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Home » Women in business » Why the modern workplace can benefit from human-centred leadership

Lisa-Nicole Dunne

Founder and MD, Mantra Strategy

In a working world where human connection has changed completely, ‘heart’ qualities, genuine empathy and inclusive leadership hold the key to engaging employees and teams.

Leaders at all levels are juggling hybrid and changing environments, business retention, growth and sustainability challenges — with fewer people to exchange ideas with and new environments to manage. New and early-stage staff are not being immersed and exposed to the business in the same way. Today, it is important to lead with emotional and inclusive intelligence.

Lack of connection in the workplace

AI and technology stacks provide more functional support and promise greater productivity. However, tech can push people further from connection. One of the vital ingredients to job satisfaction is connection — support from colleagues and leaders, alongside clarity of direction (often from spending time together and unified goals and purpose).

The need for ‘heart’ qualities

Post-pandemic employees need leaders who demonstrate strong ‘heart’ qualities — consideration (37%), empathy (33%), listening skills (31%) and team development (29%) — according to a recent BCG Survey. This is where more female representation and better outcomes for underrepresented minorities at all levels of leadership can help.

Underinvesting in leadership development
happens widely across the board, and female
and diverse groups are often impacted hardest.

Leadership development and succession planning

Underinvesting in leadership development happens widely across the board, and female and diverse groups are often impacted hardest. Forcing people back to the office for a fixed number of days, while easier to manage, is resulting in departures from management positions, more engagement in freelancing, self-employment and the gig economy — thus reducing company loyalty. More women are opting out. Lagging progress in the mid-pipeline and at director-level for women — more specifically, women of colour — has been noted by McKinsey 2023 and other workplace reports on parity.

Building a connected culture

Shaping the right values-based culture and collaborative approaches to leadership, purposeful change management skills, heart qualities and inclusive intelligence development are critical investments to benefit everyone. Showing leaders how to shape their team’s emotional culture, lead authentically and lean into being human-centric can enable organisations to apply this values-based culture into practice.

Find out more about Mantra Strategy Leadership Institute and our values-based leadership, emotional culture mapping and shaping programmes:

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