Tanveer Naseer

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

5 Summer Books That Will Make You A Better Leader

Five leadership books worth reading over the summer break in order to learn how to become more successful at leading others.

As a leadership writer, I get asked from time to time to share a list of my favourite leadership books; books that I found to be the most informative either for those new to leadership, or for those looking for new insights on how they can build on their existing leadership skills.

With summer now in full-swing and with many people now gearing up to take their much-needed summer vacation break, I thought it’d be fun to share five of my favourite leadership books, along with my own leadership insights on how we can be the kind of leader our employees need us to be:

1. “Multipliers – How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter” by Liz Wiseman with Greg McKeown

Have you ever worked for a boss who made you feel like you did your best work? What was it about their leadership that allowed them to motivate you to bring your best efforts to the job? That’s the question Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown answer in this book.

Their basic premise is that successful leaders – who they call “Multipliers” – view intelligence as something that can be expanded, as opposed to being a fixed and limited resource. Based on their own research, Wiseman and McKeown share actionable steps to help readers transform into leaders who tap into the full potential of every employee under their care.

One of my favourite insights from their book – “Multipliers understand that people love to contribute their genius. If they put in the effort to figure out someone’s genius, they have opened a pathway for that person to contribute.”

This idea aligns with one of the leadership insights I’ve written about numerous times here on my leadership blog:

Leadership is not about you; it’s about how you’re empowering those you lead to succeed and thrive [Twitter logoShare on Twitter].

Click here to buy “Multipliers – How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter” on Amazon and Amazon.ca.

2. “The Progress Principle – Using Small Wins To Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work” by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer

One of the common challenges leaders everywhere face is how do we empower people to be driven to deliver their best, and which actions of ours are causing people to lose their motivation?

In “The Progress Principle”, Harvard professor Teresa Amabile and psychologist Steven Kramer reveal that the key to understanding this is Click here to continue reading »”5 Summer Books That Will Make You A Better Leader”

A Lesson On How Successful People Achieve Their Goals

A simple exercise from Warren Buffett reveals a powerful lesson on how leaders can help their employees to successfully achieve their goals.

For many of us, the month of September presents the perfect opportunity to look back on the goals we set out for ourselves earlier this year and to assess how well we are doing in achieving those goals and more specifically, what should we be doing from this point forward to ensure that we successfully attain them.

But if we truly want to feel successful in what we do, there’s another question we should be asking ourselves: are we focusing on those goals that really matter? Are we putting our best efforts and initiatives towards measures that will help us to live the life we were meant to live?

To help illustrate what I mean by this, I’d like to share this story about a conversation between Warren Buffett – one of the most successful people in the world today – and his pilot, and how a simple exercise helped his employee to appreciate how to focus on what matters.

For 10 years, Mike Flint had served as the personal airplane pilot for Warren Buffett. One day Buffett goes up to his pilot and tells him “the fact that you’re still working for me tells me I’m not doing my job. You should be out there going after more of your goals and dreams”.

So Buffett asked Mike to write down a list of the 25 goals Mike wanted to accomplish over the course of his career, whether it be something Mike wanted to do in the next few years or sometime down the road.

After Mike created his list, Buffett then asked Mike to review his list of 25 goals and to circle the top 5 most important goals; the things that more than anything Mike wanted to know he’d achieve in his lifetime.

Not surprisingly, Mike admitted to Buffett that this was hard to do because he really wanted to achieve all of these 25 goals he’d written out in his list. But Buffett was adamant that Mike draw a circle around what he would consider to be his 5 most important goals from this list of 25 goals, and to write these down in a new list of his 5 most important goals.

So after much time and effort, Mike was able to pick out 5 goals from his original list and he found himself looking at two different lists – one that had what he chose as his 5 most important goals and another one which had the other 20 goals that Mike wanted to achieve.

At this point, Mike understood that he should start working on achieving those 5 goals in his important goal list and he told Buffett that he would start working on those right away.

Buffett then asked Mike about his second list with those 20 other goals and asked him what was he going to do about those goals.

Mike told Buffett that while they are not on his most important list of goals, they were things he still wanted to achieve and so he planned on working on those other goals when he had the time to do so. As Mike told Buffett, “they are not as urgent, but I still plan to give them a dedicated effort”.

Buffett then gave Mike a stern look and told him that he got it wrong. He went on to tell Mike how Click here to continue reading »”A Lesson On How Successful People Achieve Their Goals”

What It Takes To Overcome Distractions In The Workplace

A lesson from Olympic rowers reveals a powerful message for leaders on how they can help their employees to overcome workplace distractions.

As the final week of the summer period slowly comes to an end, I have to admit to feeling a mix bag of emotions. As much I as enjoy summer and all the activities and beautiful weather it brings, I’m looking forward to returning to a more regular routine both at work and at home.

After all, given the blue skies seen outside the office window and the ease with which family activities can be planned with children being on summer vacation break, the summer months do present quite a number of distractions that can impede one’s productivity and drive to push ahead.

Of course, in today’s modern, digital workspace, there are far more and at times, far greater distractions than the sight of a sunny blue sky outside your window.

In most cases, when it comes to things that impact the overall productivity of employees, the common tendency is to view meetings and emails as the biggest impediments.

And yet, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey of over 2 000 managers, the biggest distractions employees face in today’s workplaces are text messaging/using their smartphones, followed by surfing the web.

And the impact of these distractions on workplace productivity is quite significant, as 75% of employers state that their organizations lose two or more hours of productivity every day because their employees are distracted.

To make matters worse, the leaders surveyed in this study noted that this loss in productivity leads to a compromised quality of work, missed deadlines, and even negative repercussions in employer-employee relationships and as well customer relationships.

Now the typical response in light of such findings is to limit the usage of smartphones at work or to restrict access to what sites employees can surf while on the job.

While this might solve the issue of employees using their smartphones and the internet for non-work related matters, it overlooks the underlying issue behind these behaviours and what leaders should really be doing to help their employees develop the means to overcome the distractions they’ll inevitably face while at work.

And as with most things in life, the best way for us to appreciate what we should be doing is by looking at the lessons learned by others about what it takes to succeed in the face of various obstacles. Click here to continue reading »”What It Takes To Overcome Distractions In The Workplace”

How To Be The Kind Of Leader Your Employees Need You To Be

Being-the-kind-of-leader-employees-need

Last week, I had the pleasure of being invited to speak at the Management Grand Rounds held at Boston Children’s Hospital. As with every speaking engagement I do, the part I look forward to the most is being able to meet with audience members to hear about their experiences and what insights they’ve gained from my talk.

In the case of my talk at Boston Children’s Hospital, it was wonderful to hear the level of interest among many of the leaders in the audience of how they could become better leaders for their employees. Seeing that drive and desire to not rest on their laurels but to embrace the challenges before them was energizing and inspiring.

After getting a tour of their remarkable facilities, I decided to wander around Boston to take in the sights, including a walk by Fenway Park during an afternoon baseball game.

As I heard the roars of the crowd rise up from the stadium, I noticed a series of banners paying tribute to some of the city’s beloved Boston Red Sox players. Among those banners, a name caught my eye – that of Babe Ruth.

Babe-Ruth-banner-Fenway-Park-2015

Seeing that name on that red banner reminded me of a piece I had written several years ago on leadership lessons revealed from how Babe Ruth approached playing the game he loved as he grew older.

To show my appreciation for the warmth and generosity I received from the various leaders at Boston Children’s Hospital, I would like to share that story alongside three important leadership lessons on how we can be the kind of leader our employees need us to be.

In October 1932, the New York Yankees were facing off against the Chicago Cubs in the World Series Championship. For most of the Yankees team, things were going great as they were going into Game Three having won the first two. For Babe Ruth, things were far from great as he was in the midst of a batting slump.

As if things couldn’t get worse, at the halfway mark of Game Three, Ruth found himself standing at home plate with two strikes against him and his own home crowd booing him. In light of his declining physical abilities and the stream of negativity coming from the crowd around him, it seemed a given that he would strikeout at home plate.

And yet, when the next pitch came, Ruth not only hit the ball, but he hit it with such force that it became one of the longest home runs ever made at Wrigley Field.

At the end of the game, a reporter asked Babe Ruth what he was thinking about at that moment when he hit that ball out into the end zone. Ruth told him it was the same thought that comes to mind every time he’s at bat – of “just hittin’ that ball”.

It was certainly a humble and memorable response on Ruth’s part, but in its own way, this story helps us to understand three important lessons on how leaders can successfully lead their team in today’s faster-paced, ever-changing workplace environment. Click here to continue reading »”How To Be The Kind Of Leader Your Employees Need You To Be”

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”

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