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NU report: People-first leadership needed in workplace

Wednesday, September 1, 2010  
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Leaders need to be more "genuinely concerned” about the quality of their employees' lives, not just focused on job performance and return on investment, according to a new report by the Forum for People Performance Management and Measurement, research center within the Medill Integrated Marketing Communications graduate program at Northwestern University.

"Leading in The New Age of Putting People First” outlines ways businesses can implement a new people-centered leadership style that focuses on "employee enrichment” to help make a demographically diverse and socially connected workforce feel more valued.

"Given the workplace stresses of the last few years, we find that leaders need to not only encourage the job-related growth of their employees at work, but they also need to be concerned about their employees’ personal growth,” said Beth Schelske, Forum president. "This approach recognizes that employee concerns and contributions go beyond, and profoundly influence, the workplace.”

The idea of enrichment leadership expands a leader's role to include genuine concern about helping employees to truly have better lives, according to Jennifer Rosenzweig, Forum director of research. "Organizations that can better address the complicated needs of their people will be in a much better position to create the long-term relationship that begins with a people-first orientation and ends with the better results we need to emerge from the recession,”she said.

As the ability to attract, retain and motivate good workers becomes increasingly important in a post-recession economy, an enrichment leadership perspective may well help determine a company's ultimate success, the report concluded.

A copy of the white paper is available here.

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