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”

Are You Supporting Your Organization’s New Leaders To Succeed?

A closer look at why it's important for organizations to not overlook providing support for the new leaders their management ranks.

Over the past few months, I’ve written a number of articles that examined from different vantage points the importance of leaders providing support and guidance for those under their care.

Judging from the response these pieces received, it’s clear that these ideas and insights certainly resonated with my readers. And yet, the truth is that when it comes to discussions about providing support to members of our organization, there is one subset that unfortunately gets overlooked in these conversations. The group I’m referring to are those employees who’ve recently been promoted into leadership roles.

To understand the unique challenges they face, we must first consider the process by which many newly-minted leaders are selected for taking on these new roles.

In most cases, being offered a leadership role is treated as a promotion – either to reward an employee’s past achievements, or to ensure their talents and skills are retained within the organization. Consequently, organizations end up with people in leadership positions who don’t have the proper skills and mindset to successfully lead others.

Indeed, a recent study by Gallup found that 82% of current managers lack the skills and aptitude to be an effective leader, skills like being able to “motivate every single employee to take action”, creating a “culture of clear accountability”, building relationships with those they lead, and making decisions based on what’s best for the team and organization as opposed to just for themselves.

In other cases, the promotion of employees to new leadership roles is hastily done in response to the growing number of vacancies in leadership positions. For example, one study found that only 36% of surveyed companies were prepared to immediately fill vacancies in their leadership roles.

One of the more obvious issues these findings reveal is that many organizations are moving people into leadership roles too quickly, in that they lack sufficient leadership training and development to ensure they succeed in this new role.

Or even worse, they give leadership roles to people who don’t have what it takes to effectively lead others; that while they might be technically proficient, they don’t have knowledge, insights or skills necessary to take on the responsibility to lead others.

But the other issue these approaches to leadership promotion creates is that it Click here to continue reading »”Are You Supporting Your Organization’s New Leaders To Succeed?”

Social Media and the True Meaning of Leadership

Last week, a few of the leadership bloggers who I enjoy reading and conversing with were invited to the 2010 World Business Forum in New York City to share with their readers some of the ideas presented by such renowned business leaders and thinkers as Jack Welsh, Joseph Grenny, and A.G. Lafley. Among the many interesting insights and points presented during this leadership forum, there was one comment regarding social media I found particularly interesting and worth more examination.

Charlene Li, the founder of Altimeter Group and author of the book “Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform The Way You Lead”, gave a presentation on developing effective social media strategies during which she made the following comment about how businesses should approach social media:

Social media is about giving up control yet remaining in command.”

Upon reading this quote, I couldn’t help but notice that in addition to being an accurate assessment of social media, this statement can also be easily applied to the field of leadership. To help illustrate this connection, let’s look at two examples of social media blunders made by companies this year, and what these mistakes can teach us about effective leadership. Click here to continue reading »”Social Media and the True Meaning of Leadership”