Your Human Leader Questions – Asked and Answered – Part 1

Your Human Leader Questions - Asked and Answered - Part 1

Welcome (back) to the Jennifer Nash Newsletter where I share biweekly tips on leading people effectively. If you’re new to the newsletter – welcome – I’m so glad you’re here! 

We’ve received many questions about human leadership since Be Human, Lead Human launched and wanted to address several of them in this week’s newsletter. So here it goes – part 1 of your human leader questions – asked and answered! 

Dear Dr. Jennifer: When is it time to recognize an employee does not fit the company culture? 

Deeply curious in Denver, Danielle

Dear Danielle: Look for these potential red flags:

  1. Lack of Engagement: If an employee consistently shows lack of interest in team activities or meetings, it might be a sign they are not aligning with the company culture.
  2. Negative Attitude: A constant negative attitude towards work, colleagues, or management can be another sign. This can manifest in various ways such as complaining, gossiping, or displaying unprofessional behavior.
  3. Underperformance: While occasional dips in performance can occur with any employee, consistent underperformance may suggest a misfit.
  4. Resistance to Feedback: If an employee constantly resists feedback or fails to implement suggested improvements, they may not be adapting to your company’s culture of growth and learning.
  5. Conflict with Colleagues: Regular conflicts or inability to work collaboratively with team members can indicate a poor cultural fit.

Remember – recognizing these signs is just the first step. The next would be to have a conversation with the employee about your observations. They may be unaware of their behavior, or there may be underlying issues that need addressing. If after this conversation, there is still no improvement, then send them off with well wishes as they seek a better cultural fit.

Dear Dr. Jennifer: If the C-suite isn’t aligned with the vision, nothing will stick. How can I get the C-suite to buy-in and support a culture of human leadership? 

Frustrated in Fresno, Frank

Dear Frank: Getting the C-suite to support a culture of human leadership involves education, engagement, and empowerment. Here are five effective strategies:

  1. Education: Start by educating the C-suite about the benefits of human leadership. Show them case studies, real life examples, and data that underscore its positive impact on employee engagement, retention, productivity, and overall business performance. Discuss the potential costs of high turnover and decreased organizational performance.
  2. Engagement: Encourage C-suite leaders to engage directly with employees at all levels. This could be through town hall meetings, one-on-one sessions, or informal gatherings. The goal is to foster empathy and understanding, which are key elements of human leadership.
  3. Training and Development: Offer training programs that help C-suite leaders develop the necessary skills for leading people effectively. These should include emotional intelligence, self-leadership, active listening, effective communication, conflict resolution, and relationship building, among others.
  4. Modeling Behavior: Encourage C-suite leaders to model the behavior they want to see in employees. Describe the expected behaviors and how people will treat each other, communicate, and work together. If they demonstrate empathy, understanding, and caring, others in the organization are likely to follow suit.
  5. Communicate the Vision: Ensure that the human leadership cultural vision is clearly communicated by the C-suite. One and done is not enough, the messaging (and behaviors) must be shared frequently, consistently, and clearly.

Remember, cultural change starts at the C-suite level. Patience, persistence, and consistent communication are key to getting C-suite buy-in and driving this cultural shift throughout the organization. 

Dear Dr. Jennifer: What does human leadership entail in cultural contexts beyond the Global North? 

A Hardy Northerner, Neville

Dear Neville: Human leadership in cultural contexts beyond the Global North entails understanding, recognizing, and respecting the diverse cultural nuances that exist. Here are seven suggestions that may be of interest:

  1. Cultural Sensitivity: Human leadership requires an understanding of different cultures and traditions. Leaders must be sensitive to the values, customs, communication styles, and business practices of other cultures.
  2. Inclusivity and Respect for Diversity: Embracing diversity is a key aspect of human leadership. This involves creating an inclusive environment where individuals from different cultural backgrounds feel valued and respected. Leaders should encourage diverse viewpoints and ideas, fostering innovation and creativity.
  3. Empathy and Understanding: Leaders should strive to understand the challenges and issues faced by individuals from different cultural backgrounds. This may require empathy and active listening, enabling leaders to respond effectively and supportively.
  4. Adaptability: Given the diverse cultural contexts, human leaders should be flexible and adaptable in their leadership styles. What works in one culture may not work in another. Leaders should be open to learning and adjusting their approach as necessary.
  5. Communication: Effective communication is crucial in diverse cultural contexts. Leaders should be aware of potential language barriers, and make efforts to communicate clearly and effectively, ensuring everyone feels heard and understood.
  6. Trust Building: Building trust is vital in any leadership role, but especially so in diverse cultural contexts. Leaders should demonstrate reliability, integrity, and transparency, fostering a sense of security and trust among their team members.
  7. Empowering Others: Human leadership also involves empowering others, encouraging them to take initiative, make decisions, and contribute their unique insights and perspectives. This not only boosts individuals’ confidence and skills, but also fosters a sense of ownership and commitment to the organization’s success.

In sum – it goes beyond seeing employees as mere workers, to acknowledging their unique identities, experiences, and perspectives influenced by their cultural backgrounds. It’s about leading with empathy, respect, understanding, and adaptability, embracing diversity, and empowering individuals to reach their full potential.

Thanks to Be Human, Lead Human readers and HLI™ participants for these questions about human leadership! Do you have questions about human leadership? Drop me a note and let me know. Your question might just be featured in an upcoming LinkedIN newsletter!

Even more good news: you’re already on the path to becoming a Human Leader by reading this! Be sure to subscribe to this bi-weekly newsletter for more leadership content, and visit my blog for even deeper dives into important Human Leadership content!

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