Servant Leadership and Love
I'm curious - how many of you clicked on this post because of the title? Love in the workplace has been a topic I have been discussing and reading about quite a bit lately. Personally, thinking of love in the workplace makes me a little uncomfortable, but there must be a reason it keeps coming up - especially in the climate we are currently in.
I have been spending time in a new book, Servant Leadership in Action: How you can achieve great relationships and results, by Ken Blanchard and was caught by one of his essays. Blanchard says, "a fundamental leadership quality is the ability to operate from love and care." He continues with, "truly great leaders are those who take the world to a better place. They manifest love that is rooted in a foundation of caring. When a leader comes from a place of genuine caring and possesses great strength, they become a peaceful warrior, able to battle steep odds for a just and righteous cause" (p. 22).
The whole idea of servant leadership is focused on people. How can those we serve (in whatever capacity) grow? What role can we play in helping others accomplish their goals? Think about the idea of leadership. Within an organization, what are we trying to do? We are trying to accomplish the goals and vision that have been set. We want the organization and the people within to be successful. We commit 40+ hours a week for an organization's greater good. We know the impact a committed leader can have on the lives of those around them. Where does that come from? I would argue it comes from a place of love.
Think of someone you love. What do they mean to you? What would you be willing to do for them? Are the someone you want to see be successful in their goals? How much effort would you give if you knew you could help them become the person they want to be?
I am imagining you have a pretty clear picture with each of the questions I have asked you. I would assume there was an emotional reaction you experienced while thinking about your responses. I would also think that your response to the effort question would be, "everything I have."
As leaders, we have a choice. We can approach out teams through the day to day interactions and not place a tremendous amount of effort. However, if we were to approach leadership from love, we can connect on a deeper level. A level that focuses on connecting through our shared interests, admiration of who we are, and shared belief and acceptance of our end goals. Love is about relationships. Love makes a statement that we are committed to those we serve. Love is an action that we can show, regardless of the other person's belief.
Our organizations and teams have been run through the ringer over the past 18 months. Personally, I am seeing an increase in inter-team conflict. Our teams need to re-develop the skills needed to work effectively with others in person. Love is one way we can show our admiration for who they are, patience in their growth, and grace through change.
For me, love is something I can show to my team. I don't have to explicitly tell them I love them - but I can demonstrate my love for them through my own actions.
I'm curious - now that you have had some time to think about love in the workplace, what are your thoughts?
Blanchard, K. (2018). Servant Leadership in Action: How you can achieve great relationships and results. Polvera Publishing : Oakland, CA.