I have a question for you: What do you think about love in the workplace?
What did your brain first think when you read the above question? My gut tells me that one of these three responses went through your head:
- No way!
- Yes, please!
- What kind of question is that? Of course not!
Well, more and more people are looking for “love” to be a framework for the cultures they work in, yet the actual word “love” throws us off. Why? Do we hear “love,” and automatically think romance and/or sex? There are many people whom we love and don’t have romantic or sexual relationships with, so why not have love in the workplace?
Let’s look at the definition of love.
Wikipedia includes the following, among other statements, in its definition of the word love: “Love is a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes that ranges from interpersonal affection (“I love my mother”) to pleasure (“I loved that meal”). It can refer to an emotion of a strong attraction and personal attachment.”
“…Strong attraction and personal attachment.” This is love and thus love is exactly what all organizations want in the workplace—do they know it? If leaders want their teams to have “strong attraction” and “personal attachment” to their work, they must want their teams (and themselves) to love their jobs!
Consider the statement, “I love my boss.” Why would someone love his or her boss? Most likely, because their boss is kind, supportive, gives them clear expectations, helps them when they make mistakes, tells them the truth, gives them opportunities, and more (listed below as operational actions that create love in the workplace.)
These behaviors (being kind, showing support, helping someone learn from mistakes, clear career growth models, etc.) make up the exact culture I have had the pleasure of experiencing since I joined the tech workforce in January 1994. For 20 years, I worked for the same people in three different tech companies, achieving growth and success in each move. Why would I stay for 21 years working for the same people? Because of love!
Let’s specifically define how love shows up in the workplace. In my experience of building organizations, it is the following operational actions that allowed for constant development of skills, consistent financial growth and love in the workplace:
- Measurable expectations and goals
- Clear career path models
- Consistent training
- Competitive income
- Transparent/accountable leadership
- Listening-focused leadership
- Honest communication
- Win/Win conversations
- Making agreements skills
- Honoring agreements skills
- Creating a place for fearless communication
- Creating constant and positive environmental change
- Consistent performance feedback
- The ability to make mistakes and learn
When implemented, all of these operational business actions create cultures that perform at high levels—meaning people are inspired, happy and LOVE their jobs! The wonderful feeling of love makes for explosive performance and results in long-term retention of talent. This is win/win employment.
Let’s not get caught up thinking that the word “love” means romance or sex. It’s time to get on the “love in the workforce” train if you want to keep talent and have high performance! For further proof, check out some research on the subject.
Love to you all, Deidre