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”

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”

The Key To Promoting Organizational Growth And Success

Promoting-organizational-growth-and-success

Now that the first quarter of this year is coming to an end, many of us are naturally taking stock of how much progress we’ve made towards reaching those targets we set out to attain this year. This naturally leads to an examination of our current efforts to promote the growth and development of our organization and with it, new opportunities to broaden our scope and leverage our existing assets.

And yet, while many leaders are eager to find ways to foster growth-promoting initiatives within their organization, many struggle with creating those conditions that are necessary for supporting a sustainable, thriving workplace environment.

No doubt this is largely due to the disconnect between where most of their efforts are being placed and what’s really required to engage, inspire, and empower employees to become fully committed participants in the shared purpose that defines their organization’s collective efforts.

Indeed, in the past few years, there have been numerous studies which have conclusively shown that organizational growth and success in today’s interconnected world is no longer dependent solely on the various processes and measures we implement in our workplace.

Rather, the key differentiating factor is how well we’re able to demonstrate the connection between the everyday work our employees do and the overarching shared purpose that defines our organization’s raison d’être. That our employees feel compelled to bring their best selves to the work they do because they themselves derive a sense of purpose and meaning through the contributions they make.

Of course, while many of us can understand the value and importance of promoting purpose-lead work to our organization’s success and longevity, the challenge lies in how do we ensure we’re creating such conditions in our workplace, especially when the needs and requirements of our employees can be quite diverse.

To help you address this quandary, I’d like to provide you with a few questions that you can use to ascertain whether your current efforts serve to connect what matters to your employees with what matters to your organization, and thereby create those conditions that are necessary for the long term success and growth of your organization. Click here to continue reading »”The Key To Promoting Organizational Growth And Success”

Moving From ‘Good Enough’ To Greatness

Leadership-greatness-vs-good-enough

Of all the numerous organs that make up the human body, there’s no question that the brain is the most fascinating and least understood. Indeed, thanks to the burgeoning field of neuroscience, we’re not only discovering new insights into how this vital organ functions, but we’re also beginning to appreciate the depth of its complexity and mysterious nature.

Of course, as amazing as the human brain is, the fact is that it’s also quite lazy. A good example of this is the ease by which we create habits, and the corollary of how hard it is for us to break some of these habits. Granted, the formation of habits is our brain’s way of reserving our limited reserves of energy and focus for use in critical thinking and decision-making pathways. In this way, we don’t spend our days consciously thinking about the routine tasks we perform on a given day.

Unfortunately, this tendency of our brain to try and find repetitive patterns in our daily lives is also what leads us to create assumptions – assumptions about others, about how others view us, and about what we need to do to improve a situation or achieve a certain outcome.

Consider, for example, a review of numerous studies looking at the societal attitudes among the various generations which found that – contrary to popular belief or assumptions – the Millennial generation is no less racist than their preceding cohort, the Gen X generation. What’s particularly troubling about this finding is not the fact that the Millennial generation are far from being “the most tolerant generation in history”.

Rather, as this article points out, the danger these findings reveal is how the assumptions we make about ourselves and our communities can distort our understandings of the real challenges our society needs to address in order to ensure our collective success and freedoms.

These findings demonstrate a decision-making process we all employ called motivated reasoning, which brain-imaging studies have shown uses a different physical pathway in our brain than the one we use to analyze data.

Studies have shown that when we have a personal stake in a given outcome – as in the case above where we’re assessing how we view ourselves – our brain automatically Click here to continue reading »”Moving From ‘Good Enough’ To Greatness”

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”

« Older Entries