Love – The Essence of Extraordinary Leadership
Wherever you are in the world I hope that you and your people are safe and well. Firstly, I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who attended our Conscious Leaders and Effortless Collaboration webinars last week. It was brilliant to connect with you and we enjoyed hosting the sessions, particularly the discussions that flowed afterwards. During one of these connections, I was reminded of an article that I wrote in March 2020 about navigating fear and love in leadership. With enduring lockdowns and pandemic restrictions, people’s resilience is hanging by a thread and never has there been a more important time for leaders to be visible and demonstrate love to their people. As a leader, you may not think of love as a go-to strategy for building engagement, creating stability, or innovating for the future. And yet, the desire to love and be loved is one of the most powerful driving forces.
“Love is our origin and our destination... all our desires, all our meaningful hopes and dreams, rest on and return again and again to love... and nothing remarkable in our personal growth can be achieved without opening to love and unleashing its joyful fire into the world.” – Brendan Burchard
There are practical ways you can demonstrate love to your team. At the most basic level, according to Arthur Kendall (in his article ‘What is conscious leadership?’), it starts with providing the four things most demanded of a leader: Trust, Compassion, Stability, and Hope – of which the essence is love. It’s about understanding that people have problems in life outside of work, challenges that are likely exacerbated by the ‘coronacoaster’ and bleed into professional context. Irrespective of who we are and what we do, it’s a common thread we all share. So, lead consciously and set the expectation of excellence but be flexible. It is equally important to create a safe place for open communication. I had the pleasure last week of facilitating an innovation sprint with teams spanning three continents, where one of the key challenges is ‘win at all costs’ culture and fear of being honest with managers about familial challenges affecting their work performance, resulting in isolation and lack of psychological safety. Active listening transforms this dynamic from one of isolation and reactivity to proactive collaboration, demonstrating that your team is valued while promoting idea sharing and innovation.
Here’s the thing: if we are loving to those around us, then we create the conditions for a positive environment and deeply fulfilling emotional and social connection. The world is hurting. It beckons us all to step up and lead in a different way... to be love.
Until next time...