How to Become a Human Centric Leader in the New Normal – 6 Ways to Follow

By Nadja Chaieb

‘’In times of Covid leaders are no longer around their people, instead, they need to be inside their homes and minds, which demands business leaders to become HUMAN CENTRIC, to be able to survive.”

During my HR career, I had the privilege to work for value-driven companies as KappAhl, H&M, and IKEA, which were all Human-Centric and had a strong People & Development focus.

Today the world looks different. I can say that the last three years in my own work experience, the HR work has been more about numbers, re-organizations after re-organizations after re-organizations.

Companies are confused and stressed, and so people get stressed and confused too.

It is true, everything is changing in the world, and so companies need to change too, but I believe it is possible to do so, without dropping our Human Centric focus, as it becomes MORE critical in times of change, especially if you want to get your people on board.

A recent Gallup survey done on Chief Human Resources Officers of 100 of the world’s largest organizations revealed that employers must provide employees with trust, compassion, stability, and hope within this challenging period.

These four factors should form the points of your leadership scope – the challenge is how to deliver them to workers when you are physically separated from your team. Your leadership can be truly tested if you allow remote working to evolve into your people simply feeling remote and not part of a team.

Become a human-centric leader.

Keeping team members as healthy, pleased and productive as possible, especially in difficult times, means embracing a more human-centric leadership model that values employees more than profits.

Human-centric leaders are vision-driven. They will develop a clear and rational plan that will enable team managers and employees to engage in. Key priorities are set within the organization to focus on.

Follow these 6 ways to become a Human Centric Leader:

1. Self-reflection and self-respect

A leader could start to create a Human Centric organization, only after reflecting well on who they really are and accepting themselves fully. Self-awareness, unconditional self-care and self-love, regardless of their fears and doubts they may have, becomes fundamental to be able to drive a human centric organisation successfully.

2. Focus on the individual and its full potential

Make all processes more individual focused, evaluate well the person’s potential and try to unleash it. Ask questions about how the person see his own role and contribution in the organisation, ask about his/her purpose? What potential does the person have that is not being used fully today? Where does this person find most energy? Is his/her purpose in line with the current scope or the role? The scope is to make your people show up as much as possible as their full selves.

3. Build trust and get people onboard

When the team has bought in, they will go that extra mile. Share the vision with them, get them involved, gain their buy-in and build the trust. Leadership is about having influence with others and human centric leadership is about connecting to your people. When you do, your people will exceed expectations.

4. Communicate regularly with your teams, in a transparent and honest way

Employee trust helps organisations to become Human-Centric. This trust is built by transparent and honest communication and regular feedback from leaders. Digital tools have become a must due to remote working, such as regular video meetings with your team. People need interactions with colleagues as well as the motivation and energy that it brings. Leaders need to focus on the different personality types and giving employees working for home structured alternatives to the coffee machine chat. Social distancing does not have to mean social disconnection. Seeing and hearing all of them and cultivating their sense of belonging are the simplest ways to exhibit Human-Centric Leadership.

5. Have regular 1-2-1 sessions with each team member

Do regular check-ins with your team members. Ask what is going on for them. Make it about them, not about you. In challenging periods, it is essential to first check-in how they feel before jumping into projects. Ask them how the work is going and how you can support them? Be curious and listen and try to understand their perspectives even if they are different than yours. Diversity allows you to explore opportunities and challenges from several different perspectives and build human-centred solutions to meet different needs and expectations. Meet them where they are. It is time-consuming yes, but believe me, it is worth it.

6. Act on your co-workers’ feedback and input

Engaging co-workers and asking for their recommendations for improvement is essential. But just asking is not enough, it can make leaders lose their credibility very easily. Therefore, start to act on the valuable input you receive, make changes out of it, and build trust and a stronger organisation.

Nadja Chaieb is a Certified Coach and HR Consultant on a mission to help and empower other people, leaders and businesses who are Made for More, to reach their definition of success and fulfilment in their ambitious careers and businesses. She combines insights, tools and techniques when coaching senior leaders, executives, and teams to deliver visible results that benefit both the individual and the organisation. See her website.