Love and today’s modern workplace seem to have little in common. If you believe the results of polls and surveys, most persons don’t love their work or the people they work with. This jaded view has certainly contributed to a decrease in morale, lower job satisfaction, and diminished levels of engagement.
Leaders often overlook the significant role they play in creating these unhappy scenarios. So, on a day we dedicate to expressions of love, Valentine’s Day, it seems appropriate to consider some concrete ways leaders could improve their relationships with the persons they employ and lead every day.
Let me state clearly that the love I am writing about is not the lustful, selfish version often depicted in advertisements, magazines, and movies. The love I am advocating has more to do with the pleasure we take in doing our work and the respect we have for those we work with.
Since most of a leader’s work involves relationships and interactions with people, it only makes sense that love would guide his or her daily actions and decisions. Here are a few specific attributes of love, and its applications at work, that came to my mind.
- Love is patient and kind. Leaders must persist against the odds and genuinely care about the needs of others.
- Love is not envious or boastful. Leaders should guard against wishing for what others have or being overly proud of their personal or professional accomplishments.
- Love isn’t arrogant or rude. Leaders don’t exaggerate their own importance or act in impolite ways.
- Love doesn’t demand its own way or act in an irritable or resentful manner. Leaders shouldn’t be hard to please, intolerant, or bitter when things don’t go their way.
- Love rejoices in the truth. Leaders should encourage their direct reports and co-workers to tell the truth without fear of retribution.
- Love bears, believes, hopes, and endures. Leaders need to accept change and differing opinions, trust those they work with, express optimism and confidence in the future, and tolerate the faults of others.
For those leaders who cynically wonder what love has to do with work and the workplace, perhaps these musings will encourage you to reconsider your position. I hope leaders will be inspired to practice the way of love in all of their encounters, not just on a day designated to celebrate love, but every day of the year.
If you are a music lover, it’s likely you recognize my blog title as the same phrase attributed to Tina Turner’s Grammy winning Song of the Year in 1984. Unlike the lyrics of the song, I believe love is more than a side effect or distraction in a relationship.