TanveerNaseer.com

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

How Leaders Can Cure A Toxic Workplace

Curing-toxic-workplace

One of the things I enjoy about sharing my writings and insights on leadership is the opportunity it creates to interact with my readers – to hear their stories and what they’ve learned along the way, as well as some of the challenges they are trying to overcome.

Recently, one challenge in particular caught my attention as it was brought forth by both a reader of my leadership blog and by an audience member at a talk I gave last week.  The challenge in question was what do you do if you have to lead a team in a toxic workplace setting? And how can you overcome this to effectively lead your employees?

Given the interest expressed by two different segments of my audience, I want to share some key steps leaders should employ to help cure toxic workplaces and replace them with a more healthy, productive work environment.

Granted, I can’t provide specific steps because every situation is different and comes with its own set of variables and constraints that leaders will have to work with. However, the following measures will nonetheless provide you with both the right perspective and framework to help cure toxic workplaces in your organization.

1. Identify and rally ‘change champions’ in your organization
Now before we can put into action measures to cure a toxic workplace, we need to first understand something about how our brain operates. Neuroscience has shown that our brains are hard-wired to avoid threats in our environment.

Consequently, not only is our brain focused more on looking out for danger than benefits, but the neural signals we get from our different senses are processed first through that lens of whether it’s a good or bad experience before our higher brain functions can help us to create a context for what we’re seeing, hearing, or feeling.

Now it’s important to note here that it’s not just dangerous or harmful events that our brain identifies as threats. Rather, it labels anything that creates ambiguity or uncertainty as a threat and consequently, something we should avoid. And all of this happens subconsciously which is why we may not be able to rationally explain why we fear something, only that we do.

In the case of making changes to your workplace environment, even though Click here to continue reading »”How Leaders Can Cure A Toxic Workplace”

Why We Fail At Leadership

Leadership-failure

When it comes to studying leadership, the natural tendency is to focus on those leaders whose successes and achievements continue to inspire us and drive so many to emulate them in the hopes of replicating their accomplishments.

Of course, as much as it’s important for us to see what we can learn from those who understand what it takes to succeed at leadership, it’s also valuable for us to examine and consider what causes others to fail in the role of leading people towards a common goal or shared purpose.

To that end, I’d like to share the story of one leader whose example I hope will help us to appreciate one of the key challenges leaders need to address if they are to succeed in this role in today’s fast-changing, global environment.

When Albert* was promoted to head the division he had spent the past few years working for, he naturally jumped into the opportunity with a lot of enthusiasm and ideas of how he’d like the department to operate under his leadership.

Given how Albert was career-driven and had his eyes on playing a bigger role in the organization, he was determined to not only prove his ability to lead this department, but to get his former colleagues to view him as ‘executive material’, in order to support his efforts to move up in the organization.

In no time, Albert was sending out memos detailing new approaches he wanted his former colleagues to employ in order to ‘make things more efficient’ or to ‘make efforts more aligned with corporate policy’ as a way to prove his technical prowess.

He used team meetings to inform his direct reports of his interactions with various groups of executives and VPs to highlight his growing familiarity with those at the executive level in order to prove his comfort level with ‘playing in the big leagues’.

Of course, in his zeal to prove his ability to lead and step up into the executive circle, Albert ended up making a number of missteps which Click here to continue reading »”Why We Fail At Leadership”

Women In Leadership Is Not A Zero-Sum Game

Women-leadership-roles

When it comes to discussions on the state of today’s leadership, one topic that understandably comes up is the issue of women in leadership. Specifically, why there continues to be so few women holding senior-level leadership positions in both the private and public sectors.

It’s an issue that’s been weighing on mind over the past few months in light of the growing number of stories of women encountering sexual harassment and outright misogynistic attitudes on university campuses, as well as in many growing, high-demand sectors like the gaming industry and software engineering.

In light of such stories, the issue of women in leadership is no longer just about the efficacy of implementing quotas to address the current gender imbalance, or whether women need to do more to get ahead in predominantly-male work environments. Indeed, when it comes to discussions on gender or visible minorities in leadership, we can no longer relegate it as simply being a “women’s issue” or a minority group’s problem to address.

Rather, we need to recognize that this is an all-hands-on-deck societal issue and a leadership issue.

After all, how else can we ensure that we’re bringing out the best in those we lead if we’re intentionally leaving so much of that potential behind? [Twitter-logo-smallShare on TwitterHow can we truly tap into the collective talents, creativity, and insights of those around us if we continue to allow conditions to persist that hold so many back from bringing their full selves to work?

We have to remember that our job as leaders is to listen to others – especially to those who are different from us – so we can gain Click here to continue reading »”Women In Leadership Is Not A Zero-Sum Game”

How Successful Leaders Use Culture To Influence Behaviour

Organizational-culture-influences-behaviour

The following is a guest piece by James O’Toole.

Increasingly, business consultants, scholars, and executives are coming to the conclusion that culture is the prime driver of organizational performance. Despite the prevalence of that point of view, however, there’s little agreement about what culture is or what it entails.

You can’t see it, touch it, or measure it, yet culture is said to explain why some companies fare better than others. The authors of the year’s three best business books on culture, one of which is a novel, explore the elusive subject from widely divergent perspectives, but all end up confirming that it is the single most powerful influence on how people behave in organizations. Click here to continue reading »”How Successful Leaders Use Culture To Influence Behaviour”

How To Promote Continuous Learning In Your Organization

Leadership continuous learning environment

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

– William Arthur Ward

When it comes to effectively leading teams and organizations in today’s fast-paced, 24/7 global economy, it’s becoming more and more evident that the days of command-and-control leadership are well behind us. That – to paraphrase the quote above – organizations need leaders who don’t just explain or demonstrate the relevance of their vision to those they lead. Rather, what organizations require are leaders who can inspire employees to commit themselves wholeheartedly to making this vision a reality.

It’s a recurring theme found in some of the talks I’ve given this year, going from my keynote speech given at a leadership conference in Chicago last month to my next presentation in Utah in September: that as leaders, we need to do more than simply paint grand visions of the future; we also have to provide an environment where our employees can see the opportunity to grow, evolve, and help build the kind of future that they want to be a part of.

As I prepare for my talk next month on how leaders can help their organizations to shift from relying solely on training programs to promoting a continuous learning environment, I’d like to share the following 3 measures to provide some insights on how you can do the same in your organization.

1. Encourage your employees to challenge their assumptions
One of the first things we have to do to promote continuous learning in our organization is to encourage our employees to challenge their assumptions of their capabilities as well as of what’s possible. To understand the importance of this step to creating a continuous learning environment, we need to first understand how our brain performs tasks.

When our brain performs tasks or makes decisions, it not only taps into the Click here to continue reading »”How To Promote Continuous Learning In Your Organization”

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