Tanveer Naseer

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

What We Get Wrong About Authenticity In Leadership

Discover why authenticity in leadership is not about being the “real you”, but about understanding what your purpose and core values are.

When it comes to improving the way we lead, there’s a number of approaches that have been championed by both leadership experts and researchers looking into understanding what makes someone a successful leader.

While some concepts can be straightforward, others are more susceptible to misinterpretation and consequently, lead to approaches that weaken your ability to bring out the best in those you lead. One example of this is the idea that we need to be “more authentic” in our leadership.

Unfortunately, talk of authenticity in leadership often gives rise to the notion that leaders simply need to be ‘the real you’.

The truth, though, is that when it comes to leadership, authenticity isn’t about being the “real me”, but being true to our purpose and values that drive us [Twitter logoShare on Twitter].

It means that in every encounter, in every conversation, and in every word we speak and action we take we hold ourselves true to that vision that defines why we do what we do, as well as to those core values that serve as both our cardinal points and rudder to ensure we stay the course and not run astray.

Of course, when it comes to core values in leadership, not surprisingly the values that come up are integrity, trust, and respect. Without question, these are important values that a leader must treat as not only unshakable, but ones that should never be compromised in order to achieve our goals or vision.

However, in the context of authenticity in leadership, we need to do more than simply adhere to these core values considering how these are values that we should expect in everyone and not just in those holding leadership positions.

After all, would you willingly buy from someone who lacks integrity in how they’re willing to short-change you to increase their profit margins? Would you want to do business with someone who disrespects you or the people you care about? And would you be okay doing business with someone you don’t trust?

Of course not, which is why we need to recognize that these aren’t noble or virtuous values to hold, but the very least we should have and be doing.

But this is where our values allow us to be more authentic in our leadership as they help to Click here to continue reading »”What We Get Wrong About Authenticity In Leadership”

3 Key Steps To Finding Purpose In What You Do

3 key steps shared in a TEDx talk that can help us find purpose in what we do, as well as living the lives we were meant to live.

A few days ago, I got to live one of my dreams.

That’s something that not all of us get to say, which is why I realized that it’s worth taking the time to share this important milestone here on my leadership blog.

So what was this dream that came true for me? Well, this past Sunday, I had the privilege of giving a TEDx talk as one of the speakers at the TEDxConcordia event, something I’m sure you’ve probably figured out from seeing the picture above of me standing on the TEDxConcordia stage.

And if it wasn’t exciting enough to fulfill this dream of becoming a TEDx speaker right here in my hometown of Montreal, what made this all the more special was I gave this talk at the renowned Place des Arts – a performing arts venue has hosted performances by Jerry Seinfeld, Leonard Cohen, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, and many more, not to mention the Montreal International Jazz Festival. So I’m sure you can appreciate why this is definitely a memory-of-a-lifetime for me.

Now understandably, it’s going to take some time before my talk appears on the TEDx YouTube channel. But I didn’t want to wait until then to share some of the ideas that I presented in my TEDx talk, especially in light of the overwhelming response and heartwarming comments I received from attendees during the intermission and at the after-show cocktail party.

And so, I’d like to share with you the three key steps I shared in my TEDx talk “Forget Passion – Purpose is the Real Spice of Life” in the hopes that they will inspire you to not only be the kind of leader your employees need you to be, but also what we all need to live the lives we were meant to live: Click here to continue reading »”3 Key Steps To Finding Purpose In What You Do”

9 Strategies Of Uncommon Wisdom For Fuelling Top Performance

Learn about 9 strategies leaders can employ that are key to achieving top performance in the organization.

The following is a guest piece by Larry Sternberg.

Fuelling top performance is the goal for most leaders and managers. The best managers know their people are the key to achieving top performance on every metric of success they track. As a leader or manager, how can you make the biggest difference through leveraging the talents and efforts of the people on your team? This handful of specific strategies can help.

1. Accept People As They Are
Your job as a manager is not to change people. Your job is to optimize people’s performance. Start by accepting people as they are. The old adage applies here: Marry as is, and consider any change a bonus.

Select people for your team who have the right mix of strengths, knowledge and potential. Focus on what’s right with people instead of what’s wrong with them. Optimize the alignment between what people bring to the table and what you need your team to achieve. And, be prepared to tolerate some undesirable behaviors — because they are part of the package.

2. Emphasize the Why
Consider the story of three people laying bricks. When asked, “What are you doing?” One person replies, “I’m laying bricks.” The second person says, “I’m part of a team building a really big brick wall.” The third person replies, “I’m just one of many people working together here to build a cathedral where people will get married, christen their babies and lay their loved ones to rest.” Which of these people do you think is most motivated to do great work?

Help people advance from what to why so they see their work as Click here to continue reading »”9 Strategies Of Uncommon Wisdom For Fuelling Top Performance”

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”

Forget Passion – What Employees Need Is Purpose-Led Work

Discover why it takes more than passion to inspire the very best in our employees and how the key is providing purpose-led work.

These days, it seems like the world is facing scarcity in a wide range of areas – from something as basic as access to food and clean water, to something more personal as a lack of time to get through our various daily tasks.

But if there’s one area where there’s no concerns about scarcity these days it’s passion. Whether it’s discussions about politics, social issues, or even the latest movies or TV shows, there’s no doubt that there’s a lot of passion – and debate – to be found in these conversations.

While these forms of passion can become problematic at times, in general, we tend to view people being passionate about something to be a good thing. And no doubt this is why there persists this misguided notion that the key to success is to ‘figure out what you’re passionate about and build a life doing that’.

Don’t get me wrong – passion is a great motivator. But the catch is that its ability to motivate us only works over the short term. When it comes to running the long game, passion sadly comes up short.

That’s why many leaders run into trouble when they try to improve employee morale by encouraging employees to be passionate about their work. While we might gain an uptick in productivity, the truth is that passion alone is not enough to keep that internal drive going over the long run.

What we’re missing is the other half of the equation – that while passion might get our employees energized and excited about what we can create through our collective efforts, what we need to keep our employees invested in our organizational vision is creating purpose-led work.

Thankfully, a majority of leaders are beginning to understand this as a recent survey done by EY Beacon and Harvard Business Review Analytic Services found that more than 80% of executives said purpose-led work leads to greater levels of employee satisfaction and customer loyalty, not to mention improving an organization’s ability to transform.

That’s why it’s important to recognize that passion without purpose is a lost opportunity for us to do something that’s meaningful and enduring [Twitter logoShare on Twitter].

Granted, when we start talking about creating purpose-led work, this can lead to some hesitation on the part of leaders and their organizations because of the misplaced notion that purposeful work has to be glamorous or exciting.

The truth, however, is that Click here to continue reading »”Forget Passion – What Employees Need Is Purpose-Led Work”

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