TanveerNaseer.com

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Understanding Leadership And The Meaning Of Life

Leadership-and-meaning-of-life

Over the last few years, I’ve had the pleasure of being invited to participate in a number of projects and initiatives looking at collecting the thoughts and perspectives from a diverse set of experts, thought leaders, and personalities. For some of these projects, the contributions being sought were straight-forward and to the point.

But others tended to take on a more thought-provoking approach. The most recent example of this came in the form of a web project I was recently asked to participate in where organizers asked people from different fields and life experiences to give their answer to this question: what is the meaning of life?

As I began to write down my response, I couldn’t help but note how my answer to this profound question also revealed something about the very nature of leadership in today’s workplaces, and what’s required for us to be successful in bringing out the best in those we lead.

Of course, if there was ever a question that continued to capture the imagination and promote a healthy intellectual debate about the value of our collective humanity, it’d be the question what’s the meaning of life.

Lately, it would seem that the answer to this question for our contemporary Western society is the pursuit of happiness, and not surprisingly so when we consider that while the majority of us are not rich, we have nonetheless attained a level of materialistic and gastronomic comfort.

So it would seem that all that’s left for us to grasp for is attaining a constant level of happiness in our daily lives.

Certainly, this is a common theme that’s found in many books and articles looking at how to reignite the internal drives of our employees – that to boost employee engagement in today’s organizations, we need to promote a “happy workplace”.

And yet, if you ask me, the answer to finding the meaning of life – and with it, a greater level of employee engagement and motivation in your organization – is Click here to continue reading »”Understanding Leadership And The Meaning Of Life”

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”

An Astronaut’s View Of The Power Of We

Image courtesy of NASA.

Image courtesy of NASA.

I’m delighted to share this guest piece by US astronaut Col. Ron Garan. Ron spent 178 days in space on board the International Space Station (ISS), travelling 71 million miles in orbit. Ron has the unique distinction of being the only TED speaker to give a talk from outer space.

Thanks to the time he spent in space looking down at our planet Earth, Ron developed a deeper appreciation for what he calls “the orbital perspective” and how this vantage point can help us tap into our innate sense of empathy and connecting with others to break down barriers – whether between teams, departments, or even nations – in order to combine our collective experiences and insights to build a better future for all.

In the piece below, Ron looks back at the US-Russian partnership behind the International Space Station program and what it reveals about what we stand to gain by tapping into the power of we.

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I recently attended a national summit on infrastructure at the Harvard Business School. One of the speakers, Senator Barbara Mikulski, told a story about how every month the women of the senate — Democrats and Republicans — meet for dinner.

They meet without staff, without memos, and without the normal overhead that comes with political meetings in Washington. The dinners are designed to be all about relationships and listening. The idea is to create an atmosphere in which the senators do not judge each other.

Senator Mikulski felt this to be a very powerful tool to break down barriers to cooperation and to provide a common ground that will serve as the relational foundation for working together. This is a great worm’s eye view strategy, especially in this case, because Click here to continue reading »”An Astronaut’s View Of The Power Of We”

How To Double Productivity And Take Control Of Your Time

Improving-productivity-and-time-management

The following is a guest piece by Steven R. Shallenberger.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed, or “task saturated,” with phone calls, emails, interruptions, or competing responsibilities? How many of us spend our days frantically trying to get through our to-do lists but still never find time to do what really matters most? If this sounds all too familiar, you are not alone.

What if I could share a process and tool that could help eliminate those feelings and replace them with a sense of peace, happiness, and accomplishment? These tools will allow you to shift your focus from inaction to action and to significantly increase your productivity while minimizing your stress; you will be able to take control of your life by doing what matters most instead of just coming up with another busy to-do list.

Let’s get started.

Take Control of Your Life through Pre-Week Planning

Pre-week planning is a time management tool designed to help you accomplish things you may never thought possible, by focusing on Click here to continue reading »”How To Double Productivity And Take Control Of Your Time”

How To Encourage Growth Under A Controlling Boss

Dealing-with-controlling-boss

One of the things I enjoy about my work is having conversations with people about the nature of leadership, and the challenges and opportunities leaders face in this continually evolving, interconnected business environment.

One of these conversations lead to a discussion about how leaders who want to push for change can deal with those above them who operate from the command-and-control style of leadership – in other words, those that subscribe to the overtly-controlling it’s my way or you’re out approach.

Since that conversation, I’ve had the opportunity to discuss and learn about how both employees and other leaders are also grappling with this organizational schism of dealing with someone stuck in an Industrial Age mindset of top-down leadership, while having to address today’s challenges and issues which require a more collaborative, inclusive and open workplace dynamic.

Based on these conversations, I’d like to share the following three measures that can help both employees and leaders who have to deal with a controlling boss who is clearly stuck in the ‘this is the way things are done around here’ mindset to ensure that they are able to promote growth and collective success in their organization.

1. Don’t focus on your value but on the value you can create
One of the common issues I hear when I discuss with clients and colleagues this issue of working for a controlling boss – especially those that operate from a top-down, win-at-all-costs leadership mindset – is how they feel like they’re more a means to an end than a valued contributor to their organization.

In discussing this situation, one thing that becomes clear is that both parties are almost speaking a different language in terms of their perspective and perception. For employees, their focus is on how to get those in charge to see them as being something more than what they do. For controlling bosses, however, their focus is simply on what they want their employees to get done in order to obtain their desired end result, regardless of the impact or impression that leaves on those under their care.

To resolve this difference in focus and attitudes, we need to Click here to continue reading »”How To Encourage Growth Under A Controlling Boss”

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