TanveerNaseer.com

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Creating A Workplace Environment Where Employees Matter

Creating-workplace-where-employees-matter

One of my favourite stories from the time of NASA’s Apollo space missions involves a visit by a group of guests to Mission Control. As they were walking down one of the building’s hallways, they spotted a man in a lab coat walking in the opposite direction and as they neared them, they asked him what he did at NASA. The man looked at the visitors and replied matter-of-factly, “I’m helping to put a man on the Moon”.

Of course, what makes this NASA employee’s response so noteworthy is the fact that he wasn’t one of the engineers or scientists involved in designing the rockets or overseeing the lunar missions. Instead, he was the building’s janitor.

It’s a story that came to mind in a discussion I had last week with a team of leaders where we were discussing the challenge many organizations face of improving the levels of employee engagement found within the various teams and departments that make up their organization.

Often times, these discussions reveal both a wariness and a sense of uncertainty regarding the complexity and difficulties involved in trying to reignite the internal motivations of our employees to bring their full selves to the work they do.

And yet, what this story of the NASA janitor reveals is the both the possibility and opportunity for us to use our leadership to create that kind of environment where our employees feel valued; where they know that the work and contributions they make matter because it’s tied to the larger purpose that defines our collective efforts.

Indeed, every time I’ve shared this story with clients and conference attendees, I see in their faces that look of understanding and hope that they too might be able to inspire all of their employees – regardless of the role they play in their organization – to feel that sense of connection and value to the shared purpose that defines why they do what they do.

Of course, there are numerous studies out there that have revealed the ease by which we can create that kind of sentiment within our workforce. For example, in a study I collaborated on with Phillips North America around employee engagement and workplace attitudes, one of the more intriguing findings was the fact that more than 50% of the respondents said they’d gladly take a pay cut in order to do meaningful work.

What this reveals is that people want to know that what they do matters; that it makes a difference and creates value [Twitter-logo-smallShare on Twitter], not just for their organization, but for themselves as well.

Unfortunately, the challenge we now face is how to keep our focus on initiatives meant to help inspire our employees while grappling with Click here to continue reading »”Creating A Workplace Environment Where Employees Matter”

Why Emotions Matter In Today’s Leadership

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In recent years, there’s been a growing focus on the importance of emotional intelligence in today’s leadership. Of why those in leadership positions need to rely less on their technical competencies and knowledge, and more on how to go about building relationships with those under their care – both to better connect the overarching vision of the organization to the internal needs of their employees, as well as to ensure a clearer understanding of the realities found within their workplace.

To date, there have been numerous studies that have shown the growing expectations employees have on their leaders to demonstrate a greater proficiency in leading people over managing tasks. Indeed, findings like those from Google’s Project Oxygen have proven conclusively that the key to succeeding in leadership today is not in those hard skills of yesteryear, but in the so-called soft skills of empathy, compassion, and self-awareness.

Thanks to work being done to understand how our brain creates, consolidates, and retrieves memories of emotional events, we can further appreciate why this is becoming more and more critical to succeeding in today’s faster-paced, global environment.

Research into how memories are created and recalled have shown that there’s a clear difference to this process between regular memories and memories involving an emotional experience or response. Specifically, what researchers have found is that when emotions are tied to a particular memory, we have a stronger recollection of that event.

Consider, for example, when a major news event happens in our country – each of us can easily remember months and even years later where we were when we first heard the news. By comparison, few of us could remember what we ate for dinner on Tuesday two or three weeks ago.

However, while our emotions might help us to easily recall a past event or circumstance, research from the neuroscience field has also shown that this strengthening of our memories comes at the expense of Click here to continue reading »”Why Emotions Matter In Today’s Leadership”

Did We Succeed This Year In Putting Our Employees First?

Putting employees first to succeed

At the beginning of this year, I wrote a piece where I asked a simple question – will this be the year that we put our employees first? The question was inspired by the findings of a recent study that found that for leaders across the globe, the top challenge they faced was how to engage, retain, and develop employees under their care.

With the year now coming to an end, I thought I’d circle back to this question, and look at what I saw and experienced through my work with various executives, managers, and others in leadership positions to see if we did in fact address this concern facing so many of today’s organizations.

To start things on a good note, I did see leaders this year who clearly understood not only how to engage and motivate their employees, but also how to manage conflict in today’s faster-paced, connected world, how to foster an environment where our employees succeed and thrive, as well as how we can use our leadership to bring out the best in those under our care.

Unfortunately, I also saw leaders who tried to side-step any responsibility for the issues that currently plague their organization, with some even arguing how the problem was the fault of those their organization serves, and not a reflection of their leadership or contributions.

Even worse were those leaders I observed who told their employees of their personal commitment to the shared purpose that drove their collective efforts, only to turn around and abandon that personal commitment because things got ‘too complicated’, or because they were simply too busy to care about the impact their actions had on their leadership and with it, their credibility.

Now to be clear here – these aren’t bad people. But they are bad leaders. These are individuals who either lack the competencies to be an effective leader in today’s workplaces, or they are simply unwilling to take the initiative to truly understand the realities of those under their care. In both cases, there can be little doubt that they failed to Click here to continue reading »”Did We Succeed This Year In Putting Our Employees First?”

Revealing The New Realities Of Employee Engagement

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The following is a guest piece by Mark Royal.

Leaders already know that keeping their teams motivated, engaged and driven to succeed is a demanding task in itself. But in today’s world it’s even harder, because leaders have to keep their people engaged while responding to huge, disruptive changes in how we work and what we care about in the workplace.

It’s a big challenge, but the first step to overcoming it is knowing what the changes are. In Hay Group’s new book, “Leadership 2030: The Six Megatrends You Need to Understand to Lead Your Company into the Future“, we’ve identified six ‘megatrends’ that are transforming societies and the global business environment as we know it.

The six megatrends leaders must be prepared for:

  • Globalization 2.0 – Economic power is shifting from mature Western economies to emerging markets, so we’re seeing more diverse market needs, more collaboration across countries, and global competition for talent
  • Environmental Crisis – The world is facing a disruptive combination of climate change and scarce raw materials that brings the perfect storm of challenges for businesses: increasing costs, fluctuating values and concerned stakeholders
  • Demographic change – Aging populations are changing the face of the global workforce and exacerbating the war for talent
  • Individualism – Growing freedom of choice is eroding loyalty and forcing organizations to respond to individual needs in an increasingly diverse workforce
  • Digitization – Work is going remote, and the boundaries between professional and personal lives are blurring, as people increasingly live life online
  • Technology convergence – A combination of nano, bio, information and cognitive (NBIC) sciences is set to spur a wave of powerful technological breakthroughs – speeding up the pace of change and creating new product markets

Right now, employee engagement is already a moving target. To take a line from the X Files, “the future is out there.” To successfully keep people engaged and on track to deliver business results, leaders must Click here to continue reading »”Revealing The New Realities Of Employee Engagement”

The 3 Things Leaders Must Do To Build Meaningful Communities

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Last week, I shared the news of a special, month-long leadership series here on my blog to celebrate the release of my first leadership book, “Leadership Vertigo” (to learn more about the book and the numerous book retailers where you can buy a copy, click here to check out the book page on my website).

To kick-start this special celebratory leadership series, I’m delighted and honoured to welcome Doug Conant, Chairman of Avon Products and retired CEO and President of the Campbell Soup Company. In this special guest piece written for this celebratory leadership series, Doug shares his insights and experiences with the 1st leadership principle discussed in the book, “Build Community” and how it can help leaders to ensure they are helping their employees to succeed and grow. 

Doug, it’s my honour and pleasure to have you start off this celebration on my blog. I’m grateful and humbled by how generous and supportive you’ve been of my writings and insights on leadership, as well as of this initiative on my blog to help leaders become the kind of leader their employees need them to be.

* * * * *

“If we’re all facing the same issues of having fewer resources and less time to do things, if we’re all aware of the increasing demands from our employees for our time and attention, why is it that some of us are able to meet these expectations while the rest of us are missing the mark?” – From Leadership Vertigo by Tanveer Naseer and S. Max Brown

Have you ever set a concrete goal and worked tirelessly towards reaching it, only to realize you haven’t quite hit your target? If so, you’re not alone.

In their new book, Leadership Vertigo, Tanveer Naseer and S. Max Brown explore the elusive space between leaders’ best intentions and their actual actions. Many leaders have an aspirational mission that drives their work but fall short when it comes to actually reaching their goals in a sustainable way. Or worse, they may delude themselves that things are on track only to be faced with the sobering reality that they are missing the mark.

In their book, Naseer and Brown endeavor to help leaders entrenched in this counterproductive “leadership vertigo.” By identifying 4 key “pillars” of success, the book helps leaders mired in adversity to recalibrate and achieve enduring success.

When Tanveer approached me to talk about their first “pillar”, Build Community, I was happy to share my experiences as CEO of Campbell Soup Company, and to help answer this trenchant leadership question: Click here to continue reading »”The 3 Things Leaders Must Do To Build Meaningful Communities”

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