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  • Writer's pictureJaclyn T. Badeau

Pulse Point–Human Leadership–Considerations for Leading With Authenticity and Valuing Fellow Humans

One of my core values is being authentic, being a human… I often find myself talking with my clients about Human Leadership and discussing / saying things like, “we are all humans”, “no one is perfect”, “what motivates you / what are your values”, “humans are meant to evolve, change, and grow”, “we are not robots, we are human”, “connect with others as a fellow human being”, “wouldn’t it be nice if we just talked with others and really listened to them?”, “lets appreciate each other as a person”, etc. Then recently I came across a Forbes article and Gallup and workhuman leadership study that talk about authenticity and bringing the human element back to work, respectively, and they really struck me. Sometimes when we are put in “leadership” positions, we get very focused on putting on a mask, or faking it until we make it, or hitting metrics, or whatever else the case may be… But if we truly want to make an impact, drive for excellence, and be a great leader, we can’t forget the Human aspects of Leadership.

In the Forbes article, “Effective Leaders Are Authentic Leaders,” the author, John Rex, talks about company core values and their purpose. He states “core values inform how individuals act and define what matters most within an organization. For senior leaders, this means you must do more than be able to recite the values and guiding principles of your organization. You must lead with authenticity, transparency, and integrity—in addition to knowing your values, you must be willing to live them out.”1 He goes on to talk about how we must “’walk the talk’ and if the values we claim to espouse don’t align with our actions, we lose trust and support from our teams.

But inauthenticity erodes trust. Many leaders adopt a persona at the office—a way of speaking or behaving that might reflect who you are at work, but doesn’t align with your values and who you are outside the office. But when there is a gap between your “walk” and your “talk,” your team will notice that at best, you’re acting.

They may not be able to call out this behavior specifically or explicitly, but they may perceive it as insincerity—which in turn arouses suspicion, strains the relationship, and puts you out of alignment with your team. Frankly, limiting yourself to a persona also means you’re leaving elements of yourself at the door. You’re not bringing all of your gifts, abilities, passions, and potential to the table.”1

Given this, it all comes down to defining your core values, being authentic, and living that every day. Authenticity leads to effective leadership; authenticity is showing your true human self.

Then the study, “Unleashing The Human Element At Work: Transforming Workplaces Through Recognition” by Gallup and workhuman, reiterated another Human Leadership concept. It pointed out how focusing on the people we lead, remembering they are humans, and genuinely recognizing them for the value they bring, is the way to really transform leadership / the workplace. The opening introduction page kicks things off in a great way for me,

“The importance of human capital has never been more evident, as the resilience of the workforce amid a global crisis has kept the world running. But recent trends, including declines in employee engagement and increased demands for workplace flexibility, coupled with the volatility of the job market itself are putting new pressure on organizations to be mindful of the "human" element at work. They cannot simply offer jobs; they must create an environment where employees want to work and can be their best.

The future of work starts with showing employees that they are valued now. Recognition is a simple way organizations can demonstrate their investment and commitment to their employees and inspire them to feel connected, confident, and cared about — ensuring they leverage the full force of their human power at work.”2

In this study, there are a ton of statistics on if employees feel appreciated or recognized what those impacts are as well as how they currently feel employers are doing. Here are some examples:

“When recognition hits the mark, employees are:

  • 73% less likely to “always” or “very often” feel burned out,

  • 44% more likely to be “thriving” in their life overall,

  • 4x as likely to be engaged.” 2

“There is not enough recognition going around, despite managers and leaders reporting that they frequently give it:

  • 67% of leaders and 61% of managers say they give recognition a few times a week or more, versus 42% of individual contributors.

  • Comparatively, 40% of employees report receiving recognition only a few times a year or less from a manager, supervisor, or other leader at their organization.” 2

“When an employer recognizes life events and work milestones, employees are 3x as likely to strongly agree their organization cares about their wellbeing.”2

“Only about 1/3 of employees strongly agree the recognition they receive is authentic, indicating a considerable opportunity for employers to make recognition meaningful.” 2

The study “is designed to help leaders harness the power of recognition to build a better, more human experience at work” 2 and they offer “Leaders’ Five Next Steps:

  • Make recognition accessible.

  • Make recognition an important part of the culture.

  • Train managers.

  • Model the behavior.

  • Prioritize recognition.” 2

Thinking about this study at a high level, it focuses on how recognition if done right, shows employees that you truly care about them as a person. They aren’t just a number; they aren’t a machine nor a robot. They have value and are valued.

Living and leading with your unique core values and recognizing your team authentically and frequently are 2 aspects of what I call Human Leadership. These are 2 things you can control and can do to improve as a leader. When employees have great leaders, it increases their engagement. Gallup defines employee engagement as “the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work and workplace.”3 And who wouldn’t want that?

Employee engagement encompasses being cared about as a human. There are small steps we can take every day to truly bring Human Leadership to the workplace. To assess where you and your organization are in your employee engagement culture journey, download my “Culture Pulse: Employee Engagement Questionnaire” here:

Need someone to dig into employee engagement and leadership work with you? Reach out for coaching, training, or consulting here:

I look forward to providing monthly pulse points to help you stay up to date with how the workplace culture scene is evolving.

About Jaclyn T. Badeau, CPA, CGMA, MBA, EQ Certified

Jaclyn Badeau is the Founder and President of Badeau Consulting. She specializes in employee engagement initiatives that help companies inspire confidence back into their team for innovation and growth. Jaclyn’s background in cultivating high performing teams, delivering coaching and mentoring, serving as a global business risk advisor, and facilitating internal and external leadership training to a global workforce gives her the unique perspective of what employees need and what works. She is also a multi award recipient and passionate about sharing her expertise and knowledge in volunteer advisory and leadership positions roles for many associations and not-for-profits.

About Pulse Point

Pulse Point is a monthly blog to stay up to date with how the workplace culture scene is evolving.


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