Love is fundamental. But – What does LOVE mean when it comes to the workplace?
We know (and the Harvard Business Review confirms) that the more love is felt by team members, the more engaged they are and the better they perform. But concerns about the potential of harassment and discrimination can leave many leaders at a loss – like a spooked turtle with hands and head tucked in – and far away from potentially powerful and sincere relationships with their teams. What a missed opportunity!
Love at work never translates into inappropriate advances, comments, or anything else that falls into the sexual harassment or discrimination realm. Those types of behavior are universally offensive and violate the very humanity of team members.
Love in the context of work is intentional and involves showing compassion, expressing care, and conveying kindness. Genuine human-to-human connection, empathy, and authentic conversation are powerful tools in the workplace. Leaders who put in the work and seek to understand their employees reap big rewards in the double bottom line of human connectivity and business results.
Marc Brackett, PhD notes that we should seek to become an emotion scientist, not an emotion judge. Emotion scientists are curious and inquisitive, seeking to understand. They ask questions and listen well. Emotion judges on the other hand are critical and reactionary. They make decisions based on limited information. Instead of asking, they may go as far as to tell you how YOU are feeling!
Emotions matter. They affect decision making, physical and mental health, performance and creativity, and the quality of our relationships. Emotions can be messy, but I encourage you to push past any reluctance you may have and wade into a company culture that is powered by love.
Five quick tips to get started:
- Make time to get to know your team members as people – put one on one and small group time on your calendar. It takes time to build trust.
- Make transparency your cultural calling card. Never underestimate people’s ability to handle the truth.
- Allow team members to have agency in their work
- Create mentoring opportunities and allow that team members can mentor up, too.
- Practice candor and personal vulnerability. Your humanity makes it easier for team members to trust you with theirs.