Psychologists tell us that all emotions, decisions, and actions are rooted in one of the two basic human motives: love or fear. Love gives rise to generosity, respect, joy, patience, honor, understanding, honesty, growth, and abundance. Fear creates greed, selfishness, deception, bitterness, and stagnation.
Love should not be restricted to personal or romantic matters. Love is practical in all areas of life, and it’s the key to true long-term success, especially in business. If the L word feels inappropriate at work, that’s tragic, because love is at the very foundation of great leadership and it is a hard-core business principle. Don’t dismiss this as a load of California touchy feely hoo-ha crap.
What is Love in the Context of Business?
We want our clients to love our service and business. That’s where the competitive advantage comes from. Mere satisfaction isn’t enough. To create and sustain an experience that our clients will love, we need an environment that our people love working in. And that culture won’t happen unless you, the leader, love the business first.
Love in business starts by your genuinely caring for the needs of the people you work with and the clients you serve, and showing it in the ways you interact with and serve them. It creates the drive to go above and beyond the norm.
No one is exempt from this. Whether your work entails serving coffee to early-morning patrons, teaching a classroom full of third graders, voting to pass a bill, or leading a tech company, finding concrete ways to demonstrate and cultivate love will give you a significant advantage.
Benefits of Love-Based Business Practices
Acting from love in your business brings about a wealth of benefits. When employees feel love, they are more loyal, innovative, creative, and inspired. When you genuinely care about your clients, everyone knows it, and donors reciprocate by putting more money in your pocket and talking about you to their friends. Healthy employee and client retention, combined with the growth and abundance associated with love-based decisions, makes for an overall healthy and successful business. Give love to get sustainable results. It’s a big-picture strategy.
Cultivating love requires self-reflection and awareness, which will enhance and deepen all of your relationships, at work and beyond.
How to Cultivate Love in Your Business
Ideally, leading with love starts at the top of the organization and is consciously and intentionally woven into the company culture, systems, policies and procedures. We can design love into the way we hire, train, motivate, reward, compensate, discipline, deliver, and respond.
But sometimes the boss just doesn’t get it, or doesn’t want to. So let’s start with you. Regardless of your position, title, or location on the organizational chart, you can have a significant impact on your colleagues and clients.
This isn’t about putting on a happy face or pretending everything is great, even when it’s not. It’s not about having a big group hug in the hallway. It’s about cultivating an environment where you’re mutually committed to one another’s hopes, needs, dreams and aspirations – and those of your clients, especially.
Start here: Give yourself a Love Assessment. Be honest. Rate yourself from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) on each statement below.
- I consistently demonstrate that I am doing the work I love.
- I am passionate about the work and the people I lead.
- Through my actions and words, I inspire others to love the organization, the team, and the work.
- I show genuine caring and interest in employees and clients.
How did you do? How can you improve? Asking employees, colleagues, and clients for feedback can help you find ways to improve, too.
Steve Farber, president of Extreme Leadership, is a senior-level leadership coach and consultant who has worked with a wide variety of public and private organizations in virtually every arena. Coaching and inspiring Extreme Leadership at all organizational levels is Steve’s passion, and he does so with a style that is part strategist, part social commentator, and all energy. He’s a member of The Transformational Leadership Council and has served as Vice Chairman on the Board of Up With People, a global leadership program for students 18-29 years old. www.stevefarber.com
This article is reprinted from Issue #9 of Nonprofit Performance Magazine. Subscribe today so that you won’t miss other actionable articles that will help you run your nonprofit organization with less pain and more gain!
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