When people think about what is required to operate a successful business, they think of business models, revenue, profit, competition, and marketing, to name a few. These are certainly vital components, but one item that is often missing from the list is love. Leaders often shy away from the “L” word, but it can represent the secret to success for any organization. In his best-selling book, Love is Just Damn Good Business, Crestcom Subject Matter Expert Steve Farber explains, “When love is part of an organization’s framework, employees and customers feel genuinely valued. Employees are more loyal, innovative, creative and inspired. They are then more likely, in a meaningful and sustainable way over time, to produce products, services, and experiences that their customers will love. As a result, customers reciprocate with their loyalty, referrals, and, of course, money. Healthy employee relationships and customer retention, combined with the growth and abundance associated with love-based decisions, make for an overall healthy and successful business.”
The Need for Love in Leadership
Many studies show that there is a rise in loneliness around the world. In a 2020 report by Cigna, nearly half of Americans reported that they sometimes or always feel alone or left out. This has serious business consequences, as lonely workers are less engaged and less productive. They are twice as likely to miss work due to illness and five times as likely to miss work due to stress. The study also found that remote workers are more likely to report loneliness than in-person workers, which is troubling given the rapid move to remote work due to COVID-19. In-person workers are also experiencing ongoing stressors as they deal with the risks of exposure to illness and difficulties providing great service due to supply chain issues or being asked to enforce local safety mandates. It is more important than ever for leaders to support their teams in these challenging times.
5 Ways for Leaders to Bring Love to Work
- Prioritize Communication – Create an environment where employees can communicate openly about challenges that may affect their work performance. Showing love in leadership means asking how your team members are doing and then really listening to the answer.
- Offer Encouragement – When things are challenging or performance has been slipping, it may be time to focus on ways to encourage and inspire your team. Remember to talk about what is going right as much or more than what is going wrong.
- Connect Work with a Greater Purpose – Help your team focus on the greater purpose of their work. Remind them how their role helps their team members, customers, and the world. Creating a sense of purpose and meaning will energize them to accomplish difficult goals.
- Invest in Your People – To attract and retain talent, you must pay for it. Likewise, if you want talent to work with the same enthusiasm as ownership, you must trade equity for it. However, money is not the only way to show love in leadership. Investing in the training and development of your team will support their growth as individuals, improve performance, and help them reach their full potential.
- Have More Fun – People who have fun at work are happier, and happier people are more productive. Many studies have shown that having fun improves immunity, elevates endorphins, and decreases work absences. It also builds better teams. Consider having regular team outings or impromptu games and contests that break up the monotony of the workweek. Ask employees for ideas to find out what is fun for them!