Tanveer Naseer

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

6 Steps To Strengthen Team Cohesion

Learn about 6 steps leaders can take to strengthen team cohesion to boost employee productivity and drive organizational growth.

If there’s one point all of us can agree on today, it’s that we’re living in increasingly divisive times.

As a writer, I can certainly appreciate the irony of this statement. But as a leadership expert, it also highlights a critical function leaders need to play both to drive organizational growth, as well as to boost employee productivity.

While those efforts to divide us as opposed to discovering those commonalities that bind us together might seem to be more an issue within the political and social issues realm, organizations are clearly feeling the effects of these forces within their workforce.

And this is something leaders need to be mindful of if they are to continue to foster conditions necessary for ensuring people can work together effectively towards the achievement of a common goal.

As such, here are six steps that will help you strengthen team cohesion, regardless of what storms might be looming outside your organization’s walls.

1. Draw clear lines between what your team does and the shared purpose of your organization
One of the best ways to strengthen team cohesion is helping your employees to view their efforts within the context of the larger vision of the organization. After all, it’s easy to care about our contributions, but what about the contributions their fellow team mates make? Of course, when people don’t carry their load or if they make a mistake that impacts the whole team, it’s easy to care (or more likely get upset).

But team cohesion is about getting everyone on the team to consider the whole along with the individual parts. In other words, when you communicate and lead your team using your shared purpose as your compass, everyone wins [Twitter logoShare on Twitter].

2. Ensure employees get real-time feedback to help assess their performance
There’s a common consensus amongst the various studies on employee engagement that leaders need to be giving more feedback to their employees. But another thing leaders should be doing to strengthen team cohesion is promoting conditions that encourage employees to give each other feedback in real-time, and not just as part of some 360 annual review.

Getting real-time feedback from your peers fosters greater clarity about how various team members are perceived to improve contributions and involvement. Ensuring your team members get feedback from their colleagues will also reduce Click here to continue reading »”6 Steps To Strengthen Team Cohesion”

4 Steps To Move Past Setbacks And Drive Success

Learn about 4 steps that can help leaders successfully navigate through setbacks and get their organization back on track towards achieving its long-term goals.

In today’s faster-paced, interconnected global environment, there’s no question that there are greater demands on leaders in terms of what they need to deliver. And those demands become more apparent when an organization suffers a setback in achieving its long-term goals.

It’s part of the human condition that when we experience setbacks in our hopes, plans, or even dreams, we retreat to our comfort zones to try and address this new wellspring of doubt and uncertainty regarding where we go from here.

While as individuals we have the opportunity to fall back within ourselves as we grapple with what to do next, as a leader, these are the times when your employees need to hear from you the most, not only to help them better understand what went wrong, but more importantly, what happens now.

Given how setbacks tend to create challenging times for an organization – and by extension your leadership – here are four steps that provide a roadmap for how you can help your employees navigate these periods of uncertainty and get back to achieving your long term goals.

1. Be up front about what’s going on
When we encounter setbacks, the natural inclination is to close ranks as an instinctual, protective response when faced with uncertainties about what’s to come. In leadership circles, there’s also a need to protect our sense of authority; that despite the fact that things haven’t turned out the way we planned, we do know what we’re doing.

Unfortunately, these self-protecting measures often lead to treating information as something that’s on a need to know basis. And as most of us have experienced, when there’s an information vacuum inside an organization, people will simply fill that void with their own assumptions or worst, their fears.

So, the first thing we need to do is be up front and honest about the situation. Admit to really what’s going on.

Indeed, by being open when you’re faced with setbacks, leaders instill greater trust in their leadership [Twitter logoShare on Twitter].

2. Relate to how this setback affects your employees and not just yourself
Recently, I worked with one leader whose company was grappling with the loss of a major contract. This setback not only created a lot of anxiety and stress within the company’s ranks, it also meant most employees had to tighten their belts as anticipated salary bumps were cut back due to the loss of revenue.

In the hopes of boosting employee morale, this leader shared with his employees how this setback was affecting him personally as well, given how his wife and him had to delay their plans of buying a new house.

This leader told me he hoped sharing his personal hardships with his employees would foster the feeling that they were all in this together. Unfortunately, the only thing his message gave rise to was feelings of animosity and resentment among his employees

What he failed to understand is that what his employees needed was Click here to continue reading »”4 Steps To Move Past Setbacks And Drive Success”

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 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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