Transformational Leadership: Human Experience is the Future of the Industry

by Nancy Robles Monitor 50th Anniversary 2023
In a special essay for Monitor, Nancy Robles reflects on the increasing importance of honoring the human experience within a company culture. She says the most successful companies will be built on integrity, ethics, trust and humanity.

Nancy Robles,
President and Compliance Officer,
Eastern Funding

As I look within the equipment finance industry, I am inspired by the new, courageous conversations that are happening. I have participated in many industry gatherings that were fully committed to the conversation about our human experience. While the discussions regarding interest rates, inventory, the economy and, ultimately, profits are still critical and happen regularly, we’ve made room for more. We are stretching as we have recognized that as leaders we are called upon to do more than just increase the bottom line. We are called upon to make a change through uncomfortable conversations, unconventional decision making and taking brave positions.

Focusing on the human experience implies a full acceptance that people are the most critical component of a successful business. The full breadth of the human experience includes creating diverse workplaces in which individuals are valued in their completeness. We must create safe places for people to show up in their most authentic version with all their talent and imperfections and places where a culture of belonging opens the door for true innovation and professional growth.

DEI is more than an acronym or trendy slogan; it is the experience of being appreciated and valued as the complete human showing up at the workplace. It is the safety to fail forward or take risks without the fear or pressure of adhering to different standards. It is the act of giving permission for full authenticity without the fear of stereotypes or microaggressions. DEI and belonging are game changers when attracting, retaining and developing talent.

Caring about the human experience includes accepting that mental health is a critical component of every individual who shows up at the workplace. It also includes giving yourself, as a leader — as well as your talent — the permission to understand how mental health impacts everyday life as well as how work-life integration changes the paradigm. It’s a new model that says, we care about the entire human because we understand that acknowledging this part of our humanity also requires that we provide the right tools. In the same fashion, many organizations provide access to opportunities to engage in physical health activities, the same should be provided for mental health. Why is it okay to talk about a heart attack or broken arm, but not anxiety or depression?

In closing, transforming our workplaces to include a culture that nurtures humans and creates a safe place to bring all your talent is how company success can be measured beyond the bottom line. Companies will ultimately fail or thrive based on their ability to do this. Transformational leadership is rooted in understanding that being a better organization begins with a company atmosphere that is built on integrity, ethics, trust and humanity. A wonderful place to work that provides an incredible customer experience starts with leadership that sees more than numbers on a balance sheet. As an industry, it is imperative that we acknowledge the importance of transformational leadership and continue to transform in the positive ways critical for the organizations we lead.

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