Being Human as a Leader

It pays to care

There was a time in the not so distant past when a compassionate, humble and honest leader would be considered weak and doomed to fail. My, how times have changed. These days it is the human leaders who are most admired and emulated.

The monumental shift in the way traditional companies operate has been influenced in large part by the influx of Millennials, whose world view is slowly changing the definition of what it means to be an effective leader. This is the generation that wants to patronize and work for companies that care.

At the helm of such companies are human leaders who embrace conscious capitalism. This is a term used to describe organizations that take a holistic approach by considering employees, customers, investors, suppliers and the environment when doing business. This philosophy does not shun capitalism or profits, rather it enhances it by trying to bring everyone to the table.

Good leaders have always been creative, ambitious, confident and passionate. Great leaders encompass these traits and more, including compassion, honesty and patience. Human leaders view employees as part of a large family. Let’s face it – we spend more time at the office than we do with our own families, so it makes sense!

If that is not enough, human leadership is great for the bottom line. Eighty percent of people say they would be willing to pay more for a product if they knew it was created in a responsible manner, according to Conscious Company Media.

“The most conscious companies give more, and they get more in return,” writes author Tony Schwartz in Harvard Business Review. “The inescapable conclusion: it pays to care, widely and deeply.”

So how can you become a more human leader?

Effective communication is important. While constructive dialogue is great, leaders need to really listen to what employees say. There is a difference between hearing and listening. Listening means being actively present in the moment. Employees will value this because it makes him or her feel important.

Use your words wisely. There are many people who talk endlessly but say little. When this happens, you get tuned out. There is a reason why you are a leader, so try to impart your wisdom in a clear and concise manner.

Honesty really is the best policy. Communicate information when times are good and bad. Don’t try to hide anything about where the company stands because the truth will come out sooner or later. More importantly, people appreciate it when you are honest because they can better relate to you. This builds trust and means there are no surprises for employees.

Showing humility connects you to others. Great leaders do not need to be arrogant because their accomplishments speak for themselves. In fact, most human leaders would feel embarrassed by this type of behavior. Remember that even though you are a leader, teamwork and collaboration is what makes an organization flourish.

Trust your employees enough to delegate work. As a leader, it may be hard for you to let go of certain projects. However, resisting the urge to micromanage allows employees to take the spotlight. If mistakes are made, it gives employees a chance to learn and do better the next time. More importantly, it will demonstrate that you trust employees enough to handle large projects.

Finally, do not be afraid of the future. Things are moving at the speed of light and it is hard to keep up, but by not embracing change, your organization will be left behind. Encourage innovation and move forward with the times.

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