Leadership Tips: Say What You Really Think

Leadership Tips: Say What You Really Think
Alethophobia is an intense, abnormal or illogical fear of the truth. In Fierce Leadership , Susan Scott asks, “How many times have you told someone – your boss, a colleague, a customer, your spouse – what you thought he or she wanted to hear, rather than what you were really thinking? Painted a false, rosy version of reality, glossing over problems or pretending they simply didn’t exist?” This happens often. The thing is…we have legitimate reasons for why we don’t want to fully disclose. Perhaps it has destroyed a relationship in your past, and you don’t want to do that again. Perhaps you have seen someone lose their job over disclosing more, and you happen to like your job. Maybe you truly don’t believe it is your place to say what you notice or feel (this is a popular one). The kicker is that not sharing the whole truth is...
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It's Time to Be the REAL You at Work

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This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by The Washington Post and explores the benefits of being the “real” you at work. In the article, Bucklan explains the benefits of ditching the “work persona” many people work years to cultivate. She asserts that although people take on this professional persona to enhance their careers, in the long run it damages it more than it helps. “When you feel comfortable in your own skin, you make stronger choices — choices your “professional” self might be afraid to make.” Bucklan explains six easy steps you can take to unleash the real work you. A few of these tips include speaking your mind, staying clear of the water cooler gossip and making yourself vulnerable. Work can be difficult enough when being your true authentic self – don’t make it harder by putting up a façade. Be you. Be fierce. Read the article

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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How to Address Employee Toxicity: 3 Fierce Tips

How to Address Employee Toxicity: 3 Fierce Tips
You know the one. The one who frequently complains. Gossips. Blames others. Leaves people hanging. Today we released our recent survey results from a thousand full-time employees across the U.S. who weighed in on toxic employees. Cited by the majority of respondents, a negative attitude is the most toxic and most detrimental trait an employee can have. And more than three-quarters (76%) say a special talent or skill never or infrequently outweighs the impact of a co-worker’s negativity. I completely agree with our respondents. I have personally witnessed how a toxic employee can bring a whole team down. Toxic employees wreak havoc on an organization. First and foremost, they increase stress, according to those surveyed, followed by decreasing overall job satisfaction. For the organization as a whole, respondents believe a toxic employee decreases morale, followed by decreasing productivity, and decreasing the quality of work product. For women, toxic employees have...
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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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5 Steps for Giving Productive Feedback

5 Steps for Giving Productive Feedback
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Entrepreneur and shares five steps for giving productive feedback that helps employees grow. Providing open and honest feedback to colleagues and employees is the most important element of growth and professional development. However, providing this feedback consistently is not always easy for both manager and employee. Many people cringe at the words, “Can I give you some feedback?” It is dependent on the manager to create enough trust and rapport with their reports to alleviate the fear and anxiety that is associated with a feedback conversation. By managing feedback in a positive way that helps the employee understand that feedback is meant to improve their performance and develop their skills, the individual receiving the feedback can approach the conversation calm and ready to listen. Per Scott Halford, there are five tips managers can exercise to create productive feedback that sticks: 1. Create...
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When Giving Critical Feedback, Focus on Your Nonverbal Cues

When Giving Critical Feedback, Focus on Your Nonverbal Cues
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Harvard Business Review and shares tips for focusing on nonverbal cues and body language when having feedback conversations. One of the most difficult things to do, from novice managers to tenured leaders, is give feedback. Especially when the feedback is critical and not easy to deliver. There is always a balancing act between delivering honest and open feedback and not discouraging the employee, causing them to retreat further inward. The ability to give this feedback successfully starts with the culture of the workplace. If employees are engaged and part of an inclusive environment where their voice is heard, chances are they are more likely to respond well to feedback. Per Emma Seppala, Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion, using a positive, open, and supportive style of feedback where employees feel safe can lead to incredible outcomes. “Leaders and managers in...
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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 Trust Requires Transparency (And How to Create Both)

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

9 Habits That Destroy Workplace Relationships
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Entrepreneur and shares nine habits that can destroy workplace relationships and how to avoid these slip-ups. It is well known that if you work a full-time job, chances are you’re spending more time with your “work family” than your immediate family. Due to the sheer amount of time spent with your colleagues, it is important to the individual employees and the business to have amicable relationships. There are countless reasons for forging strong bonds with coworkers. It boosts office morale, increases productivity, and most importantly – builds trust. If the reasons for creating these bonds at work are clear, what can get in the way of them? Per John Rampton, Entrepreneur, some nasty habits that can lead to strained relationships include: 1. Gossiping – Although the watercooler chat can be tempting sometimes, it’s best to avoid topics that include other colleagues. Gossip...
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4 Ways Your Company Benefits From Giving Back

4 Ways Your Company Benefits From Giving Back
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Entrepreneur and showcases four ways that a company can benefit from giving back to the community. Although charitable acts are supposed to be made for selfless reasons, without the anticipation of a return on investment, there are rewards for businesses that give back. Per John Boitnott, Entrepreneur Contributor, some of the ways companies can gain from giving back include: 1. Building respect and a good reputation in the community. The relationships formed through giving back to local organizations can add great value to businesses. When other people and businesses see the positive impact of charitable efforts, they want to support the company. Goodwill can go a very long way, and solidify a business as a steward to the community. 2. Improving the community. It goes without saying that giving back to the local community makes it a better place to work and...
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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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Leadership Tips: Stop "Customer Facing"

Leadership Tips: Stop "Customer Facing"
One of the phrases we dislike at Fierce is “customer facing.” The whole notion that you need a different face when you are talking with the customer just doesn’t work for us. While some may argue that it is just an expression, we know that words matter. And having a different face doesn’t work in business anymore. Being in marketing most of my career, most marketing leaders know that keeping the customer front and center is key to success, whether it is a product launch or incentive plan or key event. I have always loved that Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, intentionally leaves an empty chair at meeting conference tables and lets everyone know that it is occupied by “the most important person in the room” - the customer.   And in turn, everyone is forced to remember that the customer perspective needs to be remembered and considered, even if...
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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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New Survey Reveals Lack of Trust in Politics & Companies

New Survey Reveals Lack of Trust in Politics & Companies
Today we released survey findings that reveal people’s sentiments towards leaders in both business and politics. Given that we are in the middle of a contentious, unpredictable election cycle, our goal was to have a better understanding of what people are looking for in political leaders. We also wondered if there would be any difference with desired attributes for politicians compared to leaders in the corporate world. Our nationwide survey of several hundred professionals identifies how their views on leadership compare in the business and political worlds. In what I deem a “lack of trust”, we found that more than 71% of professionals believe neither U.S. Corporations nor the U.S. Government acts in the best interest of voters and employees. This is not particularly surprising given the climate and dialogue surrounding politicians and corporate America. However, when presented with a variety of characteristics, 51% of respondents ranked “communicator” as the...
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Leadership Tips: Don’t Fake It

Leadership Tips: Don’t Fake It
Fake it until you make it. We have all heard this phrase before. This is an appropriate notion when you are letting self-doubt or the imposter syndrome creep in. However, it is not great to fake it when it comes to who you are in situations – whether at work or at home. I was recently interviewed by Business News Daily about getting “personal” through the interview process. Any time we are in new situations, whether given new challenges or working with new people, there is an inclination to be who someone else wants you to be. The article dives into how the modern workplace has relaxed a bit from the "strictly business" environment of decades past, and the lines between work and play have blurred as the standard 9-to-5 workday becomes less common. It can be challenging to find how to bring your “blended” work-life self into the workplace....
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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: Build Trust with Your Team

Leadership Tips: Build Trust with Your Team
  Trust is created through persistent identity. Think about the people you trust most in your life. How have they built that trust with you? Most likely, those people have stayed consistent in their conversations and actions with you – they show up similarly time and time again. You know what you are going to get – even if it isn’t all perfect . Although we would love to have a magic button that we could press, the reality is that trust is a complex issue. Many leaders come to Fierce wanting to rebuild trust in their organization. And although it is complex, trust can be destroyed or built one conversation at a time. Destroyed by one failed, one missing, one inauthentic conversation at a time. Or built by one successful, one authentic, one fierce conversation at a time. It is a mindset and a skill set that people can...
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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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3 Tips to Be More Honest in the Workplace

3 Tips to Be More Honest in the Workplace
With National Honesty Day approaching on April 30 th , managers and leaders everywhere have an opportunity to evaluate the role honesty plays in their workplace. We surveyed over 1,400 executives and employees and found that 70% of respondents believed a lack of honesty impacted their company’s ability to perform optimally. When the topic of being truly honest comes up, leaders and employees usually express fear that some people can’t handle the “whole” truth. And we say simply: Stop with that excuse. Don’t make other people’s compromises for them. Hold people around you able to listen and learn the truth. It is the much more respectful route for everyone. Oftentimes when people say that the other person can’t handle it, it is really the person tasked with sharing something difficult or potentially trajectory-changing that have the issue in the first place. Be the person in your team, organization, family, and...
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Let’s Get Flexible: 1 Tip to Create What You Want at Work

Let’s Get Flexible: 1 Tip to Create What You Want at Work
It is the end of the era of pushing the “one size fits all” experience in the workplace. Employees expect a degree of flexibility and customization, whether that entails setting their own hours, working remotely, job sharing, or some other out of the box solution. While Boomers may be stereotyped to think this is an “entitled” approach to work, Boomers want the flexibility too. Hey, who could blame them? Blending life and work is more attainable than ever. And, change is hard. At Fierce, I talk with HR leaders who are working every day to give their employees what they want and need, while still upholding their organization’s responsibilities and goals. It is not an easy task. Yet, they must evolve their thinking to solve pressing work-life issues for their best and brightest. For example, take employees who seek to work fewer hours, whether for personal leave reasons or just...
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A Fierce Chat with Salesforce: Tips for Engaging with Prospects in the Age of Over-Connectivity

A Fierce Chat with Salesforce: Tips for Engaging with Prospects in the Age of Over-Connectivity
  In the very fast-paced and competitive world of sales and marketing, it can be tricky to find solid footing. It can be even trickier to make sure you stand out from your competitors.   Which brings us to our main point: You need to find new ways to connect with prospects and customers. Don’t stress about it, just pick up the phone to connect! That’s the great advice of Stacey Engle, Vice President of Marketing for Fierce, who recently explained why talking can prove to be better than texting. Tell me about your business and the solutions it offers customers?   Fierce is a global leadership training company that transforms the way companies communicate and connect with their employees and customers. We partner with our clients to build conversational skills that create more candor, engagement, and accountability. Our vision is to better the world one conversation at a time....
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Leadership Tips: Stop Your Excuses

Leadership Tips: Stop Your Excuses
Where in your work life do you make the most excuses? What are the most common ones? Some typical excuses I’ve heard in offices: I don’t have anyone to delegate to.   I’m better than the person that was just promoted.   My workload is too big. The thing about excuses is that they are often grounded in some truth. It can be true that you do not have enough resources to complete something. Or you don’t have the right people on your team. However, excuses become a problem when you dwell on them and don’t do anything about it. So instead of dwelling, at Fierce we recommend you reflect and say: “given x , what am I going to do about it?” So… Given I don’t have anyone to delegate to, I’m going to…   Given I’m better than the person that was just promoted, I’m going to…  ...
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Be Yourself, but Carefully

Be Yourself, but Carefully
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Harvard Business Review and explores how to maintain the right balance of “authenticity” in the workplace. Be Yourself, but Carefully   takes a deeper look into what it means to be authentic in the modern workplace. Despite its potential benefits, even the best communicator’s off-hand comments and self-disclosures can backfire at times. Are you misunderstood by your team? How do you balance giving feedback with relationship building? “Authenticity begins with self-awareness: knowing who you are—your values, emotions, and competencies—and how you’re perceived by others. Only then can you know what to reveal and when. Good communication skills are also key to effective self-disclosure; your stories are worthwhile only if you can express them well.” Read the full article.

Leadership Tips: Have a Conversation with Yourself

Leadership Tips: Have a Conversation with Yourself
This week is the last full week of March. That means that one quarter is in the books for 2015. When you look back at the last three months, what are you most proud of? What are you most embarrassed by? What have you learned? What do you think you should have learned? In order to go where you really want to go, at Fierce, we urge you to have the conversations with yourself. Get very clear about your direction and vision. Be direct. I always start the year with lofty goals. Hence why I write about having grace with yourself in January. And with the hustle of a new year -comes a demanding first quarter. I am sure you can relate to feeling like many of the things you wanted to accomplish are still lingering. After hours of conversations with leaders, I find that this time of year is...
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Love in the Air: Let’s Talk About Assumptions

Love in the Air: Let’s Talk About Assumptions
Office Romance.  Whether this term conjures up thoughts of fondness, anxiety or dread, it is an unavoidable reality in today’s workplace. This Valentine’s Day, here at Fierce, Inc. we have decided to set the record straight on the reality of inter-office dating. There’s a need to question the assumptions many of us have with the idea of dating a colleague—and to take the negative notions out of the equation. Assumption: We have to keep this a secret; we’ll both get fired if anyone finds out. Reality:  In this day and age of social media and a need to overshare, chances are, people will find out. And you don’t want your boss or colleagues to find out via a tweet or Facebook post that you are dating their officemate. Even if you aren’t officially “friends”, news gets around (as do retweets). Instead, schedule a meeting early in the relationship, and come...
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6 Crucial Lessons That School Can Never Teach

6 Crucial Lessons That School Can Never Teach
This week's Fierce Resource was originally published on Entrepreneur.com and was written by the Leading Authority for Young Entrepreneurs, Peter Voogd. To Excel You Must Learn These 6 Crucial Lessons That School Can Never Teach  provokes thought and encourages you to evaluate yourself today. What do you know? What are you really good at and what do you enjoy? What don't you like to do, but know doing it will propel you forward? Sometimes the things we enjoy doing, aren't always what will lead us to growth AND it's important to have a balance of both. Take the time to evaluate your responsibilities and think about what you could do differently, what would happen? "A powerful “why.” Realize that no matter where you are right now, you can always take it up a notch. Are you really giving your all daily? Your possibilities are endless when you find compelling reasons. The goal...
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6 R.E.A.L Questions Every Leader Should Be Asking

6 R.E.A.L Questions Every Leader Should Be Asking
This week's Fierce Resources comes from Inc.com and was written by Lolly Daskal, Founder of Lead From Within.  The 6 R.E.A.L Questions Every Leader Should Be Asking  highlights questions leaders can ask themselves to improve the quality of the relationships that surround them. Conversations may be taking place regularly and the reality is, often we aren't having real, direct, feedback rich conversations that move our relationships forward.  Take a moment to reflect on your communication style.  Do you listen to what others are saying? How do you show up to lead? "Listening is imperative to success: If you're not listening, you can't truly connect with your employees , customers, suppliers, vendors, and creditors. Listening gives you input and information, so think about speaking less and listening more." To read the full article, click here .

7 Ways You're Unconsciously Undermining Yourself

7 Ways You
Fierce CEO, Halley Bock, was quoted in this  Fast Company article by Gwen Moran. It was originally posted  here . People are judging you. It’s not fair, but when you start to progress in your career, your moves come under scrutiny. And you could be undermining yourself without even realizing it. “There are definitely things that people do that can make others think they’re ineffective leaders and they’re not always aware of them,” says Halley Bock, the president and CEO of Fierce, Inc., a leadership development and training firm based in Seattle. So, even if you think you're doing everything right, check yourself for these seven areas that can be harming your well-crafted image. 1. You look like you're not listening.  Being a poor listener can manifest in a number of different ways, including checking your phone while someone else is speaking, staring off into the distance, or just clearly...
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Great Leaders Build a Culture of Courage in a Climate Of Fear

Great Leaders Build a Culture of Courage in a Climate Of Fear
This week's Fierce Resource was first published on the Forbes website and was written by Margie Warrell . Great Leaders Build A Culture of Courage In A Climate Of Fear explores how leaders can move beyond a culture of fear and encourage courage and candor among their employees. The article explores three ways leaders can embolden, encourage, and and inspire their employees to be more brave. "Fear has always been a potent human emotion. Whether in a society or a corporation, fear  can spread like wildfire and sabotage the brightest minds, the biggest organizations and the most robust economies.   Which is why, in today’s competitive, accelerated and uncertain marketplace, creating a ‘culture of courage’ that emboldens employees to rise above their fears is vital to creating and sustaining competitive advanta ge." To read the full article, click here .

What Are Your Top Leadership Fears?

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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How Do You Measure Your Learning and Development ROI?

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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3 Tips to Motivate Your Employees by Tapping into the Love of the Team

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: Be Accountable, Listen to Yourself

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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Leadership Tips: Feedback Fuels a Transparent Culture

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?

Daniel Pink: New Rules on Being Successful in Sales

Daniel Pink: New Rules on Being Successful in Sales
This week's Fierce Resource was first published Wednesday, on Mathew E. May's American Express, Open Forum page. Daniel Pink: New Rules on Being Successful in Sales , is an insightful interview with author, speaker and entrepreneur, Daniel Pink . In the piece Daniel Pink speaks to his new book, To Sell is Human , and how one in nine of us earn our living selling a product, service or experience. What struck us about this piece is how relationship-focused the new way of selling has to be. In Fierce Negotiations , we focus on having the conversations to build the relationship, so you can negotiate in a way that actually enriches the relationship, while getting needs met on some level for both sides. "In the U.S., we've got one in nine workers who earn their livings selling products, services or experiences. That's a lot of people. But the bigger story...
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Honesty is the Secret to Success

Honesty is the Secret to Success
This week's Fierce Resource was first published yesterday on the CX Journey blog and was written by Erin Osterhaus. In Erin's piece, Honesty is the Secret to Success , she highlights Fierce President and CEO, Halley Bock , whose article, Why Honesty is the Secret Ingredient of Successful Organizations , was published last month on the Software Advice blog , The New Talent Times . "The success of an organization is closely related to an honest company culture. And here’s the proof: A 2010 Corporate Executive Board study found that companies encouraging open and honest feedback among its employees experienced superior shareholder returns over a ten year period, outperforming others by 270 percent...Impressive numbers, but do they hold up? To find out, Fierce, Inc., a leadership consulting firm, conducted its own research. The firm surveyed over 1,400 executives and employees, finding that the vast majority - 99 percent - preferred...
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Honesty in the Workplace

Honesty in the Workplace
Last week, Fierce CEO & President, Halley Bock published a piece on the Software Advice blog, The New Talent Times . The article, Why Honesty Is the Secret Ingredient of Successful Organizations , explores that a culture plagued by 'terminal niceness" misses opportunities to innovate, enrich relationships, and grow the business. Halley says, " Candor doesn’t simply happen organically. Organizations must proactively choose to encourage employees for being forthright and reward them accordingly. Our organization, Fierce, Inc., recently conducted a survey of more than 1,400 executives and employees found that an overwhelming—but predictable—99 percent of professionals preferred a workplace where co-workers discuss issues truthfully. How important is honesty? This survey found that 70 percent of respondents believed a lack of candor impacted their company’s ability to perform optimally. " Last Thursday, Forbes contributor Erika Andersen , called out Halley's article and weighed in on the topic of honesty in the...
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Effective Leaders are Consistent

Effective Leaders are Consistent
When discussing how to be an effective leader, it’s not uncommon to use buzz words like trust and authenticity. Yet, what does it truly mean to be a leader who, day in and day out, cultivates relationships that are actually trusting and authentic? When I reflect on the leaders who I have worked with, where the relationship is genuine and has a strong foundation built on trust, the common denominator is that the leader is consistent in their behavior and in turn, so am I. These leaders set themselves apart because they acknowledge that being a a leader is hard. They handle the pressure of leadership by being consistently thoughtful, agile, and quick on their feet, while having an awareness of their emotional wake . In clutch situations their employees don't "walk on egg shells" or wonder what outburst might happen next. They also make time for their employees. Schedules...
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The Downside of a Culture of Nice

The Downside of a Culture of Nice
I remember when I first started at a previous job and thought, “Wow, everyone is so happy and kind here all the time”. On a typical day, my boss would say good morning to me, remark on how dim it was in the office, and flip on a light. She would then ascend the stairs to her office whistling. When I walked into my 90-day review I felt confident about my work. I thought I understood what I had been doing well and where I needed to grow. What I didn’t expect was for my manager to have a list of situations where she felt I didn’t listen. “Remember all of those times I turned on the light? I was telling you to put more lights on every day.” I had completely missed the message. The issue with a culture of nice is that we talk around topics instead of...
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3 Commitments to Speak to People Rather Than About Them

3 Commitments to Speak to People Rather Than About Them
In partnership with Fierce in the Schools, the Learning Forward Blog publishes an exclusive article for our Fierce blog. Our guest writer is Stephanie Hirsh , the Executive Director of Learning Forward , Please visit the Learning Forward Blog , hosted by Education Week , to read more of their blog posts. Lately, I have experienced several challenges that have made me reflect on one of the staff agreements we list at Learning Forward: Speak to people rather than about them. Do not say something about someone who is not present unless you intend to share it with them and are seeking help in clarifying your request. Given my recent challenges, I asked myself - what can I do, as a leader, to build a climate where all people feel comfortable in sharing their point of view, and would not consider it necessary to represent the views of others? I...
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Leadership Tips: Make Your New Year's Resolution Count

Leadership Tips: Make Your New Year
This week brings a new year, and with it, a chance to make yourself better. Whatever it is you have committed to - a healthier lifestyle, learning a new skill, being on time - accomplishing your goal depends on grounding it in reality and being honest with yourself. This year when you commit to your New Year’s resolution, make it count. Change based on fantasy never has long term success. New behavior quickly can revert back to the old way. Start 2013 by having the conversations necessary to become clear on where you are currently and put your best foot forward into the New Year.

Leadership Tips: Get to the Ground Truth of an Issue

Leadership Tips: Get to the Ground Truth of an Issue
Have you ever had a conversation with someone and something did not sit well with you? I’m talking about the visceral feeling in the pit of your stomach. This week’s Fierce Tip is to obey your instinct and verbalize your concern to the person you are speaking with, so you can learn what is really happening – the ground truth. Often we can put blinders on when it comes to certain topics and even with certain people. It’s only when we engage in the conversation with others and see their reactions that it becomes clear there might be more that needs to be uncovered and discussed. This week when you’re having a conversation with someone, and it becomes clear that there is more than what is initially on the surface, don’t let yourself or the other person brush over what needs to be explored. Listen to your instincts and at...
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Leadership Tips: Say What Can't Be Said

Leadership Tips: Say What Can
This week’s Fierce tip is to say something that “can’t be said.” Regardless of your title or position, there are moments where your knee-jerk reaction is to not say something (that your gut tells you that you should say) to your colleague, your boss, or your team. For example, imagine you are in a meeting with a colleague who is really in love with an idea that you think will never work. Or another example, imagine confronting a member of your team about the behavior that you feel really has to change. These are the conversations with your name on them. This week take one moment where you feel you should stay quiet, and instead, decide to speak up. Leverage confronting a situation and get curious to gain clarity. Obey your instincts. People respond deeply to those who level with us. This week, strive to be the person who levels...
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Leadership Tips: What Are You Pretending Not to Know?

Leadership Tips: What Are You Pretending Not to Know?
Ask yourself a question: As a leader, what are you pretending not to know? This week’s Fierce tip is about taking a hard look at your team, your organization, and yourself. Out the truths that are there and are being ignored. Being in a leadership role allows you to see multiple competing realities. Successful leaders take the time to constantly survey their surroundings and make sure they are acknowledging other points of view that exist. This means going beyond your comfort zone and having conversations about views that may not match yours. For example, as a leader you may be aware that members of your team hold a very different perspective than you about an important issue facing your organization. Perhaps the topic is heated and brings out an emotional response in everyone. To deescalate the situation, your instinct may be to ignore their point of view or talk around...
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How to Invite Vulnerability Into Your Conversations

How to Invite Vulnerability Into Your Conversations
Vulnerability - it seems like a dirty word. It conjures up images of being weak or unable to accomplish the job at hand. And many people view it this way. However, I see it differently. I believe being vulnerable is an opportunity to share your perspective, to show up authentically, and engage on a deeper level. We each have our own perspectives on a given topic. Some may be more emotionally charged than others. In any case, it is important to expose your reality - not just have your perspective shared. Others can learn from you. People - and organizations for that matter - grow the most when there is discomfort and change. Sharing your unique perspective and being vulnerable moves it to a whole new level. And so the obvious question is - how do you daringly share your perspective? I would challenge you to start considering these three...
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Long-Term Manipulation is Extremely Difficult

Long-Term Manipulation is Extremely Difficult
This week's Fierce Resource was first published on Seth Godin's blog . As a thought leader, author, and entrepreneur Seth can always be counted on for a poignant and timely perspective. This week on the Fierce blog we focused on how to connect with your team as a leader , and in that spirit, we wanted to share Seth's blog post: Long-Term Manipulation is Extremely Difficult . "It's easy to fool someone or lie to them or give them what they think they want...Not so easy: to build mutually profitable long-term relationships that lead to satisfaction, trust and work worth doing." To read the full blog click here .

How to Connect with Your Team as a Leader

How to Connect with Your Team as a Leader
As a leader, it is sometimes difficult to balance how to deeply connect with your team and yet be sensitive to people who might want to keep their professional and personal lives separate. The first question you should ask yourself is: What kind of conversations am I having with my team? If all the conversations are around business goals and objectives, it’s likely you’re missing the opportunity to build a deep relationship that can enrich everyone involved.   And yet for some people, business performance is at the forefront of their minds and trying to connect with people outside of that context can be a tremendous challenge. Hope is not lost!  Below are three suggestions you can put to use immediately. 1)      Show up as the authentic you - consistently!  Being real is the first step in connecting.  Letting people see your ups and your downs will show you are human....
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Why Building Trust is the Most Important Job for Managers

Why Building Trust is the Most Important Job for Managers
Companies spend a lot of time and money training managers on their day-to-day responsibilities, with the focus being on the end result and the goals they need to hit. In turn, they believe that this type of development supports managers to build the trust necessary to accomplish their goals. Unfortunately, trust is not built by just crossing your “T’s” and dotting your “I’s”. Successful organizations know they need their managers to cultivate relationships on behalf of the company by building trust with the employees, other colleagues, and the customers. So how do your managers build that necessary level of trust so that those relationships become the workhorses for your organization? By having conversations that are open, authentic, and keep the health of the relationship in mind. Managers have to remember every interaction matters. There is no such thing as a trivial comment. If a company isn’t experiencing the overall success...
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Leadership Tips: Welcome the Chance to Unearth a “Mokita”

Leadership Tips: Welcome the Chance to Unearth a “Mokita”
“Mokita”- that which everyone knows and no one speaks of. The term “mokita” derives from The Papuans of New Guinea. In western culture, we commonly refer to these unspoken issues as “the elephant in the room” or the “800 pound gorilla”. Whatever you call it, we universally recognize that our lives contain a certain number of things we try to ignore. This week’s tip is to open yourself up and welcome the chance to unearth a “mokita”. If you’re a leader within an organization, suggest having an “Annual Mokita Amnesty Day”. This would be a time where your team can get together and put words to those unspoken issues that linger in your hallways. The goal is to stay current and avoid creating an even bigger “mokita”. It is critical before you call the meeting to ask yourself: Am I ready to hear what may come up? If the answer...
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