Leading with FACE

For me, the main role of a leader is to get the most of their team. Everything else within the term leadership is about how we go about achieving this. It’s about creating an environment that is inclusive for everyone, that fits everyone’s individual needs and where everyone can thrive. At PeopleUnboxed, this is when we talk about ‘leading with FACE’.


When employees are given some flexibility over personalising their work environment, they’re happier and up to 32% more productive too. It’s about understanding the different needs of individuals.

  • Consider shift patterns and working time arrangements, factoring in downtime and recovery time.
  • Support collaboration with deadlines and duties, stepping in to help if someone is struggling.
  • Recognise different personalities and cultures and how to flex accordingly, as well as recognising the level of support and direction individuals need.
  • Be open-minded and adaptable to what your people need in the moment – whether that’s their work location or specifics about the work environment or preferred ways of working.



If you want people to buy into you and what you’re trying to achieve, you need to be authentic. This is all about being true to yourself and also not hiding it from others.

  • Be human, let them get to know the real you.
  • Set the example when it comes to work-life balance, or juggling work and kids. If you are struggling or have kids in the background on calls then be honest about it.
  • Lead with integrity and honesty – this builds trust and people know where they stand, it will make people feel at ease.
  • Be aware of yourself – like the oxygen mask on the plane, you must put your own on before anyone else’s – you can’t support others wellbeing if you’re not looking after your own, so ask for support if you need it.


Building a sense of connection across your team is essential. This is more than you building personal rapport with each member, it’s about creating a team culture.

  • Know your people – recognise when they might be at that tipping point, know them as individuals, know what their emotional triggers are and how they respond to pressure, recognise if they are behaving differently and could be anxious or not coping so well.
  • Encourage open and regular communication and idea-sharing. Also, recognise that some people will open up better 1-1.
  • Help them to build support networks with peers, or outside of work, which will help with their ability to be resilient.
  • Genuinely care about your people. When we ask “How are you?”, we expect and usually receive the answer “Fine, OK, good”. This exchange has lost its true meaning and instead is synonymous with a simple hello. If you genuinely want to ask about someone’s wellbeing, consider your second or follow-up question? “How are you feeling right now?”, “How’s your workload?”, “Did you make time for yourself last night?”, “Did you manage to go for your lunchtime walk today?”. Without asking a follow-up question, it’s unlikely you’ll learn anything about their true mental state. Next time you ask “How are you?”, just take a second to think if you really want to know how they are or if you’re simply saying hello.



Our people want to know that we want them to succeed and that we will be supportive when they need us.

  • Have coaching and mentoring conversations where needed, allowing the team to feel that you have their back and you are there to help.
  • Ensure they have a sense of purpose, clear goals and understand how they are contributing as a valued member of the team.
  • Be proactive about celebrating both individual and team successes.
  • Nurture confidence with career growth discussions and personal development plans, focussing not only on improving areas of weakness, but also on recognising and building on strengths.


If we can deliver on all elements of FACE, we are likely to achieve a culture of psychological safety – a culture where people feel confident to be themselves and don’t fear they will be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes. This is where employees perform at their best, and where leaders can say that they’ve earned their salary!




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