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”

3 Lessons On How To Promote Successful Collaborations

Leadership-promoting-successful-collaborations

One of the benefits I garner through my work are opportunities to collaborate with different groups and individuals. Through these collaborations, I not only get the chance to learn and understand different perspectives, but to discover new ways to work with people who have different approaches to guide things forward.

Of course, as with anything in life, not all collaborations are created equal. Although I look forward to future collaborations with many of the people and groups I’ve worked with in the past, there are some collaborations that were not as satisfying or rewarding. Not so much in terms of how successful we were in attaining our objectives, but in how certain parties approached the collaboration process.

Interestingly, it’s a problem that my two oldest daughters also experience in high school where teachers assign them projects to collaborate on without providing any guidance or support on how to do this effectively. This no doubt mirrors our own educational experiences, where we were somehow expected to know how to collaborate with different partners in order to achieve a successful result.

Taken together, what this reveals is an uncomfortable truth about the nature of work: we understand the importance of collaboration, but most of us haven’t learned what that involves [Twitter-logo-smallShare on Twitter]. And in light of today’s rush to just get things done, leaders are not engendering a supportive environment for their employees to learn how they can successfully collaborate with different teams and departments in order to achieve their organization’s shared purpose.

As such, I’d like to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned from my past collaborations, lessons I’ve shared with both my clients and my daughters on how we can learn to be successful in our present and future collaborations by gaining a better understanding of what it entails.

1. Clarify expectations in terms of involvement and contributions
When I look back at the various partnerships I’ve had with different groups and individuals, one trait that these collaborations shared in common was how there was this collective drive and enthusiasm to roll up our sleeves and dive into the work.

And yet, if I look at those collaborations which I enjoyed the most – those that have fuelled an interest in finding opportunities to collaborate in the future – there was something we did before we mapped out any plans or began assigning tasks.

Namely, before anything else was done, we made time to Click here to continue reading »”3 Lessons On How To Promote Successful Collaborations”

Why We Fail At Leadership

Leadership-failure

When it comes to studying leadership, the natural tendency is to focus on those leaders whose successes and achievements continue to inspire us and drive so many to emulate them in the hopes of replicating their accomplishments.

Of course, as much as it’s important for us to see what we can learn from those who understand what it takes to succeed at leadership, it’s also valuable for us to examine and consider what causes others to fail in the role of leading people towards a common goal or shared purpose.

To that end, I’d like to share the story of one leader whose example I hope will help us to appreciate one of the key challenges leaders need to address if they are to succeed in this role in today’s fast-changing, global environment.

When Albert* was promoted to head the division he had spent the past few years working for, he naturally jumped into the opportunity with a lot of enthusiasm and ideas of how he’d like the department to operate under his leadership.

Given how Albert was career-driven and had his eyes on playing a bigger role in the organization, he was determined to not only prove his ability to lead this department, but to get his former colleagues to view him as ‘executive material’, in order to support his efforts to move up in the organization.

In no time, Albert was sending out memos detailing new approaches he wanted his former colleagues to employ in order to ‘make things more efficient’ or to ‘make efforts more aligned with corporate policy’ as a way to prove his technical prowess.

He used team meetings to inform his direct reports of his interactions with various groups of executives and VPs to highlight his growing familiarity with those at the executive level in order to prove his comfort level with ‘playing in the big leagues’.

Of course, in his zeal to prove his ability to lead and step up into the executive circle, Albert ended up making a number of missteps which Click here to continue reading »”Why We Fail At Leadership”

How To Increase Self-Awareness In Our Leadership

Encouraging--leadership-self-awareness

In my previous piece, I discussed why leadership should be hard in the context of how so many leaders I’ve work with are now struggling to find balance between the rising demands on their attention and resources, and having the time to assess their leadership and what they need to do going forward.

Given how that piece was based on my own reflections of this past year, I was delighted to see its message resonating with so many of my readers. Among the many comments I received regarding that piece were questions about some of the strategies I use for reflection and increasing my sense of self-awareness.

Now before I share the strategies I use for reflection and review, I’d like to first briefly point out the findings of a recent study for why it’s so important for leaders – in light of the growing demands for their time, attention, and resources – to use reflection in their leadership.

Dr. David Zes and Dr. Dana Landis analyzed self-assessments from almost 7 000 professionals in about 500 publicly traded companies looking for gaps in how individuals viewed their competencies as compared to how their colleagues viewed their performance. This data was then compared against the return on investment for the company’s stock over a period of almost two and a half years.

Through their analysis, the researchers found that the employees that worked at poorly performing companies had on average 20% more blind spots as compared to those who worked at financially strong companies. Also, employees at poor-performing companies were 79% more likely to demonstrate low levels of self-awareness as compared to employees who worked at companies that were delivering a strong return on investment.

What their study’s findings revealed is that self-awareness Click here to continue reading »”How To Increase Self-Awareness In Our Leadership”

Why Leadership Should Be Hard

Why-leadership-should-be-hard

With the arrival of this last month of the year, I’ve been finding myself in a mixed state of mental exhaustion and reflection, which considering the work involved in bringing my first leadership book out into the world alongside my regular workload is quite understandable.

What’s interesting, though, is how many of the leaders I’ve spoken and worked with over the past year are also in this dualistic state. Unfortunately, for most of them, the mental exhaustion is far outweighing any notions of making efforts for reflection and review.

Indeed, I’ve seen many leaders shake their heads and admit with some frustration how their job has become so much harder than it used to be. Although I sympathize with the challenges they face, and the complexities that now dot the landscape of operating in this 24/7 global environment, the reality that we all have to own up to is that leadership is hard. And it’s meant to be hard.

As I’ve written before, leadership is not about you – it’s about the people you lead and serve [Twitter-logo-smallShare on Twitter]. That alone makes this job a difficult one because you are taking on the responsibility of combining the hopes, dreams, and ambitions of a diverse group of people and connecting it to something bigger than yourself.

But this has always been the key function of leadership – of how to rally the collective talents, experiences, insights and creativity of a group of people around a common vision or shared purpose that others want to help transform into today’s reality. Our collective history is replete with individuals we admire and try to emulate thanks to their successes in achieving goals that in their time seemed unimaginable.

And yet, in light of today’s faster paced, ever-changing business environment, it can seem almost impossible for us to Click here to continue reading »”Why Leadership Should Be Hard”

« Older Entries