Humanity in Leadership

When you are given the responsibility of leading a team for a company, you are responsible for more than the strategic and/or financial objectives you were given. To one degree or another, you have influence over other people’s livelihood and well-being.

Managers that take this for granted, or fail to recognize it altogether, often create work environments plagued with unnecessary anxiety, stress, and distraction. This is where the 70% of Americans that are not engaged at work come into play. These managers fail in at least two ways.

First, shitty work environments result in shitty production. You don’t have to cull through mounds of research to recognize that a demoralized, disengaged team is not going to perform optimally. If you’d like to do some reading on the subject, here and here are good starts. Suffice it to say, it's not ideal to have customers interacting with employees that can't stand working for your company.    

Second, and more importantly, poorly constructed and unnecessarily terrible work environments reduce the overall quality of life for the people that work there. According to Mental Health America, a 100 year-old nonprofit:

Studies have shown being unhappy with or unfulfilled by work can take a toll on our health, relationships, and even lifespan. Those in unhealthy work environments tend to gain more weight, have more healthcare appointments, and have higher rates of absenteeism. Stress from work can also impact their family life, mental health, and even increase risks for chronic illnesses and heart attacks.

And that unhappiness has an exponential effect. If you consistently make your team miserable at work because you’re a poor manager, they go home and spread the misery to people who, in turn, spread the misery to others. Take this video and replace the kind deeds with acts like kicking puppies and you'll get the picture.  

Good management, at every level, requires leadership and comes with a great deal of responsibility. That responsibility most certainly includes, but is not limited to, increasing the value of the company. Creating a work environment that concurrently optimizes production and keeps those you are counting on to achieve strategic and/or financial objectives happy is a win-win. The value of the company is maximized and it makes the world just a little bit better place to live in. 

Understanding and executing upon that responsibility is critical for any leader who wants to look back and see people actually following, which makes it a hell of a lot easier to achieve the collective goals.