What is the most important thing when it comes to business? You would think it is marketing, business strategy, revenue, branding, human capital, and profit – and you’re wrong!

While all of these are critical aspects of any successful business, love is first. Yes, it is love. You can love your employees and those you lead without forsaking your company’s objectives. Love is essential for not just business leaders but leaders in every area of life.

If we as leaders are candid with ourselves, we will recognize that people have real challenges outside of work, whether financial, relational, domestic, legal, or other. It is a unifying thread that connects us all, no matter what we do for a living.

If people do not feel love, it can add extra stress and pressure to their lives, lowering morale and negatively impacting performance. Therefore, leading with love is critical.

Why Leading With Love Matters

Why should we put so much emphasis on love? To begin, it is a fundamental teaching in all of history’s great traditions. The theory of evolution and neuroscience demonstrates the importance of collaborative care in developing and growing the human species.

And, at this juncture in human history, with around eight billion humans on earth feeling the pressure of a global crisis, the need to care for one another on a worldwide scale has never been more critical.

Stephen R. Covey, an American author, academic, and motivational speaker, is also known for emphasizing the significance of love and his insight into applying fundamental human behavior principles. According to Covey, love, trust, and managing people with a dedication to helping them reach their full potential were key responsibilities of leaders.

Having a love for oneself is one facet of love that is critical to a leader’s performance. If we want to care for someone else as much as we care for ourselves, we’d better start by looking after ourselves. Operating from a solid basis of self-compassion and love is the first step toward leading with love.

We can move outward from self-compassion to care for individuals near to us once we’ve established self-compassion. What occurs when we practice love and compassion? The evidence is overwhelming. Teams are more productive. Employee satisfaction improves. Employee turnover declines. Teams are more innovative. It just makes a lot of sense.

People feel threatened and act out of fear when they are concerned about safety and security. On the other hand, people grow individually and contribute fully to the organization when they feel heard, seen, and valued.

How to Become a Better Leader through Love

Your obligations extend far beyond your four walls in your house during COVID. As a leader, you must also support your team and organization in navigating this changing and uncertain environment.

According to a recent McKinsey & Company study, people who work for companies that have demonstrated compassionate, practical coronavirus responses engage four times more at work. That is concrete proof that leaders who lead with love have the power to make a significant difference.

But how does one become a better leader through love? By following the six rules for leading with love detailed below.

1. Look to Build Relationships Based on Trust

Knowing each of your personnel’s distinct abilities and providing them with opportunities to develop them can lead to collective creative growth. Relationships built on trust make the good times even better and the bad times bearable.

2. Genuinely Look To Understand Your Team

Since COVID-19 began, you’ve probably spent a lot of time honing your listening abilities. Don’t give up now. Take the time to listen to and comprehend what your people are going through. Then, to keep them and the organization moving in the right direction, give them honest feedback. Spend time discussing the worries and challenges of your personnel, including personal issues. It will allow you to come up with innovative ideas together.

3. Offer Encouragement and Appreciation

If you observe someone in need, be sure to lend a sympathetic ear and a kind word. It may provide others with the boost required to overcome their obstacles. And publicly or privately recognizing your team’s accomplishments and efforts reminds them that you care about their well-being. Caring is the sign of both a servant leadership style and charismatic leadership style.

4. Have Open Lines of Communication

Create an environment that is conducive to open conversation. It will not serve you and the organization well to have a team that is too afraid to communicate the issues affecting their work performance.

5. Be Ready For Tough, Vulnerable Conversations

Leading with love does not imply that you cannot be honest with others or ignore constructive criticism. While leading your organization, team, or department, you can continue to maintain a safe space. Just make sure to approach everything with compassion.

6. Lead From Within

To excel at leading with love, you must constantly improve your leadership skills. No matter how great you are, it is critical to improve yourself and motivate others. Both leader and follower benefit from leading with love. It also has a ripple effect that benefits your organization, your relations, and your community.

Love Makes Leadership Easier

Final Word

When you adopt a love-first leadership approach, everyone benefits. Engagement reaches an all-time high, collaboration flourishes, and turnover sits at an all-time low. It is not too late to catch the wave of this fantastic ripple effect; all you have to do is put your heart first. Just lead with love!

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Louis Carter, MA, is founder and CEO of Best Practice Institute and the author of more than ten books on best practices in leadership and management, including Change Champion's Field Guide, In Great Company, and Best Practices in Talent Management. Thought leaders and executives vote him as one of Global Gurus Top 10 Organizational Culture gurus worldwide. He is one of the top executive coaches to C-level executives, helping them and their organizations achieve measurable results. His newest book is In Great Company: How to Spark Peak Performance by Creating an Emotionally Connected Workplace (McGraw Hill). He has provided leadership development and organization development solutions to companies ranging from the United Nations and U.S. Department of Justice to mid-sized companies and most F500s.

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