TanveerNaseer.com

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Bringing Out The Best In Those You Lead

Image © Wharton Magazine

Image © Wharton Magazine

Of all the seasons of the year, summer is without question my favourite. From attending the various outdoor festivals that Montreal has become renowned for, to the annual summer vacation breaks with my family, there’s no question that summer is a time for renewal and rejuvenation.

Of course, renewal and rejuvenation is something that summer has also brought to my garden which, after several years of trying to grow various flowers and shrubs, is finally the kind of garden I had hoped to grow since we moved into our house many years ago.

The process of testing out what plants work best where, which ones failed and why, and how to replicate the past season’s growth successes brought to mind parallels in how organizations and their leaders also have to learn to adapt and evolve in light of changing conditions in order to successfully achieve their shared purpose.

To that end, I’d like to share these three steps leaders should take to bring out the best in their employees in order to drive the collective success of their organization.

1. Connect the changes you make with the vision you have for your organization
When I first started to build our garden, one of the things I had to learn along the way was adapting my vision for what I wanted to grow with the reality of what grew best in my garden. In some areas, low-light plants were needed; in others, pest resistant plants were the best to grow.

Naturally, this lead to a lot of trial-and-error in choosing plants for the garden, which also meant a lot of money wasted in those first years. As a gardener, I was willing to accept these losses, but for my wife whose not a gardener, this was money that could’ve been spent on other areas of the house.

After a few summers of some successes and more failures, my wife was understandably getting frustrated with the amount of money being wasted on plants that lasted for a few short weeks. As much as she wanted to make improvements to beautify our home, she began to feel our money would be better suited to other measures.

In order to get her on board with my vision for what I wanted to create around our home, I realized I needed to invest in more of the plants that were doing well to help her see how buying similar types would ensure repeated success going forward.

Sure enough, in time as our gardens began to fill year after year with the blooms of different varieties of the same kind of plants, she began to understand what I was trying to create, and she became more willing to accept the purchase of different plants that would accentuate the others.

Similarly, when looking at implementing changes in your organization, it’s important to Click here to continue reading »”Bringing Out The Best In Those You Lead”

A Lesson On Bringing Out The Best In Those You Lead

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve been writing about the various characteristics and perspectives leaders need to have to be successful in bringing out the best in those they lead. Sharing some of these insights has brought to mind a question I was asked recently following one of my presentations on leadership.

The question I was asked revolved around how can a leader encourage those under their care to challenge their assumptions of what they’re capable of in order to help them to grow and evolve into stronger contributors to their organization’s vision.

I decided to answer this question by sharing a personal example of a leader I worked with who not only inspired me to dream bigger, but who encouraged me to challenge how I viewed myself and the contributions I could make.

Given the positive response I got from the other audience members, I decided this would be a good story to share with my readers to continue our discussion on how we can bring out the best in those we lead, especially in the face of the growing demands and distractions we face every day at work.

Dan was the president of a biotechnology company where I served in my first middle management role. Now, the interesting thing about Dan is that when you first meet him, he can seem a bit intimidating, not only because he’s quite tall (I’m sure he was a star player on his high school’s basketball team), but because he had this air of quiet confidence and assuredness about him.

And yet, when you talk with him, he had this way about him that made you feel quickly at ease around him, where you no longer saw him as the top dog in the organization, but as someone who was there to help you out if he can.

One of my fondest memories of working with Dan revolves around the numerous one-on-one meetings I had with him in his office. Whenever he saw me waiting outside his corner office near the secretary’s desk, he’d greet me with a warm smile and invite me to take a seat next to his desk.

What was interesting about these meetings was how Click here to continue reading »”A Lesson On Bringing Out The Best In Those You Lead”

Building Emotional Competencies In Our Leadership

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Over the past decade or so, there have been numerous studies and books that have helped us to better appreciate the emotional nature of successful leadership, a fact that has helped to bring about a transformation in leadership attitudes from the old command-and-control approach to one that’s more outward-focused and collaborative.

Unfortunately, while we’ve become more aware about the importance of emotional intelligence in today’s leadership, the truth is many of us continue to grapple with this issue and in the past few years, it has only become worse thanks to the changing realities of leading in today’s faster-paced, 24/7 work environment.

It’s an issue that I’ve addressed in some of the talks I’ve given this year, where I discussed the challenge leaders face of how to balance the increasing pull to simply get things done against that critical need to build and nurture a workplace environment that brings out the best in those they lead.

The necessity and importance of addressing this balancing act can be best appreciated when we consider the findings of a recent American Management Association (AMA) study which found that stress in the workplace is fast becoming the most critical issue organizations face today, with more than 50% of the study’s respondents stating that their organization suffers from above-average stress levels.

The major challenge this workplace issue presents comes from the fact that our ability to address workplace stress depends not on our technical capabilities, but on the emotional competencies we bring to our leadership.

After all, creating an environment where employees thrive is an emotional construct, not a technical one [Twitter-logo-smallShare on Twitter].

It’s also why in today’s current workplace environment, where all of us are being bombarded with increasing demands on our time and attention, we can’t afford to let what gets our attention to determine what we focus on and where we put most of our efforts. Rather, what we need to do is build our emotional competencies to ensure that we are promoting an organizational culture that ensures our collective success, growth, and evolution.

So how can we build our emotional competencies in order to be more successful in guiding our employees towards achieving our vision or shared purpose?

The first critical step we need to take is Click here to continue reading »”Building Emotional Competencies In Our Leadership”

Creating A Workplace Environment Where Employees Matter

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One of my favourite stories from the time of NASA’s Apollo space missions involves a visit by a group of guests to Mission Control. As they were walking down one of the building’s hallways, they spotted a man in a lab coat walking in the opposite direction and as they neared them, they asked him what he did at NASA. The man looked at the visitors and replied matter-of-factly, “I’m helping to put a man on the Moon”.

Of course, what makes this NASA employee’s response so noteworthy is the fact that he wasn’t one of the engineers or scientists involved in designing the rockets or overseeing the lunar missions. Instead, he was the building’s janitor.

It’s a story that came to mind in a discussion I had last week with a team of leaders where we were discussing the challenge many organizations face of improving the levels of employee engagement found within the various teams and departments that make up their organization.

Often times, these discussions reveal both a wariness and a sense of uncertainty regarding the complexity and difficulties involved in trying to reignite the internal motivations of our employees to bring their full selves to the work they do.

And yet, what this story of the NASA janitor reveals is the both the possibility and opportunity for us to use our leadership to create that kind of environment where our employees feel valued; where they know that the work and contributions they make matter because it’s tied to the larger purpose that defines our collective efforts.

Indeed, every time I’ve shared this story with clients and conference attendees, I see in their faces that look of understanding and hope that they too might be able to inspire all of their employees – regardless of the role they play in their organization – to feel that sense of connection and value to the shared purpose that defines why they do what they do.

Of course, there are numerous studies out there that have revealed the ease by which we can create that kind of sentiment within our workforce. For example, in a study I collaborated on with Phillips North America around employee engagement and workplace attitudes, one of the more intriguing findings was the fact that more than 50% of the respondents said they’d gladly take a pay cut in order to do meaningful work.

What this reveals is that people want to know that what they do matters; that it makes a difference and creates value [Twitter-logo-smallShare on Twitter], not just for their organization, but for themselves as well.

Unfortunately, the challenge we now face is how to keep our focus on initiatives meant to help inspire our employees while grappling with Click here to continue reading »”Creating A Workplace Environment Where Employees Matter”

The Key To Promoting Organizational Growth And Success

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Now that the first quarter of this year is coming to an end, many of us are naturally taking stock of how much progress we’ve made towards reaching those targets we set out to attain this year. This naturally leads to an examination of our current efforts to promote the growth and development of our organization and with it, new opportunities to broaden our scope and leverage our existing assets.

And yet, while many leaders are eager to find ways to foster growth-promoting initiatives within their organization, many struggle with creating those conditions that are necessary for supporting a sustainable, thriving workplace environment.

No doubt this is largely due to the disconnect between where most of their efforts are being placed and what’s really required to engage, inspire, and empower employees to become fully committed participants in the shared purpose that defines their organization’s collective efforts.

Indeed, in the past few years, there have been numerous studies which have conclusively shown that organizational growth and success in today’s interconnected world is no longer dependent solely on the various processes and measures we implement in our workplace.

Rather, the key differentiating factor is how well we’re able to demonstrate the connection between the everyday work our employees do and the overarching shared purpose that defines our organization’s raison d’être. That our employees feel compelled to bring their best selves to the work they do because they themselves derive a sense of purpose and meaning through the contributions they make.

Of course, while many of us can understand the value and importance of promoting purpose-lead work to our organization’s success and longevity, the challenge lies in how do we ensure we’re creating such conditions in our workplace, especially when the needs and requirements of our employees can be quite diverse.

To help you address this quandary, I’d like to provide you with a few questions that you can use to ascertain whether your current efforts serve to connect what matters to your employees with what matters to your organization, and thereby create those conditions that are necessary for the long term success and growth of your organization. Click here to continue reading »”The Key To Promoting Organizational Growth And Success”

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