Love & Leadership
What the world needs now is Love, sweet Love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.
I’ve always loved that song. It’s been part of my internal soundtrack for many years. I’m guessing everyone has an internal soundtrack, right?
“Love is the total absence of fear. Love asks no questions. Its natural state is one of extension and expansion, not comparison and measurement.” ~ Gerald Jampolsky, Psychologist
If you’ve ever participated in my program, The Bomb Proof Executive, you’ll most certainly have heard me quietly hum that song when setting up. It reminds me to bring Love into the learning space so people can do the courageous work of change.
Love belongs in leadership; it’s the secret sauce from which brave conversations, connection and creativity emerge. Love is a natural state for most people and the proper antidote to fear.
Recently a BBC Ukraine Reporter demonstrated love-based leadership when she told President Zelensky, I would really like to hug you, but I’m not allowed. Without hesitation, he walked out from behind his podium and hugged the reporter.
As I watched that moment, I experienced hope for our world. Love does indeed transcend barriers. Watch the video for yourself.
Zelensky hugs a reporter; love transcends.
One of the most memorable moments of my career was when I asked a team I was working with if I could swear to introduce the next piece of learning. They looked at each other with puzzled expressions, no doubt expecting an FBomb. But before they could respond, I shouted, “LOVE!”
We all laughed except one perturbed gentleman who stood up abruptly, shoving his chair back so hard it hit the wall. He. Thought. What. I. Offered. Was. Bullshit. Where was the leadership training?! Never mind this Love based leadership crap. And get a man in here, would you?! It was a pivot point for that team, confronting, humourous and the first of many tells of the costly fractures in their culture.
At that time, very few people talked about Love based leadership. Few people except this adorable little weirdo. The outburst was perfect and allowed us to dive deep quickly and explore the fear that held them back, their self-imposed barriers, lack of self-love and the prevailing culture that emerged from their combative leadership team.
Now consider the following experiences shared by a variety of people across a range of industries.
“I work in a toxic environment, they shun me and my ideas, and it’s killing me. But, I keep thinking, there’s probably nothing else out there that pays the same, so I’ve got to stick it out.”
“I’ve been thrown into a new job with no training and a backlog of work that’s suddenly become my responsibility. I keep thinking; if I were smarter, more efficient, I’d be able to handle it.“
“I recently received a promotion and am now expected to lead the same peers I worked elbow to elbow with. Now, I feel like a fraud, an imposter, and they’ll probably demote me soon.”
“The responsibilities of my fired manager became mine “temporarily” six months ago. I’ve been putting in long hours without a pay raise or shift in my title. Maybe it’s my problem that I can’t handle it all; my health and self-esteem are at an all-time low.”
Don’t let this happen on your leadership watch. Instead, here are some very easy-to-apply solutions that will begin to cultivate a love-based culture in your company.
Consciously adopt and generate:
- a spirit of curiosity
- respect for difference
- a commitment to learn
- listening beyond the right/wrong of a situation
- a generous listening of outliers
- a culture of belonging
- healthy feedback models
- regular heart-based acknowledgement
- transparent communication
- follow through on promises
Love-based leadership connects people to their values and sense of self-worth. This makes it possible for people to retain their mental health during tough situations, to doubt themselves and their abilities less and to develop resilience and courage.
All in all, this makes the world a much better place to be.
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