The humanist leader: more than a passing fad

And Erasmus of Rotterdam raised my head would be nice to hear how much we talk about humanism today in our organizations. There is no specialized publication or expert in ‘management’ worth its salt that does not raise the issue of humanization of the company to the rank of strategic priority – along with digitization and sustainability, the other components of the ‘hit parade’ -.

The paradox has been the cause of this sudden concern. It has not been the consequence of having penetrated the theories of experts who have been preaching it for years – many times, in the desert. Nor the messages of business leaders convinced of the need to humanize companies as a purpose, there are. This of massively raising awareness that we must put the people in the center, as a strategic key to achieve the highest performance and the best results, has been another of the consequences – in this case positive – of the ubiquitous pandemic. Every cloud has a silver lining.

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You could make an exhaustive list of the attributes that adorn the humanist leader. Surely it would look very good, like one of those decalogues of perfectly expressed requirements that, after reading them, one is speechless just to think that I could reunite them. For example, it might include characteristics such as worrying about health of your collaborators and their families. Respect to people, place them in a preferential place and treat them in a friendly way – “the order of people comes before the order of things,” said a magnificent president I had.

Be close, without putting through the distance of the hierarchy. Take an interest in concerns to learn and develop of its people. Help them make sense of what they do. Communicate with them honestly, transparently and sincerely. Make them feel like a team and give them as much field as possible. Keep your word, give them confidence and in return receive it. Facilitate their work, showing flexibility and not just asking for it. Recognize them for what they do well and give them constructive feedback on what to improve. Being humble and admitting your own mistakes, as fallible human beings that we are… Anyway, I could say many things and surely I would forget some.

Photo: Image by Mario Aranda on Pixabay. Opinion
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But I prefer to avoid typical conceptual list and, in return, invite them to think about the humanist leaders they have or have had around them. Surely one will appear, as soon as they remember. In fact, the best way to recognize a humanistic leader is when missing. They are those people that one remembers forever after their absence, who leave a good mark and remain for years in the memory of the organization. That they are not only remembered by those closest to them, but by the whole, because they treated people as such, regardless of the role of each.

Another easy way to recognize a humanist leader is by comparison. To those who are not, or even the opposite, it shows a lot and you know quickly. And every time it is less willing to tolerate behaviors insensitive, devoid of humanity, that vociferously expose whoever demonstrates them.

“It is easy to recognize a humanist leader by comparison. To those who are not, or even the opposite, it shows a lot and you know quickly”

In our management search activity we see every day how the best professionals do the ‘due dilligence cultural’ before accepting an offer to change jobs, and they are very careful about taking references. Companies with a more humane culture attract more because they tend to have more humane leaders at the helm, a totally logical consequence, on the other hand. And this is a factor of talent attraction more important every day that, like other things, the pandemic has also accelerated.

The first humanist leader of any organization should be who is higher. And your first mission should be to make sure you are surrounded by men and women who promote that humanity in your enviroment. There is no other way to achieve more humane cultures, no matter how hard some may be. This is perfectly compatible with obtaining results and profit. What’s more, it is the best way to ensure it.

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The evolution of developed societies, in which we are fortunate to live, and the organizations that make them up are seeing an unstoppable trend towards this way of understanding work. Humanizing organizations is a way of doing them more durable and successful, more sustainable. Among other things because it will allow them to attract the best talent and retain them, as the sectors in which a fierce competitive battle is taking place are already seeing. And from there it will gradually spread to other sectors and companies.

The new generations, those whose wings the pandemic has clipped during some of its best years, they are very clear about the order of their priorities. They are attracted to what is commonly understood as a good place to work, where relationships are satisfying, learning an incentive, flexibility a norm, and purpose a motivating stimulus, something worthwhile. to work.

In this type of organization the humanist leader should not be an exceptionbut a rule. And this is going to remain long after the existence of this virus in our lives that came on a bad day to remind us that we are, first of all, humans.

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