Developing a humane leadership mindset

While technology has made workflows more efficient, businesses need to focus on the human aspect of their work to derive the maximum benefits.
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The rapid speed of technological and economic development that has characterised the twenty-first century has resulted in significant changes in virtually every industry. Every aspect of business has changed and in the midst of these widespread changes, leadership is also transforming.

It’s no revelation that businesses that rethink their strategy – right up from the warehouse to the C-suite – will be the ones to set the stage for success in the next normal.

While some fundamentals of leadership such as vision and strategy will still be necessary for organisational growth in the coming ten years, the future leader will need to hone a new set of talents and mindsets to drive relevant success.

Making human organisations

There is general consensus that we're living in a technological age. IoT (Internet of Things), AI (artificial intelligence), robotics, and blockchains – the cutting-edge has reached everywhere, into our homes and pockets alike. It’s no secret that machines and technology have revolutionised the way we work.

But at the end of the day, they are mere tools that automate, repeat, and standardise tasks. Despite these incredible technologies having changed the face of businesses in recent decades, the new era of work will be defined by an irreplaceable element – our core humanity.

No question, it is a complex, and emotional thing to be human; we all come with our own diverse expectations, needs, fears, challenges, and worldviews.

The things that motivate some, demotivate others. The things that make some feel seen, make others feel ignored.

The difficulty of addressing every one of these differences equally, standardly, is perhaps a big reason why a majority of leadership styles have thought it better to discount the human point altogether.

Yet we can’t ignore the fact that the workplace is a human system. An organisation that works with humans can't survive solely on technology. Making an organisation forward-thinking, therefore, means making it more humane, not less.

Developing human leadership

Now more than ever, customers, clients, and employees want to work with people who are honest, upfront, and empathetic. Therefore, when building an organisation's leadership capacity, it is essential to use our humanity as a power source.

A human leader is simply someone who uses the skills innate to a human and leads from points of empathy, creativity, collaboration, communication, vulnerability, and innovation. They cultivate a work environment based on principles of trust, collaboration, and always putting people above profits.

No matter what the job is, they never forget that the people working for them are human beings with feelings and emotions, not just numbers or expenses. Here are two major aspects that human leaders always keep in the foreground of their endeavors:

Human leaders put people first

To drive into the human age mindset, leaders must go beyond just managing the urgency of everyday tasks and recognise the contributions that people make to their workplaces every day.

These include the tasks they complete on a daily basis but also the sacrifices they make within their personal lives, the struggles they face as they work from home and the miles they cross when going above and beyond their designated responsibilities.

A focus on employee engagement, wellbeing and mental health can create a workplace that runs itself, with enthusiasm and commitment arising organically from within employees.

Recognising the efforts that employees put in and extending compassion and empathy to them in their hardest hours is, therefore, a human leaders first priority.

Human leaders work on relationships

As I said before, humanising leadership is essential to holding human systems together.

Rather than fragmented productivity, organisations are composed of smaller human systems within a larger and more intricately linked operational system. They are defined by the interactions that take place between the employees, customers, suppliers, executives and other stakeholders.

The key to success in any business is, hence, not structure or function, but relationships. In the absence of relationships, no strategy can be implemented and no function realised. And leadership has a significant role to play in maintaining them.

That is why, at every turn, human leaders integrate open and honest communication, teamwork, cooperation, and compassion into their relationships. They listen from a place of empathy and speak with a genuine desire to help.

Authenticity and human connection are the crux of the Human Age mindset. Employing tools of empathy, compassion, and emotional intelligence to further them, leaders of the next human age must deepen the crucial touchpoints of their interactions with all stakeholders, especially employees.

That is where the next chapter of our organisations will really start, with a pen and paper in the hand of every individual employee. Ready to rewrite the narrative of humanity in leadership, embarking on the next age of human civilisation.

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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