3 Delegation Best Practices for First Time Managers

Sometimes we avoid certain conversations not because we don't want or need to have them, but because we don't know how to. As a new manager, a conversation about development is one you need to be having with your direct reports. The people you lead are now looking at you to help them get to their next step. If you’re a first-time manager, it’s time to develop your delegation muscle. When carried out effectively, delegation allows leaders and their teams to expand professionally and develop a greater sense of accountability. It also allows you to free up some of your time and energy so that you can focus on the areas where you’re needed most. A common misunderstanding among leaders is that delegating is about giving away tasks you don't want to do and increasing everyone else’s workload. We often refer to this as “dele-dumping.” Instead, the delegation conversation is...
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4 ESSENTIAL STEPS FOR LEADERS WHEN ADDRESSING A TEAM PERFORMANCE ISSUE

As a leader, you’ve ideally built a relationship with each of your team members. You’ve likely swapped stories about your families, collaborated on successful work projects, and built the emotional capital necessary to have a successful team. However, being a leader means that sometimes you are confronted with the challenge of how to best handle delicate situations, such as addressing a performance issue among your team. Even great teams, for one reason or another, don’t perform to the expected standard. You may try to avoid the situation and hope it goes away on its own. The reality, though, is that the problem does exist, and the longer it goes on without being talked about, the worse it will get. On a company level, the performance of each individual team impacts the organization’s overall production and revenue goals. As a leader, you are accountable for your team’s performance, and it’s critical...
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Demystifying Measurement & Leadership Training ROI

A common misconception about ROI is that it needs to be framed in a dollar amount. This may be the case with specific types of investments, but when it comes to behavioral training, what you're measuring can vary. If, for example, you know that your employees are experiencing some degree of disengagement, this could potentially be impacting your mo...
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Sustainability Made Easier: How to Reinforce Training and Overcome Roadblocks

​ In my experience with current and prospective Fierce clients, one of the greatest training-related concerns that surfaces is around sustainability. More specifically, how do we successfully implement reinforcement tools in our organization to maintain behavioral shifts? Sustainability seems to be an anomaly for many and it's often mistaken as com...
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Training vs. Learning: How to Make Your Training Program Stick

"Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and diligence." –Abigail Adams Each month, Fierce gathers together as an organization to share what has impacted us over the month. It's a time to reconnect and re-energize. This week our training department talked about their deep passion for how, at its core, Fierce is not actu...
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Leadership Tips: Bridge the Generation Gap

Chances are you work closely with someone who is of a different generation than you. Maybe he or she is your boss or your newest hire. Regardless, if they're on your team or you work directly with them, your relationship with said person(s) directly impacts your results. So how do you think you do at building relationships with people of a different generation than you? I've always done really well connecting with colleagues who are almost exactly my age or those in the Boomer age range. My values, how I see the world, and what we think is funny or interesting often times seems to be the same. And yet, do I work with people much younger than me or Gen X'ers? Yes. The reality is that it's important to be self-aware about who you form relationships with more organically and who you need to be more intentional with. It's...
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Leadership Tips: Show Appreciation to Your Leaders

For emotionally intelligent leaders, a marker for their success is how often they share appreciation with their teams. However, this week I want to put the conversation in the hands of those they lead. Think back over the year: How many times have you told your manager you appreciate him or her? The responsibility to build emotional capital is a two way street. It’s important to share with your boss, and those who lead within your organization, that you recognize their work and are thankful for the job they do. How do you show appreciation to your leaders?

3 Conversations To Develop Yourself

“While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a company, a relationship or a life – any single conversation can.” When I was in the entertainment industry, my friends and family loved to tell me about the fresh faced actor who landed in Hollywood, and on their first day, was plucked out of the crowd and put onto the path of stardom. I had to break the bad news to them. 99% of the time this story is not the entire truth, and rather, a glossed over version from a PR team. They pitch it that way, because many of us love the idea of being that one in a million, that person who has a glow and is launched on the path of success and prosperity. The reality? It doesn’t actually happen that way. You’re selling yourself short to buy into it. While someone...
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Leadership Tips: Practice Coaching

In our Fierce Coaching module , the goal is to ask questions in order to help an individual work through an idea or issue, in order to find a new path forward. This week look for opportunities to do this with someone in your life. Start by asking: What is the most important thing we should be talking about? Don’t coach them because you want to share your brilliant idea, or because you’ve been in a similar situation and have all the answers. Coach them because every time you ask someone what’s the most important thing we should be talking about together, you give yourself and that person the opportunity, through conversation, to have new perspective at the end of the conversation. Don't miss this rich opportunity.

How to Propose a New Idea in a Closed Environment

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” -Steve Jobs Anyone can be a leader within an organization. Whether or not your role has the “leader” title assigned to it, you can be someone on the forefront innovating. Organizations that encourage everyone, from individual contributors, managers, all the way up to the CEO, to take on a leadership mindset create cultures that don’t settle. Few companies are really in this place. Many choose to abide by an old rank and file hierarchy that squashes creativity and inevitably disengaging employees. So what can you do if you work inside a culture where new ideas are not welcomed? Do you have to accept it for what it is and keep your creativity to yourself? No. The beauty of culture is that it is made up of the people who inhabit it. Meaning, everyone impacts how things operate, not just those at the...
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Leadership Tips: Say It Out Loud

An old adage that I heard often growing up was think before you speak . This is a very valuable saying for me, because I am what you would call a classic "external processor." While that phrase has saved me from saying things that could have a negative impact, it has also encouraged me to self-edit and sometimes hesitate to voice opinions or concerns. This week's Fierce tip encourages you to say it out loud . This isn't about indulging in stream of consciousness, rather, it's about not over-analyzing. This week if you're in a meeting and you have an idea that you think could really move the team forward - speak up . Let go of needing to have a perfectly formed thought and allow others to influence and build off your inspiration. If your idea is met with a luke-warm reaction, don't get discouraged. As Albert Einstein said,...
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Leadership Tips: Face Your Leadership Fears

As a leader, it can be alluring to let fear dictate your decisions. No risk = no failure, and in the short term, that type of thinking might seem easier. However, the nature of fear can be debilitating and oftentimes can leave you stuck in the same place.  As a savvy leader you know that in order to progress, innovate, and accomplish your goals – forward movement is necessary. This week’s tip encourages you to look at what your leadership fears are and to ask yourself: What scares me to my core about being a leader? About achieving my goals? Take this opportunity to begin to have conversations around those fears. If you think your fear has inhibited your and your team's progress in any way, go to your team and call that out. Then ask them how they might move forward . You may have someone ready to solve that...
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3 Tips for Leaders to Avoid Insanity

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” -Albert Einstein As a leader, have you ever tried to solve the same problem the same exact way over and over again? In hindsight it might seem insane, however, in the moment the plan was set forth with great intentions and a level head. So where is the disconnect?  How can we make sure that when we come back to the drawing board we don’t keep doing the same thing we did before? Below are 3 proactive tips to help innovate with intention for your own sanity . Tip #1: Mix It Up In the Fierce Team model , we focus on seeking out different, competing perspectives from team members. This skill set can be incredibly useful when problem solving. In order to make sure, as a leader, you keep your wits about you, if your first attempt...
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Leadership Tips: Think Outside the Box

It’s easy to fall into a pattern. It’s only natural to apply your knowledge of a process, that you know works, to similar projects. You might think to yourself: I know an effective way to do this, why fix something that isn’t broken? This week’s tip is to question your processes, patterns, and ideas. Challenge yourself and those around you to think outside the box. This can be an effective exercise whether you’re in a defined, “official” leader role or not. Sometimes when our first instinct is to just streamline an idea, it can dampen the instinct to innovate. Thinking outside the box doesn’t mean making things more complicated. It can be as simple as getting more creative with how you spend your time in weekly meetings, how your organization handles customer service interaction, and even a new way your audience can interact with the brand of your company. If...
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Leadership Tips: Be Kind

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” ― Henry James Showing kindness in the workplace can get a bad rap. It can be mistaken as a weakness. Some believe it is an emotion we should not show. Don’t let this old school way of thinking misguide you. Being kind is the greatest gift we can give one another. It is an attribute that encompasses empathy and sympathy, while simultaneously building trust and respect. Kindness goes a long way and often takes very little energy on our parts. This week take every opportunity to be kindhearted to those you spend your days with. No act is too small and if the week provides you the chance to show your humanity in a large way – seize it!

Leadership Tips: Keep It Simple and Be Direct

I have learned over the years, in both my professional and personal life, that the best way to be direct is to keep it simple. Get to the point and get on with it. This week’s Fierce tip encourages you to do just that. When you have a conversation speak to the heart of the matter, don’t beat around the bush, mince words, beg the question, hem or ha, or double-talk. You might be surprised by how efficient being direct and simple can be.

Leadership Tips: Be Right Gracefully

I had a problem with wanting to flaunt being right in situations. I learned the lesson the hard way: This inclination was not serving me. Learning to not do the "nanner-nanner told you so" dance every time I accurately predicted something was not easy. However, once I stopped, it allowed me to strengthen all relationships in my life. It strengthened those relationships because nobody likes a know-it-all. Most importantly, though, I started paying more attention to my response, and it forced me to be a better listener. Instead of taking the time to pat myself on the back for being right, I take the time to ask questions and learn from others why they feel differently. I really try to listen to their point of view and look at it as a learning opportunity for both of us. This week I encourage you to join me in my practice to...
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Leadership Tips: Provide Autonomy

With engagement levels of employees at an all time low, many organizations are looking at what they can do in order to engage the hearts and the minds of their teams. While there is no one single right answer, our Fierce Whitepaper,  What Employees Really Think About Best Practices: Survey Uncovers 3 Things Employees Crave , shows that the top highest rated practices are Transparency, Autonomy, and Responsiveness. Nearly 50% of those responded identify the most beneficial practices as those that encourage accountability, development, and individual empowerment within the organization. Autonomy does just that. As defined in the Fierce whitepaper , autonomy provides people with the freedom to make appropriate decisions which ensures employees remain focused and engaged. This week, ask yourself: Do I provide my team the necessary level of autonomy to be active and engaged in their work? Are they clear on where they can act and when they...
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Leadership Tips: Perhaps We Don't Need Work/Life Balance

In business there is a lot of talk around work/life balance. To me, this topic is always too broad. I think for many, life is more fluid than that. In a world of constant connection, many of us work when we could be playing and play when we could be working. This week’s tip is about moving the conversation beyond looking at work/life balance as vacation and time at work. Rather than keeping those pieces apart, what would happen if we combined them more? Often people believe that you have to be really lucky to love what you do enough to not need a vacation from it. Perhaps in our current state of business, where 70% of Americans are disengaged at work, this is true. However, if your organization and your employees came to work each day as excited as they are to leave on Friday - what results could...
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Leadership Tips: Your First Idea May Be Your Best

Imagine for a second that you are in a meeting where the goal is to solve a challenge. An idea immediately comes to mind, however you skip over it, with the hope that an even more brilliant idea might pop into your head. Why do we do this? Why do we discount our immediate instinct? This week’s Fierce tip encourages you to vocalize all the first ideas you have, and to trust the instinct that told you that this is a problem, solution, challenge, or whatever it may be. If you’re a leader, this week when you are in a meeting, ask everyone to say their first ideas. You may be surprised as to what is being left unsaid due to self-editing. No matter what your initial idea may be it may look different once others collaborate and innovate on it, or it might be the perfect solution right off...
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Leadership Tips: Transparency - the Chicken or the Egg?

In leadership, there is a lot of talk about the need for transparency. Transparency builds trusts and loyalty; it makes people feel engaged and breeds accountability. And yet, for many leaders the conundrum becomes when and how much they share. If you think about it, it becomes a bit like a chicken and egg situation. Which comes first: The information or the trust? As a leader would you share more if you trusted more and, conversely, would others trust you more if they knew more? This week take a look at your relationships and see if you’re being as transparent as you could or should be. If not, ask yourself what is missing in your relationships that holds you back from fully sharing. Do not get caught up in what "should come first." Have the conversation.

What Are Your Top Leadership Fears?

Fear is a very real emotion for many leaders and often it has a prime seat at the table when tasked with making decisions, innovating, or trying new experiences. I remember once being told by a teacher, who was not impressed with my jungle gym skills, that I lacked a necessary level of fear. That always stuck with me, because while it didn't bother me at all to not look before I leaped, there were things that terrified me. What scares leaders is different for everybody . One leader might be terrified about delegating their responsibilities and then not even think twice about green lighting a new project with many unknowns. The reality is that things become less scary when the dialogue is open and honest. Nothing combats fear faster than having a conversation - whether it's with others or yourself. If you think about a common tactic of a...
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3 Delegation Best Practices for First Time Managers

Sometimes we avoid certain conversations not because we don't want or need to have them, but because we don't know how to. As a new manager, a conversation about development is one you need to be having with your direct reports. The people you lead are now looking at you to help them get to their next step. If you’re a first-time manager, it’s time to develop your delegation muscle. When carried out effectively, delegation allows leaders and their teams to expand professionally and develop a greater sense of accountability. It also allows you to free up some of your time and energy so that you can focus on the areas where you’re needed most. A common misunderstanding among leaders is that delegating is about giving away tasks you don't want to do and increasing everyone else’s workload. We often refer to this as “dele-dumping.” Instead, the delegation conversation is...
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Training vs. Learning - An Event vs. a Process

Each month Fierce gathers together as an organization to share what has impacted us over the month. It's a time to reconnect and re-energize. This week our training department talked about their deep passion for how, at its core, Fierce is not a training company - it's a learning company. So what's the difference? Training is an event; learning is a process. The reality is when organizations expect one or two days of training to magically transform their cultures, they're setting themselves up for disappointment. True behavior change happens when the heads and hearts of learners are engaged both in the classroom and beyond. Below are three easy ways to continue your employees' learning post-training. #1 Ask for Commitment You can't ask someone to change their behavior and learn new habits if there is no interest. So if you're bringing training, ask what type of training your employees want to...
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How Conversations Support Your Safety Plan

"Tressie Armstrong is a shining star, a model for how to build a strong, trusting school community that can and will do the right thing should the worst thing imaginable occur. When bad things happen, it is too late to talk. Armstrong started early." — Susan Scott The reality of the world we currently live in is that a school needs to have safety plan. It's no longer a nice to have, and instead, it is a must. Educators are faced with asking themselves incredibly difficult questions; what happens when the unthinkable becomes reality? When the unimaginable is happening to your students and teachers? How do we support the individuals, the school, and the community to cope with the aftermath? At the core of any solid safety plan are the relationships of the people who will execute on it. Strong relationships in that school and community before the crisis happen...
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Leadership Tips: Respect Others

This week Fierce joins the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) community at their 12th Annual Northwest Conference in Portland, Oregon . PBIS's mission is to provide a framework; it helps focus the conversation on the positive behavioral outcomes we want for our next generation. It involves schools, families, and their communities together. A concept that is talked a lot about within the PBIS community is respect. How do we learn to respect others? How do we learn to respect ourselves? The most simplistic answer is that it starts with how we talk with one another. How we are present with one another?  To achieve positive relationships into adulthood, we must teach our children the concept of respect from birth and continue to add to the conversation as they enter school and beyond.  This week, as adults, think about the concept of respect. How do you show others that you...
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How Do You Measure Your Learning and Development ROI?

As more companies begin to invest in their employees in serious ways the need to track how that investment is paying off continues. No matter what the size or industry of your organization, if money is spent, the company needs to see how it will eventually boomerang back in. This is a good thing! However, the key to successfully tracking the ROI of leadership development and training is to not compare apples to oranges. Growing the engagement, trust, and authenticity of your employees isn't the same as tracking the ROI of a new piece of machinery. In our Fierce webinar , partner Dianna Kokoszka, President of Mega Achievement Productivity Systems (MAPS) Institute at Keller Williams, discusses how she measures ROI for Keller Williams' coaching and leadership development programs. Click here and listen to the ROI webinar, and download The ROI of Skillful Conversation: Relationship Advice for Measurable Business Results to...
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Leadership Tips: Maintain the Relationship, Maintain the Culture

There is a lot of thoughtful energy that goes into building a best places to work culture. Often you make the effort to teach your employees a new skill set and create a common language. You might also build out time and check points to ensure that the knowledge is being transferred and then applied. Maybe you even celebrate your employees hard work when you begin to see results. However, no matter how long it takes you to create that best place to work, you can lose that culture in an instant. The key to avoiding the loss is to maintain the relationships inside your organization. In order to do that, every day you must have conversations that tackle tough challenges, provoke learning, interrogate reality, and enrich relationships. This week take a survey of your relationships and pay attention to the conversations that need to be had. Your culture depends...
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Culture at Work: The Tyranny of "Unwritten Rules"

This week's Fierce Resource was first published on the Forbes website and was written by Rodger Dean Duncan . C ulture at Work: The Tyranny of "Unwritten Rules"   explores the power of actions over words, and what a great impact the unspoken truths can have on a culture. For leaders this is critical. And you might not realize the signs your employees are picking up on until you ask. "As Yogi Berra famously noted, you can observe a lot by watching. What are the artifacts in your environment that tell you something about the culture? These include things like dress codes, reserved parking spaces, the size of people’s offices, and other tangible clues about how values are operationalized. You can also learn a lot by listening. Listen to the conversations in the hallways and employee cafeteria. Listen to the stories people tell. Listen to the legends perpetuated. The things...
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3 Tips to Motivate Your Employees by Tapping into the Love of the Team

This Friday we celebrate the holiday of love: Valentine's Day. Despite what your company thinks of interoffice romance , tapping into the emotions of how your employees feel about their colleagues, themselves, and their organization can be a great way to build relationships, and thus, motivate them to show up even more engaged. For a lot of us, the people we spend most of our days with are our co-workers. While common business practice would say that it's not a good idea to say you love your colleagues or boss, the truth is many of us develop deep connections that are made up of respect, admiration, loyalty, and trust - all the components of a loving relationship. Below are 3 tips to motivate your employees to be more engaged by tapping into the love of the team. Tip #1: Teach Them How to Confront All healthy relationships have a certain...
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Leadership Tips: Engagement is Everything

On the eve of marrying my husband, my grandmother, who had been married to my grandfather for 50 plus years, gave me some advice. I don't know what I was expecting, and I was struck by the simplicity of her words. She told me that as long as we both want it, we'll be fine. She said trouble begins to brew when both parties aren't engaged. And most importantly, the key to never having this happen is to never stop communicating. The truth is that this sage advice has served me beyond my relationship with my husband; this rule can be applied to almost all relationships. Engagement is everything; both parties have to want to be there, showing up, working at it, and building towards something. To do that, you have to be authentic, make time, expel the energy, and have the conversations. This week, Fierce is at the 2014...
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37 Ideas to Motivate Your Employees

This week's Fierce Resource was first published on the Business Insider website and was written by the Yong Entrepreneur Council . 37 Ideas to Motivate Your Employees  gives tips for how both young companies and established businesses can look at motivating their employees, so both their heads and their hearts are engaged. "A good job is hard to find, but every entrepreneur knows a good employee is even harder to keep. As an entrepreneur, one must ensure his or her company is staffed with people who look forward to coming to work every day for more than a paycheck. Through the years, I found that it was easy to keep employees motivated – all I had to do was provide them with a leader worth following and tasks worth fulfilling. But after almost seven years in business, I still find myself searching for new ways to maintain productivity while providing...
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Leadership Tips: Any Single Conversation Can

It's easy for things to become over complicated. Our world moves at lightning speed, and because of that, a lot of noise is created. We can spend our days not doing the work we want or need to be doing. This week focus on quieting the noise and get back to the basics. Do this by focusing on the relationships most central to your happiness and success. By engaging in conversations with those that ground you, inspire you, challenge you, or invigorate you, you give yourself the opportunity to hone in on what makes you, you . Return the favor, and if someone comes calling on your door to chat, be open to it. Remember that we're all going down our own path, and that while no conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a business, a life - any single conversation can.

Lower Operating Costs through Collaboration

This month we'll join healthcare professionals in Houston, Texas for the Talent Management People in Healthcare Summit . The healthcare industry is an industry all about people, and the conversations that do or do not happen are critical to the success of the organizations that make patient care their top priority. A challenge facing many leaders within the healthcare industry is how to keep a high quality of care when faced with ever rising operation costs. One of the great ways leaders can engage teams and save money is through collaboration. Fierce client, Presbyterian Senior Living   (PSL) faced the challenge of having 25 locations across four regions, where the different locations provided different services to varying types of clients. A question that arose for them was how could leadership ensure that employees were engaged and felt empowered to problem solve at a local level so that their customers and...
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Leadership Tips: Stay Persistent, Keep Having the Conversation

Today in the United States we honor and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a visionary, a leader, and above all else, persistent. This week I want to hone in on how that persistence manifested. Dr. King understood that change would happen when there was the opportunity to build relationship. In order for Americans to be truly free, all people needed to be able to have a conversation. To talk, to learn about one another, to share their similarities, these were necessary to realize that we are more alike than we are different. Being a millennial, I can at times take for granted, that in our not so distant past, two people of a different race couldn't even share a table, a bathroom, or certain section of a bus. Relationships are built in those small moments, in those everyday occurrences that make us who we are. If you...
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Everyday Workplace Training

This week's Fierce Resource was first published on the Training Magazine website as part of their current issue, and was written by Roy Saunderson . Everyday Workplace Training challenges trainers to look at how they bring the learning to their employees and whether old practices need an update. From peer-to-peer training, flipped learning, and massive on-line classrooms; technology and innovation have given us many ways to stay current. "With today’s rapid, technologically interfaced work world, we now are reminded that education and training are an everyday occurrence and will never end. It is reported that technology-based independent learning now accounts for nearly one-third of all workplace education and training... Today’s companies will place even greater value upon those employees who continue to learn required, updated knowledge and skills." To read the full article, click here .

Accountability, Listening, Culture: A Trainer's Work is Never Done

“Sometimes it seems like the different groups all speak their own language. Finance speaks Accounting. IT speaks Tech, and the Consultant speaks Consultantese. We need to understand each other’s perspectives. And in order to do that, we need  a shared language.” - KELLY PAINE, Accounting Manager & Change Management Lead for Cosmos, Costco Wholesale Words like accountability, culture, and listening get thrown around a lot in a trainer's world. As a trainer you strive to help build cultures that are all of these things, and you spend your days facilitating information, so that your company can be nimble and productive. It's not an easy job blending all the different learning styles, personality types, and competing interests into one strategy. Some adopt it quicker than others. Some are more appreciative. Some classes challenge you to your core. And what you have to remember day in and day out, between deadlines and training...
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Leadership Tips: Be Accountable, Listen to Yourself

This month Fierce is focusing on listening , and that can apply to both listening to others and to yourself. One of the voices we tend to ignore often is actually our own. Perhaps it's because it comes from inside our own head that we immediately dismiss it, and it can prove more valuable than we give it credit. One of the principles of a Fierce Conversations is to obey your instinct , and the skill involved in doing that is not shutting down the internal conversation that is happening within yourself . Instead, this week be present to your internal dialogue, wrestle around with it, fight with it, praise it, and then, if appropriate, share it. Why? Because to ignore it would be a disservice. As humans we are gifted with a mind that is both known and mysterious. Our ability to reason, internally rationalize, and yes, talk to...
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Does Becoming a Leader Make You a Bad Listener?

I once worked for a manager who, when I was first hired, shared that she prided herself on being a great listener and that her door was always open. Early in my training, other managers shared her sentiment, and told me how lucky I was to work for her - she was such a great listener. Then, I spoke with my teammates, and they had a very different opinion. They told stories of rushed meetings and clip responses. They told stories of going to her with an issue, and then she would throw her hands up with frustration. They shared that she always had time for other managers and very little for her own team. It wasn't long after hearing these stories that I experienced firsthand my new manager's "great" listening skills. In our first touch base, she asked me how I was liking my new position and what I...
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Fierce in the Schools: Conversations that Heal

This past Saturday, December 14 th , 2013, marked the one year anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, in Newton, Connecticut. As the airwaves and newspapers filled with stories about those who were lost and their surviving loved ones, I had this strong urge to pull back. I wanted to retreat from having conversations about or, reading, or listening to anything that dealt with this tragic and senseless incident. And yet, to do so gives away so much of the power I have over the situation. By making the conversation about Sandy Hook smaller, we make all the possibilities for healing smaller. And when I leaned in, what I learned is that many of the families of the victims are doing it– they’re having the conversation, every day, one conversation at a time, and they’re healing. In our Fierce in the Schools (FITS) division, the commitment is to...
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Leadership Tips: Feedback Fuels a Transparent Culture

This month I’ve talked about transparency and trust . It definitely got a reaction, and the dialogue got me thinking: What fuels a culture of transparency? For me, one very tangible aspect of a transparent culture  is one that provides constant and robust feedback, at all levels whether it’s top down or up the ladder. These are cultures that shy away from anonymous feedback, and instead, give the space to share positive and constructive feedback. Feedback conversations can be tough when the relationship is not there. The reason is because the relationship is built through prior conversations that are open and honest and  show that you care enough to put the energy into one another. This week ask yourself: How often do we provide feedback? Does that impact our transparency?

Peer Development: 3 Reasons to Help Other Leaders Be More Effective

Most leaders are not opposed to receiving feedback or learning from others. However time is precious, and with so much to do, continuing to develop yourself and other leaders can be overwhelming. Many will wait for HR or Leadership Development to bring the training to them; don’t be one of those leaders. Sometimes organizations don’t do a great job at leveraging the amazing talent that is found within their walls. The talent within can be used to develop tools for others. At the end of the day, who knows what you’re going through better than those working alongside you, striving to attain the same goals? Below are 3 easy ways to start developing other leaders, and in turn, yourself. #1: Create learning groups. Use this time to share your strengths, to help others in areas they might be struggling, to talk strategy, and to even brainstorm. This collective conversation builds...
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Leadership Tips: Give the Gift of Conversation

Every year my family has a tradition of watching the original Charlie Brown Christmas Special, and every year I’m in awe of the profoundness found in those 22 minutes. What makes this time of year so special is that we openly embrace, as a culture, the need to connect in a very authentic and real way. That above all else, our relationship to one another is most important. Charles Shulz's 1965 holiday cartoon commented on the continuing commercialization of this time of year, and while I can’t say that I don’t partake in the giving of gifts and eating of delicious dinners, the message to stay true to the spirit of the holidays always resonates with me. If you’re a leader, you may be thinking about what you can get your team. While gift baskets, spirits, and gift cards will be happily received, think about rounding the gift out by...
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Making the Case for Radical Transparency

"Everywhere, people are hungry to connect, to be seen and known as the unique individuals that they are, and this has an immediate and powerful impact on how we design business strategies and market our products and services, and ultimately, on whether our businesses succeed or fail." - Susan Scott, Fierce Leadership: A Bold Alternative to the Worst "Best" Practices of Business Today As humans, it's not uncommon to ask ourselves: What's in it for me? As a leader, when you have so many decisions and responsibilities on your plate, it's not crazy to think that you'll look at your options and make choices that benefit you. However, the mark of an effective leader is not that you ask what's in it for me. It's more than that. It's really a question of, as a leader, what do you hold in high esteem so that what you value is beneficial...
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Is Leadership a Thankless Job? 3 Ways to Change That

When doing research for this blog, I looked for studies and articles that focused on the importance of telling leaders thank you. Truth is there’s not a lot out there. The dialogue around employee appreciation and the role leaders need to play in recognizing their staff was tremendous; however, when it comes to telling leaders their doing a good job the conversation was nonexistent. A Fierce Survey conducted last year, that focused on the relationship between leaders and their direct reports showed that, in fact, 80% of respondents reported a positive working relationship with their boss. So if most of us appreciate the job our bosses are doing, the question then becomes: Are we telling them? Some are, and with employee engagement at an all-time low , my guess is the praise is thin all around. The truth is leadership should not be thankless job. When leaders feel under appreciated...
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What Conversation Are We Missing With Veterans?

According to the latest stats by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics , the unemployment rate among post 9/11 veterans is averaged at almost 10%. The overall number for unemployment for all veterans isn't that much better at 6.9%. Both numbers paint a dismal picture if you’re about to leave the military world and transition to civilian life. According to the collective wisdom, some of which comes from articles posted this week in TIME Magazine , the Washington Post , and CNN , top contributing factors to these high statistics are the increased number of veterans who have disabilities upon returning from war, bureaucratic stickiness, lack of civilian work experience, and the generational divide. The average unemployment rate among 18-24 year old veterans in 2012 was 20.4%. That's 5% higher than non-military individuals in the same demographic. While I don't underestimate the complexity of an issue like this, I have to wonder:...
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3 Reasons to Show Humility as a Leader

In our Fierce Conversations training we talk about older styles of leadership. One older style is the command and control mentality, which would have us believe that it’s better to hold your cards close to the vest and not let those you lead know too much. While this style of leadership may seem antiquated, too often it still creeps into our daily subconscious and limits leaders from showing the powerful quality of humility. The power of being a humble leader goes far beyond being a person that others like. It is actually very strategic. Below are three reasons showing humility as a leader impacts your bottom line. #1: Innovation Leaders who are comfortable with showing humility leave space for more robust conversations because they don’t limit what can or can’t be talked about. Arrogance in its nature makes things smaller. When you limit what is okay or not okay to...
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3 Tips for Deeper Conversations in Your Team Meetings

If you’re a connected leader, chances are you meet with your team weekly or bi-weekly to touch base and talk shop. While the details of the meeting will vary from leader to leader, the goal is usually the same: share ideas, innovate, and strategize. However, when speaking with our clients, it’s common to hear that in actuality making these touch base meetings meaningful can be tough. Typically the conversations stay on the surface. Below are three tips so you can begin to make the conversations within your group meetings more robust and deliberate while still having fun along the way. Tip #1: Not All Agendas Are Created Equal While there might be some logistical details that need to be covered in your meetings, they shouldn’t be put to the group in the same way as an idea that needs real creative thought around it. In our Team module , we...
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Don't Get Stuck in the Engagement Blame Trap

I’m guilty of being in a meeting and having a leader share a decision about a new strategy that I had a strong reaction too, and I did not s ay anything. I'm not proud of it. After the meeting I would pay attention to how the strategy shifted or changed the organization, typically my opinion on it only grew stronger, and yet, I remained silent. Finally, after some of the things I predicted occurred, I sat back smugly and thought, "I knew this was coming, I could see this from the outset." At the root of my apathetic attitude was not being truly engaged. Engagement can be tricky because it is a topic that often brings out a person’s desire to assign blame. Don’t waste your time in this trap – just start showing up the way you want others to show up as well. If you’re a leader,...
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Leadership Tips: How Do You Influence Others?

It’s easy in a world that moves as quickly as ours to not pay attention to the type of influence we have on one another. This is even more true for leaders. Everything leaders do has impact from looks to comments to decisions. However, for those of you who are reading this and thinking, " phew good thing I’m not a leader"... sorry, this still applies to you. Leadership is a mindset. You can be a leader without having any direct reports or formal decision-making power. Original thought leader Napoleon Hill said, “ Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” So this week, take the time to look at how your words and actions are influencing others. At Fierce, we say: Take responsibility for your emotional wake. Ask yourself: Are you leaving an aftertaste,...
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