Becoming a More Humane Leader
What does it mean to be a humane leader? According to educator Jonathan Osler, it means being “sensitive to the dignity of every person who works for you.” The word “humane” is defined as having or showing compassion and understanding. This article will discuss tips that will help business leaders become more humane in their leadership styles.
Admit when one does not know something and seeks to understand. If a leader demonstrates that they have no idea what’s going on, employees see them as being disengaged from their team members’ work. Admitting ignorance and actively seeking to understand what’s going on shows humility. It also helps an organization see that the leader is not out of touch with their colleagues’ work and that they’re willing to take a step back and learn from everyone else.
Listen to employees. By listening, you demonstrate empathy, which Osler says is “the ability to step into someone else’s shoes.” Listening also allows employees to feel heard and appreciated. Leaders who listen to their teams are more likely to get buy-in from them because they feel like they’re being included in the decision-making process.
Be respectful of employees’ time. One way to be respectful of employees’ time is to avoid giving them unnecessary tasks. Another way to be respectful is by not making them work long hours. When leaders respect their employees’ time, it shows that they care about their well-being. Mutual respect between leaders and employees will result in a more productive work environment.
Acknowledge your employees’ accomplishments. Leaders who take the time to acknowledge their employees’ accomplishments are building trust with them. It shows that the leader isn’t taking people for granted but rather sees everyone as important to the company’s success. Employees will feel better about themselves and more motivated to perform their best work.
Always celebrate employees’ diversity. This includes not only celebrating different lifestyles but also differences in personalities, thinking styles, communication styles, cultural backgrounds, etc. When leaders celebrate the diversity of their teams they are helping them understand that it’s okay not to think or act a certain way. Celebrating diversity helps create a more open environment where employees feel confident that they won’t be judged for their differences.
Build relationships with employees beyond the workplace. “Relationships are the foundation of who we are,” says Jonathan Osler, and he’s right! Relationships build trust, connections and understanding. When leaders take the time to build relationships with their employees outside of the workplace, they are deepening the connection they have with them. This can help leaders when they need to ask employees for help or feedback. Employees will be more likely to trust and respect their leaders if they have built a good relationship with them.
While it may take more time to become a humane leader, the benefits are well worth it. A team that’s united in its mission will be more likely to perform at their very best. Developing a humane leadership style can be challenging, but it’s worth the effort. Employees who feel appreciated and respected are more likely to be productive and engaged in their work. And as a bonus, leaders who exhibit humane qualities are likely to experience less stress and burnout.