Field service executives can be described in many ways — strategic, visionary or even heroic. But those lofty terms can overshadow a trait that’s critical to effective leadership — humanity — driving a wedge between executives and the employees they lead.

Tim Leberecht, CMO of design firm NBBJ and author of “The Business Romantic: Give Everything, Quantify Nothing, and Create Something Greater Than Yourself,” recently shared three ways leaders can reveal their human side to earn the trust and respect of employees.

1. Show Emotions

Business leaders tend to put on a steely demeanor that portrays seriousness, rationality and control in the face of uncertain situations. But occasionally letting that guard down and expressing genuine emotions to your team cements their trust and loyalty. By showing vulnerability, whether it’s extreme joy or worry, leaders can prove they value more than cut-and-dry business goals.

2. Be Playful

As a business leader, you shouldn’t want to be perceived as a stiff, buttoned-up suit who takes his or herself way too seriously. Express yourself. Show personality and passions. It’ll go a long way toward making you seem more like a human and less like a managerial robot. What’s more, sharing the fun aspects of your personality can make interactions with your team feel more natural and comfortable.

3. Question Everything

Top executives know that there’s often more than one path to success in business. As a result, some leaders are ditching the “my way or the highway” approach to be open to alternative solutions. Futurist Paul Saffo has adopted a “strong opinions, weakly held” mantra that demonstrates flexibility and open-mindedness in the face of tough decisions.

If there’s a leadership crisis — and new research suggests there is — the old ways of leading won’t suffice. Employees no longer want to be led by an emotionless bot they can’t relate to. Revealing a more vulnerable, human side of your personality to your team proves that you’re just as flawed and complex as they are. And that can be the key to earning their respect, loyalty and trust.

H/T: Harvard Business Review

ABOUT Preeti Upadhyaya

Avatar photoPreeti is a multimedia journalist with expertise in technology, economics and markets reporting. Her work has been featured on Marketplace, Chicago Public Radio, MarketWatch, the Wall Street Journal and other publications. Preeti has a M.S. in advanced business reporting from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.