Humanness: The Antidote to Leadership Dysfunction

As I’ve read and considered the various ideas contained within any number of leadership-related books, the idea of dysfunction being related to our humanness, or lack thereof, becomes increasingly clear. Whether it be the concept of dehumanization in some ways leading to, and in some ways being an effect of, oppression; or whether it be the idea of dysfunction stemming from a lack of being loved and being able to love; there is an emerging theme.

It seems that the more we, within the context of organizations and relationships, can be more appropriately human, the more healthy and functional those organizations and relationships will be. It seems overly simplistic, but perhaps that’s the beauty of it. As we learn to better love and serve, dysfunction begins to diminish.

If on both sides of the leader-follower relationship there is a willingness to be more “human,” for lack of a better term, the relationships, as well as the group or organization, will begin to function more appropriately. As teams and groups embrace their humanness, they will be more willing to serve others (since they’re our fellow humans), admit faults (since to err is very much human), listen to input (since different minds bring different and possibly better perspectives to a given situation), and so on.

So my question, then, is this: Within our organizations, how can we encourage others to be more appropriately human and functional, and as a result serve others well, admit faults, solicit feedback, and the like? How can we encourage both leaders and followers within our respective organizations to embrace their humanness, and as a result become more functional?


  1. How can we encourage more “humanness”? In my opinion I’d say display the wonderful advice of Jesus by what has been dubbed “The Golden Rule”: treat others as you want others to treat you. Whether individuals embrace Christianity or not most are familiar with the Golden Rule. For those a little more analytical I suggest showing data that supports positive results from treating others with more “hummaness”.
    Believe me when I say the leadership at my place of employment could use a very large dose of “humanness”.

  2. It seems to me that the optimal environment is where leaders are honest and somewhat transparent about sharing their strengths and challenges. When a leader is defensive and unable to let others see their vulnerability, the employees follow suit, not feeling the trust that they can be honest about their own challenges. By recognizing and acknowledging that we all have different levels of skills and assets to bring to the table, the leader can mobilize the gifts of employees and create an environment where people really listen and value each other. Sounds so simple in many ways, but somehow our history of our other relationships, whether familial or in work, impact how we proceed. Great post!

  3. Value others more highly than yourself. Promote and ensure coworkers are successful.

  4. Thank you for this article! You really supported how i feel about what’s going on with today and why things may be happening. Everyone’s too focused on being right, and not enough people willing to admit fault and come to terms. This doesnt only stem on a political level, but even with everyday relationships. I think one way that would promote humanness is to wire into people’s minds that it is OKAY to make mistakes and it is OKAY to fail.

    Thanks for sharing this!

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