Tanveer Naseer

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

4 Steps To Becoming More Inquisitive As Leaders

Learn about 4 steps any leader can take to help them become inquisitive in order to bring out the best from those they lead.

In my previous piece, where I shared the story of how a past leadership failure helped me to learn to become a better listener, I pointed out that one of the keys to effective leadership is learning to be more inquisitive.

Now the importance of inquisitiveness in today’s leadership is fairly obvious considering how much faster we have to operate and make decisions, if not also how quickly things can change.

That’s where we gain the benefits from being more inquisitive, and not just in gaining clarity regarding the challenges and opportunities before us, but also in how this simple conversation tool helps to nurture and strengthen relationships with those we lead.

So how do we become more inquisitive in our leadership? Here are 4 steps to help you get started:

1. Ask open-ended questions that require more than a yes/no response
If there’s one thing leaders everywhere share in common it’s working within an environment where they face increasing demands on their time and attention, while at the same being expected to make decisions as quickly as possible.

Taken together, these factors create conditions where it’s easy for leaders to resort to asking questions that require only a yes/no answer. While these answers can help us act quickly, the problem is that they lack context or insights that can help us make more effective decisions and choices going forward.

Asking open-ended questions – like asking ‘what did our customer say?’ instead of ‘is our customer happy?’ – not only provides greater context, but it encourages a genuine engagement with those we lead, over interactions that are merely transactional in nature.

After all, the questions we ask shape not only our conversations, but the relationships we have with others [Twitter logoShare on Twitter].

2. Be curious to find out what others know
While inquisitiveness is something we need to work at – especially in light of Click here to continue reading »”4 Steps To Becoming More Inquisitive As Leaders”

Learning To Focus On What Matters Most

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One of the things that I enjoy about speaking at conferences and at various organizations is the opportunity to meet new people. In the case of the MHLC conference I spoke at last week, it was being able to meet up with friends I made from speaking at this conference for three consecutive years, as well as meeting colleagues in the leadership sphere who I had previously only connected with by email and on the phone.

Being able to spend time with these good friends was certainly one of my personal highlights from this conference. But there was something else that I came away pondering about, and it wasn’t my now infamous encounter with the drummer from ZZ Top (that’s a story for another time).

Looking back at the numerous conversations among those attending this conference, there was a couple of times where people told me how impressed they were with how well I remembered people’s names.

Now the reason why this caught my attention is because remembering names of people I just met is something I’d hardly say I’m good at, a fact I’m sure my wife will be happy to attest to given the number of times she’s had to remind me of the names of the people she works with.

The problem is that when I meet someone new, my sense of curiosity takes over and I become focused on asking questions to learn more about the person in order to develop that connection. Consequently, I end up remembering many details about the person’s life and their work – while their name tends to be a bit fuzzy around the edges.

As such, whenever I meet someone new, I do have to work at making sure I grab ahold of their name so that it sticks in my mind for more than a few minutes.

And yet, in thinking about those moments where people were impressed with my ability to recall the names of people I met a year ago, I realized that the common thread connecting them together had less to do with remembering their names and more to do with something more significant.

Something that leaders need to adopt if their are to be successful in tapping into the collective talents and experiences of those they lead.

Now to be clear, remembering a person’s name is important, but it’s only the first step in the bigger process of Click here to continue reading »”Learning To Focus On What Matters Most”

Why Compassion Is Key To Succeeding At Leadership

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With the arrival of September, many of us are returning to our regular routines now that our children are back in school and the period for taking summer vacation breaks has come to an end. For myself, this September also marks a special milestone in my writing career – specifically, it marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of my first leadership book, “Leadership Vertigo”.

Since the release of my first book last fall, I’ve been on an incredible journey speaking to organizations and audiences in Europe, the Middle East, Canada, and the US, sharing my insights on leadership and how leaders can encourage and support their employees to bring their full selves to the work they do.

This journey of sharing my writings and insights on leadership over these past five years has lead to the achievement of another very special milestone this month – that of being invited to speak this Wednesday at the Management Grand Rounds at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

This prestigious leadership speakers series has welcomed in the past such leadership luminaries as Tony Hsieh, Doug Conant, Robert Sutton, Amy Edmondson, and Daniel Pink. Being invited to join the ranks alongside these renowned thought leaders as one of the speakers of this series is definitely one of the highest honours of my career to date.

The timing of these two milestone events has brought to mind some of the leadership insights I’ve shared in my book and there’s one in particular that I wanted to share with my readers as I prepare for this upcoming talk. Specifically, why it’s becoming increasingly important for leaders to cultivate compassion in their leadership so that they can succeed in bringing out the best in those they lead.

In fact, one of the recurring themes I’ve been asked to speak about this year is how do leaders embrace the elements of emotional intelligence that we hear so often about in articles and studies on successful leadership. There’s a genuine interest and desire out there to know how leaders can create an environment where people are willing to dedicate their native talents, creativity, and insights to their organization’s vision and shared purpose.

As I’ve discussed in some of the talks I’ve given this year, what’s needed here is Click here to continue reading »”Why Compassion Is Key To Succeeding At Leadership”

Why Vacations Are Critical For Successful Leadership

Successful-leadership-and-taking-vacations

With the welcome arrival of the warm summer months, many of us – myself included – are eagerly making final plans for our vacation break and with it, some much needed time for rest and relaxation.

Of course, taking any time off work these days can be quite challenging if not difficult for the very reasons why we need to take these much needed breaks from our everyday workday lives. Namely, the faster-paced, increasing demands on our time, energy, and finite resources that we all have to manage as members of the modern workforce.

These rising demands – not to mention how quickly things can change in the span of a few weeks – can make it very tempting for leaders to pull back on the amount of time they take off from work in order to keep a finger on their organization’s pulse.

While this might address our concerns (and fears) over the short-term, the reality is that it will have a far greater impact on our long-term success as a leader of our team or organization.

To that end, as I make preparations for my vacation break, I’d like to share the following benefits that taking a vacation has on our ability to be successful in our leadership.

1. Vacation breaks give us the opportunity for reflection and review
When I ask some of the leaders I’ve worked with what tasks they’d like to spend more of their workday on, more often than not one of the answers they give is spending more time on ‘big-picture thinking’; of putting their energies and focus on examining the realities and challenges their organization currently faces, and what opportunities this might present going forward.

Of course, this answer is not too surprising as many studies have shown that business leaders around the world would like to be able to spend more time on big-picture thinking.

The key challenge, however, is that thanks to today’s 24/7 wired world, leaders now face ever-growing demands on their time, energy, and attention, a situation that makes having time for pondering the longer view seem more like a luxury than a critical element for leading today’s organizations.

And yet, the reality of leadership today is that leaders need to provide context for what their employees’ efforts today will create for tomorrow [Twitter-logo-smallShare on Twitter]. That to keep their employees engaged and invested in what they contribute today requires an understanding of what this will lead them towards over the long run.

And this is where taking vacation time become so critical to our ability to succeed at leadership Click here to continue reading »”Why Vacations Are Critical For Successful Leadership”

My Top 10 Leadership Insights For 2014

Tanveer-Naseer-Top-Leadership-Insights-2014

As I look back at the past 12 months, there’s no question that this has definitely been a milestone year for me. Not only did 2014 mark five years that I’ve been writing online for this blog, but this was also the year I finally added “author” to my list of credentials with the release of my first leadership book, “Leadership Vertigo”.

A milestone that I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to celebrate here on my blog with the help of such leadership luminaries as Doug Conant, Liz Wiseman, Jim Kouzes, Barry Posner, and David Burkus.

Also noteworthy this year was the numerous leadership awards and recognitions I’ve received, most notably being recognized by Inc Magazine both as one of their “Top 100 Leadership and Management Experts”, and just a few weeks ago as one of “100 Great Leadership Speakers”. Indeed, this has certainly been for me a phenomenal year of growth, change, and evolution, and one which will certainly set the foundation for what lies ahead.

But before we say goodbye to 2014, allow me to share with you my Top 10 Leadership Insights from this year as selected by you, the readers of my award-winning leadership blog. These 10 leadership insights proved to be most popular based on the total number of social shares the respective pieces had.

Of course, instead of simply providing you with a list, I’d like to share with you this series of quotes gleaned from my writings in the hopes that it will both remind you of what was shared this year, as well as inspire you to recognize the opportunities to be found in this new year for us to show up and truly be the kind of leader that fuels the success and long-term prosperity of our organizations and community. Click here to continue reading »”My Top 10 Leadership Insights For 2014″

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