Why is “Love” so Looked Down Upon?
By: Randy Wolken, President & CEO

Why do leaders shy away from “love” in the work place?  Has it gotten too “taboo” to even discuss the importance of “love” in our lives?  Maybe the biggest problem is we overuse the word “love” in our culture to mean everything from love of spouse, children, family, friends, our car, our favorite team, and our cat!  Wow!  That is quite a span of people and things.  Maybe we need to use more precise language in our workplace that still communicates how much we care for each and every meaningful relationship we have in our lives.

First, as leaders, we are best when we care deeply about who we work with and what we are working on.  Some call it passion. We can feel it when a leader is passionately committed to their team and the mission of their organization.  We need more passion in the workplace today than ever before.  People are moved by emotion well before they are moved by the facts.  We are human beings that feel first – then we engage our brains.  Through brain science research, we now know this.  We have suspected it for some time.  People can see when we “love,” or better yet care, deeply about the people and our mission.  People follow people – not the position – and do so out of “love,” or better yet, respect and admiration.

Leaders and their teams are also whole people who “love” their significant others, their children, and their families.  We do best when we honor this and applaud this.  Passion is passion no matter where it comes from or how it is displayed.  It serves us well to recognize this and share our own stories of how we care deeply for others and show it in our everyday life.  Again, people respect people first before they will ever follow them in the work place.

This week we celebrated Valentine’s Day – a national event that happens every year.  You would think that I would remember it better – since it happens every year.  Tuesday morning my wonderful wife of nearly 30 years, Denise, presented me with a heartfelt card, chocolates – of which I love, and even a gift of a travel wine holder.  For those who know me, I do love a good dry red wine. She hit all the right notes showing just how much she cherishes me.  As for me, I spent Tuesday afternoon searching for just the right gift.  But, I did that because she inspired me to give back to her as she has given to me.  She had led me to love and cherish her – by her example.  We can learn as a leader from everyone.  She was certainly pleased with my own hand-written card and big bouquet of flowers that I gave her. After over 30 years together, I do know what makes her smile.  I may be a slow learner – but I do know what to do for those I love.

As leaders, we need to find the right way to express our passion, commitment, concern, and “love” — even if the term is overused for so many situations in our lives.  We need to find a comfortable way to be show it and express it so that as leaders we are people who others feel compelled to follow.  Besides, it also makes life so much more enjoyable to be around those we genuinely care about, and show it, each and every day.