On Love and Leadership

Leading in Love

“Love is a many splendored thing.”  “All you need is love.”  “Love me tender.”  “Love to love you baby.”  “Thou shalt love thy neighbor.”

Hmm.  I didn’t see anything about loving your employees.  I’m not saying you have to “love” them.  I’m talking about a simple relationship.  Think of it as love, without the . . . “love.”

Understanding Love

When we’re IN love, we’re in a whole ‘nother mindset.  Leadership is a different mindset also.  Lets take a look at some of the basics.

Love shows kindness . . . and kindness makes you someone who’s likeable.  People see that you’re someone they want to be around.  Someone that will be good to them . . . and in turn good for them.

Here is something the Bible says about love:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 New Living Translation (NLT)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

On Leadership and Love

As a leader, you need to be there for your employees.  You don’t have to win the “most popular” award every year, but you do need to be liked enough that they’ll be with you and follow you.  They can help you as much as you can help them.

In love, you lose your selfishness.  You become devoted to another.  We’re all selfish in one way or another, but we can get over that.

We’re always trying to get ahead.  Doing so in the wrong ways is being selfish.  Taking the credit for something that belongs to an employee(s) is selfish.  Don’t do it.  If the credit belongs to someone else, give it.  If it can be honestly shared then great.  Want what’s truly best for your staff.

Love is full of thoughtfulness.  It comes with the territory.

When you fall in love, thoughtfulness comes quite easily, right.  Buying flowers, opening doors, doing the dishes or laundry.  It’s a wonderful time.  Then over time it often starts to slow.  Just like in leadership.

Changing to Improve

When we become leaders or get promoted, we try hard from the outset – open-door policies, awards, being an open part of the team.  Then as time goes on, the door closes, the awards get put on the back burner, and you become “the boss.” But just like in love, we have to keep trying, changing, and improving our leadership skills.

When in love, we think the best of our love interest and show appreciation.

This person means the world to us and she/he is the best thing to ever come our way.  We buy flowers, we hold hands, we smile (a lot), we show the world how we feel.

Building Trust

In business we must think of our staff as the best in the business – or at least in the organization.  There’s another word you can use to describe this . . . TRUST.  If we don’t believe in and trust our employees then that’s what they’ll give us right back. It becomes a vicious circle that keeps growing until there’s absolutely no positive relationship at all.

How long do you think a love relationship would last like that?  Even the slightest bit of appreciation is better than none at all.

Love can harbor no jealousy.

If your love has a better job, so what.  If she/he has a bigger network or gets more awards, so what.

Leading With Humility

There’s no one leader in this world who knows everything.  Don’t pretend you do.  You can’t keep yourself surrounded by a bunch of “yes men.” A good leader will have people who have knowledge at ALL levels (even more than you) and have varying ideas.  You can sometimes learn as much from some of your employees as they can from you.

With love comes intimacy.  (And you know what I’m talking about.  Don’t go running to HR!)

In leadership, intimacy just means knowing your people.  Think of Tom Peters’ Managing by Wandering Around (MBWA).  Get out and see your folks.  Talk to them.  Find out about their families, their interests, their hopes for the future.

Find out what they need to do the best job that they can.

Being Faithful

Love generates faithfulness.  Love is a choice, not just a feeling.  It’s not a reaction, it’s an initiated action.

We choose to love someone because we feel a need and a want to be with that person.

Like love, leadership is a choice.  Leadership is not for everyone.  It takes a certain type of person to be really successful.  If you don’t want to do the job to the best of your ability . . . step away.

Effective Communication

And maybe most importantly, love needs communication.  Love needs open communication.  No beating around the bush.  No, “you should know what I’m thinking.”  Pure open communication . . . with discussion.

Leadership is no different.  We have to communicate clearly and concisely with our employees.  You can’t hold someone accountable for their work if they don’t know what they’re supposed to do.  People WANT to do their best.  They can’t do that without all the puzzle pieces.

And remember that even if you don’t have something to share, they still need to know that.  When people feel they’re lacking communication, they start filling in the gaps themselves.

A Work in Progress

People will commonly say, If you loved me ________ would come naturally.”  That’s so untrue.  Like I discussed earlier, we have to keep trying new things, modifying, and advancing.  Our leadership skills are no different.

They’re both a continuous work in progress!

How is your relationship with your staff?  What can you work on, short-term, to make things better?  What can you work on, long-term, to make things better?

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——————–
Andy Uskavitch
Andy Uskavitch is Leadership Development at Florida Blood Services
He develops and facilitates Leadership, Motivation & Teambuilding Seminars
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Blog |  (727) 568-5433

Image Sources: ountylive.ca

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One Response

  1. Thanks Andy for being one of the few to write about love in leadership! I like to tell my leaders that, “It’s okay to love your work, and in your work, love.” They so truly go together. Thanks again.

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