The humanist approach: key to success in everything - part II

The humanist approach: key to success in everything - part II

When I look at the world I'm pessimistic, but when I look at people I am optimistic."(Carl Rogers, 1961)


So… Recruiting becomes social and has to adopt a humanistic approach in order to attract or find talents. Maybe social media is clear, for most of us, because we are using it on a daily basis. But, what is humanistic approach? And why to adopt it in order to attract and find talents?

The humanistic approach start from the assumption that every person has his/her own unique way of perceiving and understanding the world and that the things we do only make sense in this light.  People have free will, isn’t it(?), and are capable of choosing their own action - although they may not always realize this mostly because it is more comfortable to let others to choose for you-  and they have also a natural tendency towards growth and the fulfillment of their potential. People might only fulfill their potential for growth if they had a basically positive view of themselves (positive self-esteem or self-worth) and are regarded positively and unconditionally by others (unconditionalpositive regard). For Carl Rogers (1959), one of the parents of the Humanistic Approach, a person who has high self-worth, that is, has confidence and positive feelings about him or herself, faces easier challenges in life, accepts failure and unhappiness at times, learns from mistakes, assume responsibilities on a bigger scale and is open with people, or people oriented. This applies entirely in career life too, maybe you already identified the profile of a high potential leader in the above portrait.


Positive regard refers to how other people evaluate and judge us in social interaction and is not withdrawn if the person does something wrong or makes a mistake.  The consequences of unconditional positive regard are that the person feels free to try things out and make mistakes, even though this may lead to getting it worse at times. So, if the employees feel that they are valued, trusted and respected for what they are without reservation by their leader, achieving performance is indeed easier to track on the calendar.


That is why many HR processes should be focused on how people can be helped to fulfill their potential and lead more contented lives and how can jobs be matched with personality traits from the very beginning of the recruiting process, otherwise a mismatched recruiting process could cost the company a lot of money. It is considered that a failure in recruiting a middle or top management position costs 3x the salary costs (both direct and indirect costs) with that employee.


So dear recruiter, if you asked so far the question ‘what is this person like?’, you took an objective view of people, but if you say “‘what is it like to be this person?” you are going into the direction of understanding people’s subjectivity and are using a different perspective: the humanist approach.

Unfortunately, most people don’t perceive the positive regard of others as being unconditional, mainly because we were not educated in this direction. But for education I dedicated another chapter, another virtual page. In fact, the majority of us think, we will only be loved and valued if we meet certain conditions of worth (e.g. behaving well, finishing projects on time, sticking to rules etc.) These conditions of worth create incongruity between the real self (how we are) and the ideal self (how we think we should be). A person is said to be in a state of incongruence if some of the totality of their experience is unacceptable to them and is denied or distorted in the self-image. And most of us are trying to close the gap between the real and ideal self in unhelpful, sometimes aggressive ways, possibly by chasing achievements or career that won’t actually make us content or by distorting our view of ourselves or the world. For example a potential candidate who believes he is only worth being hired if he hides, lies or denies any mistake or misbehavior he or she had in his past jobs, he/she may deal with the recruiting process either by posing as the perfect employee and taking the art of lying up to the next level (and so convincing easily a recruiter or Line Manager that he/she is the perfect match), or by seeking constantly approval from other people and relying entirely on the outside support, thus losing the contact with him/herself  and his/her career goal. Therefore, if you ask him directly, "What do you want to do ... with your job, life?", whatever, the answer would be... no answer, because he/she has no idea. In this game, no one wins, neither the candidate, who will repeat the same incongruence at the next job, nor the recruiter who will find out sooner or later that the perfect candidate is miserable or is gone…


In parenting, we are talking about unconditional love or unconditional parenting. However, we are still conditioning our kids with a great talent, and unfortunately most of the time, on an unconscious level. It is hard to give up so many years of conditioning inherited from our parents, who inherited from their parents and so on, which is built up when positive regard, praise and approval, depend upon the child, for example, behaving in ways that the parents think correct.  Hence the child is not loved for the person he or she is, but on condition that he or she behaves only in ways approved by the parent(s). 


If a company really wants that its employees "grow", then this company need to set up a proper environment that provides them with genuineness (openness and self-disclosure), acceptance (being seen with unconditional positive regard), and empathy (being listened to and understood). What if our work gave us opportunity to fulfill growth needs? What if the organization we work for allowed us to help make the policy decisions that would affect the well-being of ourselves and others, for example? In what way would then the current state be different in the future?


And if you think that most of us spend more than 30% of our lives at work, and yet this work may not give us the opportunity to pursue what we find important: self-actualization, then maybe it’s time for you to start learning how to decipher communication, thinking and behavior patterns in you and the others. In such a way that, if you need, for example, to know if the candidate in front of you is mainly auditory oriented, because you already know from the previous article, that they could be happy to work in a call center or in business development jungle, you just have to learn that the easiest way to identify an auditory oriented person is by listening to their expressions from the first 10 minutes. They often use phrases like:

  • Sounds good to me
  • That rings a bell
  • I hear you.
  • Tell me more
  • That rings true
  • That sounds like fun.
  • Let’s do this just for the fun of it.


Other keywords: hear, ask, resonate, talk, tell, fun, sound.

You would probably find out also something about their strong skills, that they are good story tellers and can influence people (to buy company's products for example), they like talking on the phone, they have a lot of bright ideas, are very open and direct and also creative and emotional. They are very enthusiastic, optimistic, persuasive, charming, very energetic, love people, are very dynamic promoters, are animated, funny and love to hear themselves and the others talking. Sounds familiar?

Their main weaknesses? They can lack focus and get scattered.

They like action plans… to help them stay focused but they dislike too much technical stuff which they find boring.


What motivates them? They want to have or work into a business environment that is FUN. They enjoy attending events with a lot of “fun” activities.

Indeed, each of us has a mix of all styles but we have one that we prefer and operate in most of the time. By adapting our style and learning to speak others’ language, we can relate better to them and get better results. And if you “speak” the others language…then they are more likely to “hear” what you are “saying” and therefore become a high potential employee or join you as a business partner.


I was born a kino (kinesthetic-feeling, touching, experiencing) like the majority of us, and then turned from primary school into a genuine auditory person until I was 33, when I finally learnt to think in images and mind maps and speak the others’ language, adapting my communication and interaction style to the others. And I still have a lot to learn, because this is a life long journey, a process of always becoming and changing. In this way I stay in touch with the here and now, with my subjective experiences and feelings, continually growing and changing, like you and the others.

Alte articole

Cândva, într-un trecut nu foarte îndepărtat am lucrat în medii organizaționale toxice. Acum, când mă uit înapoi, cu mândrie aș putea spune,...

Să ies din starea de lâncezeală, "legumă", împietrire, dezinteres, demotivare … și să ajut cumva lumea, prin lume înțelegând un prieten care e în...


Când a fost ultima oară când ai luat micul dejun, prânzul sau cina, sau o simplă cafea în pauza de la birou fără să ai cu tine telefonul sau...

Arta de a greși

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable,
but more useful than a life spent doing nothing”. (George...

vise aptitudini

Ce credeți că au în comun filmele How to train your dragon?, Frozen, Tangled...

I believe in purposeful organisations

I really do. Actually in the necessity to work and be part of a purposeful organization. We spend so much time of our life at work, around 1728 ...

Lessons learnt from toxic people

I've thought many times at this subject but I haven’t found till now the pause to turn it into an article about toxic people, more specifically...

Mandalas - for a short break with kids or at the office

I “heard” about them for the first time a few years ago when reading C. G. Jung, the Swiss psychoanalyst and psychiatrist who re-introduced...