Cultivate ‘the human touch’ to be an outstanding leader

Think of a leader who inspired you, someone you admired and respected. What was it that made them a role model for you? Chances are they had ‘the human touch.’ They connected with you, took an interest in you, your life and your aims. In my case, I experienced a couple of leaders who believed in me more than I believed in myself at a point in time. Did you have a similar experience of someone leaving an indelible mark on your career trajectory? Perhaps they challenged you to play a bigger game and step into what they saw was possible for you. They appreciated you and made a point of acknowledging the value of your contribution.

The human touch, often called emotional intelligence, is what distinguishes outstanding leaders. Korn Ferry’s research shows that, ‘leaders with high levels of emotional intelligence can improve their team’s performance and boost employee engagement. The more challenging and disruptive the organizational and business climate, the more leaders will need to call on their emotional intelligence skills.’

Their research has identified four groupings of emotional and social intelligence competencies that distinguish outstanding performance in a variety of jobs and organisations.

  1. Emotional self-awareness – the ability to recognize and understand your emotions, drivers, strengths, and weaknesses.
  2. Self-management – how you manage your emotions and behavior with focus and restraint.
  3. Social awareness – helps you recognize and understand others’ emotions.
  4. Relationship management – how we apply our emotional understanding in our dealings with others.

The good news is that developing the human touch is within reach for all leaders, regardless of their natural inclination or expertise. It begins with a genuine desire to connect with others on a deeper level. This intangible quality goes beyond mere competence or authority; it’s about genuine connection and empathy. The leaders we remember are not defined by their titles or accomplishments, but by the depth of their humanity and the impact of the human touch.

🙋 How can you cultivate the human touch in your leadership journey? 🙋‍♀️

Best regards, Brian