Discover how to be an inspiring people-centric leader
Discover How to Be An Inspiring People-Centric Leader
Oct 18, 2022 5 min read

People are a company's most important asset, and people-centricity is the secret sauce of a leader's success.

From directly including employees in decisions to supporting them in reaching their full potential, people-centric leaders acknowledge, prioritise and care for their people.


Why Do People Matter?

Bob and Mike are two leaders who begin their leadership journey simultaneously. 

Bob's leadership style is directive, and he gets results by creating the fear of reprimand in his team. He is task-focused, believing people are here to work and deliver results.

His team members are stressed, and so is Bob because he is emotionally volatile when he sees people make what he calls silly mistakes'. He is critical and tough with feedback and that demotivates his people.

Bob is purpose-driven, but his entire focus is on results and profits. 

Mike, on the other hand, believes people are his strength. He cares for their welfare and creates a relaxed, engaging environment for them to work in. 

Ideas flow in Mikes's meetings because he focuses on learning, not mistakes. His team feels psychologically safe and accepted around him. People take ownership of projects because of Mike's trust in them and because he has earned their trust in return.

Mike too is purpose-driven but achieves results by helping people reach their potential. 

Whose team performs better- Bob's or Mike's? 

Bob's team no doubt brings in results. However, Mike's team is at the pinnacle of success bringing in extraordinary results because they are open, communicative, creative and take ownership. 

In the absence of their leader, Bob's team do not perform as well as Mike's because they are limited in their capacity to lead their department in unprecedented situations or make decisions. There is no room for growth in Bob’s team.

Mike's team performs better because they are empowered to think, manage situations and make decisions. His people are constantly growing and evolving.

Research shows that people are most engaged in the workplace when they feel valued and cared for and do purposeful work that has meaning for them. 

Here are some ways to develop a people-centric leadership style to build high-performing teams, achieve goals and create results.


Understand People

Begin by getting to know your people. Listen to and understand their needs, desires, aspirations and dreams. Ask them what satisfies them most in their work to know their motivations. 

You will not be able to respond to all their needs or wants, but the feeling of being heard and understood plays a significant role in motivating people, and it helps you to connect more deeply with others and build strong relationships.


Psychological Safety 

Are people fearful and tip-toeing around you, measuring their words for fear of your reactions? If the answer is yes, then you are missing out on collaboration, creativity and getting the best out of your team. 

Operating from fear gets in the way of your people's thinking and delivery.

Psychological safety is about how safe people around you feel to express their views, generate and share ideas and offer constructive feedback. 

If you are an open, encouraging and empathetic leader, then you allow people not only to be authentic around you but also to communicate positively with you.


Small wins, Small recognitions

People don't just get motivated by money alone! Creative leaders step into their people's shoes regularly and ask themselves: How would I feel and what would I want if I were in this person's shoes? 

A senior manager I coached told me she was in the stage of her life where she had achieved most of her work goals. She was missing from her manager, care and acknowledgement that she felt she deserved.

Recognition is not just about acknowledging top performers and significant wins. A leader who catches people doing things right daily and recognises them wins trust and loyalty.


People First Culture 

Research shows us that one-third of our time is spent in the workplace. The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work in a lifetime. 

So, the quality of your workplace significantly impacts the quality of your team's mindset and productivity.

Invest in the welfare of your people above everything first to build teams that will serve you with their best mindset and abilities.  


Purpose-driven work 

Develop purpose-driven goals to help employees give meaning to their work and flourish.

Unless you can communicate your purpose clearly, it will be hard to gain commitment from people.

There are big work purposes and small daily purposes: both are equally important. 

When an employee is doing a trivial but essential job, sharing the purpose of the same and what it impacts helps people to mobilise on the task. 



The ability to inspire and motivate others is a critical aspect that influences a leader's success. 

Henry Ford's quotation, Founder of the Ford Motor Company,  sums it up brilliantly!



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