How To Lead With LOVE

Often times we get caught up in the hustle, the grind, and the pressure. We feel pressure to deliver, measure up, and to be great. Sometimes we forget what actually makes people “great”.

Think about the best leaders of our time and in your life. Think about the most respected and admired people in your inner circle and even those in the public eye on the world’s stage. It’s not their “leadershipness”  or their “salesperson-ness” or even their “awesomeness”  that make them great.

It’s simply their humanness. Humans need love. And humans need to give love. We’re simply wired for love.

As leaders, our success and effectiveness depends largely on how well we influence and inspire people to go “do” fill-in-the-blank-thing. We must remember that before anyone in our midst or on our team is compelled to do anything, they must first feel something.

We should lead with LOVE, early and often.  Not just on Valentine’s Day, but everyday.

What does leading with love look like?

“Love is patient.”  When the people in your life don’t “get it” on the first, second, or even third attempt, be patient. When your own boss is less than patient, and/or keeps changing the task, objective, or direction, be patient. When your team or certain individuals are less than professional, less astute, or when they’re “Needy Neidersons,” be patient. That’s leading with love.

“Love is kind.”  It will get stupid. The deadlines, expectations, timing or lack thereof, the workloads, and even the people will be difficult. Two quotes sum up this principle.

Plato said, “Be kind. Everyone is fighting a tough, inner battle you know nothing about.”

Tim McGraw said, “Always stay humble and kind. Hold the door, say please, say thank you; don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie. I know ya got mountains to climb, but always stay humble and kind.” 

That’s leading with love.

“Love does not envy.”  Your friends will get promoted and make a lot of money. Your boss will likely always make more money than you. Some of your peers, and maybe even the people you lead will make more money than you. They’ll own bigger houses, take more lavish vacations, and probably drive nicer cars. Don’t be jealous of what they have, or what you don’t have. Be thankful for what you do have. It could always be worse. Congratulate them on their success, and keep crushing life, doing your very best, today. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Today is the day. That’s leading with love.

“Love does not boast.”  When you crush it, get the promotion, the raise, nail it on the project, deliver a dime speech or presentation, move mountains of executive bureaucratic corporate corporateness, and when you receive accolades, acknowledgments, or high praise, (and I know you will) don’t brag. Put your head down, and circle the bases. Act like you’ve been there before. Then, go right back to serving other people. That’s leading with love.

“Love is not proud.” Remember a temporary flare up of pride can potentially cause pain forever, for you, for them, and for your career. Know when those two culprits, pride and ego, are beginning to rise and bubble up to the surface. Tell yourself, “It’s not worth it to make this point to win the conversation.” Just breathe in, breathe out, and move on, like the Jimmy Buffett song. That’s leading with love.

“Love does not dishonor others.”   When others get engrossed in gossip, putting down the boss, the slackers, the mean girls, the mean boys, and the unfortunate shortcomings of the job, company, or even the task at hand, keep it positive. Like my grandfather PopPop used to tell me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  That’s leading with love.

“Love is not self-seeking.”  Make it about them. In a society and in a corporate America full of self-serving leaders, become a servant leader. Remember, you never look bad making someone else look good. Make the extra pass. That’s leading with love.

“Love is not easily angered.”  To quote former First Lady Michelle Obama, “When they go low, you go high.” Remember to be slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to anger. That’s leading with love.

“Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.” Protect the people on your team. Coach them when they need it, saving them from making more mistakes. Trust them before you know you can. Don’t let them give up hope. In fact, be the hope in their lives, and don’t ever stop believing in, standing up for, and doing the right thing. That’s leading with love.


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