Given the uncertainty, the pace of change, and the ‘great resignation,’ what does it take to be a successful leader today? In the past, I would have said that it takes someone who has a strategic mindset and who can execute and deliver against the organizational strategy. That is still true. However, leadership is changing, and it’s time to rethink our traditional profile. Regardless of the business culture, the common denominator is people, and focusing on becoming a better people leader and creating a human-centric workplace supports the realities of the current environment.

Clients who work with me know that my North Star is that everyone wants to be seen, heard, and valued. I cannot claim to have come up with that concept on my own. However, I have been influenced by what I do as a Daring Way™ and Dare to Lead™ facilitator, the work created by Brené Brown, and the daily work I do meeting one on one with leaders at all levels of an organization. People look for more from work than salary and title, they want others to recognize and value their contributions.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is required as you reimagine how you lead. EQ encompasses self-awareness, self-control, social awareness, and connecting with others’ lived experiences and perspectives. It also requires focusing on the person and their goals and challenges. When leaders focus on genuinely listening, connecting, and supporting their people, it makes a difference. The essential ingredient to ensure that everyone feels a sense of belonging is authentic human connection.

Thoughtful leaders understand the value of their people and are serious about supporting them. They bring their whole selves to work and demonstrate their human traits with their team. The work cultures where people feel a sense of belonging and community, rooted in shared values and purpose, create success for everyone.

How do we create a human-centric workplace when the days are fast, the workload heavy, the resources few, and many of us are working remotely and unable to “meet” with people face to face except over a screen? It starts with basic human kindness, checking in, listening, encouraging people to ask for what they need, and being flexible and creative to meet those needs. Being open and allowing individuals the autonomy and dignity to coordinate their work lives around their personal obligations builds trust and loyalty.

When organizations and leaders demonstrate commitment to employee well-being and ensure that everyone feels connected and has a sense of belonging, employees are happier, more achievement-focused, and they will thrive.

Once we recognize our common humanity and start to treat all of our employees equitably we all win. What’s good for people, is good for business.