TanveerNaseer.com

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

This Is What Real Leaders Do

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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”

Creating A Workplace Environment Where Employees Matter

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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”

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