"A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong." - Dr. Brene Brown
I get a lot of criticism for bringing the word "love" into the workplace.
Not only do I consider that a shame, but I consider it naive to pretend love does not have its place. Think of the leaders that have truly inspired you. Go beyond Mother Teresa, Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Gandhi; think about the ones from your personal history. The ones who touched you. The ones who gave you something that allowed you to transcend the ordinary, who allowed you to thrive, who allowed you to engage in something that was bigger than yourself.
That was love.
Bringing love into your leadership style means giving your full resources to another. Seeing them rather than looking at them. Listening to them rather than hearing them. Connecting with them rather than managing them.
Is there a return on this investment? As author and researcher, Brene Brown, has said, "A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick." In the context of the workplace, Dr. Brown has described the difference between an engaged employee and a disconnected employee.
So, back to that question of return on investment: Jim Harter Ph.D., a chief scientist at Gallup Research explains: “Engaged employees are more attentive and vigilant. They look out for the needs of their coworkers and the overall enterprise, because they personally ‘own’ the result of their work and that of the organization.”
I have had leaders who instilled a deep sense of love and belonging. They received all of my attention, all of my effort, all of my creativity, all of my intellect. I have had leaders who did not give me the time of day. They received, well, not so much.
These are times that require us to use every resource available to us. We cannot - and we should not - squander anyone's potential. Look around. Are you missing opportunities to love your team?