Tanveer Naseer

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Are You Employing This Key To Giving Effective Feedback?

Discover whether the kind of feedback you offer to your employees is employing this critical measure that drives organizational growth and success.

With December now upon us, many leaders and their organizations are now shifting their focus towards that much debated and much-maligned practice for evaluating employee productivity and effectiveness: the annual performance review.

Of course, while there has been much written lately about the ‘death of annual performance reviews’, a study done by Towers Watson revealed that – despite the high profile examples of companies like Microsoft, Accenture, and GE completely ditching their annual performance reviews – a majority of North American organizations are opting to transform their current performance review process as opposed to doing away with them completely.

Now whether you agree with continuing to use annual performance reviews or not, the fact is these discussions about this feedback tool reveal that there’s a far more pressing issue that leaders everywhere need to address – namely, what kind of feedback, if any, are we providing to those we lead?

Of course, when it comes to giving feedback, there’s a common approach that many leaders opt to use, something that’s often referred to as the ‘feedback sandwich’.

What this technique involves is starting the conversation with something positive – the argument being that this will help your employee to be receptive to what you have to say next. At this point, you offer what you really want to share, that is the negative feedback that’s the reason behind this conversation, after which you give your employee some more positive feedback in order to to help soften the blow and ‘end on a high note’.

Now in theory this might sound like a fair and balanced approach to offering someone feedback that can be hard to hear, given how we’re reinforcing or reminding them of the things they do well, before and after pointing out where they went wrong or what they need to improve on going forward.

But the reality is that it’s not so much the receiver of our feedback as it is ourselves who we’re hoping to protect through this communication ploy. That by setting up a friendly start and a reassuring ending, we might avoid the necessary unpleasantness that comes with telling someone they’re doing something wrong.

This strategy also gives us the false impression that Click here to continue reading »

Does Your Leadership Bring Out The Best In Those You Lead?

The findings of a recent global study reveal some important points for leaders on how to ensure they are creating a workplace environment that brings out the best in their employees.

Over the past few weeks, there’s been a noticeable uptick in leadership and management articles focusing on the topic of how leaders can ensure that they are providing a ‘safe’ environment for all of their employees. There’s little doubt that the rising interest in this topic is in response to the outcome of the recent presidential election in the United States.

While it’s unfortunate that we even have to consider or discuss such issues in today’s organizations, it does serve as a potent reminder of an even larger issue that affects all employees, and not just those who belong to a particular minority group. And that is, what kind of organizational climate are you helping or enabling to take root within your organization?

Now, to be clear, I’m not simply referring to whether you have a toxic workplace environment within your company’s walls. Rather, this is about whether you’re creating conditions where people are driven to bring their full selves to the work they do, or whether your employees are simply doing what’s expected of them. That they are simply reacting to what they see going on around them, instead of being proactive in finding ways to ensure your collective success in achieving your long term goals.

The reason why leaders need to be concerned about this issue as we begin to shift our focus to the new year ahead can be found in the findings of a recent survey done by Dale Carnegie Training, where they interviewed over 3 300 full-time employees in 14 countries, including Canada, United States, and the United Kingdom.

Through their survey, the researchers found that 44% of employees worldwide said that they will be looking for a new job in 2017 (in the US alone, 26% of employees said they’d be looking for a new job in the next 12 months, while 15% said they’re already actively looking for a new place to work).

To put this another way, what this means is that almost half of your workforce is at risk of looking for a new job in 2017, a troubling statistic to be sure. Of course, I’m sure many leaders will try to reassure themselves by pointing to the current job market in their industry; of how there are fewer better options out there that might convince some of their employees to jump ship.

But what we really need to take note of here is not whether 40% of our employees might leave our organization in 2017. Rather, the critical message here is the implications of having almost half of your employees thinking about looking for work elsewhere. Namely, that while these employees are doing the work that’s been assigned to them, they’re not fully committed to giving their best efforts towards helping you to achieve your vision or shared purpose.

And frankly, the truth is leadership is not about enabling people to meet expectations, but empowering them to exceed them [Twitter-logo-smallShare on Twitter].

Again, going back to this Dale Carnegie Training study, the researchers reported that “effective leaders develop themselves and create a safe environment that fosters their employees’ capacity to grow”, as almost 80% of employees worldwide have stated that a key motivating factor is having a leader who “encourages me and makes me believe in my ability to improve” instead of simply being “satisfied with competence”.

Not surprisingly, this study also found that one of the things employees want to see their leaders provide more of is Click here to continue reading »

Timing Leadership For Today’s Faster-Paced World

A look at the two different ways we experience time and how leaders can manage these perceptions to improve their organization's performance.

The following is a guest piece by Sally Blount, Dean of the Kellogg School of Management, and Sophie Leroy, assistant professor at University of Washington’s Bothell’s School.

CEO tenure in the Fortune 500 has fallen from an average of 11 years in 2002 to six years today. The average life span of a company in the Fortune 500 has shrunk from 25 years in 1980 to just 15 today. The end result is a pervasive sense of anxiety and time famine, as both companies and the executives within them struggle to keep up.

But speed and urgency, although necessary attributes of leadership, are not sufficient. In fact, our research suggests that the leaders who can tether an obsession with deadlines and time to an ability to sense the work and energy flow of their colleagues will have the most success.

Cultural anthropologists were the first to recognize that people tend to track time in two ways: clock time and social time. Under clock time, punctuality and predictability are highly valued. People adhere strictly to deadlines and appointment times.

Under social time, by contrast, conversational and relational smoothness and the ability to complete a thought or interaction without abruptness are valued. A fluid sense of natural rhythm in conversations and interactions over time enhances relationship building.

Research found that, traditionally, southern European and Latin cultures placed more emphasis on social time and Anglo-Saxon cultures placed more emphasis on clock time. But these cultural differences are beginning to wane as more of the world moves to a global business culture driven by clock time. Still, within the same culture, research has long found significant differences in how people experience time. Click here to continue reading »

The ”New Normal” For The C-Suite – Learning Agile Leaders

A look at agility and leadership and 4 strategies CEOs can use to create a learning agile C-suite team in their organization.

The following is a guest piece by Peter Thies, Ph.D.

What are CEOs looking for in the next generation of C-Suite leaders? Let’s look at three real-world examples:

1. Growth Leaders – The CEO of a multi-billion dollar industrial products company boldly sets an ambitious growth goal of growing revenue by 40% over a three-year period. He has a Board-approved strategy, a solid operating plan with targets, and a newly developed business unit organization structure to implement it.

But he also knows that this is the easy part. What’s the hard part? It’s building a cadre of leaders who can grow the company at a rapid clip. No one has asked them to do anything like this before. They have good managers, but do they have growth leaders?

2. Champions of the Greater Good – The CEO of a large, global educational services company is reorganizing to increase its impact in the company’s areas of focus. The new organizational model will enable linkages across the company, connecting people from various disciplines together to innovate and drive marketplace success.

The CEO needs to staff several newly defined senior executive roles with leaders who will drive collaboration across former fiefdoms and make decisions that put the company, not their unit, first. Which leaders will have not only domain expertise but also the ability to wear an “Enterprise Hat”?

3. Transformational Leaders – A well-respected publishing company is transforming its brand. It must reach new audiences with ever more impactful content and diversify its traditional sources of revenue. The CEO came on board with a change imperative and is heading into the third year of a multi-year transformation process.

After collaboratively developing a strategy with her Board and engaging all employees in the change process, the time is now to see the changes implemented flawlessly. She needs her leadership team to collaborate across silos, make difficult strategic and operational decisions and lead with a more integrated “One Company” mindset. Who will help her lead this transformation?

The New Normal: Learning Agile Leaders Who Operate At The Enterprise Level
These are real CEOs from real companies across vastly different industries, with different business models and different profit motives. But they share one challenge in common: Click here to continue reading »

A Timely Reminder Of The Power Of Empathy In Leadership

This week's US election day provides a unique backdrop on which to illustrate the importance of empathy in today's leadership.

No matter where you live, there’s no question that the big story this week is the arrival of the US election and who the American public has decided to serve their country as their next President. For those outside of the US, it’s been both an interesting and troubling journey the US electorate has been put through, especially in its final few months.

Although I’m Canadian, it’s easy to relate to and understand the frustration and dismay many Americans have felt over the course of this election period, along with a good dose of wariness for what lies ahead after the election is over, regardless of who wins.

And yet, this current US election does provide an important lesson for leaders everywhere of just how important empathy is becoming to our ability to lead, as we’ve been given a concrete example of just how quickly things can fall apart when we divide people into groups of “us” versus “them”.

And to be clear, politics is not the only domain where this happens. All of us have had the experience of working with someone we don’t like, and sometimes even someone who we feel – or even know – is working to undermine our authority or credibility in the eyes of our co-workers or those we lead.

And in those circumstances, it becomes very easy for us to delineate those we view to be in “our camp” and those who we look upon with doubt and mistrust because they align themselves with those we dislike.

But what this past US election has shown us is that if we allow those feelings to fester, if we choose to allow others to exploit and drive that wedge that separates people based on what we lack in common with one another, we will end up not only with a more hostile work environment, but we will be permitting conditions to take hold that will make it even more difficult for our employees to get things done.

And this is why emotional intelligence and in particular, empathy, has become so critical to our ability to effectively lead others – empathy allows us to bridge the gap between how we see things and how others experience them [Twitter-logo-smallShare on Twitter].

Through our empathy, we’re able to move beyond the binary attitude of “I’m right/you’re wrong” which can impede any initiative from moving forward, to one that’s driven by the desire to discover that common ground we share with one another so that we can promote collaboration and foster sustainable growth.

It’s a truth that becomes all the more obvious when we remember that the key to your organization’s success and future prosperity is no longer based solely on the processes and technologies found within your company’s walls, but within the talents, insights, and experiences of those you lead. Something that one can tap into only if we create conditions where people feel connected to what they do and to those around them, as well as being a part of the shared purpose that defines your collective efforts.

But how do we know if we’re truly being empathetic in our leadership? How can we tell if we’re creating Click here to continue reading »

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