Human Centred Leadership and The Great Resignation
We have left jobs, not because of the work we did, but because our leaders weren’t aligned to our values. We have left otherwise solid jobs to follow our inspirational leaders to new companies. From these journeys, we know that who we work for is just as important, if not more, than the work we do each day.
Let’s face it- none of us have come out of the last 2.5 years unscarred. If you are anything like me, you scroll through your LinkedIn and social media feeds and read heaps of content about people soul-searching and making life changes post COVID. More specifically, every news outlet and workplace thought leader is busy sharing thoughts and data about the major mindset shifts that are resulting in ‘The Great Resignation’ across the globe. Your friend Mike shares a selfie where he is telling his boss to shove it and publicly declaring his exuberance about resigning. Then you’ve got Sarah who throws on her yoga pants, crystal headband and waves goodbye to corporate life and to find a more meaningful professional existence. There is also Jenn. Jenn was headhunted by a competitor who is paying her more and has more aligned vision and values than her last place of employment. Jenn is declaring her love for her new workplace and posting about all of the amazing work she is now doing with her new co-workers. There is likely not a more palpable time of change and mindset shift at work in the past decades. Whilst this is the new reality and professional re-evaluation shows no signs of slowing, there are reasons that some employees are staying put. They aren’t sticking around because of Yoga morning Tuesdays or ‘Welcome back to the office’ food trucks. They are staying because of the mindsets of their leaders.
We’ve all had a bad boss…or three. We have left jobs, not because of the work we did, but because our leaders weren’t aligned to our values. We have left otherwise solid jobs to follow our inspirational leaders to new companies. From these journeys, we know that who we work for is just as important, if not more, than the work we do each day.
What can leaders do to keep their teams engaged and retained during The Great Resignation? It all comes down to mindset.
At Three6, we believe in Human Centred Leadership that is anchored to key human centred mindsets. After all, leadership is just that: a craft centred on optimising humans. A human centred leader embraces key mindsets such as:
- Open Mindset: Willingness to consider new ideas and invite new perspectives
- Empathetic Mindset: Feeling empathy for customers, employees and stakeholders
- Unconscious Bias Mindset: Actively looking for biases and beliefs to ensure they are not misleading our views
- Creative Mindset: Gives the permission to question the status quo and solve problems differently
But how can human centred leaders use these mindsets to combat the Great Resignation? They can use them to guide new ways of engaging and retaining their staff!
For example, one senior leader has recently been faced with significant turnover. The traditional process includes conducting an exit interview because they can help you to better understand why people are leaving. However, this information is gained when it is too late to do anything about it. There is evidence that tells us that if you want to retain people, it’s critical to check in with them BEFORE they’ve shown any indication that they’re ready to quit. You can do this by engaging and interviewing current employees why they’ve decided to stick around– and what would keep them in the future. This is called a STAY interview.
The STAY interview is a human centred way to engage, invest, and understand your employees and teams. In doing so, you are, as a leader, embracing and exemplifying an open mindset that is willing to better understand other perspectives. You are feeling empathy for your co-worker and take the time to empathise with what their challenges are. You are allowing your co-workers to find their voice to speak their truth and present their line of vision that may deconstruct or challenge any biases you may unknowingly represent. You are also opening yourself up to creative ideas and ways to improve your workplace and team culture so that you don’t lose valuable team members. Doing this can be scary. It can make you feel vulnerable. You may feel challenged. But it works. It works because you have truly listened. You have shifted your ways of understanding a situation. You have empathised. You have acknowledged. You have been a human centred leader.
These skills, that are often thought of only to engage with our customers through the design process, are just as applicable to leading our teams and designing engaging employee outcomes. By refining and developing your human centred design skills and principles and applying them to your leadership approach, you can better develop, champion and lead your people and teams.
Dr Ashlee J. Linck
Want to talk to our team about implementing a Human Centred Leadership approach in your organisation? Contact us here!