Tanveer Naseer

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Why Leaders Should Depersonalize Communication

Researchers have found leaders are more effective in how they communicate when they depersonalize the message. Learn what this means and how to do it.

The following is a guest piece by Dr. Derek Roger and Nick Petrie.

It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it

Talking comes so naturally to us we tend to forget just how much skill is involved. Even when we’re speaking fast, every word is selected as the appropriate one, from a huge collection we have stored in our brains. We weren’t born with language; all the words, and the rules governing them, had to be learned.

Spoken language, together with the gestures to go with what we’re saying, are what constitutes communication. It is at the heart of what it means to be human, but it all goes wrong when we’re less selective about when, how and what we communicate.

Let’s use a simple illustrative example, from the world of work: you’ve just completed a short proposal for a contract, a task you haven’t done before, and your boss is reading through it. How does she respond? The reply you’re likely to dread, especially if this all takes place in front of your colleagues, is along the lines of “You’ve done a pretty bad job of this. Didn’t they teach you anything at college?”

Unfortunately, feedback to direct reports often carries this kind of blaming tone, and it is hardly surprising that so many engagement surveys highlight the negative effects of poor communication. One solution is to provide communication skills training, but the negative ratings often persist.

The reason is that the principles of conventional communication skills programs may be quite ambiguous. Eye-contact is an example: the rule is that you should maintain eye-contact for a certain percentage of the time, to indicate continued interest, but if it’s maintained for too long the conversation starts to feel like an interrogation!

On the other hand, if you’re conveying complex information, people might break eye-contact because they’re reflecting on what you’ve said, not because they aren’t attending.

Listen, just wake up!

So what can be done to improve communication skills? Click here to continue reading »”Why Leaders Should Depersonalize Communication”

How Leaders Can Develop Their Skills With One Simple Habit

Building-mindfulness-in-leaders-today

The following is a guest piece by author Matt Tenney.

If your schedule is anything like mine, finding time to consistently devote to your own leadership development is likely quite a challenge.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have a well-rounded leadership development program that didn’t require you to add anything to your schedule?

You can. In fact, research in neuroscience suggests that you can transform simple, daily activities – like brushing your teeth, commuting to work, and preparing coffee – into opportunities to change both the function and structure of your brain in ways that improve both business acumen and emotional intelligence, two key drivers of leadership performance. All you need to do is change the way you do things you’re already doing each day.

For most of us, our default mode of operating in the world is to be caught up in our thinking. We live as though we are our thinking, as though we are that voice inside our heads that is constantly blabbering away.

By making a subtle inner shift, called mindfulness, we can actually become and remain aware of our thinking, as though we’re watching it on a heads-up display, or listening to it as though it were a radio station. We can become and remain self-aware.

Nearly everyone already does this many times each day. However, it’s usually Click here to continue reading »”How Leaders Can Develop Their Skills With One Simple Habit”

Why Vacations Are Critical For Successful Leadership

Successful-leadership-and-taking-vacations

With the welcome arrival of the warm summer months, many of us – myself included – are eagerly making final plans for our vacation break and with it, some much needed time for rest and relaxation.

Of course, taking any time off work these days can be quite challenging if not difficult for the very reasons why we need to take these much needed breaks from our everyday workday lives. Namely, the faster-paced, increasing demands on our time, energy, and finite resources that we all have to manage as members of the modern workforce.

These rising demands – not to mention how quickly things can change in the span of a few weeks – can make it very tempting for leaders to pull back on the amount of time they take off from work in order to keep a finger on their organization’s pulse.

While this might address our concerns (and fears) over the short-term, the reality is that it will have a far greater impact on our long-term success as a leader of our team or organization.

To that end, as I make preparations for my vacation break, I’d like to share the following benefits that taking a vacation has on our ability to be successful in our leadership.

1. Vacation breaks give us the opportunity for reflection and review
When I ask some of the leaders I’ve worked with what tasks they’d like to spend more of their workday on, more often than not one of the answers they give is spending more time on ‘big-picture thinking’; of putting their energies and focus on examining the realities and challenges their organization currently faces, and what opportunities this might present going forward.

Of course, this answer is not too surprising as many studies have shown that business leaders around the world would like to be able to spend more time on big-picture thinking.

The key challenge, however, is that thanks to today’s 24/7 wired world, leaders now face ever-growing demands on their time, energy, and attention, a situation that makes having time for pondering the longer view seem more like a luxury than a critical element for leading today’s organizations.

And yet, the reality of leadership today is that leaders need to provide context for what their employees’ efforts today will create for tomorrow [Twitter-logo-smallShare on Twitter]. That to keep their employees engaged and invested in what they contribute today requires an understanding of what this will lead them towards over the long run.

And this is where taking vacation time become so critical to our ability to succeed at leadership Click here to continue reading »”Why Vacations Are Critical For Successful Leadership”

Learning To Connect To Boost Employee Engagement

Connecting with employees to boost engagement

One of the biggest challenges facing most leaders today is how to improve the current levels of employee engagement in their organization. Over the last few years, there have been numerous studies which have repeatedly shown that employee engagement levels continue to stagnate at the low end of the scale, impacting not only overall productivity, but also an organization’s ability to innovate and adapt in response to changes in the global economy.

It was certainly an issue that Alan* has been struggling with in his organization the last few years despite numerous attempts to try and improve the levels of engagement found in his workforce. As we sat in the conference room discussing the problem, Alan told me about some of the measures he’d taken – things like holding pizza parties and giving out company T-shirts and baseball caps.

And then in what could have been a scripted moment, Alan said with much exasperation: “I give them what they want and they still don’t seem to care!”

Now on any type of leadership score sheet, Alan would definitely rank as a competent and fair leader.

But through our discussions, it became obvious to Alan that a chasm that existed between what he perceived as what his employees wanted from him and the reality his employees face every day and what they needed from him to address it.

While we came up with a number of approaches that Alan could use to improve his understanding of what’s really required to improve employee morale in his organization, I want to share the following steps that I encouraged Alan to take – 3 key measures which every leader should be employing to ensure they understand what their employees need to be successful in their collective efforts. Click here to continue reading »”Learning To Connect To Boost Employee Engagement”

How Do You Show Up As A Leader In Your Organization?

Understanding how we show up as leaders in our organization

Most of us understand that to be successful in leadership, we need to be aware of what and how we communicate. Of ensuring that we actively listen to what those around us are saying, and sometimes what they’re not saying. And yet, how many of us are also mindful of how we show up in these moments, of how present and engaged we are in those conversations with those we lead?

It’s a thought that came to mind after attending the HCI Human Capital Summit last week. Although the focus of the conference was on HR practitioners, there were some interesting insights shared on leadership and understanding how we interact, engage and empower those under our care in this increasingly complex and uncertain global economy.

1. Getting out of your own head to see the perspective of others
With the release of his latest book, “To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others”, the theme of Dan Pink’s presentation was on getting us to rethink our understanding of selling and with it, the recognition that this is now a function of everyone’s job in this age of “information parity”.

What was particularly noteworthy about Dan’s talk was his discussion on perspective taking – where “you get out of your own head and see the perspective of others”. Although Dan’s focus was on how Click here to continue reading »”How Do You Show Up As A Leader In Your Organization?”