A call to restore humanity in the workplace.

I believe that a call to restore humanity in the workplace is emerging and that this call is not only coming from the generation Y’s and Millennium kids. Old school management practices which make employees feel bored, powerless, disempowered, infantilised and “not important” are the traits of the now, incompetent leader. It is the leader who makes employees feel respected, trusted, worthy and honoured, the leader who encourages and inspires others to become a better version of themselves who shall lead in the future.

This view is shared by Umair Hague who says: “Leaders lead us not to a place, but to a different kind of destination: to our better, truer selves.” He goes on to say that “Leaders — true leaders, those worthy of the word — do the very opposite: they lead us to truth, worth, nobility, wonder, imagination, joy, heartbreak, challenge, rebellion, and meaning. Through love, they lead us to lives that matter.”

Hague also has the opinion that leaders inspire us because they bring out the best in us. For him, they evoke in us our fuller, better, truer, nobler selves. This is the reason why we love our leaders- not merely because they paint portraits of better lives, but because they compel us to be the creators of our own.

The leader of the future

Having read widely on this topic and having discussed it with many people, from all walks of life, and from a variety of cultures and backgrounds I believe that the time for a new generation of leader has already come. From the discussion above it is clear that the leader of the future understands that s/he does not have all the answers that they can’t sustain the organisation on their own, and they understand the limits of human cognition. They are prepared for the unexpected, they hold the torch of hope high when things are uncertain and they build resilience in their people.

Good leaders are attuned to the world around them and they ensure this by listening with interest to both the spoken and unspoken words of people that they work with, the customers they serve and the communities in which they exist. They distribute decision-making down and around, they make sure that the experts get heard, not just the boss. They listen, they suspend judgement, they co-operate and co-create, and they communicate.   Successful leaders are “mindful” and better able to detect surprises when they are new, small and insignificant.

The leader of the future works towards creating long-term outcomes by crafting well-considered and co-created images of the future. They do this through dialogue and quality conversations and understand that it is these co-created images of the future that guide choices and goal directed behaviour.

They make people feel respected, trusted, worthy and honoured – and most of all, they encourage and inspire others to become a better version of themselves.

The leader of the future understands his or her work within the context of the planet, the world, the communities they operate in and the people they serve. They are aware that their work and businesses impact people, societies and the environment and they strive towards “doing no harm”, being fair, ethical and responsible. They lead people towards a more co-operative, humane and positive future!