Love and Leadership
In a corporate environment, love can be a four letter word. It’s just not used. There is more sensitivity and fear about it in the workplace than ever before and yet leadership without love leads to tyranny and corruption. We see it and experience it in the world daily. So, what about love in the workplace?
What about the fear that if you show you care you will be taken advantage of, pushed aside, not respected? Well, that’s what boundaries, discipline and structure are for. Love alone will not lead a team or an organization and yet without it, leadership is not only unsustainable, it leads to breakdown, burnout, decreased productivity, diminished creativity and high turnover.
Research shows that people don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses, so if you want to recruit and keep top talent, in addition to your skills and experience, you have got to bring your heart to work. Who are we without our hearts anyway? We are not being human. Without heart, work interactions are cold and transactional, resulting in the loss of caring, connection and humanity.
How do you show love in a corporate environment without getting yourself in trouble? You don’t have to use the actual ‘L’ word. You show it through loving action – by caring enough to listen to, respect, acknowledge, empower, be curious about and show warmth to your employees and co-workers. Of those, I’ve found the top three are listening, curiosity and acknowledgement. So how is it done?
Listen with complete focus on the other person. Don’t be thinking about how you’ll respond, just be present and listen to them – their words, and the energy behind their words. Then repeat back what you think you heard before responding to what was said.
Be curious by asking open ended questions rather than yes/no questions. Examples are: “What did you learn? How can we turn this around? What would make a difference? How’s the family?”
Acknowledgement is more than saying, “great job”, to be effective it has to be specific – name what the person did and the positive impact it had. Who or what did they impact and why?
In companies and teams where there is high productivity and low turnover, employees know they are loved, respected and cared for. You won’t hear them use the ‘L’ word, but that is the ingredient that keeps them coming back. You make a difference every day in how you show up, so make it a positive one. Don’t leave your heart at home. Express love through the practices of listening, curiosity and acknowledgement. Add healthy boundaries and you will supercharge your leadership both personally and professionally.
Sabrina Roblin, CPCC has been a professional coach, mentor, and trainer since 2004. She has worked successfully with individuals and for corporate clients that include Cargill, Medtronic and Stantec. Contact her for more information and a complimentary coaching session.