Tanveer Naseer

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

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?”

A Timely Reminder Of The Power Of Empathy In Leadership

This week's US election day provides a unique backdrop on which to illustrate the importance of empathy in today's leadership.

No matter where you live, there’s no question that the big story this week is the arrival of the US election and who the American public has decided to serve their country as their next President. For those outside of the US, it’s been both an interesting and troubling journey the US electorate has been put through, especially in its final few months.

Although I’m Canadian, it’s easy to relate to and understand the frustration and dismay many Americans have felt over the course of this election period, along with a good dose of wariness for what lies ahead after the election is over, regardless of who wins.

And yet, this current US election does provide an important lesson for leaders everywhere of just how important empathy is becoming to our ability to lead, as we’ve been given a concrete example of just how quickly things can fall apart when we divide people into groups of “us” versus “them”.

And to be clear, politics is not the only domain where this happens. All of us have had the experience of working with someone we don’t like, and sometimes even someone who we feel – or even know – is working to undermine our authority or credibility in the eyes of our co-workers or those we lead.

And in those circumstances, it becomes very easy for us to delineate those we view to be in “our camp” and those who we look upon with doubt and mistrust because they align themselves with those we dislike.

But what this past US election has shown us is that if we allow those feelings to fester, if we choose to allow others to exploit and drive that wedge that separates people based on what we lack in common with one another, we will end up not only with a more hostile work environment, but we will be permitting conditions to take hold that will make it even more difficult for our employees to get things done.

And this is why emotional intelligence and in particular, empathy, has become so critical to our ability to effectively lead others – empathy allows us to bridge the gap between how we see things and how others experience them [Twitter-logo-smallShare on Twitter].

Through our empathy, we’re able to move beyond the binary attitude of “I’m right/you’re wrong” which can impede any initiative from moving forward, to one that’s driven by the desire to discover that common ground we share with one another so that we can promote collaboration and foster sustainable growth.

It’s a truth that becomes all the more obvious when we remember that the key to your organization’s success and future prosperity is no longer based solely on the processes and technologies found within your company’s walls, but within the talents, insights, and experiences of those you lead. Something that one can tap into only if we create conditions where people feel connected to what they do and to those around them, as well as being a part of the shared purpose that defines your collective efforts.

But how do we know if we’re truly being empathetic in our leadership? How can we tell if we’re creating Click here to continue reading »”A Timely Reminder Of The Power Of Empathy In Leadership”

How To Better Support Introverts In Today’s Workplaces

How leaders can help support introverted employees in today's workplaces featuring insights from McGill management professor Karl Moore.

The following is a guest contribution from Kate Rodriguez on behalf of The Economist Executive Education Navigator.

One of the hottest themes in management and leadership today is the importance of understanding the introvert at work.

The idea that workplaces reward extroverts has been around for a while. Discussions on the differences between those with outward-looking personalities (extroverts) versus those with inward tendencies (introverts) has been around for years – the concept was introduced by psychiatrist Carl Jung in 1921 – but it has reached fever pitch since the 2012 release of the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain, which asserts that introverts are dramatically undervalued and organisations suffer as a result.

Research points out that while nearly half the population is introverted, extroverts hold the majority of leadership roles. “The research I’ve done shows that about 25 to 30 percent of CEOs are introverts,” explains Karl Moore, associate professor of strategy and organization at Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University. This indicates there are also a Click here to continue reading »”How To Better Support Introverts In Today’s Workplaces”

How To Discover Your Organization’s Next Big Growth Opportunities

growth-innovation-mindset

The following is a guest piece by Innovation Excellence co-founder Rowan Gibson.

Today’s corporate leaders are under intense pressure to deliver continuous business growth. But where exactly is this growth supposed to come from? What most companies understand now is that the only way to drive profitable growth and wealth creation over the longer term is to innovate.

In my new book “The 4 Lenses of Innovation”, I outline four proven ways to generate the new strategic opportunities that will power your company’s future growth. One of them is the ability to look at your organization not as a collection of business units but as a portfolio of embedded competencies and assets that can potentially be repurposed, redeployed, or recombined to create new value.

By viewing your business through this particular lens, it’s possible to spot and exploit important new opportunities for expanding the boundaries of your business that you otherwise may have missed.

Let’s start with a simple question: how would you define your company? Most senior executives respond to this question by describing what the company is or what it does. For example, they might say, “We’re a bank,” or “We make office furniture,” or “We’re in the pharmaceutical business.”

This is quite understandable. It’s the most simple and straightforward reply to the question. But that’s not the way radical innovators envisage their organizations.

For example, if you Click here to continue reading »”How To Discover Your Organization’s Next Big Growth Opportunities”

Good Ideas Make It Harder To Be A Great Leader

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The following is a guest piece by Princeton University Professor Derek Lidow.

You would think that good ideas make it easier to be a good leader. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Good ideas are threatening to leaders. By definition, good ideas mean an improvement over the present, a better way of doing things or even better lives.That’s why people who have good ideas expect their leaders to act on them, which creates an instant test of leadership: do you care enough for those around you to do something positive with the idea? Are you able to do something with it?

Good ideas of your own can be equally threatening. As a leader, how often have you had a good idea and then found yourself unsure how to turn it into reality, how to convert it into something of tangible value for you and for others? The experience can be not only threatening, but ultimately deflating.

It doesn’t have to be. Consider the most extreme and most personally threatening case in which leaders must turn good ideas into reality: entrepreneurship. Fail as a leader in this case and the entire enterprise goes down. And, in my experience, many entrepreneurial failures are failures of leadership, not of ideas.

Successful entrepreneurs, in meeting the stern test of leadership posed by good ideas, have much to teach us. If you can bring to the challenge of good ideas what the best entrepreneurial leaders (ELs) bring to it under threat of extinction, you will likely be able to handle anything that comes your way.

The great news is that the required skills can be learned. Indeed, you can even have major weaknesses, as long as you understand and mitigate them. Leaders who successfully lead the process of turning ideas into valuable, tangible realities are able to do five things uncommonly well: Click here to continue reading »”Good Ideas Make It Harder To Be A Great Leader”

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