Leading with Heart Heartstyles Associate Logo White Beside

When organisations embark on the process of ‘rehumanising’ they often ask what is the most important element to get right?  Without doubt, it’s leadership! Leaders set the tone. They create the organisational environment. Leaders in humanised workplaces believe in people. Fundamentally the role of leaders is to create a shared vision that engages the hearts and minds of people so that, collectively, they are able to work together to fulfill the purpose of the organisation.

In humanised workplaces, leaders also need to have a strong sense of who they really are as individuals. Who they are when they’re simply being themselves. While this sounds easy enough, in the modern world of work it is easy to become our role. In performing the role it’s easy to  leave the true self at home, but this is an unnatural disconnect which can  lead to an uncaring workplace environment and that is not conducive to people performing at their best.

Humanised workplaces require heart. The heart has to do with making genuine human connections. The primary function of a leader in a humanised workplace is to make genuine human connections.  This can only be done from a place of authenticity that comes from being who you really are, without masks, being vulnerable, open, listening and with a genuine need to truly embrace individuals for their uniqueness.  This can be challenging for leaders who have grown up in  task-focused control and power structures that disempower many  and empower few.

Heart based leaders recognise the value in both head and heart-based tools. Heart based leaders are clear about who they are, they will stay grounded when caught in the midst of turmoil and are mindful about what is important.  People. They are proficient in building relationships with their people. They exhibit kindness, concern, empathy and know that these emotions demonstrate strength rather than weakness. Teams led from the heart tend to be happier and more productive. People on these teams are less likely to leave (reducing turnover) or call in sick (reducing absenteeism).

Heartstyles Associate Logo White Beside

The Humans Being At Work approach to rehumanising organisations starts with leaders. We believe great leadership is an ‘inside job’ and it comes from the heart!  So what’s our approach to developing heart based leaders? 

Humans Being At Work is proud to be Accredited Heartstyles Associates. Heartstyles is a global firm who are world leaders in growing heart in business. Heartstyles tools have been developed around the simple premise that effective people effective results. Heartstyles is a journey of developing strength of character through self-awareness.  As our character is being developed, our true potential is released.  The philosophy underpinning Heartstyles is that in order to understand and change behaviour, we must first examine our cognitive thinking and the attitudes of the heart that underpin and motivate what we say and do.

Humans Being At Work  is accredited to deliver the Heartstyles Leading with Heart leadership program which is a holistic, integrated program comprising three main elements (these elements can be combined as required to suit the needs of your organisation):

  • Character Development – a 360 degree character development tool (referred to as the Indicator) is a starting point to measure the principles and thinking driving effective and ineffective behaviours.  The Heartstyles Indicator measures effective (functional) or ineffective (defensive) behaviour.  It measures our view of ourselves (our self-concept) and how others view our behaviour.  It is not a personality profile (or type) but rather an indicator of behavioural effectiveness showing ”where am I at this point in time rather than what ‘type’ am I?” You, the participant, completes a Self score (your perceived current position) and Benchmark score (where you’d ideally would like to be) and invite 3 -24 respondents in groups of three (i.e. three direct reports, three peers, three supervisors for example) to give their perception of your behaviour.  Your results are presented to you diagrammatically in a detailed Personal Development guide (report).
  • Leading with Heart Leadership Development training – building on the 360 feedback, this innovative two day leadership development program is the next step for selected individuals who have the desire to grow and grow others.  The program is designed to help participants understand why they do the things they do and how their current behaviour is impacting their leadership potential.  Participants ‘deep drive’ into the four quadrants of the Indicator that reflect four universal principles driving behaviour; Humility (Personal Growth), Love (Growing Others), Pride (Self Promoting) and Fear (Self Protecting).
  • Coaching – much research has highlighted that once-off intervention seldom results in a sustainable shift.  Through the coaching journey we continue to unlock individual awareness identified in the Indicator (360 feedback) and solidify character development one-on-one.



Experience shows that if you and your leadership team experience this together there is tremendous opportunity to change the organisational climate; almost immediately.

Using the Heartstyles tools we can help your organisation reduce the cost of ineffective behaviour by measuring it, then transforming it to more effective behaviour. Effective people create effective cultures and drive effective results.  Profitability and personal growth are interdependent.

As Maya Angelou says, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”

Human Factors

‘Human factors’ as a concept originated in the aviation industry in the 1970s in the recognition that many aircraft accidents occurred because technically competent individuals didn’t work well together as a team. Training aircraft crews in human factors is now mandatory in aviation worldwide, and the concepts have also been migrated to other high risk dynamic work environments including the nuclear, maritime, medical and firefighting industries.

Underpinning the human factors philosophy is human fallibility which can be managed by effective teamwork. Based on extensive research, Humans Being At Work has developed a unique ‘human factors’ program which can be applied to any organisation. This program has adapted the techniques used in the aviation and maritime industries, so that they can be applied to high risk and dynamic work environments within organisations. The program applies specific techniques including closed loop communication to develop shared mental models and situational awareness, respectful challenge and response, clear role delineation, active monitoring of operations, and load sharing to avoid overwhelm.  The human factors program can be used to improve teamwork and organisational effectiveness.

“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.”

Autonomous Work Team

At a base level, human beings function best when they have a sense of autonomy. Humans have an inherent desire for ‘self-management’. History is awash with human struggles for freedom. Remember that feeling when you got your first car – that’s freedom!

A sense of freedom and autonomy enables us to ‘self-actualise’.  Neurosciences tell us that perceptions of autonomy feels rewarding and a lack of autonomy is a major stressor. Stress research shows that an employee’s degree of stress increases as their degree of task control decreases.  And generational studies show that this need for autonomy is increasingly impacting organisations – for baby boomers autonomy is highly valued; for millennials, it’s a fundamental expectation!

So it’s not surprising that progressive organisations, one way or the other, are moving towards more autonomous workplaces. However, managing the dichotomy between managerial control and employee autonomy in traditional hierarchical organisations is difficult. Implementing new organisational structures like autonomous work teams takes a degree of organisational courage, however, the pays-offs can be amazing.

If you believe that (1) humans work best in teams, and (2) humans do their best work when they have a sense of autonomy, then an organisational structure around self-managed or semi-autonomous work teams makes sense. This type of organisational design rehumanises workplaces; it improves staff satisfaction and commitment and improves organisational results. Humans Being At Work are experienced designers and implementers of autonomous work teams. If you are keen to explore this path, we applaud you. And we can help you.