Human First, Leader Second: Workplace Culture Needs to Center Humanity

by | Nov 3, 2022 | Hummingbird Blog, Hummingbird Blog Response

Since I launched Hummingbird Humanity in 2020, I have been on various podcast shows to talk about culture change, human centered workplaces, inclusive leadership, and the importance of amplifying the voices of the unheard. 

I recently spoke with Kindra Maples, the host of Culture Crush Business Podcast, and fellow guest Sentari Minor, Head of Strategy for evolvedMD. We had a candid conversation about mental health, psychological safety, and what it means to be human in the workplace. 

The Hummingbird Blog has been helping me get more comfortable sharing stories about my professional and personal experiences. After several months of sharing, I wish I could say that being vulnerable doesn’t spark some level of angst, but it still does. I am human first and a leader second. 

For others to acknowledge my full humanity, I have to be willing to show up and be seen for exactly who I am. A leader who struggles to make self-care a regular and consistent part of my life. A leader who is quick to show up for colleagues, clients, family, and friends but sometimes delayed in showing up for myself. A person who has a hard time turning work off and making time for connection that isn’t tied to the meaningful work I do at Hummingbird Humanity. 

As I reflect on the conversation I had with Kindra and Sentari, I can’t help but be moved by the conversation. The three of us honestly discussed what it means to be a human being and not just a human doing work. Who we are as people impacts the way we cultivate a human centered workplace and how we lead our teams. 

We need all leaders to commit to building a human centered workplace culture that genuinely centers humanity–seeing the people behind the numbers, spreadsheets, and strategic plans. In addition, creating psychological safety in the workplace allows people to express when they are burnt out, overwhelmed, and need support. 

Being a leader is complex, nuanced, and challenging at times. But what gets me and so many other human centered leaders I know through the difficult moments is that we never lose sight of the fact that we are human first, leader second. 

Keeping your own humanity in mind while leading allows you to recognize the humanity of the people who make up your team. 

Be sure to listen to the Culture Crush Business Podcast. I’d also love to hear your thoughts on my conversation with Kindra and Sentari. You can reach me at to let me know what you think of the episode. 

About the Podcast:

Culture Crush Business Podcast is the only podcast that does a deep dive into a variety of companies that are crushing it with a great company culture. There are many podcasts out there that focus on business, supporting employees, highlighting values and company missions… but there is only ONE that focuses only on company culture, how to keep it strong, and how to use it to support the growth of the company. Culture is not just a tag word to be thrown around. It is not something you throw in job descriptions to draw people to apply for jobs within a company. On this long-form podcast, we highlight companies, both local to Arizona and nationally, that are crushing it with a great culture!

Brian McComak

Brian McComak

CEO / Founder

he / him / LGBTQ+

Brian McComak is a consultant, speaker, author, and facilitator with over 25 years of experience in DEI, HR, culture, change management, internal communications, and employee experience. He is an openly gay man and a person with a disability who shares his lived experiences in service of fostering workplaces where humans thrive.

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