Tanveer Naseer

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

A Timely Reminder Of The Power Of Empathy In Leadership

This week's US election day provides a unique backdrop on which to illustrate the importance of empathy in today's leadership.

No matter where you live, there’s no question that the big story this week is the arrival of the US election and who the American public has decided to serve their country as their next President. For those outside of the US, it’s been both an interesting and troubling journey the US electorate has been put through, especially in its final few months.

Although I’m Canadian, it’s easy to relate to and understand the frustration and dismay many Americans have felt over the course of this election period, along with a good dose of wariness for what lies ahead after the election is over, regardless of who wins.

And yet, this current US election does provide an important lesson for leaders everywhere of just how important empathy is becoming to our ability to lead, as we’ve been given a concrete example of just how quickly things can fall apart when we divide people into groups of “us” versus “them”.

And to be clear, politics is not the only domain where this happens. All of us have had the experience of working with someone we don’t like, and sometimes even someone who we feel – or even know – is working to undermine our authority or credibility in the eyes of our co-workers or those we lead.

And in those circumstances, it becomes very easy for us to delineate those we view to be in “our camp” and those who we look upon with doubt and mistrust because they align themselves with those we dislike.

But what this past US election has shown us is that if we allow those feelings to fester, if we choose to allow others to exploit and drive that wedge that separates people based on what we lack in common with one another, we will end up not only with a more hostile work environment, but we will be permitting conditions to take hold that will make it even more difficult for our employees to get things done.

And this is why emotional intelligence and in particular, empathy, has become so critical to our ability to effectively lead others – empathy allows us to bridge the gap between how we see things and how others experience them [Twitter-logo-smallShare on Twitter].

Through our empathy, we’re able to move beyond the binary attitude of “I’m right/you’re wrong” which can impede any initiative from moving forward, to one that’s driven by the desire to discover that common ground we share with one another so that we can promote collaboration and foster sustainable growth.

It’s a truth that becomes all the more obvious when we remember that the key to your organization’s success and future prosperity is no longer based solely on the processes and technologies found within your company’s walls, but within the talents, insights, and experiences of those you lead. Something that one can tap into only if we create conditions where people feel connected to what they do and to those around them, as well as being a part of the shared purpose that defines your collective efforts.

But how do we know if we’re truly being empathetic in our leadership? How can we tell if we’re creating Click here to continue reading »”A Timely Reminder Of The Power Of Empathy In Leadership”

3 Ways Leaders Can Help Bring Great Ideas To Life

3 measures leaders should employ to create an organizational culture that encourages employees to share their ideas on how to change the way we work.

The following is a guest piece by Kotter International President, Russell Raath on behalf of The Economist Executive Education Navigator.

How often have you heard the phrase “that’s not how we do it here” uttered in your workplace? When employees suggest new ways to tackle challenges, are their contributions welcomed—no matter how outside-the-box they may be? Are staff members empowered to test new ideas and report back to management on their successes, as part of helping the organization constantly adapt and improve?

Maybe you have some version of the “suggestion scheme” where ideas are sent into some inbox in the cloud – where someone (hopefully) reviews them and determines whether an idea is viable and has merit.

In most organizations, the answers to these questions are often “no” or“never”. Yet the most innovative companies—those that can face challenging times and emerge stronger than ever—often recognize a key truth that is missing in many traditional, hierarchical organizations. That truth is that great ideas don’t only come from senior management.

The idea that saves the business $10 million may come from a production line supervisor; the concept that opens up an entirely new market for your products might come from a junior sales rep.

The point, one that smart organizations have realized, is that great ideas can come from any level of the organization. This is a concept explored in great depth in Dr. John Kotter’s latest business fable, “That’s Not How We Do It Here!”, which chronicles a clan of meerkats struggling with a drought that reduces their resources and leads to the rise of dangerous new predators.

Written as a business book, there are a number of key lessons on how leaders, at any organizational level, can bring great ideas to the surface: Click here to continue reading »”3 Ways Leaders Can Help Bring Great Ideas To Life”

Winning Teammates Respect The Clock And The Calendar

Learn why encouraging employees to take their vacation break is important for driving long-term productivity and employee wellness.

The following is a guest piece by fellow author Sean Glaze.

One of the lessons in my upcoming book, “The 10 Commandments of Winning Teammates”, is that winning teammates respect the clock and the calendar.

In the book, which is a parable, the lesson the main character learns in this particular chapter is that respecting the clock is not only about respecting others’ time and being early to meetings.

Of course, if you have ever had to wait on someone to show up for a meeting, you know that is important.

But even more important than the very real and valuable lesson to be on time out of respect for others is the realization that you need to value your own time.

Everyone has heard reminders that time is fleeting.

We all know that time flies…
The issue isn’t knowing… it is what are you doing with that information?

Does that information impel you to invest more time at the office, on your project, focused on your sales goals?

Or does that information impel you to Click here to continue reading »”Winning Teammates Respect The Clock And The Calendar”

Are You A First Responder Or A Leader?

Learn how leaders can foster greater trust among their employees by focusing more on promoting their autonomy than on putting out fires.

The following is a guest piece by Elliot Begoun.

Mark looked up from his computer and took a deep breath. The frenetic pace of the day had given way to the serene quiet of an empty building. He both treasured this time and found himself tortured by it. The stillness and the lack of interruption, allowed him to finally focus without the chaos of the day constantly ripping him away from his work.

But, this time came with a big sacrifice. Sitting in his office at 7:30 pm meant that he had once again failed to make it to his daughter’s soccer practice, and was sure to miss dinner with the family. He shook his head as if to drive the thought away and returned to the spreadsheet that was demanding his attention.

The next morning Mark had his weekly breakfast meeting with his friend and long-time mentor Sam, who greeted him by saying, “You look like crap! When was the last time you got a good night’s sleep?”

Mark smiled and said, “I think it was that vacation we took 4 months ago.” Sadly, Mark was not kidding.

He went on to tell Sam about yesterday’s craziness. It started by having to run down to the production floor because there was a problem with the filler, and before he could even make it back to his office the QA manager had flagged him down. When he finally did get there, he explained that he was bombarded by emails and phone calls, all of which were in search of some solution or another. Sam just sat and listened intently.

When Mark finally wrapped up his recantation, Sam said, “It sounds to me like you are more of a first responder than you are a leader.”

A puzzled look washed over Mark’s face, so Sam continued. “You are Click here to continue reading »”Are You A First Responder Or A Leader?”

7 Steps To Foster Emotional Intelligence In Your Team

Discover 7 steps that leaders can take to develop and strengthen emotional intelligence among the employees they lead.

The following is a guest piece by John Rampton on behalf of The Economist Executive Education Navigator.

When Daniel Goleman released “Emotional Intelligence” in 1995, did anyone think that this best-selling book would transform the role of leadership?

After selling more than 5,000,000 copies and being dubbed “a revolutionary, paradigm-shattering idea” by the Harvard Business Review, it’s clear that Goleman struck a chord with business leaders.  But, is it possible to create emotionally intelligent teams?

In their landmark research findings published in “Building the Emotional Intelligence of Groups”, Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolff assert that emotional intelligence underlies the effective processes of successful teams and that such resulting processes cannot be imitated; they must originate from genuine emotional intelligence at the team level.

Druskat and Wolff use the following analogy to back-up their point: “a piano student can be taught to play Minuet in G, but he won’t become a modern-day Bach without knowing music theory and being able to play with heart.”

While creating successful teams isn’t as simple as mimicking the processes of emotionally intelligent groups of people, what you can do is create the necessary conditions in which team members can develop their emotional intelligence. Those three conditions are: trust among members, a sense of group identity and a sense of group efficacy.

Here are the seven things you can do to foster these three conditions that constitute emotionally intelligent teams: Click here to continue reading »”7 Steps To Foster Emotional Intelligence In Your Team”

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