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This Is the Type of Boss Your Workplace Needs, Researchers Say. But It's Probably Not the One You Have.

U.S. employees working under high-stress conditions crave this leadership style.


The pandemic shifted many things about the professional world as we knew it — including what we expect from our business leaders.

Today, a concept dubbed "human leadership" is what employees need, new research from consulting firm Gartner reported by CNBC Make It reveals, and while it's relatively simple, most workplace leaders consistently fail to get it right.

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Reeling from the pandemic's impact and other stressors like inflation and rising crime, many Americans are battling anxiety or depressive disorders; The New York Times recently reported that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is recommending all adults under 65 be screened for anxiety for the first time.

U.S. employees working under these conditions need more from their bosses: essentially, to be treated like people. "Human leadership" means demonstrating empathy, adaptability and authenticity.

In other words, leaders should demonstrate genuine regard for their employees' well-being, flexibility when it comes to how the employee works best (working from home, taking more breaks, etc.) and comfort with self-expression.

"Employees really want to be able to bring their full selves to work, and leaders need to invite them to do so," Caitlin Duffy, director of research at Gartner, tells CNBC Make It. "It starts with leaders doing it first."

Related: 5 Rock-Solid Leadership Strategies That Drive Success

Unfortunately, as straightforward as it sounds, human leadership is still far from the norm. According to a 2022 Gartner survey, just over one in four employees (29%) consider their supervisors effective at human leadership.

No wonder the Great Resignation shows no signs of slowing down.

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