Tanveer Naseer

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Listen Up! 5 Ways To Improve Your Leadership Listening Skills

Learn about 5 strategies leaders can employ to improve their leadership listening skills.

The following is a guest piece by Jackie Edwards.

Are you part of the 25 per cent of leaders who aren’t really listening to their employees? It could be harming your reputation and career. Even though you might have great analytical skills and intelligence, not listening properly decreases the effectiveness of your leadership role.

Become a better listener and everyone wins: your employees feel part of a team and you can lead them to success.

There are some simple yet effective ways you can become a better listener. Try to exercise the following skills on a daily basis. Click here to continue reading »”Listen Up! 5 Ways To Improve Your Leadership Listening Skills”

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”

What Happened To Trust And Integrity In Today’s Organizations?

Trust and integrity seem to be in decline in many organizations today. Here's a revealing look at why they are so critical to leadership and organizational success.

Over the past several weeks, there has been a recurring theme in the news of organizations being caught at their worst and with it, how often leaders drop the ball in owning up to these failures incurred by those they lead.

While the most talked-about examples have been Pepsi’s tone-deaf commercial and United Airlines’ abhorrent treatment of one of their passengers, I want to share the story of another organization’s colossal misstep in order to illustrate how the disconnect leaders engender between an organization’s efforts and those they are meant to serve can have a far greater and deleterious impact than we might realize.

Perhaps best known internationally as the creator of the Ski-Doo snowmobile and Sea-Doo personal watercraft, here in the province of Quebec, Bombardier holds a storied and revered place as a shining example of Quebecois entrepreneurship, business acumen, and high-tech talent.

Or at least they did until it was revealed that the company had given its executives a 50% pay hike after laying off 11 000 employees and asking for over $1 billion in bailout funds from the provincial and federal government in order to help keep them afloat.

Since the news broke, Bombardier’s image in the province has taken a serious hit and the company has been subject to numerous protests outside their headquarters here in Montreal. Bombardier has since attempted to save face by announcing that they would defer almost half of the proposed executive compensation until 2020.

But by then it was too late as even now, more than half of Quebecers say they have a negative impression of this once well-regarded company, a reality that will not only impact their ability to garner public funds in the future, but also the way their employees view their organization and their contributions to it.

Now, in the case of Pepsi and United Airlines, the typical focus tends to be on them being examples of failures in crisis communication. And yet, while these assessments are correct, they also create a false impression that these incidents are temporal in nature, evoking the old adage of how time heals all wounds.

But the real lesson we should be taking from each of these examples is not simply what and how we communicate following a clear violation of what we claim to be our organization’s vision and/or values, but of how this kind of disconnect in our leadership can irreparably damage the trust we’ve earned – not just with our customer base, but amongst those we have the responsibility to lead.

Through the examples of Pepsi, United Airlines, and Bombardier, we not only see first-hand what happens when we fail to honour what we claim to stand for, but also an important truth about the nature of trust in leadership. Namely, that trust is not a transitory value, but should serve as an unyielding cardinal point in your leadership [Twitter logoShare on Twitter].

It’s a fact that both the CEO at United Airlines and Bombardier have failed to understand given how their first response in the face of public outrage over what happened under their watch was to sidestep any real responsibility and in the case of Bombardier, go so far as to justify it as being the norm.

What both of these leaders have clearly failed to learn is that trust is more than a noble virtue – it’s a promise we make to others that we’ll do them no harm [Twitter logoShare on Twitter].

Of course, while these examples demonstrate just how quickly leaders can Click here to continue reading »”What Happened To Trust And Integrity In Today’s Organizations?”

Leadership Biz Cafe Podcast #20 – Lolly Daskal On What’s Stopping Leaders From Achieving Greatness

Learn from leadership expert Lolly Daskal why some of us get stuck in our leadership and how we can overcome this inner hurdle towards achieving our own greatness.

As leaders, how aware are we of the obstacles we create for ourselves that impede our ability to achieve our own form of greatness? That’s the question that served as the basis of my conversation with my fellow leadership expert and friend, Lolly Daskal.

Lolly is the president and CEO of Lead From Within, a global consultancy that specializes in leadership and entrepreneurial development.

Lolly is also a prolific writer, not only creating regular content for her award-winning leadership blog, but she also writes a column for Inc.com and Psychology Today, as well as having her work appear in the Harvard Business Review and Fast Company. Although she’s the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, the one that probably best describes Lolly is something The Huffington Post once wrote about her, calling her “The Most Inspiring Woman in The World”.

For our conversation, Lolly and I discuss her new book called “The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness”.

In addition to a fascinating discussion on the nature of nature of intuition and why we follow (and should follow) our gut instincts, Lolly shares a number of interesting insights on leadership, including: Click here to continue reading »”Leadership Biz Cafe Podcast #20 – Lolly Daskal On What’s Stopping Leaders From Achieving Greatness”

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