Love is the most difficult word to define in the English language. Mostly because it has almost as many different meanings as there are people who use the word.
From saying, “I love the Colts” to “God is Love”; there are many different levels of meaning for this word. When focusing on love in Leadership, the word can be used to define one’s passion, caring and understanding for those they lead and commitment to the mission of the organization. You may have heard the saying, “people don’t care how much you know, unless they know how much you care”.
Without love there can be no leadership.
In the wonderful book “The Leadership Challenge”, the authors identify “encouraging the heart” as one of the exemplary practices of leadership. I contend that you must appropriately love others in order to lead them. Many mistakes can be forgiven in leadership, but to not love those you lead and the values and purposes that they hold dear can be the unforgivable sin.
If you, as a leader, do not truly love those you are leading, you cannot expect anyone to follow. Would you follow someone you didn’t think cared about you?
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” –1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV)
Without communication of love there can be no leadership.
The words we use in Leadership are important, but not nearly as important as the motive of the heart with which they are spoken. So, as we pay attention to the words we use, may we pay even more special attention to the motives of our heart when dealing with and leading others.
We can have the best mission and vision for an organization there has ever been, but if we cannot clearly communicate that vision in such a way that those following know you care about them as individuals, you will not accomplish that mission.
Without love you will just be taking a walk…alone.
Love is the most important trait that a leader can have because without it, no one will follow for very long. And as Dr. John C. Maxwell says, “He who thinketh he leadeth and hath no one following, only taketh a walk.” If you want to do more than just take a walk alone, you must love those whom you serve and lead.
What will you do this week to show those you lead that you love them? How do you think they’ll respond? Why?
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