TanveerNaseer.com

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Bringing Out The Best In Those You Lead

Image © Wharton Magazine

Image © Wharton Magazine

Of all the seasons of the year, summer is without question my favourite. From attending the various outdoor festivals that Montreal has become renowned for, to the annual summer vacation breaks with my family, there’s no question that summer is a time for renewal and rejuvenation.

Of course, renewal and rejuvenation is something that summer has also brought to my garden which, after several years of trying to grow various flowers and shrubs, is finally the kind of garden I had hoped to grow since we moved into our house many years ago.

The process of testing out what plants work best where, which ones failed and why, and how to replicate the past season’s growth successes brought to mind parallels in how organizations and their leaders also have to learn to adapt and evolve in light of changing conditions in order to successfully achieve their shared purpose.

To that end, I’d like to share these three steps leaders should take to bring out the best in their employees in order to drive the collective success of their organization.

1. Connect the changes you make with the vision you have for your organization
When I first started to build our garden, one of the things I had to learn along the way was adapting my vision for what I wanted to grow with the reality of what grew best in my garden. In some areas, low-light plants were needed; in others, pest resistant plants were the best to grow.

Naturally, this lead to a lot of trial-and-error in choosing plants for the garden, which also meant a lot of money wasted in those first years. As a gardener, I was willing to accept these losses, but for my wife whose not a gardener, this was money that could’ve been spent on other areas of the house.

After a few summers of some successes and more failures, my wife was understandably getting frustrated with the amount of money being wasted on plants that lasted for a few short weeks. As much as she wanted to make improvements to beautify our home, she began to feel our money would be better suited to other measures.

In order to get her on board with my vision for what I wanted to create around our home, I realized I needed to invest in more of the plants that were doing well to help her see how buying similar types would ensure repeated success going forward.

Sure enough, in time as our gardens began to fill year after year with the blooms of different varieties of the same kind of plants, she began to understand what I was trying to create, and she became more willing to accept the purchase of different plants that would accentuate the others.

Similarly, when looking at implementing changes in your organization, it’s important to Click here to continue reading »”Bringing Out The Best In Those You Lead”

Do You Motivate By Obligation Or Commitment?

Commitment-vs-obligation

When I sat down to write this latest piece for my leadership blog, I realized that today marks a special anniversary – exactly 6 years ago on this date I took the plunge to begin writing my own blog. Without question, it’s been a long and exhilarating journey both in terms of the evolution of my site as well as in terms of my writing style and approach.

Given that it’s a rare occurrence for this writing anniversary to coincide with the day of the week that I publish my latest articles, I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to reflect on this writing anniversary and what lessons can be shared from this milestone on how we can do a better job inspiring those we lead to bring their best selves to the work they do.

In looking back on these past 6 years writing for my blog, I’m reminded of the fact that as is the case with writing, leadership is a journey of discovery, one that will help you understand your true value and purpose [Twitter-logo-smallShare on Twitter].

It’s a journey that will often challenge your assumptions of what works, of what it is that truly engages and inspires those around you, and which – if you’re open to learning those lessons – will help you to evolve and grow into the kind of leader your employees and organization needs you to be.

The truth I’ve come to appreciate over the past few years of sharing my thoughts and insights on leadership is that we can’t rely on our sense of obligation – of what people expect from us – to push ourselves to be better than we are today. Rather, what we need is that internally-driven commitment to not settle for the current status quo; that we not look at ourselves today with the belief that we can’t achieve more, or become more than we are right now.

In every successful leader, we see that hunger that compels them to not settle or rest on their laurels, but to keep pushing themselves to achieve even more and in the process, help those around them to become stronger contributors and more valued members of their organization.

These leaders understood that Click here to continue reading »”Do You Motivate By Obligation Or Commitment?”

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 »”What’s The Truth About Your Leadership?”

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 »”This Is What Real Leaders Do”

What Jazz Taught Me About Leadership

Leadership-lessons-from-Jazz

When you grow up in Montreal, it’s almost a given that you become a fan of Jazz music. For those you might not know this, every summer Montreal hosts the world’s largest Jazz Festival in the world (I kid you not – we even hold the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest Jazz festival). It’s an annual event that’s been held here for over 35 years and one that I’ve been attending annually since I was in high school.

As such, I’m sure it’s not surprising to know that I often have the sounds of Coltrane, Monk, Peterson, and of course, Ella to name but a few wafting in my office as I sit down to pen my latest leadership insight or to develop my next leadership talk.

It was during one of these creative brainstorming sessions that I got to thinking about the connections that exist between leadership and Jazz. In particular, how each of these pursuits is often represented by this notion of having to take seemingly incongruent elements and helping to transform them into this cohesive, collective effort defined by a shared vision.

Indeed, the key to understanding Jazz is not to focus on the individual musicians and what they alone are playing. Rather, the beauty of Jazz is found in listening to how these musicians can create this sense of harmony and connectedness, even while playing what at times might sound more like a competing mixture of contradictions.

It’s the same truth that underlies how we can succeed at leadership in today’s faster paced, increasingly connected global world. Namely, successful leadership involves connecting our collective efforts to a vision we all understand [Twitter-logo-smallShare on Twitter]. That we demonstrate the links that exist between what our employees do and that larger vision that we all want to be a part of.

So in this vein of what Jazz reveals about the necessary truths about leading in today’s work environment, I’d like to share the following three lessons from the Jazz world on how we can be the kind of leader our employees need in order to be successful in their collective efforts. Click here to continue reading »”What Jazz Taught Me About Leadership”

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