Lead with Humanity

Posted by on Dec 31, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

HumanityPicEnd of the year, beginning of a new one. This means time for reflection, looking back at what has been accomplished, and taking time to make new resolutions.

As you look back at your year, I am sure you will find not only lots of accomplishments and successes to celebrate, but perhaps also a few mistakes and wrongs that have not been  mended. We always think of the times in which we could have done something more, something else, something better.  That one opportunity in which we could have said something or reacted differently, that one decision we were not brave enough to make but should have made, the one employee that needed support and appreciation and we didn’t give it, the peer or friend that needed kind words but we were too busy to see it, or all those times when we were so focused on our own problems that we forgot to pay attention to the right things at the right time.

As you make your list of New Year’s resolutions – which for some are longer than others – I want to encourage you to think about adding one more to your list. Lead with Humanity.

As a leader, you should focus on not only on successfully leading your organization but also your personal life and leading with humanity directly affects both. Lead your life, your company, your family, your community with humanity. It’s no easy task, but one that will lift others as well as yourself and will bring meaning and relevance to the things that you do every day. Your organization will benefit as well, it will have more committed, happier and engaged employees, and as we all know, that alone will have a positive impact on results and organizational success.

Humanity is a powerful word; it can mean benevolence, compassion, kindness, tolerance, consideration, understanding, sympathy – it means to be human.

But, how exactly can you lead with Humanity? As you read these, take a minute to think about which ones you could be paying more attention to and start putting  together a plan to incorporate them in the way  you lead.

Listen more. Ask questions. When you listen and pay attention you gain understanding of what matters to people. Ask relevant questions and follow up when you have to. Your people will know you care.

Be more tolerant. Not everyone thinks like you do, has the same values or the same ideas. Learn to listen without judgement and be willing to accept others’ points of view. You might be surprised with valuable contributions that others can make when you let them.

Have more empathy. Understand other people’s needs. Don’t always assume that you know what people want or need, or what’s best for them.  Know that certain decisions you make affect people in different ways and that in most cases one size does not fit all.

Be flexible. Bend without breaking. Sometimes is ok to allow deviations from the original plan. Welcome mistakes and the opportunities for improvement that come from it. Focus on the result or the end goal and don’t be so stiff in how to get there. When appropriate, allow flexibility in the way people do things or how they manage their time. Measure the right things and be flexible on the others; your focus will shift towards the important and people will own their actions more.

Be kind.  Appreciate and thank more.  Have genuine concern for others and be generous with kind words and actions. Show people your respect and appreciation. Be wise when giving feedback, give people opportunities to get better.

Show your human side. Express your own needs, admit your mistakes, apologize, ask for help. Like everyone else you are a work in progress, be open about it and share your stories to motivate others.

Go ahead, look back, find those instances in which you could have lead with more humanity, and make sure that next time when the opportunity comes, you are aware of what you can do better.

Start with a good intention, follow through with mindfulness and always do it with authenticity.


2015©Karen Klingberg.  Karen Klingberg, Certified Executive Coach and Organizational Development Consultant, owns [ph+] Coaching where she helps individuals improve leadership skills and build high performance organizations