7 Principles of Humanistic Leadership

Author avatarJennifer Hancock ยทMay 13, 2024

Humanistic Leadership is an ethical philosophic approach that is at once: compassionate, reasonable and strategic.


Humanism as a philosophy is about doing good to be good. And that’s not easy to do because our behavior impacts others. We don’t live in a vacuum. And when we are in a leadership position, we have even more responsibility to do good, not just for ourselves, but for our team as well.

Being good is not easy to define because to be good requires so many different interrelated skills. So here is a list of 7 principles of humanistic leadership that will help you, as a leader, make better decisions, have more effective interpersonal relationships and feel more fulfilled.

1) Humanistic Leaders treat people with respect. Other humans are autonomous beings. They aren’t robots you can program. Understand that even if you pay them, they have volunteered to help you in exchange for that pay. They can quit anytime.  Respect their time and their effort.

2) Humanistic Leaders are compassionate. They never forget that the people they are working with and for are real people with real strengths, real weaknesses and, most importantly, real emotions.

3) Humanistic Leaders are ethical. They don’t just give lip service to their values. They actually live them and lead by example. No one wants to follow a hypocrite.

4) Humanist Leaders encourage their team to be the best that they can be. We all have limitations. But that doesn’t mean we can’t contribute to the best of our abilities. Humanistic Leaders look for ways to help people participate.

5) Humanistic Leaders are reasonable. They are willing to listen to dissenting views because they want to base their decisions on reality and not on assumption.

6) Humanistic Leaders are strategic. They review all their options, consider the  pros and cons of each solution and choose the one that will give them and their team the best chance of success.

7) And finally, Humanistic Leaders value service to others. Making the world a better place means making it better for the individuals who inhabit the world. Making a living and making the world a better place are not mutually exclusive. A humanistic leader seeks to do both.

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