Leadership: What’s Love Got to do with it?

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What\'s Love Got to do with Leadership?Suzanne Schroeter / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Valentine’s Day gets everyone thinking about love. While we mostly think of family and significant others at this time of year, I’d like to suggest that you also consider your leadership. What’s love got to do with leadership? A lot, it turns out. (No, I’m not talking about romantic love at work – your HR department likely has rules about that!)

Rather, I’d like to talk about a different type of love. When you close your eyes and think about work, do you get a warm and happy feeling? Or do you feel unhappy and realize you are frowning? If you are a leader who doesn’t love what you do, ask yourself how that may be impacting the rest of your organization. As a leader, you are watched all of the time, whether you like it or not. And if you truly dislike your job, that will become obvious to your employees over time. When they realize their boss hates their job, they might start thinking about reasons to hate their own job. Negativity spreads quickly throughout an organization and can cause significant performance issues such as declining sales, turnover, and more. If you truly dislike your job, you owe it to your organization to figure out how to change it so you actually enjoy what you do.

If you love your job, then how do you feel about your employees? Do you care for them as individuals? Do you show interest in their needs? Is yours a positive culture of support and encouragement? If you have a caring heart, it will show through in your daily interactions with your team. That doesn’t mean you won’t get frustrated with their behavior at times. Just like with family, sometimes we become disappointed with our team. However, if you genuinely care for them, those occasional disappointments will not become significant obstacles to success.

On the other hand, if you really don’t care for your employees, they will sense that, too. Do you think you can possibly get someone’s best effort if they know you really don’t like them? It’s very unlikely. If you truly dislike some of your team, then you can either change your perspective, or replace the people with others who are a better fit for your organization. Neither option is easy, but both are critical to your long-term success.

On this Valentine’s weekend, consider how loving your job and your people can be a key indicator of leadership success.

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