There are three ways that Susan Scott defines Fierce Leadership:
- A fast-acting anti-venom to the business-as-usual mode of high task/low relationship, self-serving agendas, directing and telling, anonymous feedback, holding people accountable, excessive use of jargon, and mandating initiatives that cause people to weep on too many fine days.
- The act of acquiring your most valuable currency—emotional capital.
- The acquisition of squid eye and the demise of truth telling squeamishness and ethical squishiness.
Following from these principles, here are some practices you can follow in order to have the conversation you need to create fierce leadership
From 360 Degree Anonymous Feedback to “365” Face-to-Face Feedback.
According to Scott, Anonymous 360 degree feedback is not a good idea and the danger signs are as clear as day. You need to have the maturity and self-awareness to ask others for feedback and truly take to heart what they say. Scott doesn’t believe this is too much to ask those who we work with every single day. One important rule Scott provides to keep in mind however is that praise is very important, more important than negative feedback
From Hiring for Smarts to Hiring for Smart + Heart
Daniel Goleman, a leading voice in the emotional intelligence movement, predicts that up to 90% of the success amongst executives lies in emotional intelligence. So how do we hire for Heart + Smart?
First, start by identifying the key emotional attributes you want in a potential hire. Then, design questions that reveal whether or not the person actually has the attributes you are looking for. You can do this using behavioral questions. Ask them to recall a situation where they demonstrated that attribute in the last few months. A person can fake having an attribute in an interview, but they most likely won’t be able to make up a story about when they demonstrated that on the spot.
From Holding People Accountable to Modeling Accountability and Holding People Able.
There’s a big difference in holding people accountable to modeling accountability. What you need to do is to publicly acknowledge that everything that happens on your watch is your responsibility. If you are the CEO, you will be held to account for everything that happens at your company. If you are the CFO, you are accountable for the finances of the company. All the way down the line to the front-line employee.
You’ll get accountability from your team if you model it first. You could demand it from them or motivate them with rewards and punishments. You could even hope and pray that they’ll do it. But none of that will come anywhere close to the results you’ll get by modeling it for them.
From Legislated Optimism to Radical Transparency.
What’s legislated optimism? Here’s Jon Stewart’s impression of how a meeting with former president George W Bush might have went: “You either agree with my position or you’re looking to have a thermonuclear reaction bake your shadow instantly on the sidewalk”.
Scott doesn’t believe this is real leadership. She believes that it’s time to let some fresh air into the room if that’s you or your company.
Scott says that the fierce practice of radical transparency requires that our conversations reveal truths which everyone knows but no one speaks of. This is the real truth as opposed to an official truth. This is not a consensus. This doesn’t mean that every opinion and proposal needs to be accepted and implemented. What it does mean is that every opinion and proposal needs to be considered, so that the real truth is revealed.
With these practices, Susan Scott believes that you can become a fierce leader and finally break away from the trend towards mediocrity. She leaves us by saying that it won’t be easy, but it will definitely be worth it.