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[Video] 4 Ways to Humanize the Workplace

November 11, 2015 / Uncategorized

VP_Disruptors_6Can you be empathetic and still be a good leader? If you’ve heard the countless musings of Sun Tzu or Machiavelli, phrases like rule with an iron first, or it’s better to be feared than loved are no doubt scrolling across your mind this very instant.

Jean Oelwang, CEO of Virgin Unite, set the record straight during the recent Virgin Disruptors event hosted by Virgin Pulse on Oct. 19, 2015. She addressed this notion with one of her own: “Why do we not want to make workplaces 100 percent human?”

Humanity in the workplace takes leaders finding empathy and empowering their people to take care of their well-being. The answer, Oelwang says, lies in helping employees “fulfill their potential, fulfill the potential of the company, and fulfill the potential of the wider world.”

It Takes a Village

During her talk, Oelwang laid out four ways organizations can find this humanity and begin weaving it into the workplace.

  1. 1) Make every interaction filled with humanity in the workplace. “Culture is really made up of those millions of authentic moments that we have every single day with one another,” Oelwang says. “And that culture can be won or lost based on every single interaction.”
  2. 2) Build the right foundations to operate with more humanity. This means focusing on “respect, equality, growth, belonging, and purpose,” Oelwang notes. “Wrapped around that, making sure we’re taking care of people’s well-being and making sure we have empathy and compassion in the workplace.”
  3. 3) Lead organizations through partnership. A good leader is “part of a collective, part of a partnership,” according to Oelwang, “and that’s [what really makes] the difference.”
  4. 4) Collaborate to make sure others hear about your success. How do you bring humanity back to the workplace? “Experiment in [your] business with ways we can treat people in radically different ways,” says Oelwang, “[and] share those experiments as widely as possible.”

Hear more from Oelwang’s talk in the video below:

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