Humanistic Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University

As the world of business continues to evolve, one thing becomes increasingly clear: leaders must adapt, grow, and learn to lead with care and compassion. This message was recently underscored in a transformative learning experience for MBA students at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), where Brian Wellinghoff and David Pickersgill from Barry-Wehmiller, a company known for its commitment to Truly Human Leadership, led sessions during the introductory residency of the online MBA program. They led in collaboration with Dr. Chris Reina, head of the Institute for Transformative Leadership and a close partner in the work, and at the invitation of Dean Naomi Boyd – head of VCU’s business school. 

Listening, Recognition, and Personality Styles

At the heart of transformative leadership lies the ability to truly listen. In their sessions, Brian Wellinghoff and David Pickersgill emphasized the importance of active listening, recognition, and understanding personality styles. These essential skills were brought to life using the DISC personality inventory, a tool that helps individuals better comprehend their own and others’ behavior.

One student expressed their surprise and gratitude as a result of the session’s recognition activity. She was recognized publicly for her warmth and friendship, and her ability to welcome others into the group. Afterwards she said that this had made a great impact on her – the gifts she had in this area were not as obvious to her as they were to those around her.

A Lesson in Empathy and Understanding

Transformative leadership goes beyond the bottom line; it’s about fostering an environment where people feel valued and understood. Brian and David shared their expertise and experiences to help MBA students recognize the significance of these skills in the modern business landscape.

As future leaders, these students gained insights into how to create workplaces where employees feel heard, appreciated, and motivated. In a world where businesses must step up in order to address the challenges we face globally, the ability to connect with and inspire a diverse workforce is a powerful asset.

Leading Tomorrow’s Organizations with Care for People

The business landscape is continually shifting, demanding leaders who can navigate change with grace and compassion. The sessions at VCU’s MBA program served as an invaluable foundation for these students, equipping them with the skills and mindset needed to lead tomorrow’s organizations with care for people at the forefront.

In an era where technology is transforming industries and global challenges require innovative solutions, the human element remains irreplaceable. Leaders who prioritize people, recognize their individual worth, and cultivate environments of trust and collaboration are poised to make a lasting impact on their organizations and the world. The sessions at VCU’s MBA program underscore the importance of transformative leadership in today’s ever-changing business landscape. As these individuals continue their academic journey and step into leadership roles with increasing responsibility and span of care, they carry with them the vital lessons of listening, recognition, and understanding personality styles. Armed with these skills, they are well-equipped to lead with the skills and the courage to care.