Becoming a Contagiously Human Leader


My philosophy

I believe everyone comes to work to do a good job.

I believe leadership is a ‘practice’, in the same way that meditation or yoga is.  There is no ‘end point’ where we become the perfect leader – we each need to be responsible for continuously improving and adapting.

I believe, as leaders, we need to be aware of the impact we have on others every day. (And, let’s face it, we’re all leaders.)

I believe what we say, and the things we do, matter.  Words and behaviours have power, and they matter… because, we are contagious.

Within minutes, without saying a word, we sync up with the people around us. We have the power to infect people positively, or not. Think about what you might have caught from others over the course of your career. Think about what you might have spread…

Now, take a moment to think about you on your best days.  The days when you are 100% clear on your vision and purpose, and fully aware of how your daily work connects with that. That wouldn’t be so bad for others to catch, would it?

Traditional, ‘heroic’ leadership was all about being bulletproof, and leading from both the ‘front’ and ‘top down’. To make the shift to becoming a contagiously human leader we need to learn that leadership is a two-way street. Before we even think about leading others, we have to be able to manage ourselves.

To become a contagiously human leader, we need to learn to:

•   Be curious (about others and ourselves) and committed to improving.

•   Be more self-aware and take a step beyond authenticity, to authenticity with compassion, and self-regulation.


the science bit

But why make the shift to being more human at work? Because science tells us that when we are positive our brains flood with dopamine. We are more productive, more creative, we get more done and, let's face it, we’re much more pleasant to be around!

What's more, as an additional benefit... Every. Single. Business. Outcome. Improves. That feels like a reason to shift. For yourself and for your business. 

Imagine going to work tomorrow knowing that you could infect everyone on your team with a 30% productivity uplift – you can actually do that. You can do it tomorrow. That’s what being a contagiously human leader can help you achieve.


how can we catch it?

By remembering that we are contagious. By re-humanising the workplace through small, but significant, changes:

  • Connecting your team to their vision and purpose every day.

  • Being there for your team instead of just expecting them to be there for you.

  • Building trust through consistent behaviour – do what you say you will do.

  • Remembering that every single person comes to work to do a good job – help them to do that by treating them with compassion and respect.

But most of all we need to listen. Listen with fascination. Being deeply listened to is a core human need. By listening we can transform our relationships and our results.

I’m contagious. You’re contagious. We are all contagious. What kind of contagious do you want to be? For yourself, for your organisation and for your world?