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”

How Failure Taught Me To Become A Better Listener

The story of one leader's failure reveals a powerful lesson on the importance of effective listening to leadership success.

In my work with various leaders, one of the strategies I often share is employing the art of asking questions. While asking questions can help a leader gain a better understanding of current conditions both within and outside their organization, it can also prove to be a helpful tool in gaining insight from one’s own experiences.

It’s an idea I was recently reminded of during an interview I did with my friend and fellow leadership expert Kevin Kruse for his leadership podcast, The LEADx Leadership Show. During the interview, Kevin asked me to share with his audience a story of when I failed as a leader and what I learned from that experience.

Now while the focus of Kevin’s question was to showcase how as leaders we can learn from past mistakes, I realized that there’s also within this story a powerful lesson on what it really means to be a good listener, especially when you have the responsibility to lead others.

In one of my first management roles, I had the responsibility of overseeing the functioning of several laboratories in a biotech firm, along with managing the cleaning staff. As the cleaning staff didn’t come from a science background as I did, I wanted to help them understand the work that was being done and how their efforts helped with these ongoing projects.

One day, one of the senior directors – who at the time was also one of my mentors – called me into his office for a quick chat. After exchanging a few updates, the director told me that he had received a few complaints from some members of the cleaning staff (before I joined the company, the cleaning staff had worked under this director).

I figured this probably had to do with some new demand being put upon my team by one of the project leaders. So I already started plotting in my mind where I could find time to sit down with the cleaning staff to explain these new requests.

As it turned out, the complaint wasn’t about some new demand. Instead, the complaint was about me. Specifically, the cleaning staff had become disgruntled over how I was speaking with them.

The director went on to explain how the cleaning staff initially enjoyed working under me, but lately, I left them feeling as though their only job was to do my bidding.

As hard as it was to hear, I began to realize that in my drive to inform my employees, I had unintentionally turned our conversations into one-way interactions. Put simply, I had become the dreaded micromanager interested more in telling people what to do than in listening to what they had to say.

While my story illustrates the ease with which any of us can become disempowering micromanagers, I realized it also revealed the importance of why leaders need to be good listeners if we are to ultimately succeed in our efforts..

Namely, that to effectively lead others, we need more than our perspective. We need insights from those we lead [Twitter logoShare on Twitter].

In that conversation with this director, I realized that Click here to continue reading »”How Failure Taught Me To Become A Better Listener”

How We Can Develop A Culture Of Learning

Creating-continuous-learning-culture

One of the great joys I get from my work is the opportunity to connect and build relationships with some truly exceptional leaders and people. One of them is my friend, Bob Bennett, the guest writer of this piece. After seeing one of Bob’s talks two years ago, I knew this was a leader I had to connect with, and our conversations and emails since then have been inspiring, informative, and just plain fun. When you read the guest piece he’s written below, you’ll understand why.

* * * * *

I am blessed to have grandchildren, because they teach me something new every day – even things like leadership and business.

One week shy of their third birthday my wife and I took two of our grandchildren, May and Tucker, to Disney World. They are twins; May is an instigator and manipulator. Tucker is ‘all boy’ and extremely active but sensitive. Both have a quest for knowledge; they can talk with you all day about habitats, inertia, paleontologists, and, as Tucker calls it, ‘gestion,’ the art of turning the food one eats into energy.

We stayed at a cabin in the Wilderness Village. We spent four full days at the separate theme parks, going on every ride that did not have a height restriction.

While packing to leave after the ‘adventure,’ my wife and I wondered which were the kids’ favorite rides. The decision: Tucker – Toy Story; May – Ariel. So, as would any grandparent, we asked them.

The first surprise for us was the speed with which they answered the question. They both answered immediately Click here to continue reading »”How We Can Develop A Culture Of Learning”