Continuing World WellBeing At Work Week, sponsored by Deloitte LLP Jersey, Dr Louise Lambert of Happiness Matters, and Beverley Le Cuirot of WellBeing World, discuss how when leaders prioritise compassion, respect, and genuine care for their employees, they create a workplace environment that leads to enhanced wellbeing, productivity, and overall success.
Human-centred leadership is an approach that places individuals at the core of leadership practices.
It transcends traditional, authoritarian models and focuses on building meaningful connections and fostering a sense of community within the workplace. At its heart, this leadership philosophy believes that when employees are treated as whole human beings with unique needs, feelings, and aspirations, they are more likely to reciprocate with loyalty, commitment, and a strong work ethic.
“Treat people as human beings, and they will behave like human beings.”
Mark Twigg, CEO H/Advisors Cicero, London.
Compassion and wellbeing
Compassion is a cornerstone of human-centred leadership. Leaders who practice empathy take the time to understand the perspectives and emotions of their employees. They listen actively, offer support, act accordingly, and genuinely care about their team members’ wellbeing. By doing so, they create a safe and trusting environment where employees feel valued and understood.
Compassion has a direct and positive impact on workplace wellbeing. When employees feel heard and respected, they are more likely to experience reduced stress and anxiety. They feel acknowledged which bolsters their self-esteem and job satisfaction. As a result, they are more motivated and engaged in their work, leading to increased overall wellbeing.
Respect and dignity
Respect is another fundamental element of human-centred leadership. Treating employees with respect means acknowledging their skills, ideas, and experiences, regardless of their position within the organisation. It involves recognising their intrinsic worth as individuals and understanding that their contributions are vital to the company’s success.
A culture of respect fosters a sense of dignity among employees, which, in turn, positively affects workplace wellbeing. When people are treated with respect, they experience a greater sense of belonging, which reduces feelings of isolation and alienation. This sense of dignity enhances their overall mental and emotional health and contributes to a more harmonious and productive workplace.
Trust, transparency, and genuine care
Trust, transparency, and genuine care demonstrated by leaders are closely linked to human-centred leadership. Leaders who are transparent about the company goals, challenges, and decision-making processes build trust within their teams. This trust extends beyond the professional realm and leads to stronger, more genuine collegiate relationships.
Building trust in the workplace promotes psychological safety and enhances employee wellbeing. When employees trust their leaders and colleagues, they are more comfortable in taking risks and expressing their thoughts and concerns. This openness and knowing that their leaders care about their feelings reduces stress and fosters a sense of security, resulting in improved mental and emotional health.
The value of humility
One of the critical leadership qualities often overlooked is humility. Humble leaders recognise that they are not infallible and that they can learn from their team members, regardless of their position within the organisation. The recognition of one’s limitations and the willingness to admit when they are wrong or need assistance engenders stronger collaboration between leaders and team members.
When leaders display humility, they create a more inclusive and open work environment, one where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas, even if they differ from the leader’s perspective.
This open exchange of ideas not only fosters innovation but also enhances staff happiness, as employees feel valued and heard. It promotes a sense of ownership and purpose among the team.
Moreover, humility plays a significant role in increasing employee retention rates. Leaders are more approachable, and employees are treated as valuable contributors.
Conversely, a lack of humility in a leader often adversely affects the wellbeing of the whole team. Managers and leaders with a higher level of pride can appear intimidating and unapproachable, which can significantly impact team performance and culture. The fear of being judged or dismissed can lead to a lack of open communication, stifling both creativity and overall morale.
Humility in leaders does not mean a lack of confidence. On the contrary, humble leaders demonstrate self-awareness and the ability to make decisions based on a well-rounded perspective that considers the insights of their team members. This blend of confidence and humility leads to better decision-making, ultimately contributing to the success of the organisation and the wellbeing of its employees.
In essence, humility is the bridge that connects human-centred leadership to the overall health, and prosperity of the workplace.
It is crucial for businesses to recognise that their most valuable assets are their people.
Human-centred leadership, characterised by compassion, respect, and humility, provides a framework for fostering workplace wellbeing. This approach not only benefits employees but also yields a tangible and positive influence on business results. Organisations that emphasise the humane treatment of their workforce and appreciate the importance of humility will ultimately attain greater success. By putting people at the forefront of their leadership strategy, businesses will flourish.
Employees are not just human resources, but human beings deserving of care, respect, and empowerment. When treated in this manner, they will reciprocate in kind.