Human Leadership: Fostering Innovation and Growth

Change may seem scary, but it is necessary if we are to move forward. We should always seek out an opportunity for growth. Workplace norms have been forever changed thanks to a global pandemic. Workers today need and expect a different leadership approach. We must focus on developing an adaptive leadership style that enables team members to find success and fulfillment within their professional environment.

Learning and Development programs at the executive level not only enhance one’s management style, but are also about connecting with the people in an organization’s workforce. This means understanding every individual employee and inspiring them to reach their highest potential. By showing empathy and valuing their contributions, executive teams can create a productive environment that will foster innovation and growth.

Embracing this human-centric leadership style has brought organizations huge opportunities to diversify talent, increase productivity, and enrich their corporate culture. Those that have tried to maintain traditional working patterns, however, may struggle to attract and retain talent. If you are struggling to balance old and new leadership approaches, or finding success and want to level up, here are a few ways to focus your human leadership growth.

Elevate Corporate Identity

The companies we lead and elevate with our talent should be companies that we’re proud to represent. We should believe in them; they should align with our values. We should aim to elevate corporate cultures that are compassionate and socially responsible.

Entrepreneur and business leader Mark Cuban points out that a defining characteristic of Millennials and Gen Z consumers and professionals is that they demand this of the employers and brands they support. “If you get branded as a company that acted in bad faith, laid off all your employees, or really cut back and you took a bonus or whatever, you’re going to get crushed, and your brand is going to go straight into the toilet.” Cuban explains.

Redefine yourself and your brand, not because it will help to attract new talent and customers, but because it’s the right thing to do. Growth requires recalibration of our business ethics. Cuban further explained the paradigm he envisions: “Shareholders come last. You guys have so much impact on the world that you need to take care of your employees and their families first.” Imagine how much different the world could be if all business leaders operated this way. Perhaps this is our opportunity, our “in” to create such a world.

Embrace Location Flexibility

The old way of thinking suggested that employees needed to marinate in corporate culture by being present in the office. Management believed this would ensure their teams were following the rules and absorbing the company ethos. Since our offices went remote, we’ve seen that if our culture is well constructed, it will travel with our employees. If it doesn’t translate well to a virtual office, then we should reexamine our culture instead of our location.

It’s also important to recognize the executive potential of a remote workforce. It allows us to tap into executive talent from wherever they are in the world, which is a great asset when it comes to the diversity and inclusion of executive talent in our companies. Remote work has allowed executive teams to evolve their strategy, innovate, and reach new heights. As organizational leaders let’s use this newfound momentum to recreate our working environment for the better and create a more equitable society. This is about more than just business—it’s about creating an environment where everyone can thrive.

Encourage Employee Autonomy

Embracing digital innovation and adapting to a remote culture has a range of benefits for staff. The quality and caliber of communication tend to be more strategic when we are less confined to a traditional 9-5 paradigm. Maximizing peak productivity hours and planning around our own motivation cycles makes us more productive and more focused.

Another shift away from the standardized work environment requires leaders to embrace individuality, understand what each employees’ unique needs are, and support them in a way that’s tailored to them.

It feels good to work this way. It feels comfortable, natural, and productive. Implementing more flexibility bodes well for employee productivity, engagement, development, and retention. “96% of employees said they need flexibility, yet only 47% reported having access to the types of flexibility they need — a gap of 54%.” writes Annie Dean and Anna Auerbach in the Harvard Business Review. If employees feel more comfortable and have more flexibility in their work, perhaps their chance of thriving is greater and we’re better able to hold onto them.

Let’s create a better environment and a new way of engaging with our employees. We can take on the challenge of creating a more equitable society if we use technology and innovation as our allies in doing so.

We’ve lived through a deconstructive period, and it’s this post-pandemic period that can be uncomfortable, but it also presents a rare opportunity. It’s our chance to recalibrate and rebuild. This is our opportunity to build better teams, better businesses, and a brighter future. How will you use it?

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