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Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Will This Be The Year Leaders Put Employees First?

Leadership-putting-employees-first

As we approach the end of the first month of this new year, many of us are now well under way in implementing our plans and strategies to achieve the goals we’ve mapped out for the next 11 months. In terms of what leaders view as their top goals to achieve this year, a new study reveals some interesting opportunities, and with it, some key obstacles leaders will need to address if they are to help their organization move forward.

In the CEO Challenge 2014 study carried out by The Conference Board, CEOs and presidents from over 1 000 organizations around the world were asked to identify what they saw as the top challenges for their organization. While it wasn’t surprising to see innovation and customer relationships being included in the top 5 challenges, the study’s most revealing finding is how the top challenge for leaders worldwide was Human Capital – namely, how to engage, retain, manage and develop their employees.

In other words, leaders in every region of the world recognize that their employees are the defining factor both for their organization’s ability to achieve their goals this year, and as well as for their overall long-term success. As Rebecca Ray, Senior Vice President, Human Capital at The Conference Board, and co-author of this study points out:

“This emphasis on people-related issues makes perfect sense in a still-uncertain economy. Building a culture that supports engagement, employee training, leadership development, and high performance is something companies can control, and can mean the difference between growing market share and simply surviving in 2014. Moreover, if the focus of individual companies is sustained, Human Capital may well be the engine that revives economic growth.”

This is certainly encouraging news, as it reflects a growing shift from the survivalist/just treading water mindset to one that seeks opportunities for development and growth. However, we do have to be mindful of Click here to continue reading »”Will This Be The Year Leaders Put Employees First?”

What Does It Take To Be A Connected Leader?

Attributes of a connected leader

The following is a guest piece by Dan Pontefract.

The Italian town of Pisa is an interesting place full of contrasts. The tower, of course, has been leaning amongst a sea of straight buildings in the Piazza del Duomo that includes tall Tuscan evergreens as well as columns that have adorned the Duomo, Baptistery and Campo Santo for several hundred years.

Fine art in the various buildings is starkly opposed a gaggle of immigrants trying to make a buck by hocking souvenir trinkets of miniature ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’ replicas, Holy rosaries, fake leather bags and sunglasses. It really is beauty and the beast.

Tourists themselves parade mightily with cameras in hand amongst the old Romanesque walls gazing at this architectural wonderment whereas local Italians look on rather ambivalently to the surroundings, barely noticing the beatific stone marvels nestled amongst them.

It’s this recognition of contrast in Pisa where we must take pause and articulate a set of leadership attributes that embody contrast. I suggest there are fifteen Connected Leader Attributes necessary to invoke ‘Flat Army’ across a team and organization; where there is rigidity there must be flexibility and where there is give there must be take. Where there is the need to drive business there is the need to understand and work with people.

The Connected Leader in the Flat Army model can be thought of as Click here to continue reading »”What Does It Take To Be A Connected Leader?”

How Courageous Leaders Address Fear In The Workplace

Leader facing workplace fear

In the face of continual change and uncertainty in the global economy – not to mention the increasingly myopic focus on short-term gains at the expense of understanding the long-term context – fear in the workplace has become a long-term affliction as evidenced in study after study showing increasing levels of stress paired with falling engagement levels in today’s work environments.

Not surprisingly, such conditions naturally lead to calls for courageous leaders to step forward to help guide us through the storm and back into calmer waters. Unfortunately, when it comes to courage in leadership, we often have a wrong impression of what that means.

When it comes to courageous leadership, the image that often comes to mind is of a leader who is not just assertive in the face of uncertainty, but who also exudes a sense of fearlessness regarding the situation before them. And yet, the reality is that courage in leadership is not about the absence of fear. Rather, it’s about learning to manage one’s fear in order to do the work and make the decisions that need to be made.

Of course, the ability to exhibit courage in our leadership is not something that is limited to a select few that breathe rarefied air. Indeed, each of us have the capacity to be courageous leaders by implementing the following steps: Click here to continue reading »”How Courageous Leaders Address Fear In The Workplace”

How Leaders Create The Right Environment To Resolve Team Conflicts

Leader managing workplace conflict

How can we resolve conflicts in the workplace? That was the focus of the interview I did with National Post columnist Steve Cunningham as part of his company’s series of interviews with thought leaders and experts from various industries and disciplines.

Over the course of our conversation, I shared with Steve a number of actionable steps employees can take to resolve conflicts they might have with their colleagues or team mates. At one point, though, we also touched briefly on what leaders can do to help address conflicts that can adversely impact team progress and cohesion.

Although it’s important for employees to understand how to manage and resolve conflicts for themselves, there are measures that leaders can take in order to provide the kind of guidance and environment that will ensure that conflicts don’t impair their team’s ability to collaborate and communicate effectively.

With this in mind, here are four steps that leaders should take to create an environment where employees can successfully resolve conflicts in the workplace:

1. Remind employees that conflict is only negative if we tear each other down
When it comes to conflict, there’s a understandable tendency to view it negatively in large part due to our past experiences where we might have lost influence or authority, felt disrespected, or not heard by the other party.

However, there’s another reason behind this tendency to view conflict negatively that has to do with how our brains operate. Click here to continue reading »”How Leaders Create The Right Environment To Resolve Team Conflicts”

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