With organizations evolving faster than ever before, success is dependent on our ability to influence change—helping people to believe, think and act differently.

So, it’s no surprise that 61% of CEOs value genuine leadership where leaders are more empathetic, caring and interested in people. When we put humanity at the heart of commercial life, it not only helps us make wiser decisions, but builds collective trust, loyalty and engagement that pays dividends beyond incentive plans and brand campaigns.

View our infographic for six ways to be a more human leader:


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How to lead humans, not workers

Relationships are the currency of influence in any workplace. The stronger your emotional connection with your people, the better placed you’ll be to have them pulling behind you.             

61% of CEOs value genuine leadership….where leaders are more empathetic, caring and interested in people.

People put in 57% more effort when working for good leaders.

And the results show.  22% of the difference in financial performance, over a five year period, relates to trust in the senior leadership of the organization.

When we put the humanity of others at the heart of commercial life, it not only helps us make wiser decisions, but builds collective trust, loyalty and engagement that pay dividends beyond incentive plans and brand campaigns. 

Here are 6 ways to be a more human leader:

1. Make work matter

Rally your people around a shared sense of purpose. 

There is an increasing hunger to have a deeper sense of meaning in our work.  And a closer connection between what we do and how it serves a greater good.

“More and more, today’s employees want to be connected to a broader purpose”

2. Make communications personal  

Share personal anecdotes to make you more relatable.

People want to know you’re a human they can relate to, not someone who thinks they are a little better than everyone else.  Weave your story and share your heartfelt vision with honesty and humility.

“There is a storyteller in all of us. We just need to find it and have the courage to offer it.”

3. Make empathy everything

Lead from the heart, not just the head.

People want to know that those who lead their company care about them as human beings, not just people doing a job. Speak to what matters to them and be intentional about creating space for connection.

“Listening is really important if you’re trying to lead an organization, shape and develop a culture, and meet people where they’re at, and help them get to where we need to go.”

4. Make mistakes okay

Create a culture where fear of failure stifles no one.

Reward courageous action and smart risk taking, not just the winning results.  When actions fall short of ideal outcomes, focus on extracting all the learning and leveraging it across the organization.

“One of the biggest decisions is to get comfortable with risk-taking – that is when growth happens.”

5. Make your people feel connected

Make your people feel like they belong, feel connected and part of something bigger. 
Foster collaboration by asking questions, active listening and regular communication.  Leaders who rely on post-decision explanations miss valuable opportunities to build engagement.

“Listen to all voices but be careful what you’re asking. You might not be hearing them because you haven’t asked the right question. I do skip-level meetings and any time anybody sends me a note, I write them back.”

6. Make learning continuous

Embrace honesty about your strengths and weaknesses.

Role model curiosity and a learning mindset even if it occasionally risks you struggling to master a new skill.  Share your experience of trying to get it right versus always being right.  Your example makes it safer for others to risk the vulnerability that learning requires.

“The first [thing] is being a leader learning out loud, in front of people, on a journey, being authentically open about not knowing, and being willing to learn it together.”

Leadership Development

Leaders who can tap into the power of all

When you speak, do people follow?

Communicating with empathy, compassion and humanity has now become a business imperative. Make sure your communications bring people with you, using our Radically Human checklist.

Download the checklist now