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  • Writer's pictureFred Petito

Great Leaders Prioritize People Over Process


There is a dramatic difference between executives who prioritize leading people over those who prioritize managing processes. While both are important for effective leadership, they serve different purposes and have a different impact on organizational success.

Executives typically advance in organizations based on a track record of getting things done. Cultivating and growing their people, while encouraged, often doesn’t receive as much weight in many talent management systems. The outcome is that many leaders have an underdeveloped ability to actually lead people. They over-index on managing processes much to the detriment of the people on their teams and the broader organization.

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Five Benefits of Prioritizing People Over Process

It’s the people within an organization who drive success. Prioritizing people fosters deeper employee engagement and creates an environment where individuals thrive, and the organization is better positioned to achieve sustainable success. Consider these five benefits of prioritizing people over process.

  1. It’s More Inspiring and Motivating: Leadership involves inspiring and motivating people to achieve their best. Leaders who create a shared vision, set goals and inspire employees to work towards those goals. By focusing on people, leaders can tap into their team’s potential, cultivate innovation, and create a positive culture that drives high performance.

  2. It Fosters Employee Growth and Engagement: Effective leaders recognize the strengths and potential of their team members. They invest time in developing their skills, providing guidance, and empowering them. By leading people instead of managing processes, leaders support personal and professional growth, increase job satisfaction, and create a sense of fulfillment.

  3. It Builds Relationships and Trust: Leaders who prioritize people understand the importance of open communication, active listening, and creating a supportive environment. By focusing on building relationships, leaders establish trust and create a sense of belonging within the team.

  4. It Maintains Morale During Change and Difficult Periods: By leading during times of change and difficulty, leaders help employees navigate uncertainty, overcome resistance, and embrace new ways of working. Effective leadership during these times is crucial for maintaining employee morale, engagement, and productivity.

  5. It Creates a Healthy Culture: The culture of an organization has a significant impact on employee engagement, satisfaction, and performance. Leaders who prioritize people shape and influence a culture that cultivates collaboration, a sense of belonging, and ultimately better organizational outcomes.


Executives that prioritize people over processes don’t possess unique skills. What they have is the ability to bring humanity and vulnerability to their role as leaders, and a desire to help people attain their full potential. As Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”

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