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Relationship Building Talents Can Foster Trust

sara thomas coach

Are you familiar with your CliftonStrengths (formerly, StrengthsFinder)? Great! Hold your dominant talents in mind as we dive into the relationship building talent themes.

If you’re new to strengths, grab this guide to begin the journey of unlocking your superpowers. Yeah, that’s what I call your talent themes. Saying you have talent is just boring! You have superpowers. Get your guide.

Relationship Building Talent Themes

People with dominant relationship building themes have the ability to build strong relationships. They can be the glue that holds a team together. They know how to help the team become greater than the individuals.

We’ll look at the following talent themes:

  • Adaptability
  • Connectedness
  • Developer
  • Empathy
  • Harmony
  • Includer
  • Individualization
  • Positivity
  • Relator

For each talent theme, I offer an overview, a few insights about trust, and ask you to take action, whether or not this is a talent theme for you. As a result, this is a post I’d advise working through over a course of several days.

Ready to dive in? Let’s get started with Adaptability.


relationship building and trust sara thomasToday. Now. The present.
All we have is right now.

That’s the power and edge of the ADAPTABILITY talent theme.
If you’re already panicking because of the word, “adaptability,” this probably isn’t your sweet spot…and that’s ok.

We have 8 more relationship building talents to explore.
If you’re a “here and now” person who reacts with immediacy to the immediate, you may lead with ADAPTABILITY. To build trust with teams:

1️⃣Continue to be a companion on the journey. Because you don’t grab the reins when things change, people trust that you’ll walk with them…whatever may come their way.

2️⃣Help others recognize how they are responding to a changing situation and/or pressures. Your ability to go with the flow and comfort with spontaneity can be the calm others need. As a result, they’ll trust your ability to sail through the storms.
So tell me in the comments, do you gravitate to spontaneity or predictability?


relationship building connectedness sara thomas

Try these scenarios on for size:

  • When you stop for a cup of tea (or coffee, or a diet coke…!) and run into a friend you haven’t seen for a while.
  • That moment you’re sitting down to eat and a neighbor knocks and just needs to talk.
  • The time your colleague dropped by your office and your door was only open for 30 seconds.

None of these seem like a coincidence to people strong in the CONNECTEDNESS theme. Instead, they believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has meaning.

People exceptionally talented in the CONNECTEDNESS theme can build trust by:

1️⃣Sharing and taking action on what you value that moves you beyond yourself. Because respect is a natural byproduct of selflessness, others will come to trust you because they see how you respect others.

2️⃣Your natural eye and heart for the way we are connected as humans can generate teamwork and collaboration. Give voice and find roles that allow you to see the commonalities among all people.

3️⃣There is no us and them. Only we. People will come to trust you as they consistently see your behaviors unite people around what matters to the team.

Where did you connect with someone today that wasn’t planned and was meaningful?


empathy cliftonstrengths coach sara thomasMonday. Sometimes it feels like a slap in the face.

A wake-up call.

Or maybe it feels like a marathon you’ve been waiting to run. Is it brimming with possibility or overflowing with demands?

Maybe all of the above or none of the above.

Today is about “All the feels.” Whatever your “case of the Monday’s” involves, people exceptionally talented in the EMPATHY talent theme will be “with you”.

So let me ask…
-Do you sense the feelings of others before they ever utter a word?
-Do you cry at movies because you know what the character feels?
-Or maybe you find yourself saying ouch or recognizing the deep gladness of someone else’s joy?

That’s the power of the talent theme, EMPATHY.

Guided by intuition you see the world through others eyes – and heart. You can experience the joy and pain of others simply by being near them. You sense other people’s feelings by imagining yourself in others’ lives or situations.

You might make a great counselor to friends, a great listener to colleagues, and a great partner in life with those you love.

So what does all of that have to do with building trust? thought you’d never ask 😉

1️⃣You have the ability to name what you and others are feeling. As a result, you likely are a confidant to others. Over time, they’ll come to trust you.

2️⃣Use your ability to sense the feelings of others to help others name what they’re feeling and put it into context. Your respect for the feelings of others will guide you in being genuine and trustworthy.

What today broke your heart, filled you with joy, or reminded you that you’re human?


harmony cliftonstrengths coach sara thomasWho makes you a better person?

The power and edge of the HARMONY talent theme are helping people work together.

  • Do you see what people have in common?
  • Are you one who seeks to reconcile?
  • Do you want peace among people?
  • Or do you try to bring people together?

Each of the above questions points to the beauty of the HARMONY talent theme in action.

To build trust, people strong in the HARMONY talent can:

  • communicate the importance of listening
    helping the quieter voices in a group have their say
  • remind your team about what you hold in common and point to ways you are better together.

While we can all do the above, people with the HARMONY talent will build trust as they consistently and authentically value the contributions of everyone – and yes, I mean EVERYONE.

Who is your “partner in crime”?

Who is that person that you find yourself saying, “We are better together”?

Take a minute and send a text or make a call, and let your “partner in crime” know you value and appreciate them. Thank them for reminding you that “We are BETTER TOGETHER”


includer cliftonstrengths coach sara thomasYou are accepting of others.

You see the people outside the circle and invite them to be a part of the circle. While this takes effort, it is an effort that comes naturally to you.

You value people and see what we hold in common and that we are all important.

These are some of the beautiful gifts people strong in the INCLUDER talent theme bring to teams.

As you “stretch the circle wider,” consider the following to build trust:

  • Use your thoughtfulness to help everyone know they are cared for and a part of the team. Your natural ability to do this will not only build trust, it will help people see you are compassionate, too.
  • You sense who is on the inside and who is on the outside. Use your ability to widen the circle to help others see and give voice to what we hold in common.

Make a conscious effort today to notice who is inside the circle and who is not. Then, respond accordingly.


individualization cliftonstrengths coach sara thomasToday I celebrate you & the unique characteristics that make you, YOU!

So think for a minute…who are the people in your life who might say:
– That top pic hanging on the wall is just a bit tilted. Can I fix it?
– Look in the mirror, beautiful. God created you to do amazing things.
– We need to catch up. Grab a chair, already. Sit down. Let’s talk.
– What do all those things on the wall have to do with one another? Or maybe…that is really cool, I would have never put that together!
– Why isn’t OUR team pennant on the wall? When are we going to a game, anyway? (Or, OMG, that’s OUR team pennant!)

If that list brought specific people to mind, you may be someone with the INDIVIDUALIZATION talent. This talent theme leads you to be intrigued by the unique qualities of each person.

Forget the generalizations. You see everyone has their own style & might even be the one others envy for ALWAYS picking the perfect gift for someone.

Here’s how someone strong in the INDIVIDUALIZATION talent theme can build trust with others.
??Keep confidences about the things you learn about others. You may see these traits before others. Let them decide if & when to share with the team.
??Others recognize your natural instincts about the unique abilities of others. Keep it positive.
??Help others understand that you understand their strengths, needs, and style. Be prepares to explain why you treat people differently – and why you’re not playing favorites.

So tell me, what did you first notice about the pic?

Cheering you on, because that’s what makes you, YOU!



positivity relationship building cliftonstrengths coach sara thomasLighthearted.?Hopeful.??Fun-loving.?Optimistic.?Generous with praise.??Quick to smile. ?Always looking out for the upside.?

You know THAT person…the ONE who is the one always sending you HAPPY MAIL.

They just might be someone with the POSITIVITY talent theme. With a contagious enthusiasm, upbeat attitude, and energetic outlook, they bring excitement, productivity, hope, and humor to any team or organization.

So how can someone strong in the POSITIVITY talent build trust? ?stay consistent with your positive remarks. Some people make be a bit suspicious if you’re always positive. Over time, they’ll come to learn to trust your upbeat, optimistic outlook for them and for your team.

?️Make sure your praise is genuine. Don’t do harm by concocting praise where it isn’t deserved. Have integrity in your thoughts and expression. ?Said differently, don’t yield to false flattery. Your energy can bring LOTS of good to the world. Keep it real.

Whether POSITIVITY is one of your dominant talents or not, today’s a great day to remind someone of something GOOD you see in them.

What is ONE positive thing you can say to someone today? You can start by tagging them in a comment below.

What are you waiting for? Go share it with them!


relator relationship building cliftonstrengths coach sara thomasWho’s your person? Or people? Your BFF?

If you’re Meredith, who’s your Christina?
If you’re Lucy, who’s your Ethel?
If you’re Thelma, who’s your Louise?
If you’re Batman, who’s your Robin?

If you’re ___ who’s your ____?

This person or these people are the ones you go deep with. You form and enjoy close relationships with them. You may work hard together and play even harder. You throw on hats and go sit by the lake just to chat. You appreciate genuine & authentic relationships…because you have them, you cherish them. You organize your life around your close relationships.

That’s the superpower behind the RELATOR talent theme. No, I’m not talking about the person who sells a house. That’s spelled this way: realtor. But, I’ve done this enough to know some of you read it that way ?RELATOR is said this way: RELATE – OR.

How does someone with the RELATOR talent theme build trust?

1) Your Christina, Robin, Ethel, or Louise are important to you. As such, they’ve given you their confidence. Maintain it to build trust.

2) When your relationships go deep, you develop trust. You’re comfortable here. Many are not. Let your BFF know you feel safe with them & want them to trust you, too.


  • Whether you have this talent theme or not, everyone needs to know they’re needed in someone’s life.
  • Send a text or call “your person” and set up a time simply to be together.

Next Steps

WHEW! That’s a lot of talent.

Take the next step and embrace the superpowers of the people around you. As you can tell, everyone is different in how we go about building relationships with others.

When it comes to our teams, these talents help us weather the storm. Once you’re aware of the relational glue that is present (or absent) on your team, help the people with the above talents share their superpower with others. They may need help applying their talents to a specific situation.

I can help you take action by coaching you and coaching your team. As a coach, not only will I help you know and own your CliftonStrengths, but I help you take action. I’ll help you take action toward accomplishing your goals and fulfilling your mission. All while helping the team members share their best self and the team. That’s how I leverage my Strategic superpower and it’s part of the next set of talent themes we’ll explore on the blog.