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PGC Digital: Five steps to "more human" leadership

Hutch co-founder and CEO Shaun Rutland talks a journey through leadership
PGC Digital: Five steps to

Speaking at Pocket Gamer Connects Digital NEXT, Hutch co-founder and CEO Shaun Rutland discussed five steps to "more human" leadership.

Rutland began by recognising that all leaders are different and they do different things but that these tips can help people to do their best work and create a fairer working environment for the team.

Looking after yourself was the first step Rutland discussed, as "unhappy people make unhappy leaders".

Rutland believes that physical and mental health are a priority and that issues that you take or bring from home into work can greatly affect your leadership abilities.

Putting boundaries in place between work and home life is one tip Rutland gives to leaders, as well as occasional breaks and taking the time to find headspace.

"Taking a holiday is one of the best things you can do if you're getting stuck," said Rutland.

"After I took a break of around five to six weeks I came back feeling super rejuvenated and ready for the next phase of the business. Going on holiday averted me going into a meltdown moment."

Human leadership

The next important step is to trust your team and build a team around you that you can trust and give them problems that they can solve.

“Taking a holiday is one of the best things you can do if you're getting stuck”
Shaun Rutland

"Autonomy drives a sense of ownership but you can’t really have it unless you’re transparent and build trust with your team," explained Rutland.

"It’s kind and right to point out if your employees are not living up to expectations so that they can evolve and redirect their approach. Most times I have seen people turn things around as they are getting very clear directions.

Rutland details that often employees are unaware that they are not meeting expectations and that it is important that they know what they are. This common ground of communication can generate trust between employees and leaders.

The third step to "more human" leadership is listening as if people are not listened to issues can potentially manifest into rumours and worse things.

"Some questions are tough but responding in a human way can get people to empathise with what you’re trying to do," said Rutland.

Rutland explained that one effective method of tackling hard topics is to "walk and talk” and this is a less aggressive approach and allows people to be more open.

Define your values

The fourth thing Rutland has learned about leadership is to live by your values.

“Define your human values and be your authentic self”
Shaun Rutland

"Being a CEO is a privilege but it is not easy and has a lot of responsibilities," said Rutland.

"I want to be treated like a human so I think of my teams in this way. I want to know what makes them tick and what can make them do better work."

Rutland advises that leaders practice servant leadership as this can help leaders feel "more like a coach and not a player".

The final thing that Rutland has learned as a leader is to "be more human".

"Define your human values and be your authentic self," said Rutland.

"When I started I thought that I had to be tough but I realised that leadership is about being who I am and being proud of who I am. The world is changing and people expect leaders of the future to be more human."

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