The real, raw, emotional truth is that leading with love has very little to do with wearing your heart on your sleeve. The truth is, love is the foundation for a leadership development strategy that has everything to do with leading employees, teams, and ultimately organizations with a deep sense of purpose.
My business motivational keynote speaking event provides practical leadership development strategies to help your organization thrive in the most unpredictable, ever-changing business environment. Empower your leadership team with the skills to lead with love and drive business success.
Real Leaders Lead With Love
Research strongly suggests that caring at the workplace enhances communication, encourages creativity and innovation, it provides a setting for productive relationships between employees and their supervisors.
When people feel like you care about them, it reflects in your products, services, and company culture. Leading with love is all about forming a meaningful middle-ground between what your employees care about and your organization’s goals.
However, the art and science of love in the context of business isn’t something you can learn at business school or online. Think about how you learned to speak. It wasn’t in the classroom. It was on the playground.
You didn’t have to be taught to connect with others. You picked things up by interacting and forming relationships. The only way to learn how to love in the workplace is by doing. Let’s take a look at the ways you can lead with love.
6 Ways to Improve Leadership Skills
In my book, “Love is Just Damn Good Business,” I create an outline for leadership development coaching called LEAP. It stands for Love, Audacity, Energy, and Proof. I explain that, “the payoff for doing what you love is in the service for others: They love you back. Not just personally but organizationally.”
Leading With Love Through Praise and Appreciation
Many workers don’t feel like they get enough praise at work. A survey of 1500 workers across the US, UK, and Australia revealed that most managers don’t show their appreciation for their team members as often as they could. The results reported that 75% of employees felt morale would improve if their managers thanked them. This research suggests that it’s not always about monetary rewards (although people love those, too).
You don’t have to wait for a special occasion to show your thanks. One simple approach starts by thanking your team members personally whenever you can with words or actions. Whether it’s one on one, over an email, during a meeting, or just a nod and a wink in the hallway—this kind of recognition will reflect in your team’s morale.
Show Compassion and Empathy to Build Trust
Understanding how to effectively communicate with those around us is an essential part of any leader’s toolkit, but it goes beyond that—when we truly get what makes people tick, it gives us insight into their expectations and motivations. Showing empathy for others is not only good for business. It’s good for your career. You might find that compassion for others also strengthens your role in the organization and helps differentiate you from your peers.
Many organizations effectively use values like trust and respect to dramatically increase employee satisfaction and performance. OAC Services, Inc. is a successful design and construction company founded in 1955. OAC Services was already successful when they turned to The Extreme Leadership Institute, but they were looking for a more effective way to articulate their internal values and amplify their success in the face of growing market demands.
They implemented LEAP, The Extreme Leadership Institute’s core model for improving internal operations. Management and staff took LEAP to heart, and within a year, OAC Services made huge strides in employee satisfaction and productivity. They achieved this by creating organization-wide policies that removed communication barriers and brought out the best in people.
Listen to Employee Feedback
“One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears – by listening to them.”
Another way to motivate employees is by taking the time to listen to them. It’s easy for busy managers to hastily make important decisions without considering how they affect their employees’ day-to-day responsibilities. We get it—it’s just human nature!
While it is true that some people love talking about themselves, remember this: active listening and a thoughtful response work best. Why? Because the best decisions are the ones where everyone is engaged in the process.
When you involve your employees in decision-making, they feel more invested and their contributions improve. This means asking for candid feedback, listening carefully and using their thoughts whenever possible—even if you may disagree. That way, you’re demonstrating that their concerns and suggestions are important enough for your full attention if they come to you with an issue.
If this is put into the process, problems can often be solved more quickly and efficiently. This rings especially true when it comes to making decisions that have major impacts on an organization.
Improve Leadership Skills with Training and Opportunities
The truth about training is that the majority of companies in the US are historically bad at retraining workers. One of the main reasons talented employees leave organizations is that they feel their managers are not supporting them.
This is changing rapidly as many companies struggle to keep up. Recognizing individual talents and interests is a big piece of the puzzle. Sometimes people don’t know exactly what they need, but if you take the time to help them explore, they can find what’s missing in their lives.
How does a company help employees plan their pathways to success within the organization? The best way to do this is to explore different channels for lifelong learning opportunities, including government-supported programs like Mark Hagerott’s digital land grant proposal or institutionally driven programs like the USC for design technology business of innovation. The goal is always “How can I help?” and letting someone know that opportunities for personal growth are there.
Fortune 500 companies like Wells Fargo and Walmart are having success with this strategy. They show caring at the workplace through a learning culture that helps people plan pathways to success within the organization.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find Out What It Means to Them
Treating your employees with respect will positively affect morale, productivity, and overall job satisfaction. Employees know when they aren’t respected or trusted. If you want your employees to be productive and creative, make sure they feel like they are treated with dignity and respect.
Sometimes the best way to create and maintain trust in a workforce is by being there when things get tough. That’s why creating a work environment where you can freely discuss difficult topics related to the workplace is vital.
However, you can’t offer support if you don’t know what your employees’ problems are. Building a culture where employees feel comfortable discussing problematic issues without fear of judgment or retaliation can help. This means taking steps toward establishing trust and transparency. Often it takes an expert on leadership development coaching to open these lines of communication.
Consistently Lead with Love
“I will not like you all the same, but I will love you all the same. And whether I like you or not, my feelings will not interfere with my judgment of your effort and performance. You will be treated fairly. That’s a promise.”
–John R. Wooden
Research shows that when people feel loved and supported, they are more engaged and more satisfied with their jobs. And if there’s one place where managers are prone to failure, it’s in making employees feel loved and asking what they need and want.
In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs—one of the most comprehensive psychological models on human nature—love and belonging are numbers 3 of 5 on the list, right behind food and safety. Some people will even forgo the first two for love.
Being honest, accountable, benevolent, couragious, and supportive is how real leaders lead with love.
If you want your team members working in harmony without constant conflict or confusion over what needs to be done, try to provide clear signals about where things stand both within the company and externally with clients and customers.
How Can The Extreme Leader Institute Help?
The ability to effectively communicate love with your actions is one of the most critical skills a leader can have. It facilitates coordination and teamwork and builds trust between employees and customers. But today, when business is changing so quickly that we can barely keep up with our clients or customers, it seems like love is the last thing on our minds.
Developing leadership skills for your whole company can be challenging. That’s where a leadership keynote speaker comes into play. The Extreme Leadership Institute helps companies set up effective systems and processes for developing leadership skills that bridge communication gaps. Get in touch today to start cultivating an exciting culture centered around love in the workplace.