Unlock Potential with Human-Centric Leadership

Although opinions are divided about how it should be done, it is widely accepted that what it takes to lead a business has changed. One consequence of this is an increasing interest in human centric leadership.

Together with Organizational Psychologist and Transformational Coach Liz Rider, we took a deep dive into the concept to understand how it can transform an organization.

Liz Ryder, Organizational Psychologist and Transformational Coach

Ask an audience of business leaders on how they see human centric leadership, and words such as trust, care, authenticity, empathy and compassion are immediately mentioned. Although both approaches ultimately have the long-term well-being of a business as their aim, human centric leadership contrasts with business centric in fundamental ways.

People first

As the name suggests, human centric leadership puts people first, encouraging managers to take more responsibility for staff. It also seeks to make diversity and inclusion more than buzzwords or numerical targets to be met. At its core, human centric leadership demands that managers act with purpose in the belief that making work more meaningful leads to meaningful change. Liz elaborates on this –

–  Human centric leadership is about listening, understanding, developing and coaching.

By doing so, leaders can unlock the potential of their team.

So, what attributes and skills should the human centric leader have? There was a time when strong leadership was associated with an unflappable, fearless personality and defined by a desire to be seen to be in control. Studies suggest this is no longer the case. As Liz puts it –

– The human centric business leader shows empathy, communicates clearly and understands the value in persuading people to rally round a common goal.

What are the wins?

But for an organization, what are the wins? One example is in an area that is of concern to many businesses – staff disengagement. The most common reasons for this are a lack of clarity and recognition from management and limited opportunities to learn and develop a career. To counter this, the human centric leader commits to identifying how much recognition their team needs. When this is established, they can address the issue of disengagement by becoming a coach as well as a ‘boss’ and in doing so, show more empathy and interest in the well-being of their team member.

Of course, persuading an organization to embrace change is not without its challenges. Liz often encounters a ‘why should we change - we’re doing just fine’ mentality. However, the reasons to consider a more human centric approach are compelling – and they’re backed up by some revealing statistics. Performance level increases of up to 20%. Profitability gains of 23%. An 85% reduction in the likelihood of talent drain from an organization. Figures like that gain the attention of senior managers and HR departments – but how can ambition be turned into tangible actions? Liz explains –

– Putting human centric leadership into action can be summarized in four points. Rethink what leadership really is, establish an employee listening strategy, reimagine career opportunities within the organization and apply a recognition strategy.

Go from knowing to doing

Over many years Liz has seen the positive effects of human centric leadership. She has watched as organizations rally round a shared common purpose, internal competition becomes external energy and business is transformed, in every sense of the word. So, in her opinion, where does it all begin?

– Make a commitment to help people understand how to go from knowing to doing and to see the value in change. Once this is accomplished, the true potential of your business has a real chance to flourish.

Written by: Neil Clark