One of the Worst Things a Leader Could Do

9-4-4. Those were the first three digits of my employee ID number at one of my corporate jobs. I’m sure you remember several of your past ones.

They’re a necessity – from an organizational, process, and structure standpoint, I get it. But there were too many times that I felt, and maybe you felt the same, where that’s all that I was. That you’re just a number that equals a result.

Too many employees have left their organization because they’ve shared that either their organization as a whole or their direct leader cared more about the results than the person.  

Here is a huge opportunity, whether you’re a formal or informal leader, to recognize that…

…you must lead with humanity!

Even though each employee has an ID number, that is not their identity. They literally have a name, they have feelings, they have complex emotions. I mean, even when you are going through a decision-making process and you think, “Okay I’m going to weigh it out, black and white,” at the end of it, you still make a decision that has some sort of emotional tie to it – because you yourself are a human being. So we have got to be leading with humanity.  

As human beings, we have this need for connection.

So you as a leader, are you connecting with your peers and your team members? How are you doing that?

For me, when I was a leader and I had a direct team, I kept that in mind that each person, even though we had a responsibility to drive results, I knew I could do that better if I connected with them on a personal level. Now, personal doesn’t equal friends. It doesn’t mean that we were buddy-buddy, chumming up together. It means I took a real active interest in their life, as far as they would allow me to go; asking them how things went over the weekend, knowing their spouse or their kid’s names, their pet’s names, what their extracurricular activities were, and engaging in those conversations so that they knew I cared about them. And in turn, that meant they were even more connected to me as their leader, to their role in the company, and to the results that would be delivered. It was a win-win-win situation all the way around.  

So I encourage you – your need, the opportunity for more leaders to be leading with humanity, to recognize that it is not about an employee ID number equaling the result, it is about a human being. So go out there today, check-in with the people around you, remember that they are a human being, with real emotions, just like you.

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