TanveerNaseer.com

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Women In Leadership Is Not A Zero-Sum Game

Women-leadership-roles

When it comes to discussions on the state of today’s leadership, one topic that understandably comes up is the issue of women in leadership. Specifically, why there continues to be so few women holding senior-level leadership positions in both the private and public sectors.

It’s an issue that’s been weighing on mind over the past few months in light of the growing number of stories of women encountering sexual harassment and outright misogynistic attitudes on university campuses, as well as in many growing, high-demand sectors like the gaming industry and software engineering.

In light of such stories, the issue of women in leadership is no longer just about the efficacy of implementing quotas to address the current gender imbalance, or whether women need to do more to get ahead in predominantly-male work environments. Indeed, when it comes to discussions on gender or visible minorities in leadership, we can no longer relegate it as simply being a “women’s issue” or a minority group’s problem to address.

Rather, we need to recognize that this is an all-hands-on-deck societal issue and a leadership issue.

After all, how else can we ensure that we’re bringing out the best in those we lead if we’re intentionally leaving so much of that potential behind? [Twitter-logo-smallShare on TwitterHow can we truly tap into the collective talents, creativity, and insights of those around us if we continue to allow conditions to persist that hold so many back from bringing their full selves to work?

We have to remember that our job as leaders is to listen to others – especially to those who are different from us – so we can gain Click here to continue reading »”Women In Leadership Is Not A Zero-Sum Game”

Did We Succeed This Year In Putting Our Employees First?

Putting employees first to succeed

At the beginning of this year, I wrote a piece where I asked a simple question – will this be the year that we put our employees first? The question was inspired by the findings of a recent study that found that for leaders across the globe, the top challenge they faced was how to engage, retain, and develop employees under their care.

With the year now coming to an end, I thought I’d circle back to this question, and look at what I saw and experienced through my work with various executives, managers, and others in leadership positions to see if we did in fact address this concern facing so many of today’s organizations.

To start things on a good note, I did see leaders this year who clearly understood not only how to engage and motivate their employees, but also how to manage conflict in today’s faster-paced, connected world, how to foster an environment where our employees succeed and thrive, as well as how we can use our leadership to bring out the best in those under our care.

Unfortunately, I also saw leaders who tried to side-step any responsibility for the issues that currently plague their organization, with some even arguing how the problem was the fault of those their organization serves, and not a reflection of their leadership or contributions.

Even worse were those leaders I observed who told their employees of their personal commitment to the shared purpose that drove their collective efforts, only to turn around and abandon that personal commitment because things got ‘too complicated’, or because they were simply too busy to care about the impact their actions had on their leadership and with it, their credibility.

Now to be clear here – these aren’t bad people. But they are bad leaders. These are individuals who either lack the competencies to be an effective leader in today’s workplaces, or they are simply unwilling to take the initiative to truly understand the realities of those under their care. In both cases, there can be little doubt that they failed to Click here to continue reading »”Did We Succeed This Year In Putting Our Employees First?”

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”

How To Delegate Purpose In Your Organization

Delegating-purpose-through-leadership

In my previous piece, I shared three strategies used by two distinct organizations to help promote and support a sense of community and shared ownership in their respective workplaces – a mindset and approach that’s becoming increasingly critical for leaders to foster in order to support their organization’s adaptability and long-term success.

In this follow-up piece, I want to build on those three strategies by examining a process most leaders currently employ through their leadership and how we can better use this tactic to not only drive organizational success, but to strengthen the commitment our employees make to our shared purpose.

As the title of this piece points out, what I’m referring to here is the process of delegation.

When it comes to delegation in today’s organizations, the common tendency leaders have is to simply delegate those tasks or projects that we don’t want to do. Work that requires time and attention that we can’t be bothered to expend our limited resources on, and so we hand them off to our employees.

While this approach might help us to better manage our daily grind, the problem with this is that the act of delegation becomes a lost opportunity for us to connect what matters to our employees with what matters to our organization.

In order to improve and sustain employee morale over the long run, we need to understand what will help our employees feel like they are contributing meaningfully to our organization; that they understand the connection between their efforts and the shared purpose that defines why we do what we do.

Now this can be a challenge for many leaders because we instinctively want to make sure we maintain some form of control over things, not to mention that fear that if our employees fail, we not only have to do the work we assigned them, but we also have to address the mistakes they made.

And yet, we have to remind ourselves that our employees are not going to care about our vision if we only give them work that no one else wants to do.

So with this in mind, I’d like to discuss a strategy I’ve shared with my clients and with those who’ve attended some of my talks on how we can delegate not just tasks to our employees, but a sense of purpose and meaning, along with giving them that much-needed opportunity to learn and grow. Click here to continue reading »”How To Delegate Purpose In Your Organization”

How A Sense Of Community Can Help Us Achieve Greatness

Organizational-community-fosters-greatness

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of being interviewed by various media outlets about my first book, “Leadership Vertigo”. What’s been interesting about this process is how in many of these conversations, there was much interest to discuss the point made in the book about the importance of leaders fostering a sense of community in their organizations.

As long-time readers of my writings on leadership know, this is something that’s been an underlying theme in many of my insights into how we can be a better leader to those we serve – where we ensure that we’re creating an environment where our employees understand the value of their contributions and why we collectively do what we do.

Of course, in these conversations about my book, the focus is not on the relevance of community-building in today’s organizations, but rather how do we go about doing this in light of the numerous demands on a leader’s time, attention and resources while operating in a doing-more-with-less environment.

It’s a great question and the answer to which is one that I want to share with my readers so that they too can understand how we can go about fostering that sense of community in our organizations despite the accelerated pace that we now have to operate in.

And to help illustrate these points, I’m going to use examples from two very diverse organizations – Pixar Animation Studios and the European Space Agency – in order to help demonstrate the value and importance of fostering a sense of belonging and purpose to helping your organization to succeed and thrive now and in the years ahead.

1. Create opportunities for employees to interact outside of formal roles
When Pixar began designing its new campus ground in Emeryville, California, then Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs wanted to create a common meeting space for the organization’s employees in order to facilitate sparks of creativity, inspiration, and “unplanned collaborations”.

The goal in establishing such an environment was simple – by creating an open space for people to meet and discuss, employees from different departments would be encouraged to Click here to continue reading »”How A Sense Of Community Can Help Us Achieve Greatness”

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