Conversation Chaos: The Hidden Villain in Your Workplace

There's a villain in your organization. It's a Darth Vader, Wicked Witch, Sauron, or Lord Voldemort—and it's the reason why many of your most common workplace problems persist, including disengagement and poor performance. All issues in your organization have one thing in common: conversation chaos . Unproductive, unfocused, and ineffective communi...
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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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The Surprising Power of Appreciation at Work

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Forbes and explains how both positive and negative emotions have a cascading affect with employee morale. At Fierce, we have a term called an emotional wake . An emotional wake is what is remembered after you have left a conversation. Whether positive or negative, your emotional wake ripples out and affects your colleagues. It is contagious. A negative attitude in the workplace is just as infectious as a positive one. Per Chris Cancialosi, Forbes, constant complaining can have devastating outcomes on a team including: • It hurts productivity • It makes you look unprofessional • It brings people down Fortunately, a consistently positive outlook can produce the opposite results. According to Positivity Strategist Robyn Stratton-Berkessel, what you focus on grows. “It seems simple: you focus on joy and you grow joy, you focus on trust and you grow trust; you focus on...
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Leadership Tips: Show Appreciation to Your Leaders

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

3 Conversations To Develop Yourself

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

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

Leadership Tips: Engage with an Opposing Point of View

One of my favorite Bob Dylan songs is “A Satisfied Mind”. In the lyrics he says, “How many times have you heard someone say, if I had his money I'd do things my way.” I often think of this line when I look at leaders, and make a judgement of what I might do if I were in their position. When you look from the outside in, it can be easy to pass judgment when it’s all hypothetical. This week’s tip challenges all of us, whether you are in a formal leadership role or not, to participate in one of the more difficult aspects of being a leader: Engage , with an open mind and heart, with an opposing point of view. Leadership is more than a job title - it’s a state of mind. We can all participate and see how we handle the pressure of being someone who...
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Do You Love or Loathe Change? How Workplace Change Can Strengthen Your Organization

“You get the journey and you get the stress. At the end, you’re a different person. But both elements are part of the deal.” –Seth Godin Change can be surprising, scary, and uncertain. It is also a catalyst for new ideas and opportunities to be seized. It opens doorways to step into, even when what’s on the other side isn’t clear. It summons courage and builds strength, character, and lessons we can harness. In our personal lives, the workplace, and the world at large, change is constant. There’s not one form of media where this isn’t on display any moment of the day. No matter where you go or what you do, change will find you . If you’re a leader who wants to create a culture where change is viewed as a healthy element for growth, the first step is to embrace change yourself. Acknowledge it, hold an accountable...
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Lack of Clarity in the Workplace is Costing Your Organization

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

Tips & Templates for Gathering 360 Degree Feedback This week’s Friday resource comes from Quantum and discusses what employees want (and need) from feedback gathering processes. Annual (and even bi-annual or quarterly) feedback is outdated. When it comes to feedback, one thing is clear: continuous employee feedback is the most effective approach. In your organization, there are multiple methods you can use for gathering feedback. Unfortunately, some of these methods create more problems than they solve. Outdated processes can create hostility, lower morale, decrease engagement, and have a negative impact on workplace culture. So what are some of these problematic methods, and what are the alternative ways to request feedback? Take a look at these easy fixes, per Kourtney George, Quantum: The Problem: Once-A-Year Feedback Lack of frequency gives managers an excuse to avoid giving feedback and addressing performance the rest of the year, whether good or bad. The Fix:...
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Leadership Tips: Provide Autonomy

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

What conversations are you currently stalling? At work? At home?   No one likes to admit it, yet we do often put off tasks and responsibilities. Many studies report that extreme procrastination affects over 20% of the population. Even if you aren’t in this group, the lure of waiting until tomorrow affects us all at times. An online survey by The Procrastination Research Group posed the question, “To what extent is procrastination having a negative impact on your happiness?” Of the 2,700 responses, 46% said “quite a bit” or “very much,” and 18% claimed “extreme negative effect.” And yet, there are real reasons we put off doing things that are important. When it comes to conversations, we often put off the vital ones we need to have for reasons like: It will take too long.   The other person can’t handle it.   It’s not the right time. Those are...
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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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Why Frequent Feedback Conversations Are Thriving (and Annual Reviews Are Dying)

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

“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson Whether you’re giving (or receiving) feedback, confronting a colleague, having a collaborative meeting, or just engaging in casual conversation, your body language matters. Body language alone can make or break a conversation. According to Psychologist World , human communication is 20% verbal and 80% non-verbal . Body language that doesn’t coincide with the message we intend to send can therefore lead to relationship ruptures, misunderstandings, and unwanted outcomes. Body language is the primary language of emotion, and how others perceive our emotion influences how our communication lands for them. A study by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at New York University and Princeton revealed that body language is an even more accurate determiner of judging emotion than facial expressions. In short, your body language plays a significant role in how...
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Employee Appreciation Day: 4 Tips to Make a Sincere Impact

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Forbes and shares four simple tips to make sure this year’s Employee Appreciation Day celebration has a genuine impact. Humans are hardwired to crave appreciation. Year after year, appreciation is identified as one of the top motivators for employees to go above and beyond. Whether big or small, celebrating achievements feels good and acknowledging these wins can be the difference between employees delivering something that meets expectations or exceeds them. Appreciation leads to engagement, which results in higher performance. Employees are yearning for this more than pay raises and title changes. That says a lot. The good thing is, it is not too late to show the love! Start this year at your Employee Appreciation Day. Per Forbes Contributors David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom, a few things to help the celebration turn into an impactful event are: 1. Communicate. A lot of...
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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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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: Address Your Mokitas

Mokita is a Papua New Guinean term for something that  everyone knows but no one talks about .  Papua New Guineans measure the health of their tribes by how many mokitas they have. The fewer mokitas, the healthier the tribe. In other words, the tribes that can talk about the difficult topics are the most healthy. We have this concept in America. It’s called the elephant in the room. That thing that we know and feel compelled to not talk about, because the consequences may not be “pleasant.” The family gathering may have its own special elephant while your team meetings may have another. Mokitas can show up everywhere. One could be that your one team member is always late, and although it has negative impact on everyone, no one ever says anything. It could be that your mother always pressures you on a particular topic, and no one ever...
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Inspire Your Black Friday Workforce: Lessons From Retailers Who've Done It Right

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Forbes and shares lessons learned from retailers who have trained and inspired Black Friday workers the right way. In the wake of a contrasting election many retailers are wondering if it will be business as usual, or if consumer spending will be impacted. For shoppers, Cyber Monday is becoming a more attractive option as opposed to long lines and consumer chaos in retail stores. So how do retailers stay competitive and keep employees motivated to deliver a great consumer experience? Meghan Biro, Forbes Contributor, provides four leadership tactics that can help to manage employee motivation on Black Friday. Two of them are: 1. Be transparent. The success of a retailer on Black Friday comes down to customer service. Are your employees engaged? If not, chances are your business will suffer. This starts from the top down. For employees to remain engaged amongst...
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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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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 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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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: “Feed” Others with Your Feedback

Recall a time in the last month that you, as leader or peer, needed to give someone feedback – positive or constructive. Did you give it? Why or why not? Consistently throughout my work week, there are at least three or four times that someone will describe a situation to me about someone else, inside or outside of work, and my response is the exact same: Did you give he or she that feedback? (And I often ask the same question while processing the situation myself.) Feedback should be given for both positive and constructive intent . If Katie impressed every single person in the room in her last client presentation, did you give her specific feedback about how great she was? And going further, the impact it has on you? Or on the flip side, if Dan was tentative and less poised in his last presentation, did you give...
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The Best Tools for Improving Employee Engagement

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Tech.Co and explores techniques aimed at boosting employee enthusiasm. Employee engagement isn’t just this “touchy-feely” abstract concept it seems to be, it’s also about an organization’s productivity level. A Gallup study found that the annual cost of lost production in the United States is over $450 billion. If you want to earn back some of that lost revenue, you have to find a way to inspire and engage your team. The Best Tools for Improving Employee Engagement recommends creating a sense of unity by adopting a culture of constant communication. When employees feel like there are kept in the loop, they build a sense of accountability and are willing to go the extra mile. How transparent is you organization? “While some workers function better independently, having constant communication between the managers, the employees, and between colleagues will create a sense of unity....
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People Before Strategy - A New Role for the CHRO

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Harvard Business Review and argues for greater alignment between the executive suite and the chief human resources officer (CHRO). An organization’s success depends on how well individuals work together to overcome obstacles and adapt to an ever changing business landscape. Yet most companies relegate their Human Resource department to a supporting role that is only brought in to implement decisions that have already been made. People Before Strategy: A New Role for the CHRO contends that by bringing the CHRO into the strategic fold, companies can better assign talent towards corporate initiatives to unlock the full potential of an organization’s human capital. Is your organization prepared to bridge the leadership competency gap? “Because a company’s performance depends largely on the fit between people and jobs, the CHRO can be of enormous help by crystallizing what a particular job requires and realistically assessing...
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The Practice of Courage

A martial arts sensei said, “You are always practicing something.  The question is – What are you practicing?”  Darn good question. Whether we are practicing one-upmanship or cooperation, truth telling or lying, mentoring or self-promotion, fluency in three-letter acronyms or plain speaking, anonymous feedback or face-to-face feedback, our practices have an impact on our careers, our companies, our relationships. In Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, written during his year in a one-room cabin with few possessions, is this quote. “The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life that is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.” He was talking about the bigger house, and all the stuff we buy that ends up owning us, keeping us awake at night.  Amen to that! Let’s substitute the word “practice” for “thing.” The cost of a practice is the amount of life and,...
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Building a Giant in the Heavy-Equipment Industry

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on and highlights how the RDO Equipment Co. grew into a construction and agricultural empire by focusing on employee and customer engagement through radical transparency. Building a Giant in the Heavy-Equipment Industry describes one company’s journey from struggling public corporation to a thriving family-owned business.  Enticed by the prospect of substantial profits in the public sector, RDO soon learned that the grass wasn’t greener on the other side. As the pressure mounted, they decided to stop talking about meeting analyst expectations and start talking about the customer and the culture again. How wide is the gap between the “official” truth and the “ground” truth in your organization? “In RDO's modern culture, top leaders at the company say they maintain their success internally and externally by adhering to a set of action-oriented core values for business operation. These values include collaborating with employees,...
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In the Name of Admiration: 3 Tips to Share

Think about a person you admire in your life. How would you describe him or her? Is it someone who cares deeply about others? Someone who says the brave statements? Someone who acts so beautifully authentic? Someone who really listens? Have you told the person you feel the way you do? If you haven’t, channel some good advice: Sharing is caring, people. Here are three tips to share your admiration with someone: Be ready . Make sure it is a good time for you and the receiver to share your message. Do not rush it, and make sure you are not distracted. This is a time to honor someone else, so your phone and/or computer should not be in between the two of you. Be specific about what you admire. Let them know the impact they have had on your path or thought processes. The goal here is to be...
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Leadership Tips: Recognize Someone

Recognition is not a fluffy thing. It goes way past getting the gold star or a bunch of smiley faces on a feedback form. In fact, a HealthStream Research study discovered a 3x greater return on equity for companies that effectively recognize excellence. Researcher Karen Endresen said, “This study took recognition results from the soft side of business to a proven business essential.” You can check out more here . We take recognition seriously at Fierce. In fact, we have a culture committee that focuses on how people want to be recognized. After surveys and conversations, the committee launched our program, Fierceling of the Month . The qualification for a Fierceling is someone who has exceptionally exhibited the fierce values and the 7 principles of our work. It comes with a sexy orange cape as well. This week’s tip is to recognize someone for how they show up or display...
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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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The Naked Truth: How to Uncover An Insecure Leader

This week's Fierce resource was published on and was written by Lolly Daskal, President & CEO, Lead From Within. The Naked Truth: How to Uncover An Insecure Leader  reveals the damage of working with an insecure leader and the impact it has on teams and organizations. We can all be a little insecure at times, in fact walking into a meeting and discussing marketing tactics when we are on the sales team may seem out of our wheelhouse and the truth is that's OK. If everyone knew everything, organizations wouldn't get very far. The trick? Be comfortable not knowing the answer and allowing someone else to be the expert. In each of our Fierce programs we teach people how to make room for conversations to take place. That is where growth happens. What is the impact of an insecure leader? What happens when no one speaks up? " Insecure leaders are...
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Successful Leadership Requires 6 Critical Resources

This week's Fierce resource was originally published on and was written by Glenn Llopis. Successful Leadership Requires 6 Critical Resources reflects on the tools that leaders need to make productive decisions that move them and their teams forward. Imagine a day where you had every possible resource available to you, how would you use them? Now think about a traditional workday, many resources are not available, so how do you use your creativity to come up with the best solution? How do you make strategic decisions for your organization? " You don’t have all the answers and if you think you do – you will frequently make bad decisions.  As such, you must build a team that’s made to last. Earn their respect by being transparent enough to share difficult issues, and you will enable a crowdsourcing environment of problem solvers." Read the full article here.

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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No Excuses: Have the Conversation

How many times do you find an excuse not to have an important conversation? What excuses do we give ourselves? As a principal I had conversations all day. Conversations about student learning and achievement. “All conversations are with myself and sometimes they involve other people.” – Susan Scott A lot of the conversations I wasn’t having with others, I was having with myself. They kept me up at night. I thought about how the other person would react, then what I would say.  During my morning commute to work, I would think about the conversation I needed to have with a teacher and how it was going to play out, it never ended well. I gave myself the excuse that I had too much to accomplish that day , so I pushed it out another day. We all have these conversations with ourselves. I had them all the time at...
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8 Ways to Be a Courageous Leader

This week's Fierce resource was originally published on and was written by Steve Tobak. "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." - Winston Churchill What does courage look like to you? 8 Ways to Be a Courageous Leader   identifies attributes of leaders who step outside the boundaries and look at what is real and what needs to be said. We all struggle with bringing up an issue that may cause our company time and money, and it's important to raise the issue. More times than not, you will be saving your company in the long run. So, I ask: What does courage look like to you? What will you do that is more courageous in 2015? " Follow your gut when everyone tells you you're crazy .  Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin...
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Want to Make Your Employees Happy? Ask Them to Do Something Hard

This week's Fierce Resource was originally published on and written by Rebecca Borison. Want to Make Your Employees Happy? Ask Them to Do Something Hard  reveals a difficult, and not so simple challenge: How do you keep your employees engaged? The answer... more complex assignments where your people are actively solving a problem. It isn't rocket science and when they find the solution and share it, they can end the day with a sense of accomplishment. What assignments can you delegate to your team to promote development? What will this do for morale? " As a leader, you should look out for the following signs to determine when employees are ready for a new challenge : Everything they manage has run smoothly for a while; when they encounter a problem they quickly find a solution; they try to fix other problems at the office from different departments; and they've become inexplicably negative. If...
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Leadership Tips: Thank a Teacher

My ninth grade English teacher, Mr. Tuttle, made me learn grammar rules inside and out. He made me rewrite stories over and over again. On top of that, after giving me my first "D" ever in school, he responded with "you are better than this". Ouch. After my anger subsided, I acknowledged that he was right. He held me to higher standards, so I made my bar even higher. He never made compromises for me of what I was capable of handling or doing. And I am eternally grateful for that. It was a huge gift that has continued to serve me well.. Do you have a teacher like this in your life? Someone who impacted how you viewed your own capacity? This week's tip is to thank a teacher in your life. Be specific and share how he or she influenced you.

7 Leadership Actions that Support Staff Members

This week's Fierce Resources comes from and was written by Stephanie Hirsh, Executive Director, Learning Forward . 7 Leadership Actions that Support Staff Members provides tips on how to develop relationships by being supportive and willing to connect on topics that may be uncomfortable, and need to be addressed. Instead of asking closed-ended questions, get curious about what the other person has experienced. What might you learn? Think about asking a question that you've always been curious about... you never know what the result could be. " Schedule time for regular conversations focused on the individual's goals, successes, and struggles.  Setting aside time sends the message that you are truly interested in others' work and knowing how you can be most supportive of their success." To read the full article, click here .

6 R.E.A.L Questions Every Leader Should Be Asking

This week's Fierce Resources comes from 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 .

Leadership Tips: Get Real

At Fierce, we do not have annual performance reviews. The goal is to have open, honest conversations, 365 days a year, with the people central to your success – set aside rank and title. Talking about performance is one of many conversations you should be having with your leaders and team. In the vein of progress, one of the other conversations we have started to have with our fierce team members consists of self-evaluation, on a bi-annual basis, his or her meaning and growth around each of the Fierce core values. One of our Fierce values is Be Real. We describe it like this: There is no faking it at Fierce. We present ourselves—our capabilities and our knowledge—exactly as we are. We don’t pretend to be anything we aren’t. We are transparent with each other and our clients, and we embrace what makes each of us unique. We ask our...
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Managing vs. Coaching? In Today’s Workplace, You Really Need Both

This week’s Fierce Resource comes from  and was written by Laura Stack. It's a difficult choice to choose between managing and coaching, and at times, they are one in the same, and many times they are independent skills that produce differing results. Managing vs. Coaching? In Today's Workplace, You Really Need   Both shares observations about what it means to be a manager and the skill set that is expected. What skill set do you use to manage your team? Do you use a coaching framework in your daily interactions or do you find yourself going into advice giving mode? " The combination of mental work, social interaction, project juggling, time management challenges, high pressure, responsibility , and variability makes it among the more demanding types of work any person can take on. The hours are terrible and the stress is inevitable." To read the full article, click here...
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Leadership Tips: Share Stories About Feedback

Today, we launch our newest module:  Fierce Feedback . We are unveiling it at ASTD 2014, and the new training program is now available for implementation by organizations, as well as certification for Fierce trainers. In development for more than 18 months, Fierce Feedback enables organizations to develop skills that encourage feedback conversations. The benefits include a more honest, authentic corporate culture, strengthened and enriched relationships among coworkers, and more highly functional teams. This week, think of a time when someone’s feedback impacted the trajectory of your career. Tell us your story on Twitter, use hashtag #fiercefeedback. We'd also love to get your opinions about feedback in our quick poll here . Stay tuned! For more information, visit our launch page for a free tool to measure your team's perspective on feedback: . 

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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Collaboration is Key

The key is to collaborate. This is what we heard yesterday from Kelly Paine, Costco Manager, Organizational Change Management, at our Fierce session at  2014 Training Magazine Conference and Expo  in San Diego. In the session, Kelly Paine shared how Costco set the expectations for implementing company-wide communication training programs.  Specifically, Kelly shared the success of the Cosmos project (read more  here ) and how the Costco culture of teaching has been critical for its success. At Costco, leaders are expected to spend the majority of their time teaching and collaborating with their teams. In the Cosmos project, collaboration with new teams was created by taking different people out of the business and creating co-location, so people could really solicit the perspectives that they needed to have. To bring more collaboration to your organization, here are three tips to immediately apply. Tip #1: Extend the Invitation  Ask a leader if he or...
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Leadership Tips: Stay Persistent, Keep Having the Conversation

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

This week's Fierce Resource was first published yesterday on thought leader and entrepreneur, Seth Godin's blog . How Much Does It Cost You to Avoid the Feeling of Risk? asks us to examine how often and to what lengths we go to in order to not feel risk. This week on the Fierce blog we focused on listening fiercely , sometimes that can be a risky thing. "How many experiences are you missing out on because the (very unlikely) downsides are too frightening to contemplate?Are you avoiding leading, connecting or creating because to do so feels risky?...It's easy to pretend that indulging in the avoidance of the feeling of risk is free and unavoidable. It's neither." What listening opportunities are you missing if you avoid the feeling of risk? To read the full blog, click here .