TanveerNaseer.com

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

One Question Every Leader Should Inspire In Those They Lead

A look at the challenges two leaders faced and what it reveals about the power of relationships to bring out best in those we lead.

One of the common themes I’ve written about over the past few years is the importance of building and nurturing relationships with your employees in order to bring out the best in those under your care. While we can appreciate what this means in abstract terms, I’d like to share the recent experiences of two leaders that helps to illustrate the benefit in bringing this approach to your leadership.

The first story I’d like to share comes from the high school where I serve as Chairman of the Governing Board. This past academic year has been an especially difficult one for this school community. For starters, the school was dealt with major cuts to its operating budget as well as to its staff which, taken together, had a drastic and noticeable impact on the school’s daily functions.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, the school year began with the teachers stopping all extracurricular activities in order to protest the government’s unwillingness to address teachers’ needs in the classroom. So to say this year was a challenging one for the school would be an understatement.

Earlier this month, our principal made the announcement that she was going to take a sabbatical next year to give herself time to regroup so she could continue to give her best to the school and its students. When she shared the news with her teachers and staff, she expected people to be discouraged and even frustrated given all they’ve been through this past school year.

What she got instead was a unified, impromptu response from her team. A response that had her fielding questions from her staff about what they could do to keep things running in her absence and how to help her transition back when she returns.

In my conversation with her about her decision to take a leave of absence next year, she admitted that one of the reasons why she felt good about giving herself this time was because of the overwhelming support she received from her staff to mind the store until she returns.

The other story I’d like to share is that of my friend Rob* who I met through a collaboration with my leadership firm. For the past 15 years, Rob served as the Click here to continue reading »”One Question Every Leader Should Inspire In Those They Lead”

Are You Giving The Right Message With Your Leadership?

When it comes to praise, it's not just how often leaders give it, but also what kind. Discover how this difference can help to empower your employees.

A few weeks ago, my friend Whitney Johnson wrote a piece around perceptual biases that was inspired by something her daughter experienced in school one day. As Whitney describes in her piece, her daughter gave a presentation in one of her classes, a presentation she had spent much time and effort researching and practising. After she was done, her teacher commented “that was pretty good.”

Soon after, one of her male classmates stood up to give his presentation. From her daughter’s perspective, this classmate’s presentation was a lot less organized and he wasn’t as articulate. But when he finished his presentation, the teacher remarked “Great job”.

Reading about the experience Whitney’s daughter had at her school reminded me of a study done by researchers at the University of Chicago and Stanford University which found that while parents give an equal amount of praise to both girls and boys, they differ significantly in the type of praise they provide based on the gender of their child.

What the researchers found was that parents were more likely to praise a boy for his efforts or actions (“you really worked hard on that”) while girls were praised more in terms of who they are (“you’re so smart”).

The researchers found that this discrepancy in giving girls more what they call “person praise” over “process praise” leaves them vulnerable to thinking that if they don’t do well on a test or on an assignment, it’s a reflection more of the limits of their intelligence or abilities than on the level of effort they needed to give in order to succeed.

Although this study – and what Whitney’s daughter experienced at school – reveal some of the biases that both men and women demonstrate towards girls, and its impact on how girls view their accomplishments, I’d like to pivot here and focus on what this reveals about the way we communicate and in particular, what messages we’re really imparting to those we lead.

One thing that’s abundantly clear from the various studies on employee engagement and organizational success is that today’s leaders need to Click here to continue reading »”Are You Giving The Right Message With Your Leadership?”

The Easy Way To Have Tough Conversations With Employees

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The following is a guest piece by Karin Hurt and David Dye.

Do you have a really tough conversation you know you need to have, but you’re concerned about how it will land?

Or have you ever regretted avoiding a tough conversation, as you watch someone you really care about repeat the same mistake and get himself into deeper trouble?

If you knew someone had your best interests at heart, would you want them to tell you the truth, even if it was painful to hear?

Or maybe you have an employee who’ve you tried desperately to coach, and the bad behaviour continues.

You don’t want to say “You need to change this behaviour or else,” but the truth is – there will be consequences.

One of the greatest gifts you can give another human being is to help them discover the truth.

Keep that “feedback-is-a-gift-and-I-care-about-you” loving feeling in mind, while having a direct conversation about specifically what must change. Don’t linger. Don’t sandwich.

Try our Winning Well INSPIRE method for having tough conversations. Click here to continue reading »”The Easy Way To Have Tough Conversations With Employees”

Are You Helping Your Employees To Reach Their Potential?

Using-Leadership-To-See-Potential-In-Employees

When it comes to my role serving as the Governing Board Chairman at my daughters’ high school, one aspect of this leadership role that I enjoy the most is being invited to school events that celebrate the achievements of our students.

After all, when you spend much of your time discussing school budget issues, funding projects, approving various school policies and the like, having the opportunity to talk with students to learn about their accomplishments really helps to provide a context for the collective efforts of my team.

The most recent student celebratory event was particularly noteworthy as the focus was not on the best and brightest students in our school community. Instead, it was on students participating in a work-study program designed for students at-risk of dropping out or who suffer from intellectual disabilities.

The goal of this school-based program is simple – to provide these students with both a knowledge base and hands-on experience that will allow them to join the workforce at the end of the three year program. As these students are not the high achievers who win academic or athletic awards, they typically tend to get overlooked by others because there’s no rising star to be found among them.

And yet, a conversation I had with one of these students not only challenged that notion, but it helped to reveal a very important lesson that every leader today can benefit from. A lesson on how we can bring out the best in every employee under our care.

Before joining this work-study program, Malik was one of several students at-risk of dropping out of school, not just because he struggled to keep up with the school work, but also because he was extremely disorganized. As he told me when sharing his story, he had a hard time with the regular school work load because he couldn’t keep track of the various assignments he had to do.

It was at this point that Malik directed my focus to this binder he had on the table. As he revealed the contents inside his binder, he told me about how this program had helped him to become more organized, not just in how he managed his homework, but also in how he maintained his work station.

Most interestingly, Malik admitted that his newfound ability to be more organized has spilled into his family life as well in that he not only keeps his room clean, but he also makes his bed every morning, something his parents had never imagined he’d do.

Granted, this kind of effort would hardly be considered noteworthy or exceptional for most of us. But the point to here is not what Malik and his classmates accomplished. Rather, what Malik’s story reveals is the importance of helping those we lead to discover their potential to do more, to be more than they are today.

In the case of Malik and his fellow classmates, what helped drive their transformation to feeling like what they do matters and is important was Click here to continue reading »”Are You Helping Your Employees To Reach Their Potential?”

Customer Loyalty – Marrying Ease With Humanity

Driving-customer-loyalty

The following is a guest piece by New York Times best-selling author Joseph Michelli.

Look no farther than your smart phone and you will see what your customers really want today!

They seek, and have come to expect, companies will make their lives easier and provide technological solutions that enable them to do business with you “on their terms” and in the context of their busy lives.

As such, we are all in the business of delivering “ease!” Back in high school, the last word most of us wanted attached to our personal brand was that we were “easy”; however, in business today that is a badge of honor!

If, heaven forbid, your company is difficult to do business with or if you require your customers to exert substantial effort, those customers have a world wide web of other options and the ability to expeditiously write scathing online reviews.

In 2012, the Harvard Business Review foreshadowed the emerging consumer hunger for “easy interactions” by publishing an article titled “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers”. In it, researchers showed that the more Click here to continue reading »”Customer Loyalty – Marrying Ease With Humanity”

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