Is your executive leadership thinking about love?
Love isn’t a word you often hear in most business settings. It seems too personal; too emotional. You would be more comfortable talking about your love for your children and, hopefully, your partner. Business is about profit, efficiency, cost-containment, marketing. Right?
Certainly, business is about all of those things. But, central to business and business success is people. People are your customers. People make your business work. The more effective you are with people, the better your business will run. And, people thrive when they are loved!
What does it mean to be a loving leader?
- Put the interest of others above your own. Adam Grant wrote a very interesting book on this topic entitled, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success. He builds a compelling case that those who are more concerned about being helpful than in getting as much as they can for themselves actually create more success than their self-interested counterparts.
- Get to know people. In my leadership coaching program, I often coach my executive clients to start every conversation with some personal questions. “How was your weekend?” “How are your kids doing?” “Where did you go on vacation?” Simply showing interest in people as people communicates that you have an interest in their welfare and don’t simply see them as a potential customer or a cog in your business machine.
- Show compassion and care. Acts of kindness seem to be remembered forever. When you go out of your way to send a personal note to someone who is having difficulty or give a few extra days off for a family need, your graciousness will be rewarded with loyalty and commitment that far exceeds the goodness you extended.
- Let people know you. It is so important for people to understand that you are human; that you make mistakes; that you have sleepless nights. The more people understand your dreams and fears, the more they will rally around you to support your goals and initiatives.
- Be transparent about your love. One story that has stayed with me for years is about a leader who needed to lay some of people off. I was told that she cried as she announced the layoffs. The pain she showed in making such a difficult decision caused people to feel loved even when losing their job.
What do you think? Is this good advice? If so, are you willing to give it a try? If not, is it because you are simply buttoned up too tight to show this kind of care? I have met many people who have detached or hidden from the emotional side of themselves. They can speak from their head, but not from their heart.
This is something to work on. Please reach out and connect with me.