Every summer I try and read at least three books to support my professional development, often read during a summer holiday. Fierce Conversations was recommended at a Middle Leaders training session, presented by a newly appointed Assistant Headteacher. Hampshire Teaching and Leadership College have a ‘Leadership Library,’ so I simply phoned, asked if they held a copy of the book. They did and three days later it arrived at school along with two other books I requested.
Fierce Conversations has clearly been a success and the brand has evolved. Susan Scott has clearly presents an intuitive emotional approach that managers and leaders can relate to. Basically it is a very good
‘How to prepare and organise the difficult conversations you need to have, but often avoid, at work’ guide. Although ‘Fierce Conversations’ is perhaps catchier title.
How much will you find useful? If you tend to avoid the difficult situations, then the book offers some very useful approaches to those situations / conversations. If you tend to be a little bullish or reactive, you might recognise yourself in some of the examples and consider a more heartfelt thoughtful approach.
Alternatively, you could just review these little gems.
Consider the impact of replacing the ‘yes, but….’ with ‘yes and….’ (You really need to hear this for yourself to appreciate the marked difference.)
‘This is the way that I see things but I expect you have a different perspective.’ Share your points of view and invite others to contribute theirs. When someone takes you up on your invitation to challenge your strongly held opinion resist the temptation to defend your idea immediately.
Simple situations: The sequence is – make a proposal, check for understanding, then check for agreement.
There is so much more to listen to than words, listen to the whole person
Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing there is a field are i’ll meet you there. Rumi
Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have. Emile Cartier.
As a leader you get what you tolerate.
Hire attitude, train skill.
A personal reflection,when with the Directors of Learning in particular, I need to follow two simple rules. Resist advising. Ask more questions (and listen to the whole person answer).
Susan Scott talks of the decision tree. A process of deciding when and how to make decisions. This might be a good technique for second in departments.
- Leaf decisions. Make the decision. Act on it. Do not report the action you took.
- Branch decisions. Make a decision. Act on it. Report the action you took.
- Trunk of decisions. Make the decision. Report your decision before you take action.
- Root decisions. Make the decision jointly, with input from many people. These are the decisions that, if made poorly can harm the organisation.
In addition to the book, there are now Fierce Programmes, Certifications, Keynotes, Workshops, Merchandising and Newsletters, a new book ‘Fierce Leadership,’ all a part of FierceInc, there is even Fierce in the Schools. Next on the list – The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better.