OK – with 70% of employees disengaged at work – we definitely don’t feel that people are truly being prioritized ahead of the bottom line in today’s business climate. Rather many people feel they are the pawn in a game of chess.  They live in fear that they may get fired. Their health and family lives are negatively impacted. They may work to do ‘just enough’ to stay under the radar.

If you’ve seen the 4-0 mark, you probably grew up with a lot of limiting beliefs like…

“You need to work hard to make a living”

“Just be grateful to have a job”

“I’m paying you a paycheck – just get it done!”

I remember thinking it was a badge of honor to be able to work 12, 16, 20 hour days. Much to the neglect of my health, well-being and relationships. But that was the expectation of Big 6 Consulting firms back in the day. As well as a lot of other industries – Investment banking, healthcare, information technology.

But these expectations aren’t sustainable. 80% of employees feel significant stress – and need help in dealing with it. Today more than ever, our society is calling for strong leadership that puts people first!

And quite honestly – genuinely putting people first is good business!!! It doesn’t sacrifice the long-term for the momentary blip of today.

You may ask – who’s doing it right or what is possible?

From my experience, we need more Google’s in the world – ranked the #1 place to work 4 years running. Google has created innovative work environments – they want you to enjoy being at work which encourages people to willingly stay for those extra hours or deadlines.

Google has strategically established a mindfulness culture to allow their employees to reduce stress, improve health and wellbeing, as well as increase focus, improve decision making and enhance personal responsibility. Their training program ‘Search Inside Yourself’ has a 6-month waiting list.

Three individual leaders that I routinely turn to for inspiration include Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Sheryl Sandberg.

Richard Branson, the only leader to have built quantity 8 billion dollar businesses (wowza!). He seeks to genuinely raise people up. He has 10 defined leadership principles that serve to guide his behavior and decisions – the first 6 focus on believing in your team and creating environments where they can flourish.

Elon Musk has tremendous vision for solar power, transportation and even life on Mars. He things big and inspires others to do the same.

Sheryl Sandberg – Facebook COO and Board member. Her Lean In book and movement seeks to truly help women achieve their ambitions. What I love about her isn’t just her activism on the subject. But rather she has a powerful voice while retaining her compassion and her humanity. Speaking without anger or outrage. She provides an excellent leadership model on communication that influences and moves humanity forward.

One thing these 3 leaders have in common is fearlessness. Fear is limiting. It holds us back. And while they may feel fear, it doesn’t guide their leadership decisions, behaviors and actions. Why? They put the well-being of others first. Because it’s good business to put people first!

Check out what another of my fav thought leaders has to say on the subject!

People come before money – Simon Sinek