TanveerNaseer.com

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Understanding The Power Of Expectations

Leadership expectations and employee potential

A few weeks ago, my oldest daughter and I were watching one of our favourite dramas when a scene came along that spurred on a conversation about leadership and the expectations we have about those we work for.

The scene in question revolved around one of the main characters who in his new job as a sous-chef had spent the past few days cutting over 40 pounds of potatoes into paper-thin slices. When the head chef – the main character’s boss – walks into the kitchen, the sous-chef points to the heaping bowl of potato slices on his station and tells the head chef he’s completed his task.

The head chef takes a quick look at the potato slices and tells his sous-chef that it looks like he finally got the hang of it near the end. The head chef then takes the large bowl of potato slices and tosses them in the garbage.

As his sous-chef starts to blurt out his exasperation at seeing days of his work being tossed away, the head chef pulls him over to another cutting board and takes out an odd looking vegetable. He then tells his sous-chef to slice the vegetable using the same technique he used with the potatoes.

After making a few paper-thin slices, the head chef picks up a slice and tells his sous-chef that the odd-looking vegetable is a white truffle that goes for over $1000.00/pound.

The head chef then tells his sous-chef that cooking is an art – that to succeed at it, you need more than dedication and precision, you need something innate; something he sees in his new sous-chef. And that’s why he wanted his sous-chef to cut all those potatoes – so he could develop his innate skills in order to better learn the techniques involved in classic culinary prep work.

After seeing the interplay between this boss and his new employee, my daughter – who for the past few weeks has been sending out resumes for summer job positions – looked at me and said ‘I want to work for a boss like that’.

Her reaction was not surprising – after all, who wouldn’t want to work for a boss who recognizes our innate potential and provides us with the guidance and support to help develop that potential?

Unfortunately, I met my daughter’s hopeful enthusiasm with a discouraging reply, pointing out how it’s a rare occurrence to work for a boss who encourages the growth of their employees.

Now granted, it is important to provide children with a realistic world-view of what’s awaiting them out there in the real world. And yet, at the same time, I realized that this conversation shines a light on the bigger issue of Click here to continue reading »”Understanding The Power Of Expectations”

Laziness – The Counterintuitive Act Of Leadership

Laziness-and-helping-employees-do-great-work

The following is a guest piece by fellow author (and Canadian) Michael Bungay Stanier.

You jest, sir!

Laziness as leadership? Surely that can’t be correct.

“I didn’t get to where I am now, young man, by being lazy.”

What is this, clickbait?

In fact, no.

Think about the dual responsibilities of any leader: results and people. That one-two combination goes by other names as well: strategy and culture; impact and engagement.

Part of the secret of success for both of these is doing less, not more. Being lazy.

Let me explain.

Part I: Be strategic
Let’s look at a simple model that will help you understand how you spend your time. It categorizes work into three simple types: Bad Work, Good Work and Great Work. Essentially, these are measures not of quality but of impact.

Bad Work is the waste-of-time, soul-crushing bureaucratic work. If you’ve ever thought, “This is my one and precious life; these are hours I’m never going to live again … and I’m somehow doing this!” you’re doing Bad Work.

Good Work is your job description. It’s busy, efficient, and productive. It can also be a comfortable rut.

Winston Churchill said, “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” Good Work can do the same. We find ourselves keeping plates spinning, responding to the inbox and attending meetings, mistaking keystrokes and maintenance for impact.

Finally, there’s Great Work. This is the work that has Click here to continue reading »”Laziness – The Counterintuitive Act Of Leadership”

The Easy Way To Have Tough Conversations With Employees

Making-tough-employee-conversations-easier

The following is a guest piece by Karin Hurt and David Dye.

Do you have a really tough conversation you know you need to have, but you’re concerned about how it will land?

Or have you ever regretted avoiding a tough conversation, as you watch someone you really care about repeat the same mistake and get himself into deeper trouble?

If you knew someone had your best interests at heart, would you want them to tell you the truth, even if it was painful to hear?

Or maybe you have an employee who’ve you tried desperately to coach, and the bad behaviour continues.

You don’t want to say “You need to change this behaviour or else,” but the truth is – there will be consequences.

One of the greatest gifts you can give another human being is to help them discover the truth.

Keep that “feedback-is-a-gift-and-I-care-about-you” loving feeling in mind, while having a direct conversation about specifically what must change. Don’t linger. Don’t sandwich.

Try our Winning Well INSPIRE method for having tough conversations. Click here to continue reading »”The Easy Way To Have Tough Conversations With Employees”

Leadership Biz Cafe Podcast #19 – David Burkus On Why Organizations Need To Change The Way We Work

Leadership Biz Cafe with Tanveer Naseer. Guest: David Burkus

If there’s one thing every leader out there can agree on, it’s that the way we work has drastically changed over the past few decades, and in today’s interconnected, global environment, that change is now happening at a much more accelerated pace than ever before.

In light of these fundamental shifts to the way we work, which 20th century management principles should we stop using, and what do we replace them with in order to ensure we’re bringing out the best in those we lead? This question about the changing nature of today’s workplace environment and the impact it has on the way we lead is the focus of my conversation with management expert David Burkus.

David is a best-selling author, an award-winning podcaster, and an associate management professor at Oral Roberts University. In addition to his first book, “The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas”, David’s writings have been featured in the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Listeners of my leadership podcast may also recognize David as the guest host who interviewed me about my book “Leadership Vertigo” as part of the month long celebration here on my website around the release of my first leadership book.

His latest book is “Under New Management: How Leading Organizations Are Upending Business As Usual”, which will be the focus of our conversation in this episode.

Over the course of this episode, David and I discuss some of the ideas and findings he shares in his book (some which can seem a bit controversial) including: Click here to continue reading »”Leadership Biz Cafe Podcast #19 – David Burkus On Why Organizations Need To Change The Way We Work”

What Leaders Need To Do To Help Their Employees Succeed

Transforming-passion-into-purpose

When I was nine years old, my older cousin got a brand new chopper bicycle for his birthday and it was probably the coolest bike I ever saw. With its hot lime green chassis, checker-board banana seat, and a sports car-inspired gear shift affixed to the bike body just in front of the seat, this bike looked more like a hot rod than a conventional bicycle.

The first time I saw it, I wanted so badly to take it for a spin, and so I ran to my older cousin and asked him if I could take his bike for a ride around the block. Given how it was a new bike and I was only nine, my older cousin clearly had no interest lending his bike to me.

Every summer after that, when we went to visit my uncle, aunt and my cousin, it was always the same answer my cousin gave me when I asked him once more if I could try his bike – “No”. Despite those repeated negative answers to my query, I never once wavered in my eagerness and anticipation of one day riding that bike.

A couple of years pass by, and on one of our summer trips to my uncle and aunt’s place, my aunt tells me how my older cousin is going to be taking his driver’s test soon. Given how he’ll be driving around town, my aunt tells me that he has little use for his chopper bike. She then looks at me and asks “Would you like to take his bike home with you?”

I couldn’t believe my ears. After years of asking my cousin to let me ride his chopper bike, his mom was now offering to make it mine. It didn’t take long for me to blurt out a very excited “Yes!”.

Of course, my parents being the pragmatic types thought that I should try the bike first before accepting it. Given how I’d waited years just to ride this bike, I wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity to actually own it. So I assured my parents that this bike was a good fit and so we packed up the bike and headed back to Montreal.

As we got home late that evening, I couldn’t try out my new bike until the next day which I figured was okay as that meant that I could show it off to my friends the next morning when I biked over to the neighbourhood park.

The next day, I went out to the garage, excited that I was finally going to be able to take this bike out for a ride. As I rode off our driveway and onto the street, though, I had an unexpected realization about this chopper bicycle – it was just a bike.

For years, I had built in my head this grand notion of what it would feel like riding this bike; of feeling that rush of excitement as I raced down the street on this eye-catching bicycle. As it turned out, riding this bike didn’t feel any different from riding any other bike.

So instead of being this amazing, exhilarating ride, it was actually unremarkable and even at times uncomfortable, especially when it came to changing the gears as the shift handle was difficult to reach. It comes as no surprise then why this bike remains the only one I’ve ever seen that had the gear shift placed down on the bike frame between the handlebars and the bike seat.

Now while my story ended in disappointment, but with an important life lesson on how sometimes things don’t live up to our expectations, I want to share another story – specifically, that of a painter – and how the contrast between his experience and mine can shed light on what leaders need to do to help their employees to succeed. Click here to continue reading »”What Leaders Need To Do To Help Their Employees Succeed”

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