Workplace digitization has ushered in unprecedented connectivity, convenience, and reach both within organizations and in customer interactions. Technology, however, can be a wall as much as it can a bridge. Stripped of the human touch, its efficient uniformity is a mere simulacrum of the authenticity that underpins all meaningful personal and business relationships. As a business leader, it is important to communicate your humanity and watch it transform your leadership. Here are three core values to make it happen.
We have come beyond the “lead, follow, or get out of the way” era characterized by leaders who could not be questioned. The modern leader is confident enough in their abilities to welcome criticism and contrary feedback.
This trait speaks to the realization that there is always room for improvement, and that many of the best ideas come from the bottom-up. We all share the capacity to err but it is the person with the capacity to admit the error whose humanity stands apart. Let down your guard and allow yourself the privilege of hearing real opinions.
Our ability to recognize inauthenticity is an evolutionary safeguard against danger. Insincere words and inconsistent actions raise our hackles; they can poison relationships and sabotage organizations. The shifting sands that alter a business landscape force you to course-correct in real time. Unfortunately, constantly shifting positions in response, even when there is no malice intended, can significantly undermine trust.
The key here is open communication. Always have a plan to disseminate information so your team understands how your actions are legitimate, grounded, and genuine. Buttress that with open channels of communication so employees can raise their concerns when there is perceived inauthenticity.
There are two sides to empathy in leadership. The first relates to your team. Empathy in this sense gives you an understanding of an individual’s motivations and limitations. It tells you how they affect that person’s performance relative to others with the same potential. Empathetic leaders seek out ways to make the job fit the person instead of the other way around.
The other side of empathy relates to customers and potential customers. Good business is about identifying a product or service for which the market years (even if they don’t know it yet) and filling that niche. Crafted through empathy, your product/service is fluid and caters to the demand. Empathetic entrepreneurs seek out ways to make it fit the customer instead of the other way around.
A Reward in Itself
Leaders who embrace and embody their humanity garner respect and goodwill, which have far more real-world value than sales figures and bottom lines. Perhaps most importantly, though, it is a reward in itself when you see its effect on the people around you.
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