Tanveer Naseer

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Are Your Supporting Your Organization’s New Leaders To Succeed?

A closer look at why it's important for organizations to not overlook providing support for the new leaders their management ranks.

Over the past few months, I’ve written a number of articles that examined from different vantage points the importance of leaders providing support and guidance for those under their care.

Judging from the response these pieces received, it’s clear that these ideas and insights certainly resonated with my readers. And yet, the truth is that when it comes to discussions about providing support to members of our organization, there is one subset that unfortunately gets overlooked in these conversations. The group I’m referring to are those employees who’ve recently been promoted into leadership roles.

To understand the unique challenges they face, we must first consider the process by which many newly-minted leaders are selected for taking on these new roles.

In most cases, being offered a leadership role is treated as a promotion – either to reward an employee’s past achievements, or to ensure their talents and skills are retained within the organization. Consequently, organizations end up with people in leadership positions who don’t have the proper skills and mindset to successfully lead others.

Indeed, a recent study by Gallup found that 82% of current managers lack the skills and aptitude to be an effective leader, skills like being able to “motivate every single employee to take action”, creating a “culture of clear accountability”, building relationships with those they lead, and making decisions based on what’s best for the team and organization as opposed to just for themselves.

In other cases, the promotion of employees to new leadership roles is hastily done in response to the growing number of vacancies in leadership positions. For example, one study found that only 36% of surveyed companies were prepared to immediately fill vacancies in their leadership roles.

One of the more obvious issues these findings reveal is that many organizations are moving people into leadership roles too quickly, in that they lack sufficient leadership training and development to ensure they succeed in this new role.

Or even worse, they give leadership roles to people who don’t have what it takes to effectively lead others; that while they might be technically proficient, they don’t have knowledge, insights or skills necessary to take on the responsibility to lead others.

But the other issue these approaches to leadership promotion creates is that it Click here to continue reading »

Why Leaders Should Depersonalize Communication

Researchers have found leaders are more effective in how they communicate when they depersonalize the message. Learn what this means and how to do it.

The following is a guest piece by Dr. Derek Roger and Nick Petrie.

It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it

Talking comes so naturally to us we tend to forget just how much skill is involved. Even when we’re speaking fast, every word is selected as the appropriate one, from a huge collection we have stored in our brains. We weren’t born with language; all the words, and the rules governing them, had to be learned.

Spoken language, together with the gestures to go with what we’re saying, are what constitutes communication. It is at the heart of what it means to be human, but it all goes wrong when we’re less selective about when, how and what we communicate.

Let’s use a simple illustrative example, from the world of work: you’ve just completed a short proposal for a contract, a task you haven’t done before, and your boss is reading through it. How does she respond? The reply you’re likely to dread, especially if this all takes place in front of your colleagues, is along the lines of “You’ve done a pretty bad job of this. Didn’t they teach you anything at college?”

Unfortunately, feedback to direct reports often carries this kind of blaming tone, and it is hardly surprising that so many engagement surveys highlight the negative effects of poor communication. One solution is to provide communication skills training, but the negative ratings often persist.

The reason is that the principles of conventional communication skills programs may be quite ambiguous. Eye-contact is an example: the rule is that you should maintain eye-contact for a certain percentage of the time, to indicate continued interest, but if it’s maintained for too long the conversation starts to feel like an interrogation!

On the other hand, if you’re conveying complex information, people might break eye-contact because they’re reflecting on what you’ve said, not because they aren’t attending.

Listen, just wake up!

So what can be done to improve communication skills? Click here to continue reading »

How Do You Inspire Others Through Your Leadership?

Most leaders look for role models to inspire how they lead. But it's also important for leaders to consider how to inspire those they lead.

As a people person, I always enjoy visiting new places and new cities as it provides the opportunity to meet new people and spark new conversations, some of which can lead to some very thought-provoking discussions.

For example, a few weeks ago, I meet with a group of leaders to exchange ideas on the growing challenges found in today’s increasingly uncertain global business environment. During this event, I had a one-on-one conversation with one of those leaders, a discussion which began with that typical starting point of sharing our respective stories of what lead us to the work we do today.

When I shared insights based on some of my recent writings on leadership, this leader asked me an intriguing question – ‘how do I go about inspiring others?’

Now many of us have examples of successful leaders who we look up to for inspiration and insight into how we can succeed in the endeavour of leading others. I’ve often been asked which leaders I gain inspiration from and while there are many examples, the ones I often cite are Nelson Mandela and Walt Disney.

But the interesting thing about this particular question is that it shifts our focus inwards onto ourselves in order to examine what we’re creating through our own leadership. That we move beyond simply evaluating our leadership in terms of various established metrics like goal achievement, productivity, and efficiency ratings, in order to ask ourselves what seeds are we planting in the hearts and minds of those we lead?

In other words, the question becomes less about who inspires us and shifts towards answering how are we inspiring those around us through our own actions and words?

As my conversation with this leader continued, it became clear that this was the concern he was having. Although he had facts and figures that proved he was helping his team to reach various assigned targets, he didn’t know if he was inspiring his employees the way his leadership heroes had inspired him. And what’s more, he admitted that he honestly didn’t know where to begin.

Granted, this query can seem to be a bit conceited. After all, if we think about those leadership figures we all admire and look up to, there’s a clear and undeniable reason why they’ve earned our respect and admiration.

And yet, there’s one question that revolves around every individual we look to as a source of inspiration and guidance for today’s leaders – do we see them as inspiring leaders because they achieved extraordinary things, or is it because they Click here to continue reading »

10 Steps To Accelerate Meetings And Drive Productivity

Learn about 10 steps leaders can employ to improve meeting efficiency and drive productivity in their organization.

The following is a guest piece by Jack Zenger and Joesph Folkman.

It is estimated that 15% to 28% of every manager’s workweek is spent in meetings. One of the most frequent written complaints people make about their bosses is the quality of their meetings.

Complaints range from meetings with no agenda, lack of clear purpose for each agenda topic, no advance information nor background materials, lack of making a decision, absence of any follow-through and the plodding, snail’s pace of the meeting.

A leader with accelerated speed and pace greatly increases the likelihood of a productive meeting. Our research on productivity improvement shows high correlation of improved productivity with the efficiency and effectiveness of meetings.

How to Accelerate Meetings Click here to continue reading »

Stop Aspiring To Lead And Start Leading By Giving Support

For organizations to succeed, leaders need to learn how to provide better support for their employees. Learn where to begin with this piece.
The following is a guest piece by Inc. columnist and NYU Adjunct Professor Joshua Spodek
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People who aspire to lead look upward in a hierarchy to find power and authority they can grab onto to pull themselves up. That’s why they’re still aspiring and not leading. People above them can sense their craving, which they can motivate them with, which makes them followers, not leaders.

Great, effective leaders support people, which means not looking up but looking around at people at all levels. Supporting people attracts them to your team. Support creates loyalty, dedication, and results. People who support become leaders because people want to follow them. They buoy themselves up through effective action, which means getting things done.

Why you don’t know how to support

The challenge to grow your teams, followers, and community is more than knowing you have to support people. Everyone knows what they should do in the abstract. The challenge is knowing how and doing it. Schools don’t teach it. Media don’t show this bread-and-butter but not dramatic part of leadership. What’s effective doesn’t sell movie tickets.

In my book, “Leadership Step by Step“, I treat support as the culmination of the leadership skills that you reach after mastering everything else. I think of it like the serve in tennis. It may be an important part of the game, maybe the most important, but it’s hard, so you don’t learn it first. Learning it requires Click here to continue reading »

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