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Fierce Leadership: A Bold Alternative to the Worst "Best" Practices of Business Today

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From the author of the acclaimed book Fierce Conversations comes the antidote to some of the most wrongheaded practices of business today. · “Provide anonymous feedback.” · “Hire smart people.” · “Hold people accountable.” These are all sound, business practices, right? Not so fast, says leadership visionary and bestselling author Susan Scott. In fact, these mantras — despit From the author of the acclaimed book Fierce Conversations comes the antidote to some of the most wrongheaded practices of business today. · “Provide anonymous feedback.” · “Hire smart people.” · “Hold people accountable.” These are all sound, business practices, right? Not so fast, says leadership visionary and bestselling author Susan Scott. In fact, these mantras — despite being long-accepted and adopted by business leaders everywhere — are completely wrongheaded. Worse, they are costing companies billions of dollars, driving away valuable employees and profitable customers, limiting performance, and stalling careers. Yet they are so deeply ingrained in organizational cultures that no one has questioned them. Until now. In Fierce Leadership, Scott teaches us how to spot the worst “best” practices in our organizations using a technique she calls “squid eye”–the ability to see the “tells” or signs that we have fallen prey to disastrous behaviors by knowing what to look for. Only then, she says, can we apply the antidote.. Informed by over a decade of conversations with Fortune 500 executives, this book is that antidote. With fierce new approaches to everything from employee feedback to corporate diversity to customer relations, Scott offers fresh and surprising alternatives to six of the so-called “best” practices permeating today’s businesses. This refreshingly candid book is a must-read for any manager or leader at any level who is ready to take a long hard look at what trouble might be lurking in their organization - and do something about it.


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From the author of the acclaimed book Fierce Conversations comes the antidote to some of the most wrongheaded practices of business today. · “Provide anonymous feedback.” · “Hire smart people.” · “Hold people accountable.” These are all sound, business practices, right? Not so fast, says leadership visionary and bestselling author Susan Scott. In fact, these mantras — despit From the author of the acclaimed book Fierce Conversations comes the antidote to some of the most wrongheaded practices of business today. · “Provide anonymous feedback.” · “Hire smart people.” · “Hold people accountable.” These are all sound, business practices, right? Not so fast, says leadership visionary and bestselling author Susan Scott. In fact, these mantras — despite being long-accepted and adopted by business leaders everywhere — are completely wrongheaded. Worse, they are costing companies billions of dollars, driving away valuable employees and profitable customers, limiting performance, and stalling careers. Yet they are so deeply ingrained in organizational cultures that no one has questioned them. Until now. In Fierce Leadership, Scott teaches us how to spot the worst “best” practices in our organizations using a technique she calls “squid eye”–the ability to see the “tells” or signs that we have fallen prey to disastrous behaviors by knowing what to look for. Only then, she says, can we apply the antidote.. Informed by over a decade of conversations with Fortune 500 executives, this book is that antidote. With fierce new approaches to everything from employee feedback to corporate diversity to customer relations, Scott offers fresh and surprising alternatives to six of the so-called “best” practices permeating today’s businesses. This refreshingly candid book is a must-read for any manager or leader at any level who is ready to take a long hard look at what trouble might be lurking in their organization - and do something about it.

30 review for Fierce Leadership: A Bold Alternative to the Worst "Best" Practices of Business Today

  1. 4 out of 5

    Frank

    I gained more from the author’s earlier book, Fierce Conversations, a book which I noted in reviewing it would be better be named authentic conversations as the goal is not to make us fierce in the sense of that word's usual connotations. The same is true here with authentic leadership as the leader is to listen and learn rather than pretending to have all the answers. The rating probably has more to do that I am not the real market as the book has a lot to do with customers and sales, but some d I gained more from the author’s earlier book, Fierce Conversations, a book which I noted in reviewing it would be better be named authentic conversations as the goal is not to make us fierce in the sense of that word's usual connotations. The same is true here with authentic leadership as the leader is to listen and learn rather than pretending to have all the answers. The rating probably has more to do that I am not the real market as the book has a lot to do with customers and sales, but some does work for non-profits and churches. She does debunk some best practices: “Provide anonymous feedback.” “Hire smart people.” “Hold people accountable.” by noting ways these each fall short of their goals and offering helpful alternatives. Her central teaching that deep, meaningful conversations can be transformative remains helpful.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    Some interesting strategies and framing for coaching conversations with team members. I found the “conversations I need to have” prompt useful.

  3. 5 out of 5

    William Blair

    "No, trust me. This one is really good." That's how I got roped into reading this rah-rah book on, as best I can tell, honesty in management and corporate leadership. Out of 300 pages, there's maybe 6, possibly 10, pages with something worthwhile to read; most of that is when the author is quoting someone else. There's nothing wrong with the book. It's all about being a better manager or leader. But unless you have an IQ of, oh, say, 90, you don't need this book to tell you anything that if you "No, trust me. This one is really good." That's how I got roped into reading this rah-rah book on, as best I can tell, honesty in management and corporate leadership. Out of 300 pages, there's maybe 6, possibly 10, pages with something worthwhile to read; most of that is when the author is quoting someone else. There's nothing wrong with the book. It's all about being a better manager or leader. But unless you have an IQ of, oh, say, 90, you don't need this book to tell you anything that if you don't already know you'll never understand, anyway. Some of the "instructive" stories are interesting -- albeit pathetic -- to read, if you're into objective proof of the stupidity of management in general. Don't waste your time. There's nothing here. Move on along.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    While the lessons in this book are valid based on my 30 years of experience in corporate roles and holds up well despite being 8 years old, the delivery was plainly annoying. I read a review just now that described it as "ranty, and judgemental" - good description. I persisted with the book because it is the compulsory pre-read for a leadership program I'm about to attend. The 2 stars is because the premise is sound. If it wasn't I would've awarded 1 star for the gumption to get the book publish While the lessons in this book are valid based on my 30 years of experience in corporate roles and holds up well despite being 8 years old, the delivery was plainly annoying. I read a review just now that described it as "ranty, and judgemental" - good description. I persisted with the book because it is the compulsory pre-read for a leadership program I'm about to attend. The 2 stars is because the premise is sound. If it wasn't I would've awarded 1 star for the gumption to get the book published. This is sad because I suspect that Ms Scott would be a well-regarded consultant to leadership teams. Ms Scott uses the 'cover' of radical transparency to lecture the reader. She, by her tone, assumes that the reader is under-educated and needing counselling. And, when I thought it couldn't get worse, she picks out for particular derision certain causes which she doesn't like. Two examples spring to mind: she picked on a New Zealand academic for using complicated language in a paper "she probably won't like what I have to say, too bad". That's very brave to pick on someone 12,000km away. Then of all the corporate issues in the world she used women 'acting as victims' when they feel they can't get ahead in the corporate world as an example of people not taking accountability for themselves. It is a valid discussion to have but I felt was disproportionately addressed against the myriad of corporate ills. Radical transparency is important but not as a cover to pull down those who cannot, in the moment, respond to the criticism. I found I was checking in on the main headlines (valid) and skim reading the verbiage and examples (annoying) slowing down occasionally to see if the writing improved. I am so over books which purport to provide advice but are lacking in scientifically derived research and based on personal opinions. Personal opinion is fine, but not packaged as advice.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tiffanie22

    I “read” this book with my ears on my drives to and from work. I have heard much about the authors previous book, Fierce Conversations, but haven’t read it yet, though it is on my bookshelf. I opted to “read” this one first because I took on a new leadership role at work and wanted some new tools in my tool box. The key take aways from this book for me are: build honest and transparent relationships, get to the point in those difficult conversations so you can focus on solutions and moving forwa I “read” this book with my ears on my drives to and from work. I have heard much about the authors previous book, Fierce Conversations, but haven’t read it yet, though it is on my bookshelf. I opted to “read” this one first because I took on a new leadership role at work and wanted some new tools in my tool box. The key take aways from this book for me are: build honest and transparent relationships, get to the point in those difficult conversations so you can focus on solutions and moving forward. This is one that I will likely pick up a copy of because I can see returning to it time and again and audio books are just not easy to navigate.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I actually enjoyed the authors other book Fierce Conversations. Both personal and professionally the initial investment was well worth. However, this book is repetitive of her book Fierce Conversations. So, if you have read any of her other content you might enjoy this but it’s not exploring anything new. If you have any management experience this book might not be for you. A lot of basics are covered in not abusing power, neglecting staff, and other rhetoric. This material does not add anything I actually enjoyed the authors other book Fierce Conversations. Both personal and professionally the initial investment was well worth. However, this book is repetitive of her book Fierce Conversations. So, if you have read any of her other content you might enjoy this but it’s not exploring anything new. If you have any management experience this book might not be for you. A lot of basics are covered in not abusing power, neglecting staff, and other rhetoric. This material does not add anything beyond her other books. Highly disappointed.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Erica Bentley

    I recommended Susan's first book, Fierce Conversations, to all people who have conversations... ever. I recommend this book to all people who lead or are led by others. Her insights into relationships and practices in a workplace are raw, real, and very insightful. I learned so much about myself and I hope I will use it to become a better leader and someone who is led better by others. Five stars indeed! I recommended Susan's first book, Fierce Conversations, to all people who have conversations... ever. I recommend this book to all people who lead or are led by others. Her insights into relationships and practices in a workplace are raw, real, and very insightful. I learned so much about myself and I hope I will use it to become a better leader and someone who is led better by others. Five stars indeed!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mara Vernon

    While I absolutely loved Fierce Conversations, I struggled with Fierce Leadership. It felt a bit 'ranty' and 'judgmental' a lot of the time which turned me off from the content. The book feels more like an addendum to Fierce Conversations than a stand alone, and there are tangible practices to like and implement. While I absolutely loved Fierce Conversations, I struggled with Fierce Leadership. It felt a bit 'ranty' and 'judgmental' a lot of the time which turned me off from the content. The book feels more like an addendum to Fierce Conversations than a stand alone, and there are tangible practices to like and implement.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Leann Connell-HR

    Another well written readable book that teaches strong lessons that are intuitive and seemingly common sense that most don't do. It also introduces techniques and concepts that I have been able to use and find success even when it is out of my comfort zone. A terrific companion to Fierce Conversations. Highly recommend. Another well written readable book that teaches strong lessons that are intuitive and seemingly common sense that most don't do. It also introduces techniques and concepts that I have been able to use and find success even when it is out of my comfort zone. A terrific companion to Fierce Conversations. Highly recommend.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anil Bhat

    Particularly liked the conversational way of writing. Another one of those books that makes you think unconventionally, and gets you thinking. Has some practical ideas that every leader can implement.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chris Bates

    Inspiring and insightful guide for self-reflection Filled with potent moments to guide self-reflection. Helpful as I am taking steps to becoming a leader though not just voluntarily anymore.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Gathua Muigai

    I always say honest conversations are refreshing. Susan Scott gives her thoughts on how more honest conversations need to pervade our work environments especially in relation to outcomes. She has another book called Fierce Conversations. Look for it as well.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kym

    Wowsers! Want some straight talk about how your business or life runs? This is as straight as it gets. Refreshingly honest conversations about cultures of organisations that we accept as normal behaviour but are so wrong. Love the content and it all can be applied to my personal life too.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Viktoriya Chuchumisheva

    Overall, I liked the book. It's really direct and straightforward, so it's kind of a good reminder about what's really important - connections, transparency, and honesty. It also gives a good framework for leading conversations. Overall, I liked the book. It's really direct and straightforward, so it's kind of a good reminder about what's really important - connections, transparency, and honesty. It also gives a good framework for leading conversations.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Deirdre

    The may be the best book on leadership I have ever read. I own the Kindle copy and actually bought a paperback so I could mark it up and write in the margins.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Diane Ward

    Having unpleasant conversations is part of life and this book helps provide guidance on how to have them in the best way possible.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Goodman

    love Susan Scott but this was too redundant with Fierce Conversations

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cami

    Make sure to read Fierce Conversations first. These are areas that as a leader it's hard to think about changing, but they also make so much sense. Make sure to read Fierce Conversations first. These are areas that as a leader it's hard to think about changing, but they also make so much sense.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Flawed

    tl,dr; Soft skills are necessary for effective leadership.

  20. 4 out of 5

    thewestchestarian

    Come on, join our drum circle! With the exception of war, business represents the area of human civilization most concerned with the simple self-serving interpersonal competition for scarce resources. Be skeptical of books, even with the aggressive adverb "Fierce" in the title, that teach something other than this simple precept. While you engage in one of Scott's "fierce" conversations - apparently meaning heart-to-heart, soul-bearing exchanges - the minions of the (with due respect) cold-blood Come on, join our drum circle! With the exception of war, business represents the area of human civilization most concerned with the simple self-serving interpersonal competition for scarce resources. Be skeptical of books, even with the aggressive adverb "Fierce" in the title, that teach something other than this simple precept. While you engage in one of Scott's "fierce" conversations - apparently meaning heart-to-heart, soul-bearing exchanges - the minions of the (with due respect) cold-blooded Steve Jobs are eating your lunch. Scott's admonition to eschew guided and guarded conversations with colleagues in favor of laying out exactly what you are thinking may be particularly bad advice when it comes to that young, fit, college intern who works for you. Apparently, the art of conversation separates great leaders from bumbling supervisors rather than, as commonly but erroneously thought, skills, opportunism, risk-taking and business acumen. Scott seems like one of those consultants who puts high value on conversations because they lack actual skills. Beyond the counter-productive counsel, the book equally violates author:George Carlin|22782]'s call for simple, clear language and an avoidance of soft, squishy terms. "Fierce" in the title truthfully refers to the opposite - an open-hearted and collaborative leadership style. But this only the leading edge of a host of artful terms in a book where business conversations - most of which out of sheer mathematics deal with negative topics (e.g., mediocre performance appraisals, declined offers, hostile counter-proposals, employment terminations, etc.) - are apparently often "sweet, but not saccharin sweet but honest sweet...". Like many business consulting books the writing style is all framework, numbered lists and snarky anecdotes with no actual meat content - maybe a sub-genre called "vegetarian" business books" should be created among the management racks.In short, get one of those audio summaries of the key points of this book and you'll save yourself a bunch of time you can dedicate to plotting against your competitors.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    Fierce Leadership seems to me to be, in large part, more about personal development and living a life consistent with your own most strongly-held values, than about leadership per se. It covers such topics as time management, the value of quitting, making and pursuing a life list, thinking backwards as a planning tool, gathering experiences rather than possessions, and so forth. There is little that I have not seen before from other writers, many of whom are more incisive and inspiring. Fierce Le Fierce Leadership seems to me to be, in large part, more about personal development and living a life consistent with your own most strongly-held values, than about leadership per se. It covers such topics as time management, the value of quitting, making and pursuing a life list, thinking backwards as a planning tool, gathering experiences rather than possessions, and so forth. There is little that I have not seen before from other writers, many of whom are more incisive and inspiring. Fierce Leadership is far from the best book on leadership that I have read, but especially for someone just becoming interested in such things, it would be a decent investment of time. Though I have not yet read her book Fierce Conversations, which predates Fierce Leadership, I have the impression that much of what is found in Fierce Leadership is a review or extension of ideas and recommendations found in her first book. Thus, it might be better to read Fierce Conversations first, and then simply skim or spot read Fierce Leadership.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Another advice book that is short on evidence but full of anecdotes and vigorous assertion. Some of the advice seems sound: relationships are the most important thing in business and in life, and strong conversations and timely feedback are the key to strong relationships. It is difficult to like the author, though. She advises an aggressive approach that will surround you with similarly confident, aggressive people. Discretion, kindness, reserve and introversion are all equated with dishonesty Another advice book that is short on evidence but full of anecdotes and vigorous assertion. Some of the advice seems sound: relationships are the most important thing in business and in life, and strong conversations and timely feedback are the key to strong relationships. It is difficult to like the author, though. She advises an aggressive approach that will surround you with similarly confident, aggressive people. Discretion, kindness, reserve and introversion are all equated with dishonesty and cowardice. Read it for the parts that make you take stock, but take it with a pinch of salt.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarahanneme

    four and a half I listened to this audio, the author narrates it herself. She is witty and sarcastic and also barebones authentic at turns. she is a person who is touting the virtues of being real, and i think that if you love brene brown and the idea of presenting our authentic selves no matter in what context, you may appreciate the actual structures of this text. it's sort of a How To be Real--tho a bit more about business, entirely applicable across life. The preparation and actions that Scot four and a half I listened to this audio, the author narrates it herself. She is witty and sarcastic and also barebones authentic at turns. she is a person who is touting the virtues of being real, and i think that if you love brene brown and the idea of presenting our authentic selves no matter in what context, you may appreciate the actual structures of this text. it's sort of a How To be Real--tho a bit more about business, entirely applicable across life. The preparation and actions that Scott has put together can assist folks in making it real, and really loving it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Gordon

    I have to stop giving so many books 5 stars, but I have to say I really loved this. Any leader at any level would enjoy and benefit from Susan's insights. Deep emotional connection is not something usually talked about in management and leadership. Radical transparency gets some airing but Susan puts it all together in how to be an inspirational, highly successful leader. Read it! I have to stop giving so many books 5 stars, but I have to say I really loved this. Any leader at any level would enjoy and benefit from Susan's insights. Deep emotional connection is not something usually talked about in management and leadership. Radical transparency gets some airing but Susan puts it all together in how to be an inspirational, highly successful leader. Read it!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Derek Neighbors

    Best business book I have read all year. This is so pertinent to the pivot we are making with Integrum and how Gangplank operates. Fierce leaders understand that its about people and the relationships and connections you have with them.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Samuel

    Pretty good book with tips on management and leadership. You'll already know some of this and some of it will be completely enlightening. Felt it started to get a bit repetitive during the last couple of chapters otherwise it might have been a 4 star, probably could've been a shorter book! Pretty good book with tips on management and leadership. You'll already know some of this and some of it will be completely enlightening. Felt it started to get a bit repetitive during the last couple of chapters otherwise it might have been a 4 star, probably could've been a shorter book!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marnie E.

    I love Susan Scott's direct and real approach to business and relationships. She offers some provocative, yet logical suggestions in Fierce Leadership. These perspectives helped me to reassess my long-held beliefs about leadership development. I love Susan Scott's direct and real approach to business and relationships. She offers some provocative, yet logical suggestions in Fierce Leadership. These perspectives helped me to reassess my long-held beliefs about leadership development.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Graeme Lockley

    Nice read - lots of common sense and another book challenging the standard practices of the corporate industrial complex where people are treated like machines. This book advocates the return to honest interactions between people where people are able to be people.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Eddy

    The author's quirky sense of humor is a bit surprising at times...but the content of the book is great. It grew on me slowly, but in the end, she had fantastic things to say. The author's quirky sense of humor is a bit surprising at times...but the content of the book is great. It grew on me slowly, but in the end, she had fantastic things to say.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joey alabanza

    its not meant for me...but tips are very useful..

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