TanveerNaseer.com

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

A Lesson On Bringing Out The Best In Those You Lead

Bringing-out-best-in-our-employees

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been writing about the various characteristics and perspectives leaders need to have to be successful in bringing out the best in those they lead. Sharing some of these insights has brought to mind a question I was asked recently following one of my presentations on leadership.

The question I was asked revolved around how can a leader encourage those under their care to challenge their assumptions of what they’re capable of in order to help them to grow and evolve into stronger contributors to their organization’s vision.

I decided to answer this question by sharing a personal example of a leader I worked with who not only inspired me to dream bigger, but who encouraged me to challenge how I viewed myself and the contributions I could make.

Given the positive response I got from the other audience members, I decided this would be a good story to share with my readers to continue our discussion on how we can bring out the best in those we lead, especially in the face of the growing demands and distractions we face every day at work.

Dan was the president of a biotechnology company where I served in my first middle management role. Now, the interesting thing about Dan is that when you first meet him, he can seem a bit intimidating, not only because he’s quite tall (I’m sure he was a star player on his high school’s basketball team), but because he had this air of quiet confidence and assuredness about him.

And yet, when you talk with him, he had this way about him that made you feel quickly at ease around him, where you no longer saw him as the top dog in the organization, but as someone who was there to help you out if he can.

One of my fondest memories of working with Dan revolves around the numerous one-on-one meetings I had with him in his office. Whenever he saw me waiting outside his corner office near the secretary’s desk, he’d greet me with a warm smile and invite me to take a seat next to his desk.

What was interesting about these meetings was how Click here to continue reading »

Building Emotional Competencies In Our Leadership

Building-emotional-competencies-in-leadership

Over the past decade or so, there have been numerous studies and books that have helped us to better appreciate the emotional nature of successful leadership, a fact that has helped to bring about a transformation in leadership attitudes from the old command-and-control approach to one that’s more outward-focused and collaborative.

Unfortunately, while we’ve become more aware about the importance of emotional intelligence in today’s leadership, the truth is many of us continue to grapple with this issue and in the past few years, it has only become worse thanks to the changing realities of leading in today’s faster-paced, 24/7 work environment.

It’s an issue that I’ve addressed in some of the talks I’ve given this year, where I discussed the challenge leaders face of how to balance the increasing pull to simply get things done against that critical need to build and nurture a workplace environment that brings out the best in those they lead.

The necessity and importance of addressing this balancing act can be best appreciated when we consider the findings of a recent American Management Association (AMA) study which found that stress in the workplace is fast becoming the most critical issue organizations face today, with more than 50% of the study’s respondents stating that their organization suffers from above-average stress levels.

The major challenge this workplace issue presents comes from the fact that our ability to address workplace stress depends not on our technical capabilities, but on the emotional competencies we bring to our leadership.

After all, creating an environment where employees thrive is an emotional construct, not a technical one [Twitter-logo-smallShare on Twitter].

It’s also why in today’s current workplace environment, where all of us are being bombarded with increasing demands on our time and attention, we can’t afford to let what gets our attention to determine what we focus on and where we put most of our efforts. Rather, what we need to do is build our emotional competencies to ensure that we are promoting an organizational culture that ensures our collective success, growth, and evolution.

So how can we build our emotional competencies in order to be more successful in guiding our employees towards achieving our vision or shared purpose?

The first critical step we need to take is Click here to continue reading »

What’s The Truth About Your Leadership?

The-truth-about-your-leadership

In my previous piece, I looked at an underlying theme found among the numerous issues leaders in every industry face today and what this tells us about how we can be more successful in bringing out the best in those we lead.

The enthusiastic reaction to the ideas I shared in that article got me thinking about the other piece of this puzzle. Namely, that in addition to our responsibility to protect those we lead to do the work they’re meant to do, we also need to have a keen self-awareness regarding how much truth there is in our leadership.

In other words, how much of our focus is on what our employees require from us to be successful in their efforts, as opposed to those things that demand on our attention, often because they impact us directly?

One can appreciate the importance of this question by looking at the failures of leaders like former BP CEO Tony Hayward, who during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill voiced his frustration with all the media attention on this environmental disaster by saying how he just ‘wanted to get his life back’.

Or when Chip Wilson, founder of athletics apparel company Lululemon, responded to complaints that his company’s yoga pants appeared see-through on some women by putting the blame on a segment of his customer base, arguing that his product wasn’t meant for women with certain body types.

In these and every other example of failed leadership that’s happened over the past decade, what we find glaringly absent is a lack of truth about their leadership. And by this, I’m not just referring to whether they were being honest regarding the problems their organization had to publicly grapple with.

Rather, what this lack of truth in their leadership pertains to is how Click here to continue reading »

This Is What Real Leaders Do

How-leaders-help-employees-to-succeed

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had several fascinating discussions with leaders from different organizations and industries about the various challenges they’re grappling with within their workplace.

For some of these leaders, the major issue they face is how to improve employee engagement levels within their division.

For another group, the main challenge they want to address is how to make emotional intelligence a key foundation stone in their leadership within an organization whose senior leaders don’t see or understand the value of such measures.

And for the other remaining group, the primary focus of their efforts is how to lead their team within a gloomy organizational climate where toxic politics seem to drive efforts more than the overarching vision of the organization.

On the surface, what these conversations revealed is the wide range of issues leaders need to contend with in today’s faster-paced, interconnected global environment. On closer inspection, though, what we discover is that at the heart of each of these challenges is an underlying truth that every modern-day leader needs to come to terms with – that as a leader, it’s your job to protect your team so they can do the work they’re meant to do [Twitter-logo-smallShare on Twitter].

At the core of every successful endeavour there is a leader who understood how to foster conditions that will help them to bring out the best in those they lead. Key to creating those conditions was the efforts these leaders made to shield those under their care from political manipulations and ego-driven initiatives that risked taking the wind out of their collective sails to succeed in spite of what stood before them.

In looking at the actions and behaviours of revered leaders from around the world, we find unmistakable proof of how their focus was not on themselves – on building or strengthening their reputation, power, or prestige.

Rather, these leaders understood that the key to creating a compelling vision or goal that others would want to be a part of requires that we Click here to continue reading »

Creating A Workplace Environment Where Employees Matter

Creating-workplace-where-employees-matter

One of my favourite stories from the time of NASA’s Apollo space missions involves a visit by a group of guests to Mission Control. As they were walking down one of the building’s hallways, they spotted a man in a lab coat walking in the opposite direction and as they neared them, they asked him what he did at NASA. The man looked at the visitors and replied matter-of-factly, “I’m helping to put a man on the Moon”.

Of course, what makes this NASA employee’s response so noteworthy is the fact that he wasn’t one of the engineers or scientists involved in designing the rockets or overseeing the lunar missions. Instead, he was the building’s janitor.

It’s a story that came to mind in a discussion I had last week with a team of leaders where we were discussing the challenge many organizations face of improving the levels of employee engagement found within the various teams and departments that make up their organization.

Often times, these discussions reveal both a wariness and a sense of uncertainty regarding the complexity and difficulties involved in trying to reignite the internal motivations of our employees to bring their full selves to the work they do.

And yet, what this story of the NASA janitor reveals is the both the possibility and opportunity for us to use our leadership to create that kind of environment where our employees feel valued; where they know that the work and contributions they make matter because it’s tied to the larger purpose that defines our collective efforts.

Indeed, every time I’ve shared this story with clients and conference attendees, I see in their faces that look of understanding and hope that they too might be able to inspire all of their employees – regardless of the role they play in their organization – to feel that sense of connection and value to the shared purpose that defines why they do what they do.

Of course, there are numerous studies out there that have revealed the ease by which we can create that kind of sentiment within our workforce. For example, in a study I collaborated on with Phillips North America around employee engagement and workplace attitudes, one of the more intriguing findings was the fact that more than 50% of the respondents said they’d gladly take a pay cut in order to do meaningful work.

What this reveals is that people want to know that what they do matters; that it makes a difference and creates value [Twitter-logo-smallShare on Twitter], not just for their organization, but for themselves as well.

Unfortunately, the challenge we now face is how to keep our focus on initiatives meant to help inspire our employees while grappling with Click here to continue reading »

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