3 Delegation Best Practices for First Time Managers

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

Today is the big day in the US: Midterm Elections . In light of this monumental event, we're encouraging everyone we know to join a nationwide conversation and vote . When you cast your ballot, you are choosing the people and policies that best represent you and your beliefs. More than ever in 2018, the level of enthusiasm, candidates, and measures...
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3 Easy Steps as a Leader to Challenge the Status Quo

As a leader, give yourself permission to question the status quo of your organization and invite your team to join in. Organizations develop a status quo for many reasons. Those reasons range from leaders feeling pressured for time and the need to prioritize, all the way to a culture that has a “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” mentality. What we mean by status quo is the current state of affairs. It’s how things are, and depending on the topic at hand, perhaps it’s how they’ve always been. Status quo is also a bias. It’s a preference that things stay the same. In a sense, it’s an aversion to change. Adhering to this bias is problematic, especially in business, because growth requires change. Companies and their cultures are living and breathing entities that change with the people who inhabit them. Policies that worked for one generation might fall on...
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Conversations Across Cultures: Best Practices for Rolling Out Fierce in a Global Market

When it comes to rolling out Fierce programs across a global market versus a domestic one, they're not all that different. As our VP of Global and Channel Partners Jaime Navarro mentioned in her recent blog post on training across the globe , very few if any changes are made to the program content. What's generally left to consider are the internal...
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How to Be Accountable for Your Emotional Wake as a Leader

What's the impact of a Fierce conversation before it's even happened? How often do you have a conversation with yourself before a team meeting, an interview, or prior to delivering feedback or confronting a problem? Consider it an essential part of your prep time, integrated into the normal routine of preparing for a meeting. And depending on the s...
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What Every Young Professional Should Have: Embracing a Growth Mindset with Fierce Conversations

This past week, I had the opportunity to attend the Fierce Conversations workshop here at the Fierce Seattle headquarters. As a member of Generation Z graduating from college soon and beginning my professional career, I was a little nervous about how I would be able to relate to a room full of seasoned leaders representing a variety of industries. ...
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Leading Business Problem #1: Losing Time and Money

In our latest eBook , we offer Fierce insight into six leading business problems companies are facing today, the impact of these problems, how you can identify them, and how to solve them. The first leading (and common!) business problem we highlight is a loss of time and money . If a company has never experienced a sudden drop in revenue, they may...
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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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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.

3 Ways to Take the Scare Out of Your Conversations

Think of a conversation that you need to have that scares you. 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, perhaps 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 a 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. These are the conversations I am talking about. I do understand the fear. There are legitimate reasons to be scared about having these conversations. Some people do not react well when confronted, regardless of how eloquent and thoughtful you are....
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5 Ways to Improve Employee Development at Your Company

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

How many times a week do you have a conversation that just stays at the surface? With your colleagues? With your family? With your friends? It happens often. Even when we are in conversation, we can breeze past each other altogether. The thing is: We are craving depth each day. We are craving real. We want people to care.  Joseph Pine said, "The experience of being understood, versus interpreted, is so compelling you can charge admission.” This week's tip is to seek to understand and go deeper in your conversations.  Where do you tend to have the most superficial conversations? Focus there. Ask more questions. Really listen. That's where the understanding happens.

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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New Research: The State of Miscommunication - 6 Insights on Effective Workplace Communication

We’re excited to announce Quantum Workplace's launch of the Fierce + Quantum eBook on the state of miscommunication in the workplace. The free eBook dives deep into the issues of miscommunication and offers solutions for creating more engagement and clarity in one-on-ones, team meetings, and organization-wide. We wanted to conduct this research on miscommunication to fully understand the impact it’s having on organizations, including the costs (time, money, engagement, relationships, productivity, and more), and explore how effective conversations can help. Fierce + Quantum Quantum helps organizations retain top talent, motivate performance, understand turnover, and build magnetic cultures. Their studies reveal that communication is indeed at the heart of employee engagement. Fierce and Quantum have both researched employee engagement in the past, and have weighed in on the conversations needed to improve engagement and workplace culture. In preparation for this eBook, Quantum Workplace and Fierce Conversations designed a survey to capture...
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Fierce Summit 2017: Day 2 Highlights

Day two of the fabulous Fierce Summit has come to an end, and today’s sessions came with powerful takeaways. Starting from earliest to latest… Regent Cornell: How to Build a Culture Ultimate Software’s tagline “People First” wasn’t drummed up by the marketing team to win awards or sell more widgets. It’s the way things are done at this fast-growing cloud computing company that landed it a top spot on Fortune’s 2016 List of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.” With a personal story that was both humorous and insightful, Regent Cornell revealed the five distinguishing characteristics of ‘Best Companies’ and demonstrated the bottom-line impact of putting People First: 1. Gratitude, 2. Respect, 3. Engagement, 4. Authenticity, and 5. Trust. Learn more about how Ultimate Software made the list here . Susan Scott: Become a Great Conversationalist In this intimate session, Fierce founder and CEO Susan Scott made the connection...
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Why Your Traditional Diversity Training Program is Not Working

Each year, organizations invest a lot of time and millions of dollars into diversity programs. I hate to break it to you, but the return on both the investment and expectations of traditional diversity efforts is falling terribly short. As a baby boomer, my career followed the new path of diversity. It wasn’t about inclusion at all. It was about numbers. The intent was good. The thinking was that if you change the numbers you would change the culture. Fortunately, we have learned so much and still have so far to go. Traditional programs are still not touching on some of the most critical issues that need to be addressed. In 2016, in a speech to the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar, diversity consultant Verna Myers said, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being invited to dance.” Traditional programs are just an invitation to the party. They become hollow...
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3 Ways Leaders Can Increase Empathy

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

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

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

Leadership Tips: Know They Can Handle It  

Excuses, excuses, excuses. People make excuses all the time when it comes to not having the conversations they need to have. We hear this everywhere regardless of one’s title, location, or status. One of the most common justifications to not have the conversation is the other person can’t handle it . Responses look like: They’ll get hurt. They’ll get defensive. They won’t talk about it. The irony of this excuse is that the person saying it is the one who is scared, uncertain, or assumptive about the outcome. Don’t get me wrong, there are absolutely valid reasons for feeling tentative. You may have been burned in the past. Maybe Johnny in the Finance Department spoke up, and he is no longer with your company. Maybe someone in your family continues to show up the same way every time things get tough. So given those realities, there is absolutely skill in...
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Leadership Tips: Keep It Simple and Be Direct

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

How to Prevent Your Own Brain from Hijacking Work Conversations

“Darn! I wish I hadn’t said that!” “Yikes, I really shouldn’t have done that!” We’ve all been there. These two phrases, or something like them, have come out of most of our mouths at one time or another. For some of us, more often than we care to admit! They are our regrets after we realize that we probably shouldn’t have raised our voice at that team member, or slammed our fists on our desks, or cursed at that driver who cut us off on our way to a meeting for which we’re already running late. For most of us, that automatic response may seem unavoidable. Indeed, many of us react, then naturally blame that other person for our behavior – “I couldn’t help it. It’s his fault!” or, “She should know better than to make me have to do that!” Yet, what we often fail to realize is that...
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Leadership Tips: Be Right Gracefully

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

The conversation is the relationship. It is such a simple five word sentence. Yet, the depth and applicability of this concept is powerful. The quality of your conversations dictate the quality of your relationships. Think of all the relationships in your life. With those, imagine that you must put the quality of your conversations on a scale of 1 being most satisfying to 10 being least satisfying. Where would those conversations land? Given all the relationships you may have on that scale, ask yourself:  As a leader, what kind of conversations are you having? Are they developmental and supportive? Or skeptical and controlling?   As a team member, what kind of conversations are you having? Are they collaborative and robust? Or superficial and frustrated?   As a friend, what kind of conversations are you having? Are they thoughtful and compassionate? Or assumptive and insincere   As an individual, what kind...
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How to Clean Up a Messy Conversation

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

This week’s Friday Resource comes from  Forbes and details the necessary steps women can take for a fearless (and effective) confrontation. Having a confrontation conversation is rarely easy for anyone and can be particularly challenging for women. Others' expectations and perceptions of gender can add another layer of difficulty when the need arises to face a person or situation head-on. One essential element of a successful confrontation is acknowledging what we’re afraid of and why—perhaps we’re afraid things will go poorly the way they did in the past when we attempted a confrontation, or perhaps we’re afraid of the intensity of our own emotions. Per Kathy Caprino, Forbes contributor, here are some critical steps we can take to overcome reluctance related to confrontation. 1. Mentally prepare. “Carefully evaluate what you’re thinking and feeling, and identify the real issue that you need to address. Tease out all the tangential factors, emotions...
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How to be Fierce in 3 Challenging Work Conversations

We all need to have them at some point. Those pesky, dreaded conversations. You know, the ones that can be awkward or uncomfortable or come with a crazy mix of emotions. When these unwelcome, challenging situations enter your life, your first instinct may be to run away, either physically or mentally. Once you think about the impracticality of escaping, you may minimize the issue – oh it isn’t that bad. Or I’ll just see if it happens again. Or I just will deal with this on my own. While this is a reality for many of us, I contend that those conversations you want to run from are the very ones you need to have. Why? Well firstly, you spend the majority of your time with the people at work, so from a practical perspective, you can only avoid these conversations so much. Secondly, HR Magazine reported that in a...
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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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5 Things Managers Say That Leaders Don't

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

Step back and reflect on all of the people you will interact with this week - inside and outside of work. Do you have a gut feeling about something that needs to be talked about? Now is the time to do something about it. I'm not saying that your instinct about a situation is necessarily correct.   Many times our instincts are fueled by our own fears or thoughts around a certain situation. What you may perceive as an issue, may be something entirely unrelated. However...what if it isn't? Is it worth glazing over? This week's tip is to connect with the person you most need to check-in with.   Be specific and share what you sense. The worst that can happen is you are wrong. Just be prepared to be.

5 Easy Ways to Handle Conflict at Work

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Inc and explores five ways to handle conflict at work. Conflict isn’t always a bad thing. Challenging a colleague’s opinion and “interrogating their reality,” as Fierce CEO Susan Scott would say, can produce amazing business results. It is important to know how to have these conversations tactfully to avoid a full-blown argument that accomplishes little. Great leaders know how to facilitate these conversations and set aside ego while practicing patience and self-awareness. Per Geoffrey James, Inc, some tips for handling conflict at the office are: 1. Pick your battles carefully. Although no one should be exempt from these difficult conversations, from the intern to the CEO, it is always best to choose them carefully. It is devastating to the individual and their colleagues if everything turns into a conflict. 2. Admit when you’re wrong. A common mistake for new managers is the...
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Leadership Tips: It’s the Week of Love - Share Appreciation at Home

This is the week of love in the United States. Valentine’s Day turns to the personal sides of our lives more than the professional, and to some, that may seem inappropriate for the workplace. However, I argue, with greater significance than ever, we must care about our employees’ relationships outside of the workplace. Gone are the days that our personal lives don’t intertwine with our workplace conversations. In fact, it is directly related to personal satisfaction at work. Last year, we surveyed 1,000 working women about work/life balance, and 82.6% shared that having a fulfilling relationship with their partner was the primary attribute of having it all. In Fierce Conversations , Susan Scott shares that we must discard the idea that our home and office conversations are quite different. She says, "When you squeeze an orange, what comes out of it? Orange juice. Why? Because that's what's inside it…When we...
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Leadership Tips: Make Your Conversation Resolution

Congratulations for arriving to the new year! You are in this exact place as a result of all of your conversations in 2016. Yes all of them. The successful and the failed ones. The clean and the messy ones. The ones with tears and the ones with laughs. The ones you had to redo. Each conversation brought you one step closer to this very moment, these exact results. So I ask:When you look back, are you happy with the results this past year? What relationships are the most fulfilling? What achievements are you most proud of? What do you wish you would have approached differently? Who deserved more of your time? When we take it seriously that we are navigating our lives one conversation at a time, it makes it less daunting to take on change because we know our job is to just show up, present and awake, for...
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Fierce 2017 Workplace Predictions

It’s that time again. Each year, top leaders within organizations are forced to address issues that take place both internally with the world as a whole. 2016 was no exception. From political climate shifts to new industry disruptors, change is continuing to be the new “normal” in the workplace. When we look into 2017, we see: Diversity and inclusion initiatives and programs will be expanded:  Whatever your political views entail, there is no denying the great divide that has taken over much of our country due to this year's presidential election. This confluence of beliefs can create issues in the workplace if individual workers feel marginalized, unsupported, or even fearful.  Taking control of this conversation is key for organizations to not only maintain the well-being of their employees, but to ensure that their workplace is one of acceptance across the board. Fierce anticipates that in the coming year there will...
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5 Hacks for Growing Your Team's Capacity

In times of constant change, we, as leaders, are often challenged with doing more with less . It can often be a reality – less resources, less people, and more ambitious goals. You can look at this from a negative lens. Or you can see the opportunity. Below are five ways to generate learning opportunities, and in turn, build your team’s capacity. 1. Conduct quarterly growth conversations. It is interesting how so many companies focus on growth and development within the first sixty days of a person’s role, and then it quickly turns to quotas and KPIs. Where did the development go? Be intentional about growth and have conversations on a regular basis about it. 2. Create stretch assignments. Look at projects in new ways. While you may worry about someone getting “off task”, it is often the opposite when someone is doing something different that interests them. It often...
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Post Election Hangover? A Challenge for You

Do you have a post-election hangover? There is a good chance you do. And, there is also a good chance that you are in the office with someone who feels differently than you do about the outcome of the election. It can feel awkward to interact with that person, especially if you engaged in prior discussions around your choices. This scenario of not seeing eye-to-eye is likely to pop up in all different scenes in your life – the office, school, church, grocery store, etc. The reality is, it is easy to point the finger. To disagree. To shut out. It is much harder to entertain an idea that competes with your own. To be curious. To be open. Given that, I wanted to share an excerpt from Fierce’s Founder, Susan Scott in Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time : What each...
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2 Reminders to Take the Scare out of Your Conversations

There are legitimate reasons to be scared about having some conversations. Let’s be honest - some people do not react well when confronted, regardless of how eloquent and thoughtful you are. Sometimes, certain discussions are not career-enhancing, depending on your colleagues and boss. This is reality. However, what is also reality is that the cost of not having the conversation is much greater than the risk of it going badly.  These needed conversations weigh you down. You know this. Science tells you this. So, here are two tips to overcome the scary nature of some exchanges:  Prepare accordingly.  Whether it is a feedback or confrontation conversation, preparation is key for having the conversation align with your intention. Here at Fierce we teach the preparation piece for various conversations, and oftentimes, people tell us that it is our magic. The goal is to make your conversations authentic and drive the results you want. So,...
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Common Pitfalls for Managers Building Accountability

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

Today is National Boss’s Day, and whether you loathe or admire yours, it’s a good time to reflect on the role this individual plays in your life. There are identified areas that contribute to a healthier employee-boss relationship, and one of them is continuously giving and acting on feedback. A few years ago, we conducted a Fierce Survey exploring employee-supervisor relationships . Eighty percent of respondents who reported a good employee-supervisor relationship claim that the most important thing a boss can do to create a positive working relationship is to both solicit and value their input. Among respondents who claimed to have a poor relationship with their boss, 42 percent stated that one of the top reasons the relationship was strained was due to their boss’ failure to listen or take their input into account. If you do not feel your boss listens or takes your input seriously, it is...
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13 Ways Leadership Can Lead Employees to Provide World-Class Customer Service

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

A couple of weeks ago I went into two different coffee shops – one an independent and one a chain. As I was waiting for my coffee I observed two interactions that left me scratching my head. The first was with a man who ordered a coffee and a breakfast sandwich. When his order came up he received only half of what he’d asked for and when he stated this wasn’t his correct order, the woman looked at him and said "oops". Then silence. No apology. No "Let me make you another one.", no "The next one is on us." The guy looked bewildered and left the coffee shop with his incomplete order in hand. That same week another gentleman ordered his coffee, admittedly with several ingredients and twists, and when his order came up the server had put in the wrong key flavor although the cup was clearly marked...
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The Work Conversations We Dread the Most, According to Research

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by  Harvard Business Review and delves into the work conversations we dread the most, and in some cases, avoid altogether. A recent survey conducted by Fractl asked over 1,000 people about their most difficult conversations at work. According to the research nearly 66% of respondents claimed they would go out of their way to try to make the other person in a “difficult” conversation feel comfortable and at ease. If the majority of people walk into these conversations intending to be collaborative, why do we dread these conversations so much? Although intentions are good, many times people still enter the conversation with a combative mentality. This is the mindset where someone wins the conversation and the other loses – resulting in both sides feeling dissatisfied. According to Kerry Jones of Fractl, some tips to prepare for a difficult conversation are: Determine what you...
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The Power of Context in Performance Management

Our beliefs, attitudes, and biases create a filter in which we view the world. At Fierce, we call this context . While it is unconscious, context affects everything we experience daily. What we believe determines how we interpret the world around us, and yes, it has a direct impact on the results we are – or are not – getting in our lives. Context shouldn’t be ignored during a performance management discussion. Before you begin the conversation, examine your context around the individual and the situation. Is it negative or positive? Ask yourself these questions: What are my beliefs (context) about this individual?   Are there beliefs that I am holding skewing the way I am preparing to approach this conversation?   What context does this person hold about me? This conversation? This company? What you believe to be true about people determines how you interact with them and how...
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Leadership Tips: It’s Not About Being Right

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

According to Lucid Meetings research, 55 million meetings occur per day. For average workers that means eight meetings per week. For managers, 12 per week. Meetings can vary from status updates to brainstorming, from company-wide to one-on-one’s. They range from mission critical for completion of a project or milestone to completely useless. And let’s be honest, with so many hours in meetings, it can be easy to go into autopilot. I want to focus on one-on-one meetings, because I see them as one of the best ways to build personal relationships and connections. These meetings give me insights about the person, our team, and the overall operations of the business in a way nothing else can. When effective, they truly give me a pulse on what needs to potentially start, stop, and continue. The catch? I must be willing to REALLY invite feedback and truthfulness into the conversation. It needs...
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