How to get leaders to adopt humanistic values in the workplace

When challenged with poor behaviors by leaders in power who do not ascribe to Humanistic values, what is a good way to address the behavior without  coming across as "beating the humanist drum" against the traditional top-down structures/directives and mindsets?  How can we enroll them in our perspective?

I was the guest on the International Humanistic Management Professionals Lunch and Learn last August 2019.  I spoke about how to create more effective and ethical businesses using applied Humanism, which is - also the title of my latest book.

The question of how to get managers and leaders on board with this is the question - everyone pushing for positive change faces. It doesn't matter who important the change is - people resist it - so how do we get them on board?

I have three thoughts about the question posed.

1) You can't control other people, you can only control yourself: This isn't just an organizational philosophy. It's a personal philosophy. So - live your values, even if other people do not. You don't need permission from ANYONE to behave in an ethical and dignified way. Don't let the recalcitrance of others - prevent you from being the good ethical person you want to be. In other words, live your truth. Be an example of what good ethical humanistic leaders should be - EVEN if you aren't yet in a leadership position. If you want to be in a leadership position - act like it.

2) Understand that change is hard and that even if people want to get on board - it will be hard for them to do so. Focus less on the people in your way and focus more on the people who are on board. I have always found that there are indeed people who want things to improve and if I work with them - we can make positive changes and the people who think they have the power to stop you - don't really have that power. So - don't give them that power. Look for the people who want to help - and work with them and be polite and dignified and positive with the naysayers and encourage them to join your group and be ok if they don't. That's their journey - not yours. Yours - focus on the people who are allies and work with them. Eventually - the people who were trying to stand in the way will either join you - or be unable to prevent the change you created.

Note: this is the same advice I give to kids who are being bullies. It is very easy to focus on the bully and make them the focus of your thinking. But if you step outside that - and REALLY look around - you will see there are more kids on the playground and may of them are alone and isolated too. If you can work up the courage to make friends with the isolated people - you can create a new group that the bully has no ability to control. Yes. This works.

3) Treat the naysayer with compassion. You have no idea why they think the things they do. You have no idea what they have experienced. What disappointments they have experienced. What bullying situations they have endured. Don't assume you do. And don't assume you know who these people are or what they are thinking.  If you are speaking to them - instead of insisting on your way - why not ask them questions so that you can better understand them and their way?  And yes - I do have a course on this called - Socratic Jujitsu -

Don't beat the humanist drum. Act like a Humanist, which means - you don't try to convince people you are right, you try to create - collaboration. The other person's resistance - is valid - to them. Find out what they want and help them get that - and they will become your biggest fan.

Honestly, the only time I have trouble with people is when I have bypassed people and not included them in a collaboration. And sometimes you have to do that - but don't assume you do - until you give them a chance to work positively with you.  Just - don't give them all your time. Reward people who are behaving positively with your positive attention. When the negatives try to get your attention - give them your compassionate attention - and encourage them to join you - but give them time. Eventually - they usually come around. It's rare that they won't. So don't write them off - but don't nag them either.

Hope this helps.   I have an online certificate program in Humanistic Leadership if you want to learn these skills - and yes - the socratic jujitsu course is included in the certificate program -

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