TanveerNaseer.com

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

How Leaders Can Cure A Toxic Workplace

Curing-toxic-workplace

One of the things I enjoy about sharing my writings and insights on leadership is the opportunity it creates to interact with my readers – to hear their stories and what they’ve learned along the way, as well as some of the challenges they are trying to overcome.

Recently, one challenge in particular caught my attention as it was brought forth by both a reader of my leadership blog and by an audience member at a talk I gave last week.  The challenge in question was what do you do if you have to lead a team in a toxic workplace setting? And how can you overcome this to effectively lead your employees?

Given the interest expressed by two different segments of my audience, I want to share some key steps leaders should employ to help cure toxic workplaces and replace them with a more healthy, productive work environment.

Granted, I can’t provide specific steps because every situation is different and comes with its own set of variables and constraints that leaders will have to work with. However, the following measures will nonetheless provide you with both the right perspective and framework to help cure toxic workplaces in your organization.

1. Identify and rally ‘change champions’ in your organization
Now before we can put into action measures to cure a toxic workplace, we need to first understand something about how our brain operates. Neuroscience has shown that our brains are hard-wired to avoid threats in our environment.

Consequently, not only is our brain focused more on looking out for danger than benefits, but the neural signals we get from our different senses are processed first through that lens of whether it’s a good or bad experience before our higher brain functions can help us to create a context for what we’re seeing, hearing, or feeling.

Now it’s important to note here that it’s not just dangerous or harmful events that our brain identifies as threats. Rather, it labels anything that creates ambiguity or uncertainty as a threat and consequently, something we should avoid. And all of this happens subconsciously which is why we may not be able to rationally explain why we fear something, only that we do.

In the case of making changes to your workplace environment, even though Click here to continue reading »”How Leaders Can Cure A Toxic Workplace”

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?”

Why Leadership Should Be Hard

Why-leadership-should-be-hard

With the arrival of this last month of the year, I’ve been finding myself in a mixed state of mental exhaustion and reflection, which considering the work involved in bringing my first leadership book out into the world alongside my regular workload is quite understandable.

What’s interesting, though, is how many of the leaders I’ve spoken and worked with over the past year are also in this dualistic state. Unfortunately, for most of them, the mental exhaustion is far outweighing any notions of making efforts for reflection and review.

Indeed, I’ve seen many leaders shake their heads and admit with some frustration how their job has become so much harder than it used to be. Although I sympathize with the challenges they face, and the complexities that now dot the landscape of operating in this 24/7 global environment, the reality that we all have to own up to is that leadership is hard. And it’s meant to be hard.

As I’ve written before, leadership is not about you – it’s about the people you lead and serve [Twitter-logo-smallShare on Twitter]. That alone makes this job a difficult one because you are taking on the responsibility of combining the hopes, dreams, and ambitions of a diverse group of people and connecting it to something bigger than yourself.

But this has always been the key function of leadership – of how to rally the collective talents, experiences, insights and creativity of a group of people around a common vision or shared purpose that others want to help transform into today’s reality. Our collective history is replete with individuals we admire and try to emulate thanks to their successes in achieving goals that in their time seemed unimaginable.

And yet, in light of today’s faster paced, ever-changing business environment, it can seem almost impossible for us to Click here to continue reading »”Why Leadership Should Be Hard”

How To Encourage Growth Under A Controlling Boss

Dealing-with-controlling-boss

One of the things I enjoy about my work is having conversations with people about the nature of leadership, and the challenges and opportunities leaders face in this continually evolving, interconnected business environment.

One of these conversations lead to a discussion about how leaders who want to push for change can deal with those above them who operate from the command-and-control style of leadership – in other words, those that subscribe to the overtly-controlling it’s my way or you’re out approach.

Since that conversation, I’ve had the opportunity to discuss and learn about how both employees and other leaders are also grappling with this organizational schism of dealing with someone stuck in an Industrial Age mindset of top-down leadership, while having to address today’s challenges and issues which require a more collaborative, inclusive and open workplace dynamic.

Based on these conversations, I’d like to share the following three measures that can help both employees and leaders who have to deal with a controlling boss who is clearly stuck in the ‘this is the way things are done around here’ mindset to ensure that they are able to promote growth and collective success in their organization.

1. Don’t focus on your value but on the value you can create
One of the common issues I hear when I discuss with clients and colleagues this issue of working for a controlling boss – especially those that operate from a top-down, win-at-all-costs leadership mindset – is how they feel like they’re more a means to an end than a valued contributor to their organization.

In discussing this situation, one thing that becomes clear is that both parties are almost speaking a different language in terms of their perspective and perception. For employees, their focus is on how to get those in charge to see them as being something more than what they do. For controlling bosses, however, their focus is simply on what they want their employees to get done in order to obtain their desired end result, regardless of the impact or impression that leaves on those under their care.

To resolve this difference in focus and attitudes, we need to Click here to continue reading »”How To Encourage Growth Under A Controlling Boss”

Leadership Biz Cafe Podcast #15 – Tanveer Naseer On Overcoming Leadership Vertigo

Leadership-Biz-Cafe-Tanveer-Naseer

With so many books, articles, and studies on how leaders can be more effective guiding their teams in today’s faster-paced, global environment, why do leaders still struggle to help their organizations to succeed? That’s the basis of the conversation in this VERY special episode of Leadership Biz Cafe which wraps up the month-long celebration of the release of my first leadership book, “Leadership Vertigo”.

In this special episode of my show, I’m delighted to hand over hosting duties to my friend David Burkus, author of “The Myths of Creativity” and host of the leadership podcast show, LDRLB, so he can interview me about my new book, as well as asking about my future plans, including a discussion about my next leadership book.

Over the course of this discussion, David and I discuss:

  • What is leadership vertigo and how does it impact leaders in today’s organizations.
  • Understanding one of the key challenges organizations face in terms of balancing leadership development and retaining key talent.
  • What Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela help us to understand about the importance of community and why it’s necessary to rallying employees around our vision or long-term objectives.
  • My experience with a public transit janitor on the Chicago L-Train and what his actions reveal about the true nature of credibility in leadership.
  • What’s next in store for me, including a discussion of what the focus of my next leadership book will be.

As David mentions at the end of this special episode, I’d love to hear what you think about this conversation about my first leadership book, as well as hearing what other topics this might spur your interest in learning more about in future episodes of my show. To do so, please leave me a comment below or fill out the contact form found on my website.

Click on the player below to listen to the podcast: Click here to continue reading »”Leadership Biz Cafe Podcast #15 – Tanveer Naseer On Overcoming Leadership Vertigo”

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