TanveerNaseer.com

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

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”

Why Successful Leaders Focus On Giving Over Getting

Transforming-leadership-from-getting-to-giving

One of the wonderful benefits of our digital age is not only how we’re able to discover the talent and artistry of people we might have otherwise overlooked, but also how we’re now able to peek behind the curtain to learn what inspires them; to discover and understand what guides them to create these moments of engaging insights that linger in our mind’s eye.

It’s a concept I recently appreciated when I came upon this video by comedian Michael Jr. where he shares what he views as being the moment where he had his big break as a comedian. His description of the big break in his career is not only a heartwarming and revealing look into the art of stand-up comedy, but it also shines a light on an important lesson for today’s leaders to embrace.

Now granted, it may seem weird to pull a lesson on leadership from a comedian talking about laughter and comedy. But it becomes a bit clearer when we find out that Michael Jr.’s big break as a comedian wasn’t when he performed on The Tonight Show or at the internationally renowned Montreal Just For Laughs comedy festival.

Rather, as Michael Jr. describes in the quote below, his big break was something more internally-driven and personally significant:

“The big break was at a club and right before I got on stage, I had a change in mindset about comedy. Normally, when a comedian gets on stage, he wants to get laughs from people. I felt a little shift take place, where I felt like I was to go up there and give them an opportunity to laugh. Now I’m not looking to take. I’m looking for an opportunity to give.”

Now although this comedian is referring to the relationship he has with his audience and his shift in how he views that dynamic, there is nonetheless an important message to learn here regarding the dynamics we have as a leader with those under our care.

Specifically, it compels us to ponder the following: when we go into those meetings with our employees, when we have those conversations with those we lead, are we walking into that moment with the goal of getting something for us, or do we see it as an opportunity to give something of ourselves to those we lead?

As leaders, it’s easy to fall into the trap of Click here to continue reading »”Why Successful Leaders Focus On Giving Over Getting”

Why Emotions Matter In Today’s Leadership

Leadership-neuroscience-memories-emotions

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”

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”

My Top 10 Leadership Insights For 2014

Tanveer-Naseer-Top-Leadership-Insights-2014

As I look back at the past 12 months, there’s no question that this has definitely been a milestone year for me. Not only did 2014 mark five years that I’ve been writing online for this blog, but this was also the year I finally added “author” to my list of credentials with the release of my first leadership book, “Leadership Vertigo”.

A milestone that I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to celebrate here on my blog with the help of such leadership luminaries as Doug Conant, Liz Wiseman, Jim Kouzes, Barry Posner, and David Burkus.

Also noteworthy this year was the numerous leadership awards and recognitions I’ve received, most notably being recognized by Inc Magazine both as one of their “Top 100 Leadership and Management Experts”, and just a few weeks ago as one of “100 Great Leadership Speakers”. Indeed, this has certainly been for me a phenomenal year of growth, change, and evolution, and one which will certainly set the foundation for what lies ahead.

But before we say goodbye to 2014, allow me to share with you my Top 10 Leadership Insights from this year as selected by you, the readers of my award-winning leadership blog. These 10 leadership insights proved to be most popular based on the total number of social shares the respective pieces had.

Of course, instead of simply providing you with a list, I’d like to share with you this series of quotes gleaned from my writings in the hopes that it will both remind you of what was shared this year, as well as inspire you to recognize the opportunities to be found in this new year for us to show up and truly be the kind of leader that fuels the success and long-term prosperity of our organizations and community. Click here to continue reading »”My Top 10 Leadership Insights For 2014″

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