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Lead Your Team Leadership

Leadership Lessons: Treat Your Employees as People First

Leadership Lessons: Treat Your Employees as People First

There's no one "right" way to lead a business. Today's leaders have a lot of wisdom to impart about managing the modern workforce, because each one approaches leadership in his or her own unique way. Every week, Business News Daily will share a leadership lesson from a successful business owner or executive.

  • The leader: Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software
  • Time in current position: 9 years
  • Sabrina's philosophy: "Look at employees as a whole. Care about them as real people, and understand that there are needs outside of the office."

Good leaders care about their employees as real people, and treat them with the respect and understanding that there are important needs outside of the office, too. I believe you've won as a leader when your employees care about you as well.

The true moment that defined what leadership meant to me, and how I wanted to lead my employees, really came when I became a working mother. In order to be an effective and successful leader, I needed to be able to focus on work, while also knowing my kids are OK. And when they weren't, I had to give myself the permission to deal with my kids. This made me realize that I needed to treat my employees with the same flexibility as I was expecting, and bottom line, to treat each of them like a person.

The biggest a-ha moment, where I saw my philosophy in practice, came when a single dad working for Palo Alto Software told me that the dynamic of his relationship with his ex-wife improved. He was able to become the caregiver and take care of his children's issues when they arose due to work flexibility and management understanding. 

The reality is that no matter how much an employer wants an employee to put the business first, that’s not realistic. Employers need to be realistic, and employees need to feel that their personal life is just as important as their work life. From here, if you grant them this understanding, their loyalty towards you and your business will only increase.

Edited for length and clarity by Nicole Taylor.