As we move further into arguably one of the worst hurricane seasons in history, our minds and hearts become even more focused on those who were affected by some of the most recent hurricanes. Each news outlet has been sharing the accounts of ordinary people performing heroic acts to save the lives of their neighbors and even strangers. In times of natural disasters, we often find our humanity and the need to reach out a hand to those in desperate need.
I wonder what happens when tragedy is not raining down? Where is the humanity? I would suggest that it is ever present if we choose to look for it. Humanity is shown in the small acts of kindness such as when a stranger goes out of their way to help someone with their luggage, or when a wallet is found and returned in complete condition.
Gandhi stated, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
In business, leaders must be the humanity, providing servant leadership to our teams as they struggle through the daily work challenges. We must remember that our role as leaders is likened to that of a silent hero, focused on helping others in a time of need and without personal recognition.
Here are five things you can do right now to add humanity into your work culture:
- Schedule (and hold true to) regular one-on-ones and touch-points with your direct reports.
- Listen to your employees intently and empathize with their needs.
- Give specific and honest praise, i.e., "You did a great job handling the objections of the last sales call."
- Provide specific opportunities for growth, i.e., "When leading the team meeting yesterday, I noticed you didn’t have a written agenda to keep the call on track. Because an agenda wasn’t in place prior to the call, conversations went down many unnecessary trails causing it to run over the budgeted timeframe. Going forward, sending out a written agenda in advance will help you run the meeting more effectively and efficiently."
- Discover what motivates each employee individually and use that information to build meaningful recognition mechanisms.
Job focused humanity is the ability to add a firm, yet nurturing touch to the everyday grind of the workplace. By being present, listening with intent, providing proper praise and constructive criticism and tapping into individual motivation, leaders become that touch of humanity and the source of a positive work culture.
Mark Pollack is the Chief Strategy Officer of SIG and Vice President of SIG University and has 20 years of successful experience in change management, strategy creation and implementation, sales leadership, operational development and enhancement, business ownership, consulting and executive coaching. Mark is certified under Korn Ferry's Leadership Architect, Korn Ferry's 360 Assessment Facilitation and Interpretation; Ken Blanchard’s Situational Leadership; Stephan Covey’s Speed of Trust; and University of Phoenix’s Executive Development Program. He is a graduate of Sandler’s Sales Institute; Outsell Consulting and Innovators Accelerator. Mark has a Masters of Management from the University of Phoenix.