By: Guy Ratcliffe • 10 months ago •

Responsible Leadership and how to give permission to treat employees in a way that promotes natural human behaviour

As leaders, we are responsible for making sustainable business decisions that meet the expectations of the shareholders, customers, the environment and our employees.

The performance of our business is constantly measured. Daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly targets are set, and we align our resources and assets to achieve the expectations set by the shareholders, which generally consist of revenue and profit.

So, it is not surprising that we find it challenging to find the time to focus on one of our key responsibilities, our employees.

All too often we start to talk about the “softer” aspects of our businesses and commit to taking how we treat our people more seriously as human beings. We hold one to one and group forums and receive great feedback, then overnight the performance of the business becomes the number one priority and our good intentions are diverted to more pressing matters. Sound familiar?

The people within our organisations are a key factor as to how well our business performs.

All leaders know this, but we forget that they are human with the same fundamental needs that span all cultures and historical periods.

We all have the same inner needs to be autonomous or self-reliant and be connected to one another. As leaders, we are responsible to ensure these needs are satisfied for the individual, the group and the environment that we operate.

To understand what satisfies our people, and ultimately drives their human behaviour, we must first give ourselves permission to take time and find common ground with our people.

This requires an interest in others and a measured amount of disclosure or openness from us.

Human behaviour is a result of attempts to satisfy certain needs and it is the leader’s role to influence that behaviour for the benefit of the business.

To influence behaviour, we must first understand it before we begin to motivate it, ensuring that the behaviour is an output that satisfies their own needs.

By promoting openness and disclosure we find common ground with our people, but we are also giving our people permission to act as we do.

Once we find common ground and understand our individual needs we gain greater in sight as to what motivates us and our teams.

The World Economic Forum, Future of Jobs Report 2018 indicates that as the fourth industrial revolution unfolds companies must seek to harness new and emerging technology to improve productivity and efficiency.

To do this business leaders must plan ahead with work force strategies to be ready for the challenge ahead.

Existing work tasks between 2018 and 2022 show a shift in the average number of task hours performed by humans.

In 2018 the number of task hours average 71% and by 2022 this is expected to be 58% human task hours with the remaining machine task hours being 42%.

Although this may present a change in jobs that require dexterity or manual labour, humans will continue to compliment the changes if they are granted permission to act in a natural human way.

Humans add value when freed of the need to perform routine or repetitive tasks and make use of their human talents.

Human skills such as creativity, initiative, critical thinking and originality will be more relevant as the job market evolves and as our employees become more detached from task-oriented functions they will find other roles that will continue to add value. Leaders will need to display their skills in influencing and emotional intelligence.

There is also a shift in mindset among the new generation that will impact our businesses whereby leaders will be required to support individuals with a greater need to be more autonomous with freedom to be more creative.

As leaders we need to understand and give ourselves the permission to take the necessary and often brave steps to promote natural human behaviour.

5 Steps to promote natural human behaviour

1. Understand your own needs and what satisfies you The first realisation that leaders must have is that our leadership style derives from our own life story and they must work towards understanding and developing themselves.

2. Be genuine – To be a truly authentic human we must treat others as humans. Being authentic in our approach to leadership will help support the alignment of goals.

3. Allow creativity – Promote creativity by not being specific about how a report should look or how a plan should be laid out; sometimes a quick doodle on a whiteboard is ok if you allow it to be.

4. Be visible – Openly display acts of kindness by helping someone with a task and encourage others to do the same.

When people realise its ok to stop their own task to help a fellow human being it will become infectious with a ripple of togetherness through the organisation.

5. Don’t talk about work – Not indefinitely! Talk to your teams without mentioning anything to do with the product that you make or the latest business issue – I challenge you do try this for 30 minutes every day, I can admit it is not easy.

As business leaders and experts in our field we all have the experience and knowledge to provide the shareholders with what is expected.

By providing our people with the most natural of experiences of being listened too, with permission to express themselves genuinely with no fear of repercussion’s or consequence’s, we provide a catalyst that unravels an infinite world of greater understanding and connection.

Rather than just engaging with our people to achieve what we need, empower them to satisfy their human needs by giving them permission to treat each other in a way that promotes natural human behaviour.

Guy Ratcliffe

Executive Coach, Business Coach & Mentor Managing Director of Ratcliffe Business Solutions Ltd

With a burning passion for coaching and people, Guy chose to follow his passion and completed the Diploma in Executive Coaching with the Academy of Executive Coaching in London and soon established Re- Create Coaching & Mentoring.

Combining his industrial experience with his passion for coaching and people, Guy challenges the industry in which he once thrived until a major personal life event gave him a wakeup call and the opportunity to Re-Create who he is today.

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