Leadership Article


Love – a 4 Letter Word at Work?

The love that I am referring to is not office romance or sexual. What I mean is the love that we need as humans as much as we need food and drink. The deep need to feel connected and matter to others.

I am aware of writings and research on the topics of spirituality in the workplace, inclusion, engagement and social responsibility. I could find only two discourses on this very basic topic of love in the workplace. Is that because at work “it’s only business”? Or is it because there’s no safety to speak it out loud for fear that it will be seen as inappropriate?

We all know that we spend at least one third of our time at work. It makes me wonder if we have splintered off a fundamental part of our psyches. That is to show up at work without an expectation of being loving or loved. It is my belief this disowning of our deep drive to love stems from our western way of thinking. Fragmenting our humanness because our logic discounts anything that cannot be measured.

It is no wonder that business ethics are now considered to be something to audit and enforced. Rather than behaving ethically because we want to do the right thing out of a deeper caring.

But here’s the thing, whether we say it out loud or not, we do love others in the work place, in appropriate ways. This shows up as kindness and consideration for co-workers. It looks like giving someone a second chance because everyone makes mistakes. It’s celebrating accomplishments and sharing disappointments. As in other parts of life, love can be simply expressed with a warm smile or complex with sincere admiration of another’s extraordinary contribution.

Criteria for companies to be on the list of The Best Companies to Work For exemplify what it is to express caring to their employees. Such companies show compassion with all manner of family friendly benefits, such as childcare, flexible schedules, job sharing, and extended unpaid leave of absence. In addition, there is the opportunity to make a contribution as part of an employee’s professional development. All are important to us as humans and workers.

But where it matters most is with a company’s leadership. Leaders own the culture. So if you are impatient, your team will follow your lead and become impatient. If you gossip you will create insecurity with your team and create a culture of insincerity. As leaders we are called to hold the higher ground and to let those we lead know they are appreciated even if imperfect.

As a leader within your workplace how do you demonstrate love to your team members so they can do their best work? Please post your comments and practices of this or other leadership topics to my blog: www.realchangeexperts.com/blog