Think about the worst job you’ve ever had. What was it about it that was so awful? For many, the frustration comes in not feeling like they matter. People go to work and feel like a cog in a machine, guided by leaders who value profits over the people who make them possible.
This lack of fulfillment follows workers home with them and can put a strain on relationships and even their health. After all, if a company doesn’t care about you, what’s to stop them from cutting your pay or laying you off in times of trouble?
The Benefits of Truly Human Leadership
When Bob Chapman inherited his father’s business, Barry-Wehmiller, he faced a crucial decision; he could either lead his business with a focus on the numbers or he could lead with a focus on the people who worked for him. He chose the latter, and with a company value of over $2 billion, his methods appear to be working.
The secret to his success is in the title of his and Raj Sisodia’s book: Treat everybody like they matter. Treat the people in your company like a family and lead them with the desire to watch your team develop, contribute, and succeed.
Chapman and Sisodia firmly believe that leaders are what drive a workplace’s climate. Leaders set the example of how people behave at work. If leaders are insincere or abrasive, their workers will follow suit. If leaders approach their job with compassion and openness, however, so too will their subordinates. Chapman calls this Truly Human Leadership.
Involve Your Team
The first step to truly human leadership is to create guiding principles for the workplace to use as a roadmap for achieving company goals. Teams should be involved with the creation of these principles and in deciding how they will be carried out in day-to-day business. Engaging workers to have an active say in where the company is going gives them a meaningful stake in their workplace, and people who have a voice in their company’s future will want to stay and work hard to help their team achieve those goals.
And when achievements are made, Chapman encourages their celebration. Recognition and celebration of worker achievements boosts morale and gives people the motivation to achieve more. This inevitably leads to greater strides being made in the workplace, creating a snowball effect of success.
Truly human leaders recognize the weight of their responsibility. They are in the direct care of people who rely on them for guidance and stability. Chapman emphasizes that every employee in a company is someone’s child, parent, and friend. They matter to people outside the workplace and they need to believe that they matter within, too.
Bob Chapman measures success as “the way we touch the lives of people.” Truly human leaders know that, in taking care of the needs of people who work for them, everyone will eventually reap the benefits. Giving employees space where they feel valuable encourages them to constantly strive for improvement. This inevitably leads to greater productivity, reduced worker turnout, and higher profits.