5 Ways to Embrace Change at Work and in Life

This week’s Friday resource comes from Inc . and offers 5 ways to welcome change when it arises in the workplace and in our personal lives. Avoiding the unavoidable is a fight we can’t win. Change is unavoidable—and continual. The antidote for the negative feelings we have when change arises is to embrace it. What we are able to see when we give up the fight is that most changes are positive in the long run, and they have a purpose that can serve our personal growth and the growth of organizations. Changes often occur as a means of improvement and as the result of something “not working.” Per Rhett Power, Head Coach and Inc. contributor, here are some ways to let go of resistance to change: 1. Change is Inevitable and Embracing Change Encourages Development “Because we repel change, we sometimes go through life without ever living up to...
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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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Leadership Tips: Embrace Change

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything . — George Bernard Shaw Change is hard. We all know. And we all have different tolerances for it, based on our experiences. I am the daughter of a Naval Officer, and growing up I lived in 12 houses before I was 18 years old. My friends joke and say that I was a “change manager” before I ever went into the human capital space. The thing is – change was always hard – even when I had a lot of it. We are deeply wired to stay in our comfort zone. However, I know I grew a lot, because I was continually uncomfortable. I had to be okay with being vulnerable and open to learning new things and making new friends. I remind myself of that. Where can you embrace variation in your life?...
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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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Why it Pays to Support Employees’ Personal Development

“Supporting another’s success won’t ever dampen yours.” –Unknown Imagine one of your employees jamming out on a guitar, lifting weights at the gym, or reading a textbook. You may not make an immediate connection between these behaviors and revenue, results, or workplace culture. But can these types of activities influence business for the better? You bet your britches they can. Personal and professional development go hand-in-hand—whether it’s directly related to work or not, each impacts the other. Growth is growth, and all kinds of growth contribute to happiness. Research shows happy employees are more creative, energized and successful , and happiness increases productivity by 12% . When employees know you care about their growth, they respond. It builds trust, commitment, and a host of other benefits that impact the bottom line. Let’s break it down. Here are some big benefits your organization stands to gain by supporting employee personal development:...
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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.

4 Mistakes Leaders Keep Making

This week’s Friday Resource comes from HBR and features four common mistakes that leaders continue to make. Over the last half century, approaches to leadership have shifted and grown dramatically. Regardless, some areas (even with the most progressive and advanced training programs in place) continue to be problematic in organizations. The most seasoned of leaders are prone to fall into certain traps, and these traps are often outside their awareness. The more aware leaders become of these behaviors, the more they will be able to mitigate their impact. blockquote>p { border:none;}/> Per Robert H. Schaffer, HBR, here are the four main behavioral traps to be mindful of: Behavior Trap 1: Failing to Set Proper Expectations Everyone has seen senior managers announce major directional changes or new goals without spelling out credible plans for achieving them or specifying who’s accountable: for instance, “We are going to reduce the use of cash...
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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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3 Tips for Leaders to Avoid Insanity

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

When we think of career growth, we tend to think about “moving up” the ladder. However, in today’s workforce, much is changing. Organizational hierarchies are less commonplace, jobs are more mobile and flexible than ever, and individuals are in a position to truly own their careers. Earlier this week, authors Beverly Kaye, Lindy Williams, and Lynn Cowart released their book titled Up is Not the Only Way: Rethinking Career Mobility . The book presents an alternative way of looking at our careers and presents tips for navigation that can advance our personal and professional growth and development in somewhat less-traditional (yet equally rewarding) ways. This book guides its readers into thinking about career mobility in a way that can lead to more options, and show how managers, coaches, and employees can partner to determine what's best and what's next. To give you an inside peek, here’s a content preview from...
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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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Fierce Summit 2017: Day 1 Highlights

The Fierce Summit has finally arrived! This one-of-a-kind leadership and learning event has been anticipated throughout the year by both the Fierce community and those who are new to Fierce. The event is taking place in the wake of much time, commitment, and TLC on behalf of the Fierce team, our clients, attendees, and speakers. After our special facilitator day on Tuesday the 12th, this was our first day of the official two-day event hosted at the W Hotel in downtown Seattle. Our speakers were carefully chosen for their messages--messages that are both inspiring and on the cutting edge of leadership. These powerful messages resonated with their audience today in a way that I believe will leave a lasting impact. Here are some notable speaker highlights from day one: Juliet Funt: Activity is Not Productivity: Raising Execution Through Reclaiming WhiteSpace After Susan Scott’s warm and insightful introduction, Juliet Funt, founder...
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Leadership Tips: Stop Your Excuses. You are the Culture.

Having a positive culture has real impact on business and your happiness at work. In fact, a  Columbia University study  shows that the likelihood of job turnover at an organization with rich company culture is a mere 13.9 percent, whereas the probability of job turnover in poor company cultures is 48.4 percent. That makes a huge difference…not just for the employer, but also for the fellow employees. Although people cerebrally understand culture's importance, people tend to talk about culture as something external.  For instance, a statement I often encounter when we are discussing fierce is: “My culture doesn't encourage transparent, direct communication, so I can't have those kinds of conversations with my executive team right now.” Sometimes that also sounds like, “If my company's culture was different, I would be different.” Or “If other people modeled those behaviors, I could do them too.” What I hear is   “Look at...
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How These Top Companies are Getting Inclusion Right

This week’s Friday resource comes from Fast Company and highlights the ways top companies have achieved results through their inclusion strategies. Inclusion produces a domino effect with more than one benefit: it creates a culture where employees feel encouraged, appreciated, and engaged, which leads to more innovation and collaboration, which then leads to positive results for the bottom line. Creating an inclusive culture requires a proactive approach on behalf of HR and leadership. Unfortunately, many traditional diversity and inclusion programs are ineffective and fail to address factors that are key when attempting to create cultural shifts. Per Gwen Moran, Fast Company, here are some often overlooked strategies from top companies who have successfully transformed their organization’s culture into one of inclusion and diversity: 1. Emphasize from the start. "At Johnson & Johnson, communicating the importance of inclusion is critical. At every level of training, diversity and inclusion are emphasized. 'As...
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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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Leadership Tips: Think Outside the Box

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

One Unconscious Bias is Keeping Women Out of Senior Roles

This week’s Friday resource comes from Business Insider and calls attention to a common bias preventing women from being promoted to leadership roles. A number of biases can impact our decisions in the workplace when it comes to hiring and promotion, but one bias in particular often prevents women from receiving the roles they’re seeking: affinity bias. Affinity bias is present when we show favoritism for people who are like us. If the majority of the people within an organization who hire and promote are men, affinity bias can lead them to choose candidates who are also men, even if the men being selected are not actually the most suited candidates. Per contributors Melissa Wheeler and Victor Sojo, here are some ways companies can overcome this bias: 1. Implementing gender targets and quotas to increase gender equality in leadership 2. Increasing awareness, which can mitigate the effects of affinity bias...
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An Easy Trick to Reduce Workplace Biases

“I may think I see you as you are, but in truth, I see you as I am.” - Susan Scott If you’re human, you’re guilty of having biases. We all plead a bit of insanity. We tend to see things through our own filters. Sometimes we make conclusions about a person or situation only to later realize the conclusion was unfair or lacked any basis in reality. In case you need a refresher, cognitive bias creates prejudice, skewed perception, or preference to show up in ways (and in places) where our work and the people around us end up marginalized, misunderstood, or otherwise negatively impacted. They often consist of conclusions or assumptions that in some way veer from the reality of the situation, leading us to make decisions that also disregard reality. Our workplace is affected by bias because we hire, interact with others, and even fire based on...
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Leadership Tips: Hold Yourself Able

At Fierce, we believe that accountability is a bias towards action: an attitude, a personal, private, non-negotiable choice about how to live your life. The reality is, as much as you may want to, you can’t hold someone accountable. In Fierce Accountability , we talk about the difference between holding someone accountable and holding someone able. When you hold someone able, you choose to recognize the capacity of each person you are connecting with to achieve the goals you agreed upon. Where can you take a more accountable position in your life? At work? On certain projects? With your partner? With your kids? This week’s tip is to hold yourself able with your commitments. Trust and make the choices you need to make for the important relationships and objectives in your life right now. You are the only one who can.

The Causes of Employee Negativity

This week’s Friday resource comes from The Balance and identifies the leading causes of employee negativity. Negativity is one of the leading causes of stress in the workplace . It decreases employee morale, productivity, job satisfaction, and work quality, which results in big costs to organizations. While negativity can stem from many various sources, research has identified five primary causes. Identifying the source of negativity can help employers both prevent negativity and address existing negativity in a constructive way through understanding, empathy, and action. Per Susan M. Heathfield, The Balance, here are some interesting insights into the causes of employee negativity: “A recent study answers the question about what causes employee negativity. The study, conducted by Towers Perrin and researchers Gang & Gang, surveyed a randomly selected group of 1,100 employees and 300 senior Human Resources executives working for mid-sized and large-sized companies in the United States and Canada. Participants...
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How to Address Employee Toxicity: 3 Fierce Tips

You know the one. The one who frequently complains. Gossips. Blames others. Leaves people hanging. Today we released our recent survey results from a thousand full-time employees across the U.S. who weighed in on toxic employees. Cited by the majority of respondents, a negative attitude is the most toxic and most detrimental trait an employee can have. And more than three-quarters (76%) say a special talent or skill never or infrequently outweighs the impact of a co-worker’s negativity. I completely agree with our respondents. I have personally witnessed how a toxic employee can bring a whole team down. Toxic employees wreak havoc on an organization. First and foremost, they increase stress, according to those surveyed, followed by decreasing overall job satisfaction. For the organization as a whole, respondents believe a toxic employee decreases morale, followed by decreasing productivity, and decreasing the quality of work product. For women, toxic employees have...
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Leadership Tips: 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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You Cannot Motivate Your Team, But You Can Inspire Them

This week’s Friday resource comes from Forbes and lists ways leaders can inspire their teams. There are two types of motivation: external and internal. External motivation often comes in the form of rewards, money, fame, or praise. Internal motivation, on the other hand, is driven by our deeper values and needs. Leaders can create external incentives, but these efforts are short-lived once the reward has run its course for the receiver. The best way to produce sustainable results within an organization is to tap into each individual’s internal world and inspire in a way that leads to long-lasting and self-directed action. When leaders have the right kind of conversations with their team members, it can inspire, engage, and drive employees to act. Here’s what to address in these conversations, according to Frances McIntosh, Forbes Coaches Council: 1. Connect with their core values. “By identifying what’s important to them and what...
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Cut Your Victim Bonding

  We all love to victim bond at times. Victim bonding occurs when people get together and talk about how horrible a situation is. At its core, it is consistent with talking about the situation rather than doing anything to change it.   Common foreplay for victim bonding looks like this:   Person A: Oh, you are having trouble with Bill?   Person B: Yes, absolutely. Are you having trouble with Bill? He’s horrible. He never gives me enough resources.   Person A: Me either! Oh, let me tell you this story…   And so the bond begins. It feels so good. It feels so right. Someone actually “gets it” or “gets you”.   Let’s pause on that.   The quote “misery likes company” applies to this situation. Essentially, you are not only choosing misery, you are choosing to have someone else’s misery in your life as well. Is that...
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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.

Calming Your Brain During Conflict

This week’s Friday resource comes from Harvard Business Review (HBR) and offers ways to help calm your brain and body during moments of conflict. Conflict is an inevitable part of life. When a conflict takes place, our brains and bodies often propel us into fight or flight mode. While this survival response is useful in life or death situations, it can potentially threaten our ability to move through conflict constructively and devise solutions that strengthen our relationships, both at work and at home. Once our fight or flight mode is “triggered,” our bodies produce stress hormones that dampen our memory and make it difficult to be open to other points of view. What initially began as a disagreement suddenly turns into a perceived threat, and we may feel overwhelmed with both the negative thoughts and uncomfortable sensations occurring within us. Fortunately, there are mindfulness-based steps we can take to prevent...
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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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7 Empathetic Traits that Exceptional Leaders Share

This week’s Friday resource comes from Entrepreneur and lists seven traits empathetic leaders have in common. When empathy is present in the workplace, it has the potential to create higher amounts of understanding, clarity, and trust. Widely considered one of the most beneficial attributes a leader can possess, empathy gives leaders the ability to see and feel the experiences of other people, including the individuals who comprise their teams. However, empathy can be considered an umbrella term—within it are several positive attributes that are widely shared among effective leaders. So what all does empathy entail? Per psychologist, author, and speaker Sherrie Campbell, here are some of the traits great leaders share. 1. Self-awareness. “Great leaders are deeply knowledgeable about themselves and committed to their own personal development. To be great we must do the same. The most influential people on earth, those who have left the most significant impact, led...
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Susan Scott’s Take on Results-Driven Conversation: An Interview by The Human Capital Institute

As part of the Nine to Thrive Podcast, HCI’s Holly Pennebaker spoke with our very own Susan Scott, Fierce Founder and CEO. In this podcast, Susan addresses the following questions: • What has inspired you to revise Fierce Conversations? • How would you describe barriers to communication? How would you recommend we overcome them? • What is often missing in our conversations, and how does the book address that? • What led you to make relationships such a central focus of the book? Using colorful examples, Susan dives into the specific exchanges that reveal the state of problems and shares the way to overcome barriers to meaningful conversations. She touches on how our approach should help us overcome problems by saying what is real —in a way that will be heard and useful to organizations and their teams. “Without relationship, we’ve got nothing.” – Susan Scott Listen to the podcast...
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Leadership Tips: Invite Negative Emotions

It is common to feel discomfort when dealing with other people’s emotions in the workplace. The old saying - leave your emotions at the door – can be a real invitation. I’m sure you know someone that you wish would take this advice more often. The problem with that statement is that many leaders want some emotions…and don’t want others. Most leaders welcome a lot of laughing, smiling, cheering, and all the happy emotions. And yet, they would want to modify that statement to: Leave your negative emotions at the door . It is not always fun to deal with disappointment, anger, frustration, what would be considered negative emotions. However, recent research has shown that negative thoughts and emotions play a critical role in helping us to understand our experiences. And hence, they fuel decision-making. In today’s workplace, leaders who are not comfortable with negative emotions are typically less able...
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Fostering the Sense of Belonging Promotes Success

This week’s Friday resource from Forbes discusses why belonging is important in the workplace and offers tips on how to create it. Having a sense of belonging is essential in our work environment for not only success but also our well-being. Belonging leads us to feel more engaged, connected, and fulfilled. To belong is to feel connected to the people we work with and to the work we do. John Baldoni, Forbes contributor, offers insights on how to generate this sense of belonging for employees. 1. Find purpose . "Work without purpose is work; work with purpose can be joy. When people know that what they do matters to others and how it is connected to what the organization gives meaning to labor. Purposeful work is work that encourages commitment." Read more tips and the full article here .

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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5 Conversation Tools for Nurturing Your Relationship with A Mentor

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Forbes and offers tips for nurturing your relationship with a career mentor. A mentor can offer guidance, wisdom and insights they’ve gained over the years. As with any relationship, your relationship with your mentor needs to be nurtured in order to grow and maintain it. Deep connections require building trust over time, and there are steps we can take to facilitate the strengthening of the mentor-mentee connection. Per Kelli Richards, Forbes, communication is essential. She advises, “ Communicate frequently . As a mentee, it’s your responsibility to reach out to your mentor when you need her. You should express your appreciation both verbally and with your actions. Take suggestions to heart, act on them, and send regular notes to communicate your progress and how you’re applying advice. Make it clear that you’re following through so your mentor knows she’s investing her time...
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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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Leadership Tips: Pay Attention to Your Influence

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

The Compelling Case for Giving Employees More Freedom

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Inc. and builds a case along with tips for giving employees more freedom.   Growing research shows that employee autonomy leads to higher levels of workplace satisfaction and improves workplace performance by allowing creativity to flourish. It also grants a sense of ownership and accountability while spurring productivity. Bellhops, a startup company employing students from around the country to coordinate and assist with residential moving jobs, allows its contracts to have total autonomy over their schedule, who they work with, and how much money they make. Per Bellhops and Shelley Prevost, Co-Founder and CEO of Torch, here are some tips for creating more autonomy in your workplace. 1. Relinquish the 9-5. “People are all different. Some do their best work in the early morning. Some prefer to grind it out on the weekends or in the wee small hours of the morning....
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Want to Improve Workplace Performance? Don’t Overlook This Essential Element

Improving performance requires leaders to consider employee engagement, satisfaction, and culture and ask how these areas can be strengthened. One how  element of performance that deserves an in-depth look is autonomy . What comes to mind when you think of autonomy? You might imagine engaging in solo work with your headphones on, focused, independent, and free of distractions. While there might be some truth to this idea of autonomy, there’s a lot more to it. For starters, it’s less about how often we interact with others and more about ownership, accountability, trust relative to our work, and having a sense of control over how we use our time. In a larger context, autonomy creates a sense of empowerment for the person who is autonomous. Let’s look at some data that supports just how much autonomy matters… Researchers from the University of Birmingham have reported that if you have flexible working...
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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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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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Leadership Tips: Ask What Else

  In our coaching model, we instruct you to ask “ what else? ” at least 3 times in different parts of the conversation. Each time you ask, you are going deeper into the question. You are exploring – unlocking new territory.   The need to ask “ what else?” is everywhere.   For example, think about when someone asks you: How’s it going?   How do you usually respond?   When I ask people this, the initial answer is usually very surface. Examples: Work is busy but good. Family is good. Vacation was good.   This conversation is always different when I ask “what else?” after they give me the first, ceremonial answer. Only after the “ what else” does something juicier come out. It is almost like “ what else” translates to “ no, really, I want to know.”   This week’s tip is to concentrate on where...
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8 Things You Should Do Before a Vacation to Avoid Feeling Stressed When You Return

This week’s Fierce resource comes from Business Insider and lists eight things you can do before vacation that will help reduce stress when you return to work. Most of us look forward to vacation. But when we don’t plan accordingly for our time away, our return to the office can leave us feeling even more stressed than we did before we left. The purpose of vacation is to relax, spend quality time with ourselves and our loved ones, and reconnect with what really matters to us. It’s important for us to maximize this time so that we can return to work a revitalized version of ourselves and take on the challenges that lie ahead. Fortunately, proper planning can help us receive the full benefits of time away. Per Jacquelyn Smith, Business Insider, with insights from Michael Kerr, international business speaker and author of You Can't Be Serious! Putting Humor to...
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3 Critical Questions to Ask Your Team About Vacation

Yesterday was the first official day of summer, and many employees are looking forward to planned vacations. Whether it’s hiking through Yellowstone, lounging around on a tropical island, or embracing a good old-fashioned staycation, talks of summer plans are taking over offices everywhere. Yet, the land of vacation relaxation is easier said than done based on the results of our new Fierce survey that launched earlier today. We surveyed over a thousand full-time employees across the U.S. and found some surprising variances in employee experiences around paid time off (PTO). From managerial support to stress reduction, we investigated various dynamics with paid time off and what gets in the way of employees truly enjoying vacation. Bottom line: people are not getting enough value from their vacations. And because of that, leaders, it is time for you to step up and have the necessary conversations. Research shows that vacation can improve...
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Leadership Tips: Develop Your Team While Away on Vacation

You can develop your team when you are away on vacation.   That sounds like a dream, right?  A magic pill that you would most definitely purchase if it existed, yeah? Well luckily, you don’t need a pill. It boils down to the conversations. As a leader, you need to take time off and recharge. This is necessary for your wellbeing as well as your team’s. A past Fierce Study revealed that more than 58 percent of respondents indicated that they received no stress relief from vacations. The goal of vacation is to enjoy and feel refreshed when you return. And your ability to relax and decompress is dependent on you, not the vacation itself. Surprising or not – there are currently responsibilities on your plate that your team members want to own. This should make you jump for joy When your team members develop, your team develops, and you...
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