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”

7 Steps To Becoming A Happier, Higher-Performing Leader

Discover 7 steps that can help leaders build habits that will help them not only become higher-performing leaders, but happier ones too.

The following is a guest piece by Jennifer Moss.

From growing a successful start-up, to writing a book and speaking internationally about workplace culture, to making a solid attempt at being a decent wife and mother of three kids; I require an enormous amount of mental bandwidth. I’m sure many of you reading this blog are in the same boat.

But, my question to you is: Are you building the right habits? The kind of habits that make you happier, more emotionally intelligent? The kind of habits that build up your psychological fitness so you can emulate positive and empathetic leadership?

We tend to think that healthy habits are correlated to better eating or working out. But, what if I told you that emotional healthiness is the precursor to improved physical health and higher performance at work and in life. Good mental health habits free up space in the conscious decision-making area of the brain so you better attend to other priorities. As a leader, this is enormously helpful.

To ensure I formed new and improved current leadership habits, I developed a standard for building habits that stick. The P.E.R.S.I.S.T. model is based on existing research correlated to well-being and performance. This model continues to support my personal development routine and hopefully, it can support your efforts as well: Click here to continue reading »”7 Steps To Becoming A Happier, Higher-Performing Leader”

7 Ways To Improve Your Work Culture Through Experimentation

A marketing firm CEO shares 6 tips from his company's experience on using experimentation to improve organizational culture.

The following is a guest piece by CEO Matt Rizzetta.

As our business has scaled, one thing that we’ve carried with us each step of the way has been a commitment to experimentation in the workplace. Some of our best ideas and biggest cultural differentiators were borne from experiments we created.

Make no mistake about it. While I’m incredibly proud of the culture of experimentation that we’ve cultivated through the years, it’s come at a steep price. Lots of time, commitment, sleepless nights and many painful lessons along the way as experiments have been developed, implemented and scrutinized at every step of the test lab.

If you’re a business leader looking to inject a dose of experimentation to improve your culture, here are seven tips to keep in mind:

1. Find the Right Rhythm and Balance in Your Symphony
Think about experimentation in your workplace as if it were a symphony. You need to find the right mixture of instruments in order to create the perfect piece. Rhythm and balance are key.

Create experimental initiatives that are customized to the structure of your org chart and the various roles and functions within your company. In our case, this means individuals, teams, and company-wide initiatives.

All of our experiments are geared toward one of these buckets, with balance and parity being spread across each. In addition to the org chart, use your Click here to continue reading »”7 Ways To Improve Your Work Culture Through Experimentation”

7 Surprising Leadership Lessons We Can Learn From Jazz

Discover 7 surprising lessons the world of Jazz that reveal how you can become a better leader for your team and organization.

The following is a guest piece by Laura Montgomery.

Ambiguity, risk, urgency, public scrutiny: Nothing is more inevitable.

Anxiety, negativity, fear, shame: Nothing is more sabotaging of success.

These statements are equally valid for a business leader—and for a jazz musician. Frank J. Barrett is intimately familiar with both of these roles. A management scholar and executive-education lecturer with a PhD in Organizational Behaviour, Barrett is also an accomplished jazz pianist and the author of “Yes to the Mess: Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz”.

In Barrett’s view, business is a mess just like life on the jazz stage. You find yourself in situations you didn’t choose, dictated by the decisions and actions of others. You have countless options for moving forward, but no clear rules to tell you what the right answer is. The only way to succeed is through improvisation and innovation, rooted in a positive, unrestrained mindset.

After carefully studying tools and techniques that facilitate success both on the stage and in the boardroom, Barrett has identified seven principles of jazz improvisation that can help those who leads teams.

1. Mastering the art of unlearning
“We all have routines, habits based on what has worked for us before. But this can lead to us getting better and better at the wrong things—what I call skilled incompetence,” says Barrett. We need to be suspicious of our own patterns and be fully present in the moment, he advises, seeing seeing situations for what they are now and not what came before. Click here to continue reading »”7 Surprising Leadership Lessons We Can Learn From Jazz”

How HR Can Help Managers To Become Better Leaders

Learn about 4 ways that your HR department can help newly minted managers in your organization become better leaders.

The following is a guest piece by Kelly Barcelos.

Hiring employees is a tough job, especially today. Organizations in practically every industry are struggling to attract and retain great talent, especially in senior and executive leadership roles. With average job tenures dropping at every level, Human Resource professionals may need to play a more active role in leadership development and coaching.

Importance of HR for Business Productivity and Leadership Development

As HR professionals, you’re uniquely qualified to help leaders develop the skills, systems and processes required for achieving their own objectives as well as organizational goals. You aren’t likely to be affected by any team bias or prejudice, and probably find it easy to remain objective about the organization’s short-term and long-term needs.

Leadership development is important for organizations, since it helps:

  • Achieve and sustain high overall productivity
  • Drive revenue and improve the bottom line
  • Align leadership styles with circumstances
  • Resolve organizational problems
  • Enhance employee engagement

You can also help leaders determine job definitions for certain roles. This goes beyond job descriptions, by identifying goals for each role and then creating behavioral profiles to simplify the process of achieving them. These profiles can be used by leaders to understand their team’s needs, talents and communication styles as well.

How can HR improve leadership development in an organization? Click here to continue reading »”How HR Can Help Managers To Become Better Leaders”

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