Just Human | Blog | Mary Tillson | MFL Global | Booking Agent

“Just Human”

If you look around you, regardless of where you might be reading this, what does everyone you see have in common? What is the common denominator? You all work for the same company? Maybe you can only see women or only men. Perhaps you are all wearing the same uniform?

Or is it simpler than that? They are simply, “Just” human.

You are, simply, “Just” human.

Why do I say: “Just” human?

Because it is a fact that so often seems to be overlooked by so many, particularly at work. Especially, when we are under the cosh.

As humans, we all come with the stuff of life: mortgages to be paid, families to care for, sick relatives, lack of sleep, horrendous journeys to work. Yet somehow, we are all expected to behave well all the time, perform out of our skins at work despite what is going on in our lives, both at work and outside of it.

We are not allowed to be grumpy, or weary, or impatient. If the boss cancels our 121 again, we are expected to behave like a saint. If a client calls a meeting at 5 pm on a Friday when you have a family commitment you have been really looking forward to, you are expected to be delighted?

Do you also share the same sense that I do, in that “The human” somehow has been lost in a sea of job titles, grades, ranks, positions, departments, employee ID codes, passwords and the race to continually achieve?

Have you ever felt that you are sometimes treated as a commodity- a machine?  Do…work…achieve more… strive… do more… cut costs… save time… produce… and so it goes on? Relentless?

Bosses, please read this. Take note.

Without fail, in every leadership workshop I deliver, (and I have been doing this for some 17 years now) I ask the participants: “As “Just” human, what makes your world go around? What do you need from others? What makes your day special? When others do what? “

And without fail, time and time again, regardless of where in the world I am delivering the workshop, or what culture, religion, or nationality I deliver to, the answers are always the same:

  • To be listened to
  • For someone to care
  • Respect
  • Appreciation
  • Recognition
  • To feel valued
  • To have a sense of belonging
  • Some fun occasionally!
  • Understand me
  • Interested in me
  • Sense of purpose

“And if you get dollops of this daily, how is that for you?”


“But if you do get some of this, what difference does it make?”

They consistently reply along the lines of: “It changes everything. I have energy, I am motivated, I feel good. I feel special.”

WOO HOO! (my words, not theirs!)

And what I love about this simple exercise is that these consistent answers transcend nationality, creed and culture. These answers are generated whether I am training in the USA, South Africa, Singapore, England, Dubai… All over!  So, whilst at one level people are terribly complex, (any psychologist will confirm that!) at another level, they all have one thing in common. They are: “Just human”.

We don’t need to master complex theories or models to be a great boss, life is complicated enough as it is!  Although they have their place, I tell my delegates, “if you can just remember that your folk are first and foremost and always: “Just” human. Just as you are.

Golden rule: Look after the human before you dive into process.

If you can deliver any of the above for them, the chances are your team member(s) will go to the moon and back for you. Because how people FEEL determines how they BEHAVE.

(see our BLOG: There’s always a reason for behaviour)

And if you look at the list again, none of it requires much more than some simple basics:

  • Get to know them, their background, hopes, aspirations, motivators, de-motivators etc
  • Demonstrate that you are listening (not merely hearing) whenever in contact with them
  • Have meaningful 121 conversations with your team members where the focus of the conversation is on them, not you.
  • Honour 121 meetings with them – move heaven and earth NOT to cancel them.
  • Set SMART and stretching goals with your team member.
  • Give positive feedback whenever they do a job well, not just at appraisal time
  • Give constructive feedback if they slip up with an intent to help them improve (remember they are “just” human).
  • Put your phone/laptop to one side when they need to talk with you.
  • Give them the opportunity to be involved in shaping your team strategy and the “how” your team achieves the “What” it must achieve. (commitment through involvement)

And cakes on a Friday are always welcome!

None of this is rocket science, I hear you say, but….

Our 90- minute Injections of Inspiration also provide a great range of other practical skills, tools and tips which really help a busy boss deliver on all the above. Have a look.

Our previous two Blogs also provide some really useful ideas and tools to support you as well.

1.     What’s it like being on the receiving end of me

2.     There is always a reason for behaviour

Please contact Mary for more information on any of the above.