Winning leadership: A human centred approach

Positive conflicts in the workplace

Leadership entails a lot of things including your willingness to learn, empower others, adapt to situations, delegate power, engage your team and clients, and reflect from time to time on how things have been and the new ways in which they can be done more effectively.

An indispensible part of leadership which is more important and must come before anything else is the humanity of a leader. I spent some time reflecting on my coaching and training over the recent period and I was continually fascinated by the number of people who still relish the human connection.

They appreciate the fact that they could be listened to, talked through situations and guided to succeed. As we seek to utilise the best resources to grow ourselves and our businesses, let us remember our life stories and choose to make a personal impact on our own selves and on our teams. When there is a personal experience that gives guidance and direction, the beneficiaries excel in whatever they do. Sharing personal experiences with our teams may not seem important but there are enormous insights that teams benefit from such leaders. In humanising our leadership, we humanise our people through connection and humanise our brand for the future. So how important is maintaining your own humanity as a leader in the workplace?

Macleod (2019) explains that three consequential realities have a profound impact on our ability to lead effectively and help regulate the well-being and strength of the organisations we serve. The three realities being referred to are: Reflection fuels, People matter, and Relationships make the difference. He further discusses how leadership does not operate in a void but rather, leadership operates in a web of people relationship systems that require the right amount of trust to thrive. Macleod (2019) goes on to hint at a very important point. “We cannot expect to harness the full potential of our organisations, and relationships within them, if we fail to fully understand our behaviour and the impact our behaviour has on those who bring our visions or goals to fruition. We are not above the organisations we lead; we are a part of them. We need to continuously ask ourselves whether we are treating and interacting with people as they matter. Too often, a “people matter” concept within an organisation’s value statement is limited to the words printed on a piece of paper. It is not enough to merely recognise the role and significance people have within our organisations, we must commit and establish a direction to alter organisational “people matter” mindsets. To make the people an asset metaphor a reality, leaders must be inclusive.”

This COVID-19 pandemic has brought all of our humanness into such sharp focus. Coffee (2020) describes how that has changed leadership. She says, “Leaders have been forced to evolve the way they lead, turning towards a more human leadership approach to support – and keep – their valuable people.” Hack Future Lab’s research shows that 83% of executives see empathy playing a far greater role in sustaining a thriving workforce in a post-COVID future of work; additionally, two out of three employees would prefer to work for an organisation that shows empathy towards all its stakeholders. In conclusion, humans need leaders to lead them in a human way.

Leadership is all about people, and people are human. There cannot be a successful leadership without humanity; neither can there be a successful leadership without the ability to humanise your business and empathise with your team. The human connection is a valuable one and the brilliance of leadership is in its humanness. Although being human is a natural state, there is more that can be done. The point I am making is that humanness is a skill that needs to be honed in order to become better leaders. To be able to give, you must have something and you definitely cannot give that which you do not have. How can we as leaders begin with ourselves or how can we engage ourselves first? Are we open with ourselves? What investment have we made in our own development? As a leader, you are your business and your brand; people buy you first before they buy anything you are offering or selling to them. Investing in the growth of our humanness will directly impact our business. Our humanness will always reflect in the type of people we hire, how we train them, the kind of products we sell, the quality of our services and the general investments we make to ensure the sustainability of our brand.

I am passionate about developing the kind of humanness that can direct us to identify and solve unique problems. Even though we are in a technological revolution, businesses done are now more about human to human connections. It is not an interaction between clients and beautiful buildings or packages. It is a conversation between individuals who are passionate about similar things, conversations between people who want to grow, develop personal impact and be honest enough with their truth to get to the point of influence. The big question is, as leaders, how can we be more human? How do we establish a real personal connection with those we lead? Can we be a vivid representation of the brand we are building such that others do not need to hear us speak to follow?

Chuen Chuen Yeo in an article on Forbes 2020 shares some insights on why leaders need to be more human-centred. She stated that leaders must recognise their people as human beings with needs. Chuen Chuen Yeo buttressed her point with the evidence of how all humans have an innate desire to be heard and understood. When we as leaders begin by reaching out to hear and understand what is important to the human beings who we lead, we will also be heard and understood by them. She further mentioned that all professionals must be lifelong learners. Leaders, even CEOs, are not exempted. They have to guard against a complacent attitude like “I don’t need to learn anymore, as I have arrived at my destination.” Marshall Goldsmith said, “What got you here won’t get you there,” and that is exactly true. Organisations have to strive harder to build inclusive culture and promote innovation to continue thriving. It is a matter of survival. Employees are the greatest human assets, and if organisations start centering on meeting human needs and cultivating the soft skills irreplaceable by automation, it will protect the lifeline of organisations for a long time to come.

Here are four tips that can help you to develop humanness:


Self-awareness should not only be seen as an abstraction but an action. It is an effort to gain cognizance of your personality, your thoughts, your beliefs and your emotions including your strengths and your weaknesses. To be self-aware means to pay attention to your thoughts and actions. Only then are you able to identify triggers that cause you to spiral out of control. You cannot change what you do not know and you cannot grow what you do not know. It all begins with gaining clarity about who you are!


In every organisation, there are rules made to offer direction and maintain order. The ultimate aim is to protect your people. What do you do in the event when these policies are adversely affecting your people? Will you maintain your ways in the name of doing things according to the books? Well, you are a leader for the people. To be human is to be for your people, your brand and the people it is serving. How are your decisions affecting them? You are your brand. Your brand is your people. You cannot hurt one side of the equation without hurting the other. Consciously train yourself to listen, to feel, to be more present and to care enough to help out.


True leaders find ways to connect with others and what better way to do that than, to be honest about who you are. Can you bear yourself by telling the truth about who you are? Can the people around you tell you the truth in front of you no matter how much it hurts? Your vulnerability can be a point of attack but it can also be a point of connection, one that will strengthen your brand and its relationships with others. Have nothing to hide, have nothing to lose and simply be YOU! 


Research by Gallup found that the second most common mistake that leads to turnover is lack of communication. Marcel Schwantes, the founder of Leadership from the Core, beautifully expatiates on this point. “High performing leaders responsibly give guidance, direction, and feedback on their employees’ work and performance on a consistent basis. This is crucial because people naturally want to know what they’re doing and what’s going on. It pays off in the long run too.”

It is possible to simplify leadership only if we can understand ourselves and simplify how we go about things. We can humanise our brands and form not only stronger connections but have more lasting conversations. You can start today.

Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?

Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach

Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Soft Skills Expert, Personal Impact, Professional Growth and Influence Expert specializing in Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power – H.E.L.P.

A career spanning over two decades, she has established herself as a Certified High Performance Coach, Speaker, Author, Wellness Expert and award-winning Entrepreneur with a clientele ranging from C-Suite Executives, Senior Management, Practitioners and Sales Leaders spanning 3 continents.

She is the Soft Skills Expert and Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; a premier lifestyle business group with brand subsidiaries that include Dzigbordi Consulting Group& Allure Africa.

Dzigbordi has been featured on CNN for her entrepreneurial expertise. She is one of the most decorated female entrepreneurs in Ghana having being named “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” in 2009; “Top 10 most respected CEOs in Ghana, 2012; Global Heart of Leadership Award and, Women Rising “100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women”, 2017.

She can be reached on [email protected] and @dzigbordikwaku across all social media platforms.

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