Does love feature in your organisation?

Love is a word that is very rarely used in referring to the workplace. People often say they love what they do but rarely talk about loving their colleagues or their employers, or the organisation.

There is a focus now on more human-centred workplaces and building team cohesion and there is a whole language around that – even the word cohesion (definition: the action or fact of forming a united whole) could be about a piece of equipment or information. It is still better than terms like high performing and even high value teams, which make people sound like commodities. We are moving away from human resources and human assets in language but are we changing in reality?

I saw the following quote at a recent webinar:

‘Love is a kind of respect, a sensitivity by one person to another’s existence. To be shown love is to feel ourselves the object of concern’

Alain de Botton

We often see respect as an organisational value and most of us would like to be treated with respect and treat others with respect. This is often defined as being on time for meetings and keeping commitments which are practical and important.

If we were to think more about this in terms of ‘love thy neighbour’, which is in fact what our colleagues are in the workplace, how would this change things?

I can imagine a lot of voices saying this is ridiculous and seeing this as a way of allowing everyone to do their own thing and not being able to challenge and drive for performance. Certainly, the leaders and managers that rule by fear would be against this, mostly because they do not have the skill to show the kind of love that we are talking about here. They rely on positional power and threats to get results.

What we know now is that this type of management or leadership will get people to deliver to a point. What they will not do is willingly give that extra discretionary effort, they will do what they need to do, and in time build more resentment and resistance. Fear is not a good motivator for sustained long term performance. It also has a very negative impact on the well-being of the staff members and leads to health issues, depression and for many the decision to leave the organisation.

The kind of love that we are talking about is one where we show ‘concern’ for the people that we are working with. We take the time to engage with them and get to know them. What makes them happy, what are their challenges, what are their aspirations? To do this is not rocket science. It is about caring enough about them to spend time with them as individuals, to give them attention and to really listen to them. It is not about giving them everything they want.

Rather supporting them to do what they need to do. The emphasis in the ‘sensitivity by one person to another’. When we love others, we also ensure more realistic expectations between us, and we set up healthy boundaries to ensure respect and safety.

‘Love’ in the workplace would create a more caring and compassionate environment, where people can flourish, where there is psychological safety because you know that you are accepted, where everyone counts and where people will choose to bring their whole selves into the space, mind, body, heart and hands.

At Chameleon Skills we say that we work with people who work with people. You do too! Let us help you to bring a little more ‘love’ into your organisation.

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