay within boundaries and not rock the boat, especially if they feel it might affect the environment of peace and stability that is in place. Such partnerships create a robust system where people with Harmony are pushed to stretch their imagination, to look beyond their spheres and to enlarge perspectives.
- Partner people with Command
People with Command intuitively polarize to create clarity in a group: They create black and white situations and steer people away from congregating in grey zones. People with Harmony, on the other hand, create clarity through seeking the opinions of the group and drawing out a consensus for people to congregate around. Each method has its place. People with Command often have the edge in creating clarity whenever the overall goal of the team is to remain cutting-edge and to respond quickly in a highly dynamic environment. People with Harmony tend to have the edge in creating clarity whenever the overall team goal is to create stability and strengthen team relationships. The Harmony-Command partnership is powerful and beneficial in areas where both goals are to be delicately balanced.
- Partner people with Competition
People with Competition possess an innate drive to be number one and to improve their performances by bench-marking against others. People with Harmony possess an innate desire to stick together with others and value the relationships more than achievements unlocked. Where teams are in highly competitive industries and environments, partnerships between those with Harmony and those with Competition are essential. People with Harmony play a very important role to keep the team intact and tightly-knitted, while those with Competition push the team toward greater performance.
Concluding note: Many people with Harmony struggle to see how this theme can play out as a strength in the highly dynamic marketplace. Yet, this theme is one of the most crucial if an organization needs to have stability and cohesiveness in rapid-changing Singapore where high employee turnover contributes to huge losses in revenue. Organizations in Singapore that harness this talent theme effectively will reap the fruit of high-performing teams that remain together through the tough times.
Written by Victor Seet
Activator • Communication • Strategic • Self-Assurance • Command
As a Gallup Certified Singapore Strengthsfinder coach, Victor is passionate about strengths engagement and now runs his own training company, Strengths School™ (strengthsschool.com), based in Singapore. He has been actively giving Strengthsfinder leadership and team building workshops to businesses and schools in Singapore as well as Hong Kong, China (Shanghai) and India.