TanveerNaseer.com

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Why Successful Leaders Focus On Giving Over Getting

Transforming-leadership-from-getting-to-giving

One of the wonderful benefits of our digital age is not only how we’re able to discover the talent and artistry of people we might have otherwise overlooked, but also how we’re now able to peek behind the curtain to learn what inspires them; to discover and understand what guides them to create these moments of engaging insights that linger in our mind’s eye.

It’s a concept I recently appreciated when I came upon this video by comedian Michael Jr. where he shares what he views as being the moment where he had his big break as a comedian. His description of the big break in his career is not only a heartwarming and revealing look into the art of stand-up comedy, but it also shines a light on an important lesson for today’s leaders to embrace.

Now granted, it may seem weird to pull a lesson on leadership from a comedian talking about laughter and comedy. But it becomes a bit clearer when we find out that Michael Jr.’s big break as a comedian wasn’t when he performed on The Tonight Show or at the internationally renowned Montreal Just For Laughs comedy festival.

Rather, as Michael Jr. describes in the quote below, his big break was something more internally-driven and personally significant:

“The big break was at a club and right before I got on stage, I had a change in mindset about comedy. Normally, when a comedian gets on stage, he wants to get laughs from people. I felt a little shift take place, where I felt like I was to go up there and give them an opportunity to laugh. Now I’m not looking to take. I’m looking for an opportunity to give.”

Now although this comedian is referring to the relationship he has with his audience and his shift in how he views that dynamic, there is nonetheless an important message to learn here regarding the dynamics we have as a leader with those under our care.

Specifically, it compels us to ponder the following: when we go into those meetings with our employees, when we have those conversations with those we lead, are we walking into that moment with the goal of getting something for us, or do we see it as an opportunity to give something of ourselves to those we lead?

As leaders, it’s easy to fall into the trap of Click here to continue reading »”Why Successful Leaders Focus On Giving Over Getting”

Speak To The Heart To Lead Change

Leading-with-heart

The following is a guest piece by Dianna Booher.

“I’ve sold millions and millions of dollars during my 30 years at IBM, and it never occurred to me that people make their buying decisions based on emotion first, and then justified with logic,” John said to me over dinner a few weeks ago. “But you’re right. As I think back about the various client deals, I can see that. I definitely can see that.

Another case in point.

But more formal, rigorous research shows overwhelmingly that people base buying decisions on emotion, and then support them with logic. In a business setting, a logical argument is expected, of course. Just don’t count on the logical argument to win people over to your way of thinking.

In “The Heart of Change”, John Kotter and Dan Cohen discuss a study they conducted with Deloitte Consulting about the nature of change. The study involved more than 400 interviewees from 130 companies in the United States, Australia, Europe, and South Africa.

Their interpretation of the data? Even in large corporations that focus on very logical approaches to strategy, culture, and analysis of data, change happens because the leaders find a way to help people see problems or solutions in ways that influence their emotions, not just their reasoning.

In my own research for “What More Can I Say: Why Communication Fails and What to Do About It”, executives told me the same things over and over: To lead change, influence others, and gain commitment, speak to the heart.

So what does that mean exactly? Click here to continue reading »”Speak To The Heart To Lead Change”

The Leadership Legacy Of A Childhood Hero

Leonard-Nimoy-leadership-legacy

As a writer, there’s a natural tendency to examine events to see how they can shape our understanding of things and generate ideas that can be shared with others. It’s from that perspective that this piece that came to mind on the news of the passing of one of my childhood heroes, Leonard Nimoy, and what insights could be gleaned on looking back at the impact his life has had on so many around the world.

As is the case with many scientists, Star Trek inspired within me a deep love for both real-world science and science fiction. But it’s not just scientists who have been singing their praises for Leonard Nimoy’s work. Indeed, people from all walks of life have been joining in the choruses of expressing gratitude for the influence his work – and in particular his portrayal of the legendary character Mr. Spock – has had on their lives.

Granted, for some, it might be hard to appreciate what’s behind all these tributes from people all over the world, not to mention heads of state and leaders of some of the world’s largest organizations. That is, of course, until we recognize that in those tributes we see people talking less about his work playing the fictional character Mr. Spock, and more about how his work influenced them.

Of how the character he gave life to inspired so many to challenge themselves to not only believe in a better tomorrow, but to become active participants in making that idea a reality.

It’s from that lens that I decided to write my own personal tribute to this childhood hero of mine, by sharing some stories from his life and what lessons we can learn from them about how we can use our leadership to bring out the best in those we lead, as well as inspire them to commit to the vision we have for the future.

1. Find opportunities to address the needs of others
One of the common statements being shared about Leonard Nimoy was how generous a person he was both to the people he worked with and to the numerous fans he met over the course of his life.

Some of the best examples of this can be seen in the efforts he made on behalf of Click here to continue reading »”The Leadership Legacy Of A Childhood Hero”

3 Lessons On How To Promote Successful Collaborations

Leadership-promoting-successful-collaborations

One of the benefits I garner through my work are opportunities to collaborate with different groups and individuals. Through these collaborations, I not only get the chance to learn and understand different perspectives, but to discover new ways to work with people who have different approaches to guide things forward.

Of course, as with anything in life, not all collaborations are created equal. Although I look forward to future collaborations with many of the people and groups I’ve worked with in the past, there are some collaborations that were not as satisfying or rewarding. Not so much in terms of how successful we were in attaining our objectives, but in how certain parties approached the collaboration process.

Interestingly, it’s a problem that my two oldest daughters also experience in high school where teachers assign them projects to collaborate on without providing any guidance or support on how to do this effectively. This no doubt mirrors our own educational experiences, where we were somehow expected to know how to collaborate with different partners in order to achieve a successful result.

Taken together, what this reveals is an uncomfortable truth about the nature of work: we understand the importance of collaboration, but most of us haven’t learned what that involves [Twitter-logo-smallShare on Twitter]. And in light of today’s rush to just get things done, leaders are not engendering a supportive environment for their employees to learn how they can successfully collaborate with different teams and departments in order to achieve their organization’s shared purpose.

As such, I’d like to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned from my past collaborations, lessons I’ve shared with both my clients and my daughters on how we can learn to be successful in our present and future collaborations by gaining a better understanding of what it entails.

1. Clarify expectations in terms of involvement and contributions
When I look back at the various partnerships I’ve had with different groups and individuals, one trait that these collaborations shared in common was how there was this collective drive and enthusiasm to roll up our sleeves and dive into the work.

And yet, if I look at those collaborations which I enjoyed the most – those that have fuelled an interest in finding opportunities to collaborate in the future – there was something we did before we mapped out any plans or began assigning tasks.

Namely, before anything else was done, we made time to Click here to continue reading »”3 Lessons On How To Promote Successful Collaborations”

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”

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