Why LOVE is good for business and how to bring more of it to work
When I worked in corporate, the word ‘love’ didn’t come up too much. It was synonymous with singing ‘kumbaya’. When you get stuck in your head and in the doing of business, sometimes you can get disconnected from your heart and individuals and relationships can suffer as a result. See how love is emerging in business and how to get your heart back in your work.
I was recently on a retreat in Byron Bay, Australia that got me thinking about love and how important it is for me to bring more heart into my life and my work. That has been a big motivator for me to create a business and is what I am here to help others do as well.
I have worked for leadership firms and corporates who did fantastic personal and team development work with leaders, which included how to be more authentic, purposeful and connected in the workplace. Interestingly though, there was still some taboo about the ‘L’ word.
I remember one of my senior colleagues talking about love with a senior exec and he got away with it because he was an alpha male entrepreneur and he carried it well. But he was still sniggered at. A few years later I heard another colleague brief a facilitator, ‘whatever you do don’t talk about love’.
What is it that makes people so uncomfortable about ‘love’ in business? Does it take away from the corporate image? Is it too ‘touchy feely’?
Corporations are essentially ‘masculine’ in their energy, with a focus on results and action and the predominance of men at the most senior levels. But I’m talking energy not gender here by the way. Females can be just as masculine and sometimes even more so than some men and vice versa.
While relationship building and influencing are key leadership competencies and good relationships make going to work more enjoyable, ‘feminine’ qualities of nurturing, empathy and ‘just being’ aren’t where our attention is when in work mode. Our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) is activated when we are focused on the task and this literally turns out heart off. Perhaps that is why when men and women talk about ‘love’ in corporates it feels out of place.
There is definitely something important about the love thing though right? We all want it, we all need it and we all need to give it to function effectively in society. We sometimes see CEOs criticised for not showing genuine concern for customers in response to a crisis. ‘Heart-centred’ marketing is on the up, using personal connection, story and emotion to connect with consumers. Establishing trust-based relationships with customers continues to be critical in the digital age, even more so as a means to differentiating in a cluttered market. There is talk of a resurgence of the feminine at a time where the planet needs us to slow down and care for it.
So let’s get personal now – are you feeling the love at work? If so, great! Go spread the word L-O-V-E! If not what is that about for you? Is it that you don’t like the people you work with? They say that we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with and some of these people may well be our colleagues. Or is it that you aren’t connected with the purpose of your organisation? Your values aren’t aligned? Or you are just too darn busy!
These are big questions to ask. But important ones – we spend a third of our lives at work so can we afford to turn our heart off at work?
So what is one thing you can do this week to get more heart back into your work? Even if it’s sending a hand written thank you card to a colleague who helped you out. Then of course if a bigger change is in order, what would be the first step to get you there?
So what do you think – do we need more love in business? Please share how you will bring more heart to work in the comments!
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