In the realm of leadership, a recurring theme emerges—one that calls for leaders to be more human, to connect on a deeper level, and to foster belonging within their organizations. But what does it truly mean to be a more human leader, and how does this concept tie together the various facets of effective leadership?


In this article, we delve into the essence of human leadership, exploring its defining characteristics and its role in anchoring the five rules of belonging from the book, “Belonging Rules: Five Crucial Actions That Build Unity and Foster Performance.”

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The Human Leader: An Overview

A human leader is more than just someone who holds a position of authority; they are a guide, a mentor, and a source of inspiration. At the core of human leadership lies empathy—an ability to understand, relate, and resonate with the experiences and perspectives of others. Here, we take a closer look at what it means to be a human leader and how this role aligns with the rules of belonging.

1. Leading with Empathy

Human leaders lead with empathy. They possess the unique ability to perceive the emotions and needs of those they lead. Empathy forms the foundation of strong relationships, as it enables leaders to connect with their team members on a profound level. This emotional intelligence allows human leaders to create a supportive and compassionate environment.

2. Celebrating Differences

A key trait of a human leader is their celebration of differences as a source of strength. Rather than viewing diversity as a challenge, human leaders see it as an opportunity for innovation and growth. They recognize that a team composed of individuals with varying backgrounds, perspectives, and skills is more likely to achieve exceptional results.

3. Putting People First

In a world increasingly driven by technology and automation, human leaders remain steadfast in their belief that organizations are, fundamentally, about people. They understand that every employee has unique needs, dreams, and aspirations. By prioritizing their team’s well-being and providing a space for belonging, human leaders empower individuals to thrive.

4. Facilitating Open Conversations

Creating a space for open conversations is a hallmark of human leadership. Human leaders embrace dialogue as a means of fostering understanding and growth. They encourage their teams to express their thoughts, ideas, and concerns freely, without fear of judgment or retribution. This open communication enriches the collective wisdom of the organization.

5. Promoting Inclusive Leadership

Inclusivity is central to human leadership. Human leaders value diversity, not only in their teams but also in their leadership approach. They strive to bring together individuals with different viewpoints and backgrounds, recognizing that it is within this diversity that fresh perspectives and innovative solutions emerge.

Empathy as the Driving Force

Empathy serves as the driving force behind human leadership. It enables leaders to approach their role with sensitivity and understanding. Empathetic leaders do not merely dictate; they listen, they understand, and they inspire. They make decisions that consider the well-being of their team members, ensuring that the human element remains at the forefront.

From a Father’s Perspective to the Workplace

An anecdote involving Warren Buffett provides a poignant illustration of the power of empathy. Buffett’s practice of addressing his annual report with “Dear [family member’s name]” highlights the significance of approaching communication with a human touch. By envisioning his audience as friends and family, he infuses his words with authenticity and connection.

This approach, rooted in empathy, extends beyond familial relationships—it finds its place in the workplace as well. Whether leaders are addressing their teams, customers, or stakeholders, leading with empathy allows them to connect with authenticity and sincerity, transcending corporate jargon.

Empathy: The Common Thread

In the realm of human leadership, empathy serves as the common thread that binds the five rules of belonging. Leaders who embrace empathy are better equipped to listen without labels, choose identity over purpose, encourage challenging conversations, demand 100% of the truth, and create spaces for belonging.


Being a more human leader means embracing empathy, celebrating differences, and putting people first. It involves facilitating open conversations, promoting inclusivity, and leading with authenticity.

In essence, human leadership is about recognizing the intrinsic value of every individual and creating an environment where they can belong, thrive, and contribute their unique strengths. By embodying these principles, leaders can foster a culture of empathy, collaboration, and success within their organizations.

Asure partners with 100,000 small and midsize businesses in all 50 states. Learn how Asure’s HR experts can help you grow your business.

Watch our video 5 Crucial Actions That Build Unity and Foster Performance, with special guest Brad Deutser, Founder & CEO of Deutser, Bestselling Author, and Speaker.

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