There are only 31 days until 2022 which makes it the perfect time to start brainstorming new year’s resolutions. And while we may be biased, we believe being #fierce is always a great skill to practice. Last month, we shared our blog, Tips to Make You and Your Team Fierce – Part One. And now, we’re happy to share part two with five more tips to help you meet the challenges and opportunities of 2022 with confidence.
ASK YOUR TEAM
Think about a time that a leader in your organization made a decision without consulting the people impacted. How was the decision received? Was there resistance? Most of the time, when people are disgruntled with how an issue was handled, it is because people’s opinions and concerns were not addressed in the first place. People ultimately want to know that their perspectives matter. You might even argue that the simple act of engaging them in a conversation prior is more important than the outcome itself. American poet Mattie Stepanek once shared, “Unity is strength…when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” In our Fierce Team Program, we help teams achieve unity through our beach ball conversation model. We recognize that no single person holds the whole truth, rather a mere sliver or ‘stripe’ of it. Inviting different stripes can be one of the most effective ways to explore potential solutions and make important decisions.
BE FIERCE: Ask your team what matters to them when making an important decision. Invite people you normally wouldn’t…It may surprise you where the conversation leads.
DELEGATE, DON’T DELE-DUMP
How does the phrase ‘delegate that’ show up in your organization? For most organizations, that statement means you need to get rid of a task you currently own as fast as possible.
One of our clients fondly dubbed this act, ‘dele-dumping’. It’s when someone says, “Let me take ALL of these tasks that waste my time and throw them on your plate.” Let’s be honest: That can make anyone want to run for the hills. We’ve found that delegation is a frequently misused and under-utilized form of development. If you start to look at delegation as a means of professional development, you may very well be less inclined to run away when someone says, “I have something to delegate to you.” In fact, your response may very well be, “Thank you!”
Think about it…What is currently on your plate that, if someone else had that responsibility, you would be freed up to take on something else? On top of that, what if the additional responsibility helped that person further mature in their own role? Talk about a win-win.
BE FIERCE: Reflect on your current responsibilities and highlight three that are no longer the best use of your time. Start to have conversations about shifting those to someone else in order to free up your time for new things – this will help you, your team, and your organization grow.
Have you heard of victim bonding? It’s when people get together and talk about how horrible a situation is, rather than doing anything to change it. Here’s how victim bonding shows up in a conversation:
Person A: “Oh, you are having trouble with Finance?”
Person B: “Yes, absolutely. Are you having trouble with Finance? They’re horrible! They never give 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.’ We all love to victim bond at times. But let’s pause on that. Have you heard the phrase ‘misery loves company? That’s what is really happening here. Essentially, you are not only choosing misery, you are choosing to have someone else’s misery in your life as well. Here’s the kicker: No amount of victim bonding will change your situation. Is that what you really want?
In our Fierce Accountability Program, one of our foundational concepts in the course is: If it is to be, it is up to me. That means, if a situation is going to change, you are responsible.
BE FIERCE: Think of a situation in your life where you feel like you are the victim – whether it be with another person or circumstance. Don’t proceed to victim bond with your counterparts, instead have a direct conversation to initiate the change you wish to see. Remember, if it is to be, it is up to me.
When was the last time you said, ‘thank you’ or ‘great work’? And when was the last time you said more than just that? The numbers don’t lie folks. According to the John Templeton Foundation’s gratitude survey from 2014, only 30% of employees thank a co-worker multiple times a week and only 20% thank their boss several times a week. Shockingly, 29% never thank a coworker and 35% of employees never thank their boss…Wow. A good approach is to share and recognize how you yourself have grown in the last year and how your team’s efforts have impacted that growth. Ask yourself: Has your colleague gone out of his or her way to help with a project? Are you grateful for how someone is showing up? Did your team hit it out of the park? Tell them! So, how can you focus on expressing more gratitude in your workplace? Get specific and give them praise! It’s a form of feedback and essential for creating a healthy working environment. The best part: This is something everyone can do – not just leadership.
BE FIERCE: Share praise with at least three people in your organization. When giving this feedback, highlight and describe their positive actions with plenty of details. Then share the significance and impact their actions had on yourself and others. Make it sincere. Make it real.
BE BRAVE, ASK FOR FEEDBACK NOW
How do you feel about work? Do you know where you stand with yourself, your leader, and your colleagues in relation to your efforts? Don’t wait until a formal review is scheduled to have the conversation. Real-time feedback is necessary to define what is working and what is not working. During this time, you need to ask the tough questions:
- Where do you see me adding the most value?
- What feedback do you have for me with the work I am currently doing?
- Do you see opportunities for me to improve?
- How can I help you be the most successful through my efforts?
Sometimes the feedback is not the easiest to hear. It takes bravery and people caring to share their honest perspectives. For you, it takes guts and humility to truly listen.
BE FIERCE: Use the questions above to have a conversation with your boss or colleague about the specifics of your work. Regardless of the outcome, truly understanding others’ perspectives unblocks career paths and allows you to achieve so much more in the future.
Improving the quality and depth of our conversations is a lifelong journey. There is a lot at stake to get it right – as professionals, as partners, as friends, as fellow inhabitants of Earth.
Remember: While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a company, a relationship or a life – any single conversation can. That’s why it helps to take it one step at a time.