The way we live and work has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic and there’s no going back. Companies that will thrive in this new era are the ones that will evolve to adopt new ways of working and leading. In “Human Beings First,” Paul Wolfe reveals eight practices of empathetic, expressive leadership based on this fundamental truth: we are all human beings, first and foremost. We have full lives that can include coping with mental health challenges, caring for sick family members, raising children, and so much more. Leaders who create an environment where individuals feel valued and appreciated – and feel safe bringing their full selves to work – clear the way for their employees’ personal and professional success and development.
Leaders cast a long shadow, and their daily choices about how to lead the conversation about inclusion and belonging at work can make – or break – healthy workplace cultures. But how do leaders actually do this? How do they discover and then apply a new way of leading? Through sharing their most “human” selves. In this book, Wolfe wisely focuses on 8 ready-to-apply principles for how to do this, each vividly illustrated, as well as a strong call to action about how to challenge ourselves – because we are all leaders, at any level – to evolve towards a new definition of how to show up as ourselves, and for others – a way that illuminates the path for many, and focuses on unleashing the potential of cultures of belonging, where everyone can thrive. A must-read!
Human Beings First puts humanity back into leadership. Gone are the days when leaders could just focus on performance and revenue, treating employees as commodities who should be grateful for a job. Leaders – the good ones – are focused on empathy, belonging, and psychological safety, knowing that’s the greatest way to get the best out of employees. Paul Wolfe’s book Human Beings First gives a dynamic look into understanding people at a biological, psychological, and emotional level as a tenant of leadership in an enlightening and refreshing way. His deeply personal and profound experience of using an empathetic and expressive leadership style acknowledges all the feelings one might exhibit especially in challenging times. Feelings are fact and in fact, they are biological responses and as the book notes they “are the messenger of needs”. Every single leader who wants to truly invest in their people should read Human Beings First.
When I think of Paul, I think of someone who has built and scaled great cultures; a passionate advocate of DE&I; a pioneer in the future of work. For those reasons alone, any leader can learn a tremendous amount from the insights he’s collected during his impressive career.
What Paul surfaces in Human Beings First is so incredibly important: We are in a new era of leadership, and that requires new skills and capabilities. It requires vulnerability and putting our humanity first. And what I love about this book is that it offers tangible ways to do that. As an executive recruiter, I speak with dozens of leaders every day from early-stage startups to the Fortune 100. I know what qualities companies are looking for and what makes leaders thrive. And I assure you, what Paul shares in his book is critical to it.