What Does Love Have To Do With It?
A few days ago, there was a question posted on LinkedIn asking “Is there any relationship between leadership and capacity to love? What a powerful question, and one that I’ve been pondering over the last few weeks not only from a leadership perspective, but as I am working with a team of individuals on the articulation of the core values of our church.
There were over one hundred responses to this question, and numerous opinions and thoughts, along with research from a variety of sources.
Some felt that there were leaders who were self-centered, with very little compassion for followers. One defined this as a dictator. Most often, it was stated that this was leadership based on fear, and the love of money. Several felt that this was the most common representation of our corporate culture today, and that leaders will attract followers of like mind.
Ronald S. said that Leadership is about believing in a better world, having a VISION and sharing it with your Team to make your dreams come true. That requires Faith AND LOVE.
Janet shared information from the book Strengths Based Leadership, written by authors Rath and Conchie, sharing the results of a massive Gallup study, which concluded that followers need trust, stability, compassion and hope from their leaders. She shared “”The most brilliant leaders I know demonstrate their capacity to love every day by treating subordinates like people instead of pawns in a chess game. People matter to the success of every business.”
Roseline asked a provocative question: There are two types of leaders. 1) The ultimate magnetic and articulate leader, with absolute confidence, arrogance and drive, commanding a sense of purpose, respect due to fear, perfection and success for the company. Or, 2) A motivator, leading by example, with a very strong personal presence. One who is approachable, confident, reliable and exciting. Commanding a culture of peace, trust and respect while instilling a positive attitude to achieve above and beyond? Roseline’s question – who of us verbally insists the latter is that which is the ultimate leader, but secretly, desires to be the first – or vice versa?
Vicki points out “As for the potential leadership qualities in others (whether already in superior roles or not), I find a key to helping them further cultivate those qualities is to empower those folks to get in touch with what rings true in their heart. Good leaders can be GREAT leaders when they tap into their own capacity to love. “
Todd shares his definition of a true servant leader:
- Uses personal trust and respect to build bridges and do what’s best for the “whole.”
- Feels that personal value comes from mentoring and working collaboratively with others.
- Listens deeply and respectfully to others, especially those who disagree.
- Views accountability as creating a safe environment for learning from experience.
- Shares big picture information.
- Uses intuition and foresight to balance fact, logic, proof.
- Highly collaboratively and INTERdependent; gives credit to others generously.
- Develops trust across constituencies; breaks down hierarchies.
- Most likely to listen first; values others’ input and builds strength through difference.
- Motivated by desire to serve others.
- Focuses on gaining understanding, input, and buy-in from all parties; understands that faster is often slower.
- Uses humor to lift up others and make it safe to learn from mistakes.
What a fascinating thread of comments to a great question. One of the things that I think stands out here is the concept that to be a great leader, you must lead in love, balanced with wisdom. Both are grounded in spirit. Without wisdom, leaders grounded in love will make foolish decisions. Leaders grounded only in wisdom may seem cold and harsh, but driven. When these character traits are balanced, they reflect the definition of a servant leader which. when asked, most employees hold in high esteem, and gladly follow.
We often forget that love is the most natural feeling known to humankind. Love is. I believe that everyone has the capacity to be a leader – in all walks of life, in any role. Sometimes it is the smallest things we do that mark us as a true leader. And, almost always, they are grounded in love.
Does your leadership stand out as grounded in love and wisdom? If not, what steps are you willing to take this year to change that?
May your New Year be bright, and full of questions that bring out your critical thinking, your love and your wisdom.
Georgia Feiste, President of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, is a personal growth and leadership coach, writer, and workshop facilitator. She is also a Usui Reiki Master and EFT practitioner. Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life. You can also find Georgia on her website, Collaborative Transitions, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Georgia may also be reached at (402) 304-1902 if you wish to schedule a 30 minute complementary consultation.