At work there is a fine line between fierce and professionalism, however you can accomplish both. Working in a professional environment day in and day out can be emotionally draining, especially when you work with others that you may not get along with or like for that matter. No matter what, you must be fierce. I say this because the person that you may not get along with, will make snide remarks towards you, attack your character, show passive aggressiveness, show jealousy or anything negative for that matter. You must know the strong person you are and not let that rattle you. Do not be afraid to show your strength. When the time comes, be fiercely classy while staying professional. At the end of the day you want stay employed, right? So where is the balance between fierce and professionalism?
I’ve been working for over 20 years and one thing I can say is that I’ve had great co-workers as well as bad co-workers. I was taught that when dealing with the bad and not so nice co-workers, to kill them with kindness. For me, this is challenging and I had to figure out a different way. Killing someone with kindness is a great method but it was not the outspoken and fierce person that I was. The balance between fierce and professionalism is tactfully responding to a co-worker with strength and respect.
I’ll give you an example on how I handled an employee that I could not stand to work with but I had to work closely with them. While working on a project for my boss, I often had to go to other departments to research their data along with the data from my department. I spent a lot of time away from desk in doing this research. Although, my co-worker (let’s call her Melanie) and I worked on this project together we did not communicate because we could not stand each other. She did her portion and I was responsible for my portion. One day Melanie took it upon herself to tell my boss that I was out goofing around instead of working the project. When my boss called me into her office and told me what Melanie said, I
was furious and I felt the steam coming out of ears. I had a great rapport with my boss and thankfully she did not believe it. I knew right then, I had to become fierce and classy in dealing with this project. I knew the phrase “keep your enemies’ closer” was definitely true. I went for a 5 minute walk in order to cool down. At the end of the day I knew Melanie wanted to see me upset. Upon my return, I walked into Melanie’s office, sat down and said to her that we needed to talk right now at this moment. Melanie had the biggest attitude and responded “Whatever.” I politely told her while I was smiling the whole time that it was unfair to assume that I had not worked on the project. I also politely told her, that we have to work together on this project and instead of throwing me under the bus to ask me first. I showed Melanie all of the data I had complied from my research and let her know that I was working hard on this project. Melanie had a shocked look on her face and said “I wish you would have told me.” I then responded back “It not about me just telling you WE should have communicated with each other.” Melanie and I then worked out our differences. However if you know me, you know I am not the one to let things go easily. While Melanie and I were on better terms I looked at her very serious and said firmly “Please go into our manager’s office and clear the air. I want to move forward but it’s difficult with what you said to our manager. That is still hanging over me.” I could tell Melanie did not want to do it but she rolled her eyes and said fine. I saw Melanie go in the manager’s office and when she came out, my boss came into my office and said “I knew you would be the bigger person” and added that Melanie apologized for saying that I wasn’t doing my work.
When you are fierce at work it means that you are respecting yourself and knowing your limits. You know when to let things slide while keeping a strong balance when you must address an issue. You never want to wait ‘til you get to the point where you explode. Once you get to the point where you explode, the damage control to redeem yourself is a long and hard road. Get in front of the issue but be nice, classy and fierce about it. It’s about how you say things. When I spoke to Melanie I smiled the entire time to show her that I am not a threat, I did this so that she can see that I was welcoming. It was important for me not to walk in her office with an attitude and start flying off the handle because all that would have done was make the situation worse. Instead, I handled it like a classy fierce lady. I was smiling while politely resolving the issues. Our lives do not have to be a reality show, especially at work. So let’s handle our work issues with class and fierceness. The fierce is for the strength you need to address the issue and the class is for handling the issues with graciousness and respect. #fiercelyclassy