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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Navigating Identity Politics: Insight for Leaders

Navigating Identity Politics: Insight for Leaders
There is a phenomenon taking place where groups and individuals are shrinking rather than expanding their points of view, unwilling to consider someone else's perspective outside of their own social group—at work, in friendships, and within families. Political differences and polarization are threatening inclusion. And these rifts are happening in ...
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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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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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3 Conversations To Develop Yourself

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: Say It Out Loud

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

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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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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3 Tips for Leaders to Avoid Insanity

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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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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Leadership Tips: Keep It Simple and Be Direct

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.

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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Leadership Tips: Pay Attention to Your Influence

Leadership Tips: Pay Attention to Your Influence
What effect do you want to have on others when you leave a room or call? This week, you have the opportunity to infinitely inspire others…or do the opposite. At Fierce, one of the concepts is to take responsibility for your emotional wake. An emotional wake is what is remembered after you have left a conversation. It can be an afterglow, aftertaste, or aftermath. Which one do you choose? This week’s tip is to pay attention to your emotional wake, so that you are able to tune in and take responsibility for it.  All in all, what effects do you want to have on others this week?

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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Leadership Tips: Take It Personally

Leadership Tips: Take It Personally
In Fierce Conversations, we believe the phrases “Don’t take this personally” and “Don’t take yourself so seriously” are misguided suggestions. Do take it personally; do take yourself seriously. Work is deeply personal. And so is leading others. Leading anything in your life, for that matter. Instead of turning the other direction when your idea is rejected or something doesn’t go your way, stick with it. It is important to lean into those situations. Don’t shut yourself down or brush it off. For example, when one of my team’s marketing concepts is scrutinized, it is impossible to not feel some emotion or level of disappointment. Instead of becoming apathetic, acknowledge that the work is personal. And that we want to get it right, because we all care. (If we didn’t care, there wouldn’t be emotions.) And then the next step is to get curious and ask questions. This week’s tip is...
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3 Ways to Clear Barriers to Development for Women Leaders

3 Ways to Clear Barriers to Development for Women Leaders
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by The International Public Management Association for Human Resources and shares three ways to clear barriers to development for women leaders. As women assume more leadership and management roles in today’s workforce it becomes increasingly obvious that they bring with them different experiences, perspectives, and competencies that their male coworkers have not historically provided. And while providing specific leadership programs for women to continue their professional growth meets diversity initiatives, it is also a smart business move. While many workplaces have begun women-specific professional development and leadership programs, many barriers still remain, especially in male-dominated industries. According to Marcie Mueller, three ways to remove barriers and develop women leaders include: 1. Initiate Ways for Women to Gain Corporate Exposure . The old adage of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” can be applied to corporate development and professional advancement within...
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Leadership Tips: Build Your Leaders Up

Leadership Tips: Build Your Leaders Up
In our often time-constrained, all-consuming routines as leaders, it can be hard to focus and help others around you. And when I say others, I mean other leaders – the people you aren’t normally focused on helping and supporting. It’s often assumed that this orphaned population of fellow leaders are “skilled to fend for themselves.” Hey, they are super talented and should have it figured out…that’s their job, right?! Well, we know that is not reality. Leaders are pressured in all directions – from the top, the side, and the bottom. And when you think about it, often it is hard for them to even know what they need in the middle of it all. I was recently talking with a leader in one of our client companies, and she is tasked with building a new middle manager training program. When I asked about the vision, she shared that more...
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Leadership Tips: Ask for Feedback as a Leader

Leadership Tips: Ask for Feedback as a Leader
“Asking others for input increases their expectation that you will change in a positive way.” – Joseph Folkman, The Power of Feedback The world is constantly changing around you. An important employee leaves your team. A key client shifted the whole program for their upcoming session. A new company launches to compete with your core product. Your computer crashes. All before noon. Big or small fluctuations happen every minute of the day. Leaders must be able to track the trends with their teams and organizations. Feedback is important data in our daily lives, so we need to solicit input. So I ask: How much feedback are you receiving from your employees? My guess would be not enough. And if that is true, you need to ask. The higher up you are in the organization, the more removed you may be from how you are really doing from others’ perspectives. This...
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Why Women Entrepreneurs will be the Economic Force to Reckon with in 2017

Why Women Entrepreneurs will be the Economic Force to Reckon with in 2017
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by CNBC and explains why women entrepreneurs will be an economic force to be reckoned with in 2017 and moving forward. This past Wednesday we celebrated International Women’s Day across the globe and celebrated the ever-growing success of women in business. CNBC’s inaugural Upstart 25 List , featuring promising young start-ups, included 10 women-owned businesses. This only looks to increase as female-owned companies are growing at a rate of five times the national average and increased a whopping 45 percent over the last decade, eclipsing over $1.6 trillion in revenue. This trend is not exclusive to the United States either, as rates of women’s entrepreneurship have grown 10 percent over the last two years compared to only 5 percent for men across 51 different global economies. Per Elaine Pofeldt, CNBC, as the gender gap continues to decrease, women can look to other female...
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Women Leadership: A Reason, a Caution, and a Bottom Line

Women Leadership: A Reason, a Caution, and a Bottom Line
On this International Women's Day, I want to celebrate women all around the world. This day makes me reflect on the strong women leaders in my life who have propelled my career and have forever changed me—for the better. I am so grateful to you. You know who you are. Based on recent articles that struck me, I want to offer some considerations for propelling women into leadership roles. Let’s start with the current February 2017 stats. According to Catalyst, of the S&P 500 companies, 5.4% of CEOs are women, 9.5% of top earners are women, 19.9% of board seats are women, 25.1% of executive officers are women, and 36.4% of middle management are women. Given that the total employee base is 44.3% women, there is continual opportunity for women to rise to the higher managerial and leadership levels. These numbers have increased significantly in the last few years. This...
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Leadership Tips: Transparency - the Chicken or the Egg?

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.

Leadership Tips: Connect on a Deeper Level

Leadership Tips: Connect on a Deeper Level
The holidays tend to bring people together. However, being physically together can be a very different experience than truly connecting. For instance, how many times have you had coffee with someone and he or she is paying attention to technology? How many times have you been at an event and someone looks right past you to see who else is in the room? How about the times when a family member asks you how everything is, and you give the safe, small answer?   These are all missed opportunities to connect. And the impact on your relationships is probably greater than you think.   Take the longest study of human development, the ongoing Grant Study , which is a decades-long project that began following the lives of Harvard University men selected in 1938 – among them President John F. Kennedy and former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee – and tracked...
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Leadership Tips: Stop Stalling, It’s Time to Give Back

Leadership Tips: Stop Stalling, It’s Time to Give Back
When I talk with people in my network, they often say they want to give back more – give their time, their money, their expertise. But…they aren’t organized around it. Or…other things come up. Or…there are just too many options. And then, nothing happens. Well, now is the time to put some process around it and give back! Tomorrow is National Philanthropy Day . The day is meant to be a celebration of philanthropy—giving, volunteering and charitable engagement—that highlights the accomplishments, large and small, that philanthropy—and all those involved in the philanthropic process—makes to our society and our world. So, I ask: Are you giving back to your community at your desired capacity?   This week’s tip is to create a plan, if you aren’t. It doesn’t have to be in the form of dollars. There are so many ways to give back: Mentor a young person at your company...
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Using Emotional Intelligence Is a Woman Leader's Secret Weapon

Using Emotional Intelligence Is a Woman Leader
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Forbes.com and explains why using emotional intelligence is a woman leader’s secret weapon. In the article, LaRae Quy, former FBI counterintelligence agent talks about the role emotional intelligence (EQ) played in her career advancement within the FBI. Unlike many of her colleagues, Quy advanced her career and became an organizational leader by having a strong voice, not the loudest. Quy’s deviation from the FBI norm – tactics including aggressive, bullying behavior that relies heavily on intimidation to be effective allowed her to be extremely successful in her role. “Loud, boisterous, and pushy behavior may get attention, but it certainly does not get respect.” Quy provides four reasons emotional intelligence can be a woman leaders most powerful tool. Two are: Women Have Permission to Be Emotionally Intelligent; Men, Not So Much “Women in the workforce need to grab success however they can, but...
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Leadership Tips: Build Emotional Capital

Leadership Tips: Build Emotional Capital
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is awareness of yourself and your impact on others around you. EQ allows you to build relationships and drive results. Kendra Cherry, a psychology expert, discusses the differences between IQ and EQ in her article “ IQ or EQ: Which One Is More Important? ” She cites research that shows EQ plays a bigger role than a person’s intelligence in determining their success or failure at work. In fact, TalentSmart tested emotional intelligence alongside 33 other important workplace skills, and found that EQ is the strongest predictor of performance, When considering this fact, your ability to have conversations with emotions and increased understanding is not a soft skill. It is directly correlated to the results you achieve…or don’t. And it’s a significant factor. This week’s tip is to build emotional capital with people important to you. Avoid taking a withdrawal from people’s emotional bank accounts, and instead,...
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Leadership Tips: Have a Scary Conversation

Leadership Tips: Have a Scary Conversation
In the vein of Halloween’s ghosts, gremlins, and other frightening characters, think of something that is equally scary: a conversation you are avoiding. Perhaps it is a conversation with your boss about something she is doing that is not helpful. Or a conversation with a peer about what you are noticing that is not working for him. Or taking it home, maybe it is a conversation with your spouse or family member to discuss something that you do not feel the other is willing to talk about. Ok, do you have that conversation in mind? Does the thought of this conversation make you want to evaporate? Or run out the door? Or go on vacation? If so, that's a good sign. This week’s tip is to stop stalling and have the scary conversation now. Why? Because you own the fear, and the cost of not having the conversation is much...
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Common Pitfalls for Managers Building Accountability

Common Pitfalls for Managers Building Accountability
Daniel, a young manager, frequently finds himself frustrated that his team is not delivering projects on deadline. He doesn’t know how to fix it, and often uses a repertoire of different tactics to try to combat it. However, it seems that every time someone comes to him with a setback, he validates their reasoning. When asked about his approach, Daniel feels that he is being empathetic – a key trait for successful leaders. It wasn’t that long ago that Daniel was standing in their shoes. When Daniel is listening to his team, he understands the reasoning behind their comments.  There’s truth to the excuses . He finds himself saying things like “Oh, I know the budget isn’t where it should be”.  Or “Oh, I understand we do have a lot of projects on the table.”  His frustration lies in the fact that while the excuses keep coming, the results stay...
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Leadership Tips: Stay Healthy

Leadership Tips: Stay Healthy
It is that time of year again in North America. The days are shorter, and you most likely go into the office when it is still dark. And leave when it is dark too. It’s called winter. The seasonal change can often foster reflection and nesting, which are very positive. However, if your office is like Fierce’s headquarters lately, people are battling colds, and the collaborative goal is to keep them from spreading ( easier said than done) . Office health and wellbeing has been a growing topic of focus in the past few years. You can see it from Arianna Huffington’s focus on sleep to the growing revolution of mindfulness to the at-your-fingertips access to personal health, employees are paying attention. The  2016 Consumer Health Mindset Report  reveals that while employees perceive that health and wellness support through their employers has improved — there is still room to grow....
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13 Ways Leadership Can Lead Employees to Provide World-Class Customer Service

13 Ways Leadership Can Lead Employees to Provide World-Class Customer Service
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Forbes and discusses thirteen ways that great leadership can lead to employees delivering top-notch customer service. Leaders talk a lot about leading by example and, within the service industry, it is no different. Employees can’t deliver exceptional customer service consistently if their leaders don’t practice it is as well. The smallest of actions can resonate with your employees and drive the message of quality customer service. Equally, a leader’s lack of customer service will become the status quo quickly. Much like performance management and feedback, customer service should be reinforced at every available opportunity. Training for high levels of customer service should be an ongoing conversation – not just in the first week’s orientation. Weave the principles into your mission and celebrate the high performers. You will begin to build a culture of customer service that everyone adheres to. As a customer...
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Taking Responsibility Is the Highest Mark of Great Leaders

Taking Responsibility Is the Highest Mark of Great Leaders
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by  Forbes and describes why leaders with a track record of taking responsibility – for both individual and team actions – are more likely to be promoted than candidates with similar qualifications. Forbes Contributor, Zack Zenger, believes that a leader’s demonstrated willingness to behave responsibly is one of the most undervalued leadership characteristics. This often overlooked aspect in leadership literature is the driving force for many promotional decisions within organizations. Zenger asserts that responsibility extends far beyond accountability. Being accountable means you are willing to accept the results of a team project or activity as your own. A responsible leader understands that they are the person who must make things happen. They set their own agenda and personal goals aside, and continually pursue goals that benefit the company as a whole. “Responsible behavior includes doing things for which there is no immediate reward,...
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3 Tips to Describe Reality as a Leader

3 Tips to Describe Reality as a Leader
As we say at Fierce, no plan survives its collision with reality. And to make it even more complex, reality is constantly changing. What may be YOUR reality may not be MY reality at all – they could actually be directly competing. We might not even remotely understand each other’s key responsibilities in the business. Last year, Deloitte published one of its most popular articles in the Global Human Capital Trends , which was the chapter on “the overwhelmed employee”. Deloitte, and many human capital firms, saw this as a sign that the complexity and feeling of overload was hitting organizations even faster and harder than expected. And hence, there is a massive need for leaders to be able to describe what they think, what they believe, and what they observe in a way that moves the business forward – in a richer and deeper way. Successful leaders are able...
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Leadership Tips: Don’t Point Fingers

Leadership Tips: Don’t Point Fingers
A fierce leader does not blame others. A fierce leader asks, listens, and describes what has happened – without laying blame (that’s the hard part). I've worked with leaders in my past who would throw the first person they could under the bus when something went awry. Do you work with someone like that? Or more importantly - are you that person pointing the finger? If you are, I understand how tempting it is to share the juicy faults or issues, to share what really happened and lay out all the missteps. It's great gossip fodder. And besides that, it is often REALITY.  It is very hard to take responsibility for results that aren't necessarily completely in your control. There are prices you pay, though. When you blame someone else, people trust you less. And in today’s workplace – trust is a scarce resource. According to a new Edelman “Trust...
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Nature vs. Nurture: Are Leaders Born or Developed?

Nature vs. Nurture: Are Leaders Born or Developed?
The question of whether leaders are born or developed is a hot button issue. Nature versus nurture? This pesky question manifests in two scenarios. Scenario A:  If your organization thinks leaders are born, then they believe there are ready-made leaders waiting to rise through the appropriate ranks and land themselves in leadership positions. Scenario B: If your organization thinks leaders are developed, then they believe they need to offer leadership development and training programs so those who wish to become leaders can obtain the skills necessary to grow into leadership roles. Culturally these are two very different companies. Which culture do you have? At Fierce, we are not neutral. We believe that leaders are developed. We focus on the conversations that every leader needs to master. We teach that conversation skill set, and every day we hear stories about how people have “upped” their leadership game. What do you believe? Are leaders born or...
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All Successful Leaders Need This Quality: Self-Awareness

All Successful Leaders Need This Quality: Self-Awareness
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by  Forbes and discusses the quality all successful leaders should possess – self-awareness. According to a study conducted by Green Peak Partners, one of the most important and also undervalued leadership qualities is self-awareness. This has long been regarded as a “soft” skill, however leaders that have developed strong soft skills are performing much better than their peers. This is such a sought after quality amongst leaders because those who continually make time for self-reflection are able to diagnose areas of personal weakness and surround themselves with employees who excel where they lack. Although self-reflection is not discussed as much as communication, charisma and other hard leadership skills, it is just as important.  “The most effective executives I knew had, I believe, realistic assessments of their own abilities – their strengths and weaknesses, their effect on others, the gaps that needed to be...
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Leadership Tips: Kick the Post-Summer Blues through Reflecting

Leadership Tips: Kick the Post-Summer Blues through Reflecting
With the seasons changing and school starting, many workers can have the “post-summer blues.” You yourself may be mourning the end of the hot, sunny days. And if thoughts of the Greek isles or a summer camping trip are often coming to mind, it can be hard to focus on what is ahead. The one thing you should do to focus? Reflect. Reflecting sounds counterproductive when we have a lot to do, because our inclination may be to focus and grind away, to push past the feelings and thoughts. However, Master Facilitator, Beth Wagner, mentioned in a Fierce webinar at the beginning of the year, reflection is a very important and often overlooked activity for leaders.  Many  studies  have shown the critical role that reflection plays in performance and learning.  Leaders and employees alike who take time to reflect on their successes and their mistakes at work, perform 20-25% better than those...
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Leaders, You Must Scan Your Own Integrity

Leaders, You Must Scan Your Own Integrity
Many organizations and leaders have integrity as a core value. It is important in order to build trust.  In many ways, having integrity feels really touchy, feely. From an organizational standpoint, having a culture with high levels of integrity means that employees feel leadership is trustworthy and ethical.  The Trust Index Employee Survey (TIES) conducted annually by the Great Place to Work Institute measures a company’s level of integrity by asking questions about management. With this data, the TIES found that the higher measure of integrity, the better performance of the company. Leaders, that does mean that the performance of the indication lies on your shoulders – and ethics. So I ask: Do you feel your behaviors are in alignment with your personal values and your organization’s? Even if your overarching answer is yes , there most likely are areas that could be improved upon.  We recommend leaders to go...
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3 Easy Steps as a Leader to Challenge the Status Quo

3 Easy Steps as a Leader to Challenge the Status Quo
When you hear the word, status quo , what do you think? In this environment, many leaders know that status quo will not get their organizations where they need to go. Innovation needs to happen, and it needs to happen fast. To determine the biggest roadblocks for innovation, consulting firm Imaginatik conducted a study of 200 professionals in its "State of Global Innovation" report. They stated that given the low proportion of companies reporting aggressive investments in any major spending category, it appears that innovation is being systematically under-funded in most of today's companies. Our clients often have questions like: How will we compete for the best talent? How do we prepare for a disruption to our industry we can’t predict? What if our customers change overnight? What if we become irrelevant in the marketplace? Those are big questions. We often say at Fierce that the progress of the organization...
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Great Managers Can Fix Broken Performance Management Systems

Great Managers Can Fix Broken Performance Management Systems
This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Gallup.com and discusses how high performing managers can fix broken performance management systems. A Gallup study on The State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders revealed that companies hiring managers based on their talents and fit for the role see “a 48% increase in profitability, a 22% increase in productivity, a 30% increase in employee engagement scores, a 17% increase in customer engagement scores and a 19% decrease in turnover.” So what are these high performing managers getting right? They focus on building engagement and employee growth through developing their strengths – not correcting weaknesses. When an employee’s strengths are leveraged, they are more engaged because they are contributing at a higher level. This leads to higher retention rates and happier employees. Additionally, great managers understand the human element, and how to motivate by building genuine relationships with their...
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Leadership Tips: It’s Not About Being Right

Leadership Tips: It’s Not About Being Right
How many of you know someone who would rather “be right” than happy? Rather “be right” than loved? Rather “be right” than successful? Leaders often struggle with the idea that their job isn’t always to be right . It is to get it right – for everyone – the company and the results they produce. Early in my career I worked at a commercial real estate company, and one of the brokers often went into meetings and would argue his opinion until his face was blue. People knew that he would defend his position no matter what, so they stopped sharing theirs. Do you know anyone like this? As leaders, everything we say matters and holds weight. And going deeper, our intention in the conversation matters. Check-in with yourself about your intention when you present or share your ideas. This week’s tip is to be aware when you go into...
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7 Mistakes Most First-Time Managers Make at Least Once

7 Mistakes Most First-Time Managers Make at Least Once
This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by The Muse and explores common pitfalls of the first-time manager. The days of relying solely on yourself to get the job done are gone – as a manager you need to ensure you are providing your team with the resources they need to complete their jobs . Success is now measured by what your team can accomplish and requires consistent coaching, supervising, and guidance. Oftentimes, one of the hardest habits to break is to get out of the weeds and look at the big picture. As a manager, you are in charge of guiding your team or department towards long-term goals. Part of that is letting go of the tiny details and trusting your team to accomplish their individual goals (don’t become a micromanager – no one likes that). Getting into the cadence of a managerial role can take some time to...
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3 Tips for First Time Managers

3 Tips for First Time Managers
So, you got promoted to your first management job. Congrats! Most likely, it was a direct result of you achieving your goals in your last role. And now your responsibilities have increased, and it can be overwhelming for your metrics to be based on others, while also maintaining your own. A recent study by the Ken Blanchard Companies with over 500 managers revealed only 15% received any training prior to switching into the role of manager, as a result, 49% felt unprepared to succeed. By the six-month mark, 63% of respondents felt less than effective in their new role, and at 12 months 50% still felt somewhat ineffective. While, organizations do want to make sure first time managers get the help they need, you should not rely on what is given to you to be successful. (And clearly it is not working given the survey results). You must be diligent...
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Smart Leadership: Delegate, Prioritize and Simplify

Smart Leadership: Delegate, Prioritize and Simplify
This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Business News Daily and discusses why it pays to work smarter, not harder, by prioritizing and delegating tasks successfully.  In the article, Fallon deflates the myth that a leader’s success is measured by how late they stay in the office or how many emails they answer over the weekend. While it is important to work hard and lead by example, it is not healthy to create a culture of workaholics that feel late nights and early mornings in the office are the only way they will be recognized. “The job of a leader is exactly that: to lead. As a leader, your primary responsibility is to guide and supervise your employees as they get their work done, not to do everything yourself.” The truly effective leaders know how to work smarter, not harder. A huge part of this is having trust in...
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A Great Leader Is a Great Executor

A Great Leader Is a Great Executor
This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by the NY Times and features an interview with Adena Friedman, President and Chief Operating Officer at NASDAQ, and explores what it takes to be a great leader. In the article, Friedman dishes out some key tips that have helped her become a successful business woman and leader. Starting as an intern for NASDAQ, Friedman asserts that complacency is the enemy of all great companies – and leaders. “Don’t sit in your office and simply do what you’re told. Be intellectually curious, ask questions, walk around; try to learn as much about the business as you can.” This approach served her well as she rapidly moved up the ranks while still maintaining a healthy work-life balance with her three children. She was able to accomplish this through effective communication and the advent of modern technology. Looking at data and being able to quantify...
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Leaders, It Is Time to Be Brave and Be Fierce

Leaders, It Is Time to Be Brave and Be Fierce
Yesterday at the ATD International Conference ,  Brené Brown  shared her perspective on courage in the workplace. She confessed, which many people nodded in agreement, that she thinks leadership is one of the hardest things she has ever pursued, because great leaders are selfless. They give their time and energy to help others. Great leaders tackle tough challenges. They bring up the topics that need to be discussed and go there . They address the elephants in the room and take action on what needs attention, even when it is the last thing they want to do. So yes, leadership isn’t for the faint of heart. Leaders need to build and use their courage. And I love how Brene talks about courage. Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor - the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant "To...
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Leadership Tips: Challenge the Status Quo

Leadership Tips: Challenge the Status Quo
This week Fierce is in Denver, Colorado at the Association for Talent Development's annual international conference . We are gathered to meet with learning leaders, trainers, and people invested in the human capital space. We are gathered to question. To explore. To learn. To have fun. ( Follow us at #befierceatd .) Today, esteemed thought leader Simon Sinek is speaking about how the leaders and companies that make the greatest impact are the ones who are able to inspire – they challenge the status quo and act in very specific patterns. One of my favorite Sinek quotes is, “We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe. Their ability to make us feel like we belong, to make us feel special, safe and not alone is part of what gives them the ability to inspire us.” It is a leader’s responsibility to have a...
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The Best Way for New Leaders to Build Trust

The Best Way for New Leaders to Build Trust
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Harvard Business Review and explores the best ways for a new leader within an organization to build trust with their newly appointed team. Building the complete trust of a team is never an easy feat for any leader within an organization. It becomes even more difficult when you are new to an organization and have to earn the trust of an established team. This has to be the number one priority for any new leader, and they need to address it on day one. In his article, Dougherty explains that meeting with as many individual contributors to the team as soon as possible and gathering as much information is a crucial starting point. This differs from the approach many new leaders have, which is to come in and produce answers to ongoing problems immediately –without gathering the necessary information first. During these...
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Leadership Tips: Plan for 5 Conversations

Leadership Tips: Plan for 5 Conversations
A common belief that gets in everybody’s way about having Fierce Conversations is that the other person may not be fierce back. Newsflash: That doesn’t matter. Fierce Conversations are not about somebody else needing to operate within the rules. In our workshops, we talk about how many of us probably know somebody about whom we feel: “There is no point in even trying to talk to that person, because…They won’t listen. They’ll get upset. They’ll get defensive, emotional, irrationally— they can’t handle it.” The thing is, when we think that way, we will most likely avoid the conversation altogether. And that is not okay. To kick start having the conversations you really need to have, we encourage people to answer core questions critical to your personal success . Here are five for you to start with:   What one experience do I most want to have my life?   What...
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