Tanveer Naseer

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

What Will You Do To Make Next Year Better?

An end-of-year reminder for leaders to look beyond hope as a driver to fuel change in the New Year by focusing on what really propels people forward to change.

With just a few days left on the calendar, the time has once again arrived for that annual event of compiling retrospectives for the year that was. Whether it’s highlighting the top moments, the major trends, a look back at the various talented people who passed away this year, compiling and cataloguing what transpired over the past 12 months has become a standard feature of our contemporary lives.

Of course, these lists of the top moments of the past year invariably lead to much being written about what a bad year 2017 turned out to be, and of our hopes that 2018 will be better. It’s in these moments that I enjoy being a writer because in many ways, our writings allow us to travel back in time, peeling back the days, weeks, and months so as to revisit past perceptions and anticipations for what might come.

In looking back at what I wrote at the end of 2016, it was interesting to see how 2016 was regarded by many to be ‘a bad year’ and how there was all this hope for 2017 being a fresh start to change and improve things.

While most of us might not recall what made 2016 not such a great year, there’s little doubt that this year will not go down in our collective human history as being one of our finest moments in time.

With a rise in hate towards various racial, ethnic, and minority groups in parts of Europe and North America, the growing fear of a potential nuclear war alongside rising tensions in the Middle East, the onslaught of stories revealing the seemingly ubiquitous presence of sexual harassment and violence women endure in many of today’s workplaces, as well as uncertainties on the economic front has certainly left a bad taste for the year that was.

And yet, the simple truth is we’ve been here before. Perhaps in some ways, this is a product of the faster-paced, always-on nature of our digital society. That we inevitably feel this fatigue when reaching that one-year mark, fatigue which manifests itself in this hopeful expectation that a mere change in the calendar year will spring forth better times.

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with being hopeful, the fact is hope alone is not enough. Without question, our world is facing many critical issues, some of which can seem too daunting for us to address, let alone overcome.

But as many of us prepare for the impending arrival of a new year as a key motivator for change, we must reconcile with this truth:

We have a choice of letting change simply happen to us, or to adapt and learn from it to be stronger going forward [Twitter logoShare on Twitter].

Sure, we’ve all seen examples of our fellow citizens being at their worst, of succumbing to their fear of those different from them and spreading hate and fear in response. We’ve seen political opportunism take hold where politicians seem more interested in defending their behaviours and actions, instead of honouring their responsibility to first and foremost serve the best interests of every person who falls under their leadership.

But, at the same time, we’ve seen Click here to continue reading »”What Will You Do To Make Next Year Better?”

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”

6 Steps To Strengthen Team Cohesion

Learn about 6 steps leaders can take to strengthen team cohesion to boost employee productivity and drive organizational growth.

If there’s one point all of us can agree on today, it’s that we’re living in increasingly divisive times.

As a writer, I can certainly appreciate the irony of this statement. But as a leadership expert, it also highlights a critical function leaders need to play both to drive organizational growth, as well as to boost employee productivity.

While those efforts to divide us as opposed to discovering those commonalities that bind us together might seem to be more an issue within the political and social issues realm, organizations are clearly feeling the effects of these forces within their workforce.

And this is something leaders need to be mindful of if they are to continue to foster conditions necessary for ensuring people can work together effectively towards the achievement of a common goal.

As such, here are six steps that will help you strengthen team cohesion, regardless of what storms might be looming outside your organization’s walls.

1. Draw clear lines between what your team does and the shared purpose of your organization
One of the best ways to strengthen team cohesion is helping your employees to view their efforts within the context of the larger vision of the organization. After all, it’s easy to care about our contributions, but what about the contributions their fellow team mates make? Of course, when people don’t carry their load or if they make a mistake that impacts the whole team, it’s easy to care (or more likely get upset).

But team cohesion is about getting everyone on the team to consider the whole along with the individual parts. In other words, when you communicate and lead your team using your shared purpose as your compass, everyone wins [Twitter logoShare on Twitter].

2. Ensure employees get real-time feedback to help assess their performance
There’s a common consensus amongst the various studies on employee engagement that leaders need to be giving more feedback to their employees. But another thing leaders should be doing to strengthen team cohesion is promoting conditions that encourage employees to give each other feedback in real-time, and not just as part of some 360 annual review.

Getting real-time feedback from your peers fosters greater clarity about how various team members are perceived to improve contributions and involvement. Ensuring your team members get feedback from their colleagues will also reduce Click here to continue reading »”6 Steps To Strengthen Team Cohesion”

4 Steps To Move Past Setbacks And Drive Success

Learn about 4 steps that can help leaders successfully navigate through setbacks and get their organization back on track towards achieving its long-term goals.

In today’s faster-paced, interconnected global environment, there’s no question that there are greater demands on leaders in terms of what they need to deliver. And those demands become more apparent when an organization suffers a setback in achieving its long-term goals.

It’s part of the human condition that when we experience setbacks in our hopes, plans, or even dreams, we retreat to our comfort zones to try and address this new wellspring of doubt and uncertainty regarding where we go from here.

While as individuals we have the opportunity to fall back within ourselves as we grapple with what to do next, as a leader, these are the times when your employees need to hear from you the most, not only to help them better understand what went wrong, but more importantly, what happens now.

Given how setbacks tend to create challenging times for an organization – and by extension your leadership – here are four steps that provide a roadmap for how you can help your employees navigate these periods of uncertainty and get back to achieving your long term goals.

1. Be up front about what’s going on
When we encounter setbacks, the natural inclination is to close ranks as an instinctual, protective response when faced with uncertainties about what’s to come. In leadership circles, there’s also a need to protect our sense of authority; that despite the fact that things haven’t turned out the way we planned, we do know what we’re doing.

Unfortunately, these self-protecting measures often lead to treating information as something that’s on a need to know basis. And as most of us have experienced, when there’s an information vacuum inside an organization, people will simply fill that void with their own assumptions or worst, their fears.

So, the first thing we need to do is be up front and honest about the situation. Admit to really what’s going on.

Indeed, by being open when you’re faced with setbacks, leaders instill greater trust in their leadership [Twitter logoShare on Twitter].

2. Relate to how this setback affects your employees and not just yourself
Recently, I worked with one leader whose company was grappling with the loss of a major contract. This setback not only created a lot of anxiety and stress within the company’s ranks, it also meant most employees had to tighten their belts as anticipated salary bumps were cut back due to the loss of revenue.

In the hopes of boosting employee morale, this leader shared with his employees how this setback was affecting him personally as well, given how his wife and him had to delay their plans of buying a new house.

This leader told me he hoped sharing his personal hardships with his employees would foster the feeling that they were all in this together. Unfortunately, the only thing his message gave rise to was feelings of animosity and resentment among his employees

What he failed to understand is that what his employees needed was Click here to continue reading »”4 Steps To Move Past Setbacks And Drive Success”

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”

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