Why human-centric leadership is needed?

This blog start with a short story that reflects the current global leadership style:

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Nobody and AnybodyThere was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realised that Everybody would not do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done…!"

The Covid-19 crisis has unexpectedly thrown most people into a new situation and many are now “forced” to work from home (WFH). WFM has two sides, like a coin. One side is the freedom, creativity and higher productivity and the other side is missing the office and camaraderie.

Long before the pandemic we saw the following needs that leaders and co-workers were struggling with:

  • Stress, anxiety, and burnout are at an all-time high across the board.
  • Building a real business is more difficult and competitive than ever.
  • Employers demand excellence from employees – especially executives
    – like never before.
  • People are working twice as hard, but feel half as fulfilled.
  • Working from home has become the new norm
  • Managers are doing things right, leaders are doing what is right, but both are missing out on finding the right NEW things in the world.
  • Many leaders are at the brink of “River Rubicon” and are hesitating to cross the river and explore the NEW.
  • Society needs bold and brave leaders who take a stand for love, kindness and compassion in order to up-lift mankind.

Based on the above and that we have seen that leaders and not brave enough to take stand for more sustainable solutions. The following model is outlining how a more human-centric leadership can be implemented.

Figure 1: Growise Human-Centric Leadership Model

The model will be described in an anticlockwise way, starting with upper-right hand corner and moving in the anticlockwise direction.

  • Upper-left corner describes the leader
  • Lower-left corner describes the leader and the follower
  • Lower-right corner describes different categories of followers
  • Upper-right corner describes the design of jobs

All four defines Growise leadership model

Today’s leaders has a huge task put on their shoulders, trying to navigate in a very rough sea and we no clear landmarks och light houses to steer towards. It is now up to the leader to lead him selves. The leaders must the following assessment:

Figure 2: Self leadership

Key questions to ask:

  • Am I healthy?
  • Do I feel great?

If the answer is not a clear a Yes on those two questions leading others will be more problematic. It has never been more critical that leaders need to show with examples. Active and healthy lifestyle show clearly what followers needs to do. 

Of course is it more complex than those two questions but it’s never the less the key questions two answer. If you don’t answer with a yes what will you do?

The next module will be about leaders and the followers 

Leader and follower
We will start with how the leader sees him selves or her selves. Am I ok or not. The self image are key for being a successful leader. Benis and Nanus in their book - Leaders have defined what describes a successful leader and they have stated four items:

  • Attention through vision
  • Meaning through communication
  • Trust through positioning
  • The deployment of self through positive self-regard

When a person is adapting all four dimensions the probability is high on becoming a successful leader and co-workers will follow that person.

Figure 3: Leader and follower

Next perspective will be to see upon the followers. 

  • Are they OK or not?

If they are not OK good relationship cannot be achieved. Leadership is about trust and if the leader is judgemental about the co-workers following the leader  it needs to be addressed. 

So it is therefore important to ask why are some followers more effective and efficient than others.

The fellowship or employeeship can be defined as a graph with four areas, in fact five areas.

Figure 4: Why are some followers more efficient and effective than others?

When we analyse the leadership in an organisation we do interviews with managers and leaders and after the interviewed are compiled we ask the following questions:

Why are these followers follow this leadership?

The followers can be categorised into four different areas:

  • Efficient followers - active and independent, critical thinkers
  • YES-men - active but dependent, non-critical thinkers
  • Alienated followers - passive and independent. critical thinkers
  • Sheep - passive and dependent, non-critical thinkers

Because of lack leadership and vision a new category has been identified.

  • Survivors - don’t rock the boat

This last category is the worst of them all because you never now where they will go. Studies show that a majority of people dislike their job! The leaders has developed this last category by being bad leaders. The funny thing is that owners and board of directors has been promoting this style….

So why are co-workers disliking their job? In reason is how the job has been designed so let’x dive into that are.

Designing the job

I think that all people need to have flow as part of their life. How can you ever feel alive if you don’t experience flow. What is flow?

One of the most acknowledge person in the area of flow is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Hungarian-American psychologist. He recognised and named the psychological concept of flow, a highly focused mental state conducive to productivity. He is the Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University. He is the former head of the department of psychology at the University of Chicago and of the department of sociology and anthropology at Lake Forest College. There are many different definitions and models describing flow. We will use the model defined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Figure 5: Definition of flow.

Flow happens when the job balance between skills needed and the challenge defined. A flow corridor can be achieved. The statues are often described as hyper concentrated where time stand still. We have seen when designing different jobs there are two so to say types of co-workers. One how grow with challenges and they develop themselves the skills needed to do the job. The other type needs the new skills before they can take on more complicated job. Both ways are successful it’s just a matter of designing the right competence development for each person. One size do not fit’s all.

In figure 6 you can see how competence development can be structured so that co-workers can grow and when they grow the organisation grows. This new reality calls for more human-centric leaders creating human-centric organisations.

Stay Safe.


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