Enlightened Management


Organizations that foster brand loyalty—that place an unusually high level of focus on their customers—on average, demonstrate a more enlightened approach to management.

Why is this so? Cult Brands and other customer-centric businesses tend to be more humanistic. That is, they tend to place a greater emphasis on treating humans well—whether those humans happen to be customers or employees.

A Humanistic Approach to Management

A humanistic approach to management emphasizes the softer, more feminine aspects of effective and inspiring leadership, principles like respect, dignity, and the fulfillment of higher needs (for example, the self-actualization of the workforce). Principles themselves are also called core values, something humanistic organizations know quite a bit about.

Humanistic organizations tend to put energy and investment into their work environment because they understand how a healthy work environment promotes healthy individuals (and vice versa: an unhealthy work environment fosters ill and less effective employees).

Humanistic psychology clearly links positive mental health with creativity, peak experiences (states of effortless flow), and integrity. That is, positive mental health in the workplace translates into more innovative, productive workers who can collaborate effectively and get along with one another.

Perhaps that’s why Google launched their Search Inside Yourself program to help its employees develop emotional intelligence, self-awareness, empathy, and compassion through various contemplative practices.

Perhaps that’s why CEO Tony Hsieh has placed such a large emphasis on Zappos’ 10 Core Family Values within his organization. And in promoting the self-actualization of their employees, the company maintains their own Zappos Family Library, a list of books provided to them free of charge.

Perhaps that’s why The Life is good Company promotes the message of optimism to its customers, organization, and community.

Why CEOs Need to Adopt a Humanistic Perspective

The truth is that many of us spend most of our time in the office. Think about how you can transform the lives of your employees by improving the work environment.

You can invite your employees to grow by finding ways to make the workplace more engaging (less static), more inspiring (less mundane), more open (less fixed), and more democratic (less authoritarian).

This shift toward more humanistic management practices doesn’t simply improve productivity, creativity, collaboration, loyalty, and profitability. It can also help your employees become better spouses, better parents, and better citizens.

As Abraham Maslow put it, “We must try to make a particular kind of people, of personality, of character, of soul one might say, rather than try to create directly particular kinds of behavior.”

Business leaders have an opportunity (and one could argue, a moral responsibility) to establish enlightened management practices using a humanistic lens, focusing on cultivating a work environment that produces healthy, more well-adjusted human beings. Integrating humanistic practices into your organization isn’t simply altruistic; it’s capitalistic. And that is good news indeed.

(In case you’re interested, our team has written numerous articles to give you ideas on how to improvement your workplace, addressing topics like trustmindfulnesshumor, and freedom.)

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