While love isn’t all you need to be a good leader, the ability to “lead with love” can make you a great one.
Leading with love is one of the trademarks of highly successful, results-oriented leaders. Jack Ma, the founder and CEO of Alibaba, believes you need not only IQ and EQ if you want to be a true leader. You also need LQ – “the quotient of love, which machines never have”, explains Ma. “A machine does not have a heart, [a] machine does not have soul, and [a] machine does not have a belief. Human beings have the souls, have the belief, have the value; we are creative…”
Those who lead with love are attuned to human behavior. They know that people thirst for compassion, connection, and community. And they know that the power of love – the verb, not the romantic emotion – can transform the workplace.
When led with love, employees will walk through fire and respond with unwavering commitment to leaders who demonstrate respect for their personal and professional well-being.
Six ways you can lead with love in the workplace
1. Build relationships based on trust: If you know your each of your employee’s individual strengths and entrust them with opportunities to pursue them, it can lead to creative growth on a group level. Relationships founded on trust also make the good times better and the tough times easier to bear.
2. Offer encouragement and appreciation: If you see someone who’s struggling, be sure to offer a listening ear and a kind word. It can give them the boost they need to surmount their challenges. And acknowledging your team’s accomplishments and efforts – privately or publicly – shows them that their wellbeing is important to you.
3. Encourage open communication: Create a safe space for your people to communicate with each other and with you. If your team members feel too intimidated to share the challenges that affect their work performance, your relationships – and your company’s bottom line – will suffer.
4. Accept that we are all flawed: No one is good at everything and everyone makes mistakes, yet our natural tendency is to hide our failures and cover our weaknesses. Feeling accepted despite our shortcomings increases our own tolerance for the mistakes of others and builds our generosity for forgiving them.
5. Make acting with compassion a constant: Leading with compassion is a way to leverage love as a business value. When you create an environment with compassion at its heart, team members will push each other to be better and do better. Your compassion shows your team that not only are they valued, but their actions and hard work matter as well.
6. Lead from within: To succeed in leading with love, you must continuously develop the art of leadership. It’s vital to always be working on improving yourself and inspiring others, no matter how successful you already are. Leading with love benefits both leader and follower. And it spreads outwards to also benefit your business, your relationships, and your community.
When we lead with love, we embrace our own vulnerability, acknowledge our imperfections, and share how these factors enable us to learn and grow. By leading with love, we are helping to build a global business culture where kindness and understanding can create profound and life-enhancing connections between colleagues at every level of the enterprise.