Magazine article HRMagazine

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Magazine article HRMagazine

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Article excerpt

They call it "fierce conversation," "frontstabbing" or "radical candor."

"It" is an HR trend that encourages brutally honest feedback at work-from employee to employee, supervisor to employee, and employee to supervisor.

When Wendy Finlason Seymour wanted to improve employee engagement and turnover in her office, she picked up a book by Susan Scott titled Fierce Conversations (The Berkley Publishing Group, 2002). Based on her experiences with coaching CEOs, Scott started a Seattle company called Fierce Inc., which has trained thousands of company leaders-including Seymour, a talent management executive at the staffing firm Randstad Holding NV-on how to have more-candid discussions.

"[Seymour] found that a lot of people needed coaching on how to be authentic in a conversation," said Stacey Engle, executive vice president of marketing for Fierce Inc., who noted that being too "nice" at work could lead to stalled projects, poor performance and resentment among those who perform well. "It's a human characteristic to be scared to talk about the truth. …

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