Human leaders improve results. Only 29% of employees think the boss is a human leader despite reports showing that human leadership improves talent outcome. 90% in a survey said to succeed in today’s work environment, leaders must focus on the human aspect of leadership. Highly engaged employees improve their team’s performance by up to 27%.
Research and marketing firm Gartner’s survey comprises close to 3 400 employees.
“Organizations that are able to develop more human leaders will find that these leaders’ teams have less turnover, higher engagement scores and better well-being,” says Caitlin Duffy, the company’s director of research.
“Although these qualities may have been important for good leadership in the past, today they are non-negotiable – particularly to compete in today’s new talent landscape”.
The research found a 37-percentage point increase in the number of employees reporting high engagement who report to a human leader versus employees who do not consider their leader to be a human leader.
“This increase is significant – highly engaged employees improve their team’s performance by up to 27%.”
Three components that make up human leadership according to the report:
- Authentic: Act with purpose and enable true self-expression, for both themselves and their teams.
- Empathetic: Show genuine care, respect and concern for employees’ well-being.
- Adaptive: Enable flexibility and support that fits team members’ unique needs.
The report says there are three best practices for HR to develop more human leaders:
- Make the Case for Change by Leveraging Trusted Sources. 57% of HR leaders believe that making the business case for human leadership is a high-priority investment for the next year. To gain leaders’ commitment to a more human leadership approach, HR should leverage trusted sources – peers and employees themselves – to make the business case to leaders. HR can convene a dynamic group of impactful, well-respected leaders who believe in – and act on – human leadership. These progressive leaders can work to set new leadership expectationsfor the organization that are both current and relevant to the realities of leaders’ roles, while providing ongoing support.
- Teach Leaders to Exhibit Positive Behaviours Despite Fear. HR needs to give leaders the courage to act despite their fear by teaching them how to exhibit positive behaviours when they are afraid. As part of this, HR needs to help leaders develop deep self-awareness to understand how their fears impact them and enable them to take ownership of their behavior. Lastly, leaders need more support for high-risk situations, such as “ask-me-anything” sessions with employees.
- Support Leaders’ Judgment by Limiting Scope and Ambiguity. 68% of HR leaders surveyed reported that their organizations provide scenario-based guides and training to help leaders take specific action on employee needs. However, only 29% of HR leaders believe that employees receive support that fits their unique needs. Ultimately, guides only add more uncertainty to ambiguous scenarios. Giving leaders tools to quickly determine which actions they can take that will have the highest impact reduces the scope of potential next steps. HR can also remove ambiguity from leader-employee interactions by helping leaders identify signs that their approach is ineffective so they can adapt in real time.
“Adopting these strategies to develop human leaders will enable organizations to increase the number of human leaders from 29% to 48%,” says Duffy. “To create more human leaders, HR can help them use their emotions to propel them forward.”