In Fierce Conversations and then in Fierce Leadership, Susan Scott acknowledges that the word “fierce” However, “fierce” can also be synonymous with “robust, intense, strong, powerful, passionate, eager, unbridled, uncurbed, and untamed” as well as when used to express especially strong affection, loyalty, appreciation, and perhaps even love. However it is used, whatever is expressed should be honest, real, genuine, frank, candid, and in all other respects authentic. I agree with Scott, “Weak leaders want agreement. But fierce leaders want to know the truth.” In fact, they insist on unvarnished, commercial-strength truth as the currency of their communications. There is much to be said for building a consensus, for seeking common ground and agreeing to compromises on less important issues. That said, it is imperative to keep in mind that Dante reserved the last and worst ring in hell for those who, in a moral crisis, preserve their neutrality. “In a culture of legislated optimism, leaders know only the sound of one hand clapping…legislated optimism is the tactic of those whose who attempt to camouflage rotten news with pretty words, confusing words, empty words.”
In his latest book, How to Be a Fierce Competitor, Jeffrey Fox asserts that fierce competitor companies and their people “relentlessly, tirelessly, continuously do whatever they legally can to pursue and capture every profitable customer. “These companies are ethical, honest, compliant with regulations, and model citizens…They never stop innovating, selling, reaching out, and communicating to their market. They train, train, train and execute, execute, execute. They never stop ripping out waste and bad costs.” Fierce competitors never let anyone worker harder or work smarter than they do. They demonstrate what Jack Dempsey once said of champions: “They get up when they can’t.”
Long ago, Leo Durocher, a Hall of Fame baseball player and manager, said something to the effect that nice people never win, and usually finish last.
Durocher was wrong.