Tanveer Naseer

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

4 Critical Leadership Traits That Drive Success And Growth

Learn about 4 critical leadership traits you need to have in order to motivate employees to help drive organizational success and growth.

This past summer, my daughter Malaika worked at her first summer job, which also happened to be her first time in a true leadership role. As one of two co-ordinators of her high school’s orientation camp, she was not only responsible for managing the various activities to help new students become more familiar with the school, but she was also in charge of overseeing the 24 camp mentors who were there to support the new students.

Although Malaika came home every day exhausted from a long, busy day, I couldn’t help but notice a transformation in how she recalled her experiences – where at the beginning of camp, she felt frustrated and a bit discouraged, but as the camp went on, she was more enthusiastic and excited about what had happened that day.

As she talked about her experiences being a leader for the first time, I realized that she had learned about 4 critical traits that we need to succeed at leadership; characteristics that are worth re-examining now that summer is over and many of us have a renewed focus to drive growth in our organization:

1. Take the initiative in asking others for feedback
One of the biggest concerns Malaika had early on was whether she was doing enough to support the 24 camp mentors under her care. Some times, she worried that she was speaking too much and other times, she wondered if she didn’t give her team enough insight or guidance on what to do.

To address her concerns, Malaika decided to speak to some of the camp mentors she didn’t know very well to get their impressions of how she was doing. As it turned out, the camp mentors were not only happy with the job that she was doing, but they appreciated that she wanted to know what they thought.

By being pro-active in seeking feedback from her team, Malaika sent a clear message to the camp mentors that she genuinely cared about their opinions and wanted to know if her efforts were as helpful as she thought they were.

And this effort reveals the first critical leadership trait: our ability to grow as leaders is dependent on our willingness to get feedback from those we lead [Twitter logoShare on Twitter].

2. Don’t hesitate to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty
One of the reasons why Malaika often came home exhausted from her summer job was not only because she had many logistics and personnel to oversee, but she often found herself running around to lend a hand to one of the mentors, or cleaning up after an activity to allow the mentors to spend more time with their kids to foster those mentor-mentee relationships, or even just helping with getting kids in the different groups motivated to participate.

As Malaika told me about these different tasks she did over the course of the day, I asked her what compelled her to jump in – did the supervising teachers ask her to do it? She just replied matter-of-factly, “I just saw that there was something that needed to be done and so I did it”. Click here to continue reading »”4 Critical Leadership Traits That Drive Success And Growth”

9 Strategies Of Uncommon Wisdom For Fuelling Top Performance

Learn about 9 strategies leaders can employ that are key to achieving top performance in the organization.

The following is a guest piece by Larry Sternberg.

Fuelling top performance is the goal for most leaders and managers. The best managers know their people are the key to achieving top performance on every metric of success they track. As a leader or manager, how can you make the biggest difference through leveraging the talents and efforts of the people on your team? This handful of specific strategies can help.

1. Accept People As They Are
Your job as a manager is not to change people. Your job is to optimize people’s performance. Start by accepting people as they are. The old adage applies here: Marry as is, and consider any change a bonus.

Select people for your team who have the right mix of strengths, knowledge and potential. Focus on what’s right with people instead of what’s wrong with them. Optimize the alignment between what people bring to the table and what you need your team to achieve. And, be prepared to tolerate some undesirable behaviors — because they are part of the package.

2. Emphasize the Why
Consider the story of three people laying bricks. When asked, “What are you doing?” One person replies, “I’m laying bricks.” The second person says, “I’m part of a team building a really big brick wall.” The third person replies, “I’m just one of many people working together here to build a cathedral where people will get married, christen their babies and lay their loved ones to rest.” Which of these people do you think is most motivated to do great work?

Help people advance from what to why so they see their work as Click here to continue reading »”9 Strategies Of Uncommon Wisdom For Fuelling Top Performance”

4 Disciplines For Long-Term Sustainability Of Change

Learn about 4 measures leaders can employ to generate and sustain momentum in any change initiative to ensure long-term sustainability in their change effort.

The following is a guest piece by R. Kendall Lyman and Tony C. Daloisio.

Years ago, we each had a chance individually, to take a hot air balloon ride. Kendall’s adventure was fun and exhilarating. But for Tony, his ride was terrifying because of his fear of heights and small places. The thought of being thousands of feet in the air in a small basket was petrifying. After comparing our two experiences, we realized how similar our adventures were to how change affects employees.

Some employees are excited about the idea of change; others are terrified. Some find the ride exhilarating, while others find it paralyzing. Some people will jump right in the basket and look forward to the journey and the destination. Others will have to be slowly coaxed into the basket and constantly reminded about why they are there in the first place and where they are going.

Achieving meaningful change takes significant strategy and effort, and an investment in time. It requires generating enough lift to enable the change to float while avoiding things that create drag. And what we’ve learned over the last twenty-five years of implementing change projects is that the work doesn’t end when you’ve reached your goal.

Rather, leaders must continue to work at change, reinforcing the progress made to ensure its sustainability.

To generate lift and sustain change, engage in the following disciplines which are designed to ensure your success. Click here to continue reading »”4 Disciplines For Long-Term Sustainability Of Change”

Listen Up! 5 Ways To Improve Your Leadership Listening Skills

Learn about 5 strategies leaders can employ to improve their leadership listening skills.

The following is a guest piece by Jackie Edwards.

Are you part of the 25 per cent of leaders who aren’t really listening to their employees? It could be harming your reputation and career. Even though you might have great analytical skills and intelligence, not listening properly decreases the effectiveness of your leadership role.

Become a better listener and everyone wins: your employees feel part of a team and you can lead them to success.

There are some simple yet effective ways you can become a better listener. Try to exercise the following skills on a daily basis. Click here to continue reading »”Listen Up! 5 Ways To Improve Your Leadership Listening Skills”

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”

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