What Is Human-Centric Leadership and Why That’s the Way to Go
Human-centered leadership has made significant inroads into workplaces since the Hawthorne Experiments carried out by Elton Mayo in 1924. The experiments revealed how choices that make people feel appreciated and give them a sense of belonging enhance their performance.
However, there are numerous surveys on the internet that outline how the gap between employee and employer relations is widening. According to Gartner, 96% of organizations believe they are taking care of their employees’ mental and emotional health, but only 42% of workers agree.
Human-centric leadership is about putting people first—before deadlines, deliverables, reports, or profits. It is the most fundamental yet challenging aspect of our time.
Only when the foundation of the corporate culture permits it can human-centric leadership be encouraged. For example, McKinsey outlines how:
- “Relationships with management” take up 86% share of an employee’s satisfaction when talking about “drivers of satisfaction in interpersonal relationships” at the workplace.
- Likewise, job satisfaction is driven by interpersonal relationships (39%), interesting jobs (35%), and others (26%).
- And finally, job satisfaction contributes 25% to overall life satisfaction.
These are significant findings and show that empathy has great potential for boosting prosperity and productivity in the workplace. It can decrease attrition and burnout, with the latter now being recognized by the WHO as a chronic medical condition.
Key Aspects / Characteristics of Human-Centric Leadership
According to a report by Catalyst, “empathy” (the ability to share the feelings of others) and productivity are directly proportional. The survey revealed that 76% of respondents always felt engaged at work with the least amount of absenteeism, and 69% of respondents were able to offer creative solutions because of understanding senior leaders. You can only practice and develop empathy; it cannot be taught, and only highly empathic leaders can successfully implement the fundamental principles of human-centric leadership.
Perfectionism and flawless performance are not what human-centered leadership thrives on. Humans are prone to mistakes, insecurities, anxiety, fears, and other negative emotions. The right leader encourages these insecurities to be voiced out loud and without hesitation. This occurs when the workplace culture is one of safety, where flaws are accepted, and mental or general personal issues are addressed.
Relationship-Oriented Growth Mindset
If we divide leaders into task-oriented and relationship-oriented ones, task-oriented leaders would actually be managers rather than leaders. A human-centric leadership style supports a growth mindset that puts an emphasis on enabling people to feel content with their work. As a result, everyone benefits because the team produces its best work when it feels connected to its leaders, even outside of work-based communication.
A leadership that has mastered the art of feedback loops will succeed without a hitch in the human-centric management of teams. Human-centric leaders welcome feedback and never take it personally. This aids in comprehending the obstacles and difficulties the team must overcome in order to address and resolve problems collectively.
Gratitude and Appreciation
A human-centric leadership can be created faster than you can even imagine through acts of gratitude, straightforward “thanks,” and basic humane behaviors. Employees are frequently observed avoiding their managers and shying away from participating in meetings or brainstorming sessions. Kindness, gratitude, and appreciation can lessen this friction. A positive work environment can be created with just a few small gestures and frequent appreciation for smaller victories.
Why Are These Attributes the Right Way Ahead?
By doing the following, the above-mentioned essential characteristics of human-centered leadership can pave the way for the right course of action:
Along with incalculable advantages, human-centric leadership builds a strong foundation of faith and trust between teams. Building trust influences both upward and downward communication, and we can say from experience that leaders who practice human-centric leadership are more likely to have faith in their teams. This then significantly reduces the need for micromanagement.
Taking a cue from the first point, employees feel empowered and take responsibility for the tasks assigned when micromanagement is minimized. As a result, they are automatically encouraged to think creatively and to innovate more. According to a Gallup report, only 36% of all employees—out of more than 30,000 respondents—remained actively engaged at work. These numbers may increase dramatically if these employees are empowered to decide how they want to accomplish their tasks.
Growth and Team Building
Human-centered leadership also goes beyond providing feedback and enables staff members to develop both professionally and personally. The right leader will collaborate and participate with the team on various levels, focusing on the development of the team’s core competencies as well as soft skills. Outside of the confines of the office, relationships between people foster a cycle of trust and belief in one another.
Sometimes, leaders want to adopt human-centric leadership strategies but are unsure how to do so. Making the above leadership aspects your fundamental approach to team growth is the only way to realize success.
We at Pierian Services are happy to have leaders who embrace and put human-centric leadership into practice, making it a part of the culture here.