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On a Scale of 1 to 10, How Would You Rate Your Business Relationships?

On a Scale of 1 to 10, How Would You Rate Your Business Relationships?
In our daily routines, we might find ourselves getting lost at times in what is often referred to as “the grind.”  Wake up. Go to work. Work hard. Achieve. In the process of doing what we do, we may have moments where we lose sight of why we’re doing it. I recall a specific incident in a previous position that woke me up, so to speak, to what really matters. One day I was blasting through an extended list of tasks, which included sending out emails to a long list of clients. My boss was copied on the emails, and he gave me some great feedback: “It might be nice to add something in that’s more personal. Wish them a good day or something. You know, create some warm fuzzies. Clients like warm fuzzies.” And it’s true! Adding warmth to our “business interactions” strengthens relationships and brightens our experience of...
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Leaders, Identify Your Weakest Employee Tie

Leaders, Identify Your Weakest Employee Tie
"Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike." – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix When we form a relationship, we form a tie between ourselves and another person. Our relationships generally begin with a point of connection through something we share in common, and these ties gradually strengthen ...
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When Heads Collide: How to Make Conflict Productive at Work

When Heads Collide: How to Make Conflict Productive at Work
  "If we aren't going to be afraid of conflict, we have to see it as thinking, and then we have to get really good at it." –Margaret Hefferna We frequently weigh in on our blog and in our resources about the importance of creating more robust inclusion in the workplace. The main idea is this: inclusive cultures require collaboration and divers...
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How to Combat Fear in 2018

How to Combat Fear in 2018
"Thinking will not overcome fear but action will." –W. Clement Stone The start of a new year often comes with a new set of resolutions and meaningful changes we want to make in our lives, both at work and at home. When we try to put our intentions into action, we are often met with a universal barrier: fear. We all experience fear to some degree. I...
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Work Faster!!! The Role of Urgency in Performance Management

Work Faster!!! The Role of Urgency in Performance Management
  "Nature never hurries, yet everything is accomplished." –Lao Tzu Business is fast-paced. In order to keep up with and outshine the competition, we quickly rush to complete our goals, often while multitasking. On top of the busy work day, some also rush to work, rush to meetings, and rush to get home. If the idea of being told to mo...
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Have Business Goals for 2018? Here's Why Planning is Paramount

Have Business Goals for 2018? Here
Whether you intend to grow revenue, improve professional relationships, or introduce new projects, one thing is for sure: planning is paramount. Without it, the shared vision you have for your organization, as well as your personal goals, won't become reality.  Would you chart the Atlantic Ocean on a sailboat without planning your route, equip...
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The Importance of Personal Integrity in Leadership: 4 Ways to Follow Through

The Importance of Personal Integrity in Leadership: 4 Ways to Follow Through
We live in a world where our attention is often split and demands fly at us from every direction. Sometimes you may even be asked to compromise your values or abandon things you care about. Having integrity in such a world is especially challenging, yet exceptionally important for leaders. Integrity is invisible and conceptual, yet it's responsible...
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6 Ways to Integrate Play Into the Workplace

6 Ways to Integrate Play Into the Workplace
  This week's Friday resource comes from Inc. and offers 6 ways to incorporate play into the workplace. In the workplace, play has long been regarded as the opposite of work. Instead of placing them on opposite ends of the spectrum, what if we combined them? What if we could get work results from prioritizing play? Work that involves play allo...
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Believe It or Not…Goofing Off Produces Business Return

Believe It or Not…Goofing Off Produces Business Return
In our busy, fast-paced society, we run the risk of blowing off play as mere "child's play." There's just so much to do , we say. When important priorities need tending in the workplace, pressing pause to play a game or joke around with a coworker may seem like the very last thing you should be doing. The reality is that it may be one of the very b...
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10 Unmistakable Signs of a Fear-Based Workplace

10 Unmistakable Signs of a Fear-Based Workplace
This week's Friday resource comes from Forbes and lists 10 ways you can tell if your workplace is operating from a place of fear. Motivation can stem from worry and fear, or it can stem from being in an environment where trust and strong relationships flourish. The source of motivation has a drastic impact on workplace culture—if motivation is comi...
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The Most Overused Negotiating Tactic is Threatening to Walk Away

The Most Overused Negotiating Tactic is Threatening to Walk Away
This week's Friday resource comes from Harvard Business Review and discusses the impact of threatening to walk away during a negotiation. A "walkaway" outcome to a negotiation occurs when one or more parties involved are no longer willing to consider other possible outcomes or alternatives. In walking away, perspective is limited and power is exerc...
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The Secret to Successful Business Negotiation

The Secret to Successful Business Negotiation
  "The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway." – Henry Boyle On the surface, negotiation can seem more complex than it really is. There are usually a lot of factors to consider on behalf of everyone involved, and our psyches can quickly lead us into the shaky territory of power plays, manipulation, or even fearful ...
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5 Ways to Embrace Change at Work and in Life

5 Ways to Embrace Change at Work and in Life
This week’s Friday resource comes from Inc . and offers 5 ways to welcome change when it arises in the workplace and in our personal lives. Avoiding the unavoidable is a fight we can’t win. Change is unavoidable—and continual. The antidote for the negative feelings we have when change arises is to embrace it. What we are able to see when we give up the fight is that most changes are positive in the long run, and they have a purpose that can serve our personal growth and the growth of organizations. Changes often occur as a means of improvement and as the result of something “not working.” Per Rhett Power, Head Coach and Inc. contributor, here are some ways to let go of resistance to change: 1. Change is Inevitable and Embracing Change Encourages Development “Because we repel change, we sometimes go through life without ever living up to...
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5 Ways to Improve Employee Development at Your Company

5 Ways to Improve Employee Development at Your Company
This week’s Friday resource comes from HuffPost and offers five ways to assist employees in their personal development. Many companies, especially start-ups, are often focused on short term growth to assure the business can stay afloat. But if businesses are to stick around for the long-run, employee development should be approached with a long-term mentality that comes with both short and long-term ROI benefits. Employees want to know their leaders have their best interests at heart. And for millennials, opportunity for development is a workplace necessity. Per David Hassell, “Your people are your company.” Here are 5 ways to improve development amongst your employees: 1. Professional Training “Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way. Depending on the role, formal employee training may be required to ensure competency and even excellence. Create a knowledge-base of critical information and best practices to pass on to new hires as you grow...
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Why it Pays to Support Employees’ Personal Development

Why it Pays to Support Employees’ Personal Development
“Supporting another’s success won’t ever dampen yours.” –Unknown Imagine one of your employees jamming out on a guitar, lifting weights at the gym, or reading a textbook. You may not make an immediate connection between these behaviors and revenue, results, or workplace culture. But can these types of activities influence business for the better? You bet your britches they can. Personal and professional development go hand-in-hand—whether it’s directly related to work or not, each impacts the other. Growth is growth, and all kinds of growth contribute to happiness. Research shows happy employees are more creative, energized and successful , and happiness increases productivity by 12% . When employees know you care about their growth, they respond. It builds trust, commitment, and a host of other benefits that impact the bottom line. Let’s break it down. Here are some big benefits your organization stands to gain by supporting employee personal development:...
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4 Mistakes Leaders Keep Making

4 Mistakes Leaders Keep Making
This week’s Friday Resource comes from HBR and features four common mistakes that leaders continue to make. Over the last half century, approaches to leadership have shifted and grown dramatically. Regardless, some areas (even with the most progressive and advanced training programs in place) continue to be problematic in organizations. The most seasoned of leaders are prone to fall into certain traps, and these traps are often outside their awareness. The more aware leaders become of these behaviors, the more they will be able to mitigate their impact. blockquote>p { border:none;}/> Per Robert H. Schaffer, HBR, here are the four main behavioral traps to be mindful of: Behavior Trap 1: Failing to Set Proper Expectations Everyone has seen senior managers announce major directional changes or new goals without spelling out credible plans for achieving them or specifying who’s accountable: for instance, “We are going to reduce the use of cash...
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Lack of Clarity in the Workplace is Costing Your Organization

Lack of Clarity in the Workplace is Costing Your Organization
“Clarity affords focus.” –Thomas Leonard If things are foggy or ambiguous on our way to success, any actions we take will require more time and resources, or may fail altogether. Especially if we’re not sure where we’re going. Clarity matters. Each small clarity problem within an organization may seem insignificant at first, but gradually, they lead to big problems. Fortunately, miscommunication issues can be resolved before we arrive at a sudden “ Oh, crap! ” Effective conversation is the way to clarity. There are no alternative fixes. When a conversation is effective, miscommunications are either resolved or prevented, and employees feel clear on their roles, goals, and action items. You’ll know a miscommunication has occurred if anyone is unclear. A miscommunication has also occurred if a conversation hasn’t taken place that in fact needs to take place. Here’s what these common miscommunications are costing organizations: 1. Engagement Survey findings in...
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360 Feedback Questions

360 Feedback Questions
Tips & Templates for Gathering 360 Degree Feedback This week’s Friday resource comes from Quantum and discusses what employees want (and need) from feedback gathering processes. Annual (and even bi-annual or quarterly) feedback is outdated. When it comes to feedback, one thing is clear: continuous employee feedback is the most effective approach. In your organization, there are multiple methods you can use for gathering feedback. Unfortunately, some of these methods create more problems than they solve. Outdated processes can create hostility, lower morale, decrease engagement, and have a negative impact on workplace culture. So what are some of these problematic methods, and what are the alternative ways to request feedback? Take a look at these easy fixes, per Kourtney George, Quantum: The Problem: Once-A-Year Feedback Lack of frequency gives managers an excuse to avoid giving feedback and addressing performance the rest of the year, whether good or bad. The Fix:...
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Up is Not the Only Way: Rethinking Career Mobility

Up is Not the Only Way: Rethinking Career Mobility
When we think of career growth, we tend to think about “moving up” the ladder. However, in today’s workforce, much is changing. Organizational hierarchies are less commonplace, jobs are more mobile and flexible than ever, and individuals are in a position to truly own their careers. Earlier this week, authors Beverly Kaye, Lindy Williams, and Lynn Cowart released their book titled Up is Not the Only Way: Rethinking Career Mobility . The book presents an alternative way of looking at our careers and presents tips for navigation that can advance our personal and professional growth and development in somewhat less-traditional (yet equally rewarding) ways. This book guides its readers into thinking about career mobility in a way that can lead to more options, and show how managers, coaches, and employees can partner to determine what's best and what's next. To give you an inside peek, here’s a content preview from...
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How These Top Companies are Getting Inclusion Right

How These Top Companies are Getting Inclusion Right
This week’s Friday resource comes from Fast Company and highlights the ways top companies have achieved results through their inclusion strategies. Inclusion produces a domino effect with more than one benefit: it creates a culture where employees feel encouraged, appreciated, and engaged, which leads to more innovation and collaboration, which then leads to positive results for the bottom line. Creating an inclusive culture requires a proactive approach on behalf of HR and leadership. Unfortunately, many traditional diversity and inclusion programs are ineffective and fail to address factors that are key when attempting to create cultural shifts. Per Gwen Moran, Fast Company, here are some often overlooked strategies from top companies who have successfully transformed their organization’s culture into one of inclusion and diversity: 1. Emphasize from the start. "At Johnson & Johnson, communicating the importance of inclusion is critical. At every level of training, diversity and inclusion are emphasized. 'As...
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3 Ways Leaders Can Increase Empathy

3 Ways Leaders Can Increase Empathy
This week’s Friday resource comes from Forbes and lists ways leaders can grow in empathy. Research reveals that today’s most successful leaders all have a trait in common: empathy. Empathy allows a person to step into another person’s shoes and understand their perspective. This trait is beneficial because it allows whomever is in the position of leadership to approach the needs of their team members with genuine concern, which creates trust and strengthens relationships within teams and organizations. In conversation, empathy shifts how a leader will guide and respond to the discussion. A conversation with an empathic leader often leaves people feeling seen, heard, and cared for. Per Teri Citterman, CEO of Talonn and Forbes contributor, here are some ways you can increase empathy as a leader. 1. Know more. “Do you know what’s most important to each of your team members? Not what you think is, but what actually...
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Attention, Leaders: Strengthen Empathy by Dropping These 4 Words from Your Vocabulary

Attention, Leaders: Strengthen Empathy by Dropping These 4 Words from Your Vocabulary
“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” –Rudyard Kipling Humble, empathic leaders have been found to be the most successful . Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence , defines empathy as “having the ability to sense others’ feelings and how they see things.” Words, in conjunction with our behaviors, create empathy. When a leader uses words to label others, especially harsh or negative labels, it can be damaging to those on the receiving end on a deep, visceral level, not to mention damaging to any goal an organization is trying to achieve. To be a successful, empathic leader, it’s necessary to drop damaging labels from your vocabulary. Management Research Group reports that empathy is widely considered “the most important (out of 22) leadership behaviors.” When a leader embodies empathy and kindness, it allows employees to build trust, feel safe enough psychologically to contribute, and tap into...
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One Unconscious Bias is Keeping Women Out of Senior Roles

One Unconscious Bias is Keeping Women Out of Senior Roles
This week’s Friday resource comes from Business Insider and calls attention to a common bias preventing women from being promoted to leadership roles. A number of biases can impact our decisions in the workplace when it comes to hiring and promotion, but one bias in particular often prevents women from receiving the roles they’re seeking: affinity bias. Affinity bias is present when we show favoritism for people who are like us. If the majority of the people within an organization who hire and promote are men, affinity bias can lead them to choose candidates who are also men, even if the men being selected are not actually the most suited candidates. Per contributors Melissa Wheeler and Victor Sojo, here are some ways companies can overcome this bias: 1. Implementing gender targets and quotas to increase gender equality in leadership 2. Increasing awareness, which can mitigate the effects of affinity bias...
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An Easy Trick to Reduce Workplace Biases

An Easy Trick to Reduce Workplace Biases
“I may think I see you as you are, but in truth, I see you as I am.” - Susan Scott If you’re human, you’re guilty of having biases. We all plead a bit of insanity. We tend to see things through our own filters. Sometimes we make conclusions about a person or situation only to later realize the conclusion was unfair or lacked any basis in reality. In case you need a refresher, cognitive bias creates prejudice, skewed perception, or preference to show up in ways (and in places) where our work and the people around us end up marginalized, misunderstood, or otherwise negatively impacted. They often consist of conclusions or assumptions that in some way veer from the reality of the situation, leading us to make decisions that also disregard reality. Our workplace is affected by bias because we hire, interact with others, and even fire based on...
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The Causes of Employee Negativity

The Causes of Employee Negativity
This week’s Friday resource comes from The Balance and identifies the leading causes of employee negativity. Negativity is one of the leading causes of stress in the workplace . It decreases employee morale, productivity, job satisfaction, and work quality, which results in big costs to organizations. While negativity can stem from many various sources, research has identified five primary causes. Identifying the source of negativity can help employers both prevent negativity and address existing negativity in a constructive way through understanding, empathy, and action. Per Susan M. Heathfield, The Balance, here are some interesting insights into the causes of employee negativity: “A recent study answers the question about what causes employee negativity. The study, conducted by Towers Perrin and researchers Gang & Gang, surveyed a randomly selected group of 1,100 employees and 300 senior Human Resources executives working for mid-sized and large-sized companies in the United States and Canada. Participants...
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You Cannot Motivate Your Team, But You Can Inspire Them

You Cannot Motivate Your Team, But You Can Inspire Them
This week’s Friday resource comes from Forbes and lists ways leaders can inspire their teams. There are two types of motivation: external and internal. External motivation often comes in the form of rewards, money, fame, or praise. Internal motivation, on the other hand, is driven by our deeper values and needs. Leaders can create external incentives, but these efforts are short-lived once the reward has run its course for the receiver. The best way to produce sustainable results within an organization is to tap into each individual’s internal world and inspire in a way that leads to long-lasting and self-directed action. When leaders have the right kind of conversations with their team members, it can inspire, engage, and drive employees to act. Here’s what to address in these conversations, according to Frances McIntosh, Forbes Coaches Council: 1. Connect with their core values. “By identifying what’s important to them and what...
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Calming Your Brain During Conflict

Calming Your Brain During Conflict
This week’s Friday resource comes from Harvard Business Review (HBR) and offers ways to help calm your brain and body during moments of conflict. Conflict is an inevitable part of life. When a conflict takes place, our brains and bodies often propel us into fight or flight mode. While this survival response is useful in life or death situations, it can potentially threaten our ability to move through conflict constructively and devise solutions that strengthen our relationships, both at work and at home. Once our fight or flight mode is “triggered,” our bodies produce stress hormones that dampen our memory and make it difficult to be open to other points of view. What initially began as a disagreement suddenly turns into a perceived threat, and we may feel overwhelmed with both the negative thoughts and uncomfortable sensations occurring within us. Fortunately, there are mindfulness-based steps we can take to prevent...
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7 Empathetic Traits that Exceptional Leaders Share

7 Empathetic Traits that Exceptional Leaders Share
This week’s Friday resource comes from Entrepreneur and lists seven traits empathetic leaders have in common. When empathy is present in the workplace, it has the potential to create higher amounts of understanding, clarity, and trust. Widely considered one of the most beneficial attributes a leader can possess, empathy gives leaders the ability to see and feel the experiences of other people, including the individuals who comprise their teams. However, empathy can be considered an umbrella term—within it are several positive attributes that are widely shared among effective leaders. So what all does empathy entail? Per psychologist, author, and speaker Sherrie Campbell, here are some of the traits great leaders share. 1. Self-awareness. “Great leaders are deeply knowledgeable about themselves and committed to their own personal development. To be great we must do the same. The most influential people on earth, those who have left the most significant impact, led...
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Susan Scott’s Take on Results-Driven Conversation: An Interview by The Human Capital Institute

Susan Scott’s Take on Results-Driven Conversation: An Interview by The Human Capital Institute
As part of the Nine to Thrive Podcast, HCI’s Holly Pennebaker spoke with our very own Susan Scott, Fierce Founder and CEO. In this podcast, Susan addresses the following questions: • What has inspired you to revise Fierce Conversations? • How would you describe barriers to communication? How would you recommend we overcome them? • What is often missing in our conversations, and how does the book address that? • What led you to make relationships such a central focus of the book? Using colorful examples, Susan dives into the specific exchanges that reveal the state of problems and shares the way to overcome barriers to meaningful conversations. She touches on how our approach should help us overcome problems by saying what is real —in a way that will be heard and useful to organizations and their teams. “Without relationship, we’ve got nothing.” – Susan Scott Listen to the podcast...
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Fostering the Sense of Belonging Promotes Success

Fostering the Sense of Belonging Promotes Success
This week’s Friday resource from Forbes discusses why belonging is important in the workplace and offers tips on how to create it. Having a sense of belonging is essential in our work environment for not only success but also our well-being. Belonging leads us to feel more engaged, connected, and fulfilled. To belong is to feel connected to the people we work with and to the work we do. John Baldoni, Forbes contributor, offers insights on how to generate this sense of belonging for employees. 1. Find purpose . "Work without purpose is work; work with purpose can be joy. When people know that what they do matters to others and how it is connected to what the organization gives meaning to labor. Purposeful work is work that encourages commitment." Read more tips and the full article here .

5 Conversation Tools for Nurturing Your Relationship with A Mentor

5 Conversation Tools for Nurturing Your Relationship with A Mentor
This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Forbes and offers tips for nurturing your relationship with a career mentor. A mentor can offer guidance, wisdom and insights they’ve gained over the years. As with any relationship, your relationship with your mentor needs to be nurtured in order to grow and maintain it. Deep connections require building trust over time, and there are steps we can take to facilitate the strengthening of the mentor-mentee connection. Per Kelli Richards, Forbes, communication is essential. She advises, “ Communicate frequently . As a mentee, it’s your responsibility to reach out to your mentor when you need her. You should express your appreciation both verbally and with your actions. Take suggestions to heart, act on them, and send regular notes to communicate your progress and how you’re applying advice. Make it clear that you’re following through so your mentor knows she’s investing her time...
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How to Clean Up a Messy Conversation

How to Clean Up a Messy Conversation
Life is messy. Or as Susan Scott puts it, “ Life is curly .” Having successful conversations is a learned skill, but even for those with a lot of training, conversations don’t always go the way we planned. And when they don’t, they can potentially impact our relationships in ways that are less than peachy. After a conversation, we may leave behind what we at Fierce call an emotional wake . The emotional wake can be either positive or negative and is experienced by either one or all parties involved. It tends to show up as an afterglow, aftermath, or aftertaste . In the case of an aftermath or aftertaste following a conversation, frustrated thoughts, confusion, or waves of guilt may arise. These feelings are an indicator that a rupture or miscommunication may have occurred that we need to address. So why is it important to clean things up after...
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The Compelling Case for Giving Employees More Freedom

The Compelling Case for Giving Employees More Freedom
This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Inc. and builds a case along with tips for giving employees more freedom.   Growing research shows that employee autonomy leads to higher levels of workplace satisfaction and improves workplace performance by allowing creativity to flourish. It also grants a sense of ownership and accountability while spurring productivity. Bellhops, a startup company employing students from around the country to coordinate and assist with residential moving jobs, allows its contracts to have total autonomy over their schedule, who they work with, and how much money they make. Per Bellhops and Shelley Prevost, Co-Founder and CEO of Torch, here are some tips for creating more autonomy in your workplace. 1. Relinquish the 9-5. “People are all different. Some do their best work in the early morning. Some prefer to grind it out on the weekends or in the wee small hours of the morning....
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Want to Improve Workplace Performance? Don’t Overlook This Essential Element

Want to Improve Workplace Performance? Don’t Overlook This Essential Element
Improving performance requires leaders to consider employee engagement, satisfaction, and culture and ask how these areas can be strengthened. One how  element of performance that deserves an in-depth look is autonomy . What comes to mind when you think of autonomy? You might imagine engaging in solo work with your headphones on, focused, independent, and free of distractions. While there might be some truth to this idea of autonomy, there’s a lot more to it. For starters, it’s less about how often we interact with others and more about ownership, accountability, trust relative to our work, and having a sense of control over how we use our time. In a larger context, autonomy creates a sense of empowerment for the person who is autonomous. Let’s look at some data that supports just how much autonomy matters… Researchers from the University of Birmingham have reported that if you have flexible working...
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5 Critical Steps to Fearless Confrontation

5 Critical Steps to Fearless Confrontation
This week’s Friday Resource comes from  Forbes and details the necessary steps women can take for a fearless (and effective) confrontation. Having a confrontation conversation is rarely easy for anyone and can be particularly challenging for women. Others' expectations and perceptions of gender can add another layer of difficulty when the need arises to face a person or situation head-on. One essential element of a successful confrontation is acknowledging what we’re afraid of and why—perhaps we’re afraid things will go poorly the way they did in the past when we attempted a confrontation, or perhaps we’re afraid of the intensity of our own emotions. Per Kathy Caprino, Forbes contributor, here are some critical steps we can take to overcome reluctance related to confrontation. 1. Mentally prepare. “Carefully evaluate what you’re thinking and feeling, and identify the real issue that you need to address. Tease out all the tangential factors, emotions...
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8 Things You Should Do Before a Vacation to Avoid Feeling Stressed When You Return

8 Things You Should Do Before a Vacation to Avoid Feeling Stressed When You Return
This week’s Fierce resource comes from Business Insider and lists eight things you can do before vacation that will help reduce stress when you return to work. Most of us look forward to vacation. But when we don’t plan accordingly for our time away, our return to the office can leave us feeling even more stressed than we did before we left. The purpose of vacation is to relax, spend quality time with ourselves and our loved ones, and reconnect with what really matters to us. It’s important for us to maximize this time so that we can return to work a revitalized version of ourselves and take on the challenges that lie ahead. Fortunately, proper planning can help us receive the full benefits of time away. Per Jacquelyn Smith, Business Insider, with insights from Michael Kerr, international business speaker and author of You Can't Be Serious! Putting Humor to...
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How to Be a Leader People Want to Follow

How to Be a Leader People Want to Follow
This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Business Insider and lists seven ways you can become a more inspiring leader. Being in a position of leadership does not automatically qualify someone as a leader whom others trust or feel inspired by to produce their best work. The key to becoming a great leader is to first learn what makes a great leader and then carry out these qualities through actions. Per Jason DeMers, Business Insider contributor and founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, here are ways to effectively become a “follow-worthy” leader. 1. Show respect to those around you (even when you don’t feel like it). “True respect doesn’t depend on the other person doing something (or not doing something). It means recognizing that all people are inherently worthy of respect; even people who drive you crazy or who haven’t done a single thing to earn it. It means treating...
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5 Things Managers Say That Leaders Don't

5 Things Managers Say That Leaders Don
"Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be." –Ralph Waldo Emerson The terms “management” and “leadership” are used interchangeably. But there’s a definite distinction between what it means to manage and what it means to lead. Managers are known to operate with authority, tend to have a fixed mindset, and focus on tasks, whereas leaders see themselves as partners with their teammates in a shared mission, tend to focus more on outcomes, and feel a sense of duty to inspire and motivate their teams. Leaders have a growth mindset and support autonomy. Obviously, people want to be led, not managed. And if you’re not sure why that’s so important, here’s an eye-opener: a Gallup poll of over 7,000 people revealed that 50% of employees “left their job to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point...
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4 Barriers to Personal and Professional Growth (And How to Tear ‘em Down)

4 Barriers to Personal and Professional Growth (And How to Tear ‘em Down)
“You will either step forward into growth, or backward into safety.” —Abraham Maslow Throughout life, we experience moments of momentum where we feel like we’re expanding, moving upward, and spreading our fierce little wings. Other times, we feel like our own growth has become sluggish or blocked in some way. When stagnation occurs, it’s an indication that it’s time to get curious and shake things up. Stagnation can be safe and comfortable…at least in the beginning. I like to use the analogy of a dirty house when thinking about this concept. It feels nice sometimes to ignore chores. But after a while, the dishes in the sink start to smell bad, dust piles up on the shelves, and you can’t seem to find where you put anything. Growth works much the same way. We can get comfortable in our routines, but eventually the stagnation weighs on us. The longer we’re...
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5 Tips for Finding Fierce Focus in Your Life

5 Tips for Finding Fierce Focus in Your Life
“When the WHY is clear, the HOW is easy.” –Unknown Read the news and you're probably aware of what could be referred to as chaos in our fast-paced, increasingly complex world. And all that news doesn’t even touch on the happenings in our personal lives, such as little Jimmy’s sore throat, your check engine light turning on during your morning commute, or Uncle Jeff’s open-heart surgery that’s scheduled this week. To focus is to put all our attention on the task at hand, and it isn’t always easy. And when focus is absent, it can jeopardize intended results within our organizations, seep into our time management efforts , and pull our attention away during important conversations. We’ve all had moments or even lengthy amounts of time when trying to focus felt like trying to move a massive boulder uphill. You may not be a body builder, but fortunately, you do...
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Why Frequent Feedback Conversations Are Thriving (and Annual Reviews Are Dying)

Why Frequent Feedback Conversations Are Thriving (and Annual Reviews Are Dying)
How often do you receive feedback at work? How often do you give it? “Not often” is a common answer. And I’m here to tell you that “not often” is not often enough. I used to work for an organization where employees received bi-yearly reviews. During these 30-minute meetings, my supervisor and I would go over the review forms and determine what was going well and where there was room for growth. The reviews were helpful when they occurred, but I wonder— if I had received this feedback months ago, or as issues were occurring, what difference would it have made for my own growth, the quality of my work, and the company? I’d bet money that it would’ve made a significant difference. The Case for Frequent Feedback Feedback (and how often it’s delivered) directly impacts performance and employee engagement. Hands down, employees perform better with more frequent feedback ....
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How Your Body Language Impacts Workplace Conversations

How Your Body Language Impacts Workplace Conversations
“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson Whether you’re giving (or receiving) feedback, confronting a colleague, having a collaborative meeting, or just engaging in casual conversation, your body language matters. Body language alone can make or break a conversation. According to Psychologist World , human communication is 20% verbal and 80% non-verbal . Body language that doesn’t coincide with the message we intend to send can therefore lead to relationship ruptures, misunderstandings, and unwanted outcomes. Body language is the primary language of emotion, and how others perceive our emotion influences how our communication lands for them. A study by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at New York University and Princeton revealed that body language is an even more accurate determiner of judging emotion than facial expressions. In short, your body language plays a significant role in how...
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6 Tips for Dealing with Unwanted Change in the Workplace

6 Tips for Dealing with Unwanted Change in the Workplace
“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving—we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it—but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr Change in the workplace can create a ripple effect of distress throughout an entire organization. Unwanted transitions may include big budget cuts, sudden layoffs, company relocations, or the introduction of different programs or processes that come with undesirable drawbacks. These types of changes are necessary at times, but depending on the circumstances, they can weigh heavily on employee morale and even affect an organization’s reputation. As unsettling as it can be at first, change is often positive. But on occasion, an organization may begin heading in a direction that compromises its values or mission. While the hope is that leadership will make decisions that...
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3 Reasons Why You Should Prioritize Innovation

3 Reasons Why You Should Prioritize Innovation
M. A. Rosanoff: "Mr. Edison, please tell me what laboratory rules you want me to observe." Thomas Edison: "There ain't no rules around here. We're trying to accomplish somep'n!" Motion pictures, rechargeable batteries, electric lighting. Thomas Edison and his research team managed to make a huge impact in the world. How exactly? By prioritizing innovation. Luckily, organizations don’t need to create a modern equivalent of something as pivotal as the incandescent lightbulb to make a positive impact. Innovation can take place in any industry and is present any time there’s a new improvement to a product, service, process, or strategy. When innovation occurs, positive impact is inevitable. Organizations often focus on initiatives and strategies that lead to innovation, such as strengthening leadership skills and promoting diversity of thought. But it's only when innovation is approached as a goal rather than a perk or side-effect that organizations can tap into their...
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When Heads Collide: 5 Tips for Managing Conflict

When Heads Collide: 5 Tips for Managing Conflict
"If we aren't going to be afraid of conflict, we have to see it as thinking, and then we have to get really good at it." –Margaret Heffernan Since January, we’ve focused our content heavily on creating more robust inclusion in the workplace. The main idea is this: inclusive cultures require collaboration and diversity of thought, where each team member has an equal opportunity to share their perspective. But what can you do as a leader when perspectives collide, causing friction between team members? Starkly opposing views can potentially stagnate timelines and cause friction—especially when one or more people hold particularly passionate views about a topic or high-stakes decision. Conflict can be productive, but in its midst, we want to assure we're making decisions effectively, maintaining (or reestablishing) a sense of team unity during the decision-making process, and patching any tension that may arise during and after heads have collided....
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Leadership Tips: Prepare for Change

Leadership Tips: Prepare for Change
A survey from Deloitte on change reports that 68% of participants agree that “change is continuous and embraces all areas of life and activities.” If you fall into the other 32% of people who either partially agree or don’t agree, we have news for you— you can’t escape change, and it’s an unavoidable part of life. You can’t change change. It's also a big part of what you may want for yourself, including growth and progress. In the workplace, much is changing, particularly around diversity and how we approach our careers. Millennials have replaced baby boomers as the most prevalent generation in the workforce, and women are earning higher salaries and holding positions in leadership now more than ever before. Technology will continue to evolve and play a larger role in our daily lives, and collaboration is becoming a bigger part of decision-making processes. Read some interesting predictions on the...
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Why Trust Requires Transparency (And How to Create Both)

Why Trust Requires Transparency (And How to Create Both)
“Earn trust, earn trust, earn trust. Then you can worry about the rest.” –Seth Godin We often hear about the need for transparency in personal and business relationships via TED Talks, articles, and gurus. But what exactly makes it so important? Can you recall a time in your personal or professional life when you discovered crucial information that wasn’t disclosed to you when you feel it should’ve been? Was your trust and loyalty for the person or people jeopardized as a result? Most of us have been there at some point. According to Tolero Solutions, 45% of employees say lack of trust in leadership is the biggest issue impacting their work performance. That’s huge. Lies and secrets break trust. On the contrary, honesty and transparency build trust. And when trust is created, it leads to a heightened sense of security and better employee performance . Although timing can be an...
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Different Perspectives Lead to the Best Ideas. Here’s Why.

Different Perspectives Lead to the Best Ideas. Here’s Why.
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” -Marcus Aurelius You’ve probably heard any of the given advice before: seek input, welcome perspectives, collaborate with others. But why? Where does the premise come from that inclusion is beneficial for individuals, teams, or organizations? An article from Scientific American entitled “How Diversity Makes Us Smarter” states that “decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers show that socially diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups.” Although the focus should be geared toward diverse thought regardless of social group, this finding illustrates that when individuals from different walks of life come together and share unique viewpoints, positive results increase. Our Fierce Team model uses the term “beach ball” to describe how perspectives occur within organizations....
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Have Goals for 2017? Here’s Why Planning is Paramount

Have Goals for 2017? Here’s Why Planning is Paramount
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Whether you intend to grow revenue, improve your professional relationships, or gain knowledge in your field, one thing is for sure: planning is paramount. Without it, your desire will exist as nothing more than just that—a desire. Would you chart the Atlantic Ocean on a sailboat without planning your route, equipment and provisions? You wouldn’t if you want to make it across. Individual and collective goals in the workplace are no different. Without a plan, both the vision and the action are without direction. To avoid becoming stranded in the middle of the figurative ocean this year, apply the following tips to help steer the course of your goals. Write it Down Until you write something down, it exists in the cluttered recesses of your mind. And according to research, writing down your goals will make you far...
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How to Leverage Millennial Strengths

How to Leverage Millennial Strengths
Statistics show that millennials now make up more than half of the current workforce . And in case you haven’t noticed, millennials have received a wave of criticism recently in the news, via social media and in the workplace. This recent uptick in criticism is no doubt connected to the rise in working millennials who are mixing and mingling with individuals from previous generations. Workplace friction has resulted. Older generations may be stumped as to how to accommodate and deal with the supposed millennial mentality, while millennials may be feeling frustrated, marginalized and unappreciated by their employers. A recent blog from Born Again Minimalist goes so far as to say that millennials are experiencing a type of cultural gaslighting: “Generations before us completely drove the bus into a lake and it’s somehow our fault everybody’s drowning...the millennial generation has been tasked with fixing the broken system we inherited and chastised...
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