Think of someone that has exemplified admirable leadership in your life. Whether that person was your 3rd-grade teacher or an older sibling, chances are the impact that they have left on your life so far is pretty great. Leaders often influence others around them by challenging them to go the extra mile, pushing them to keep going even when adversity arises and to reflect on situations with a growth mindset.
The same goes for leaders in the workplace.
Any solid workforce knows that the key to building and sustaining successful teams is to head them up with an individual that exemplifies leadership with a human-centered approach (aka human-centered leadership).
What is human-centered leadership?
Human-centered leadership can be described as leadership that puts people first. Whether it’s helping an employee get to where they want to be in their professional career or driving the overall business, a human-centered leader makes it all possible.
Having a human-centered approach shapes how we communicate with others, how we solve problems, learn from situations, our mindsets, and how we build relationships. A leader that abides by a human-centered approach goes the extra mile to understand and empathize with their employees and colleagues; leading to stronger communication, collaboration, innovation, and trust throughout the organization.
3 Ways to Practice Human-Centered Leadership
The difference between a good leader and a human-centered leader is all about connection. A good leader might be great at inspiring a team and driving performance but what they often fail to achieve is a genuine connection with those around them. For many good leaders, the core focus is results – which are important, but without that human connection mentioned, work becomes just that: work. When a workplace lacks genuine connection among its employees, the culture suffers, motivation depletes, and burnout arises.
After all, we’re only human. We seek out human connection at any chance we get and when we spend the majority of our day with people that we lack a genuine connection, miscommunication tends to happen and tensions arise. Now that we’ve touched on how important human-centered leadership is, you might be wondering what human-centered leadership looks like.
Here are 3 tips to help you practice it.
1. Recognize employees as human beings
Believe it or not, every single member on your team has a life outside of work. We all have things that we love and care about, hobbies, and interests, that don’t necessarily appear in our day to day tasks at work. A human centered leader works to understand who their colleagues are beyond an office setting. They prioritize the lives of their employees as humans rather than task rabbits.
Understanding what is going on in the lives of others is perhaps the most important quality that makes up a compassionate, human centered leader because it strengthens connections and creates meaningful relationships that are more than surface level colleagues. Additionally, that understanding also goes both ways. When you understand and listen to the needs of your employees, it’s reciprocated.
2. Allow everyone to feel recognized
Feeling like your efforts are recognized and appreciated is one thing most employees look for from their managers. In fact, according to a Zippia article regarding employee recognition, employees who are recognized for their work are almost six times more likely to stay at their jobs than those who aren’t. Furthermore, 37% of employees report that the best way to improve their engagement is for their superiors to give them recognition.
3. Encourage lifelong learning
Be sure to communicate with your employees just how important their growth is to you and to the organization. Whether they are personal or professional, make every effort to understand interests and opportunities for growth within each individual employee and find ways to provide those opportunities. Learning something new not only increases skills and innovation on your team, but also boosts confidence and engagement. In addition, showing your employees that you care by investing in their growth and development is another way to make them feel recognized.
Many organizations place their customers at the focal point of everything they do, which has proven to be a fatal mistake. Research suggests that when you fail to prioritize the wants and needs of your employees, your organization will simply not be able to reach its full potential. Don’t limit the growth of your organization by failing to recognize the needs of your employees. Creating a work environment that focuses on its people first and foremost takes time and effort, but we promise it’s worth it.
Remember to acknowledge and recognize the efforts your employees make at any chance you get. Take the time to understand what is most important to your leaders and find opportunities to help them achieve the personal and professional success they are striving for. Explore different methods and approaches that contribute to continued development, such as leadership coaching, to further enhance their learning and development. Explore what Valor coaching can do for your organization. Schedule a demo!