As I revel in a day that celebrates love, I am left wondering why it is so frowned upon to love in the workplace? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean misguided workplace romances or risqué encounters at the office party; but showing people that we work with every single day: genuine compassion, kindness and empathy. To many it may seem like a strange concept in the cut throat world of business especially given the current climate but it seems to me that we have sacrificed humanity for targets when they very humanity could be thing that delivers the change and success we are striving for.
In his book Character at Work: Building Prosperity Through the Practice of Virtue Bill O’Brien provides an interesting definition on how love can operate at work: ‘When I love people, I want to help them be all that they can be. If I can bring that attitude to my work, and if I can muster the courage and compassion to act upon that love, then I can be effective.’ By linking leadership with love O’Brien importantly helps transform the concept from an out-of-office idea into the workplace; as a viable method of management.
Empathetic leaders can be huge assets to organizations. CCL produced an insightful white paper showing how empathy is an essential part of leadership effectiveness. The report argued that empathy was linked to job satisfaction and company performance. This assertion rings true when you consider that by relating and caring for each other at work we are able to build stronger and maintain more genuine relationships, leading to a more loyal and inter connected work force. Work networks are made stronger by showing a bit of your human side! On the other hand it can be shown that individuals, who do not experience any love from co-workers, feel disconnected, leading to a breakdown of a working relationship and loss of organisational loyalty. Needless to say that people start to look elsewhere when they feel unloved, unappreciated and misunderstood!
How can we demonstrate our loving sides more effectively at work?
• Asking staff what they want to do and how they want to do it,
• Seeing things from other people’s point of view,
• Showing compassion to those who experience a loss
• Becoming more interested in the aspirations and ideas of others.
Why suppress a human instinct to care? What are you losing by showing your loving side?
By showing the attentiveness and kindness that you display outside of work, at work you could make teams stronger and ultimately drive a business towards its goals.
Wouldn’t you value real acceptance, genuineness and empathy from your colleagues and managers rather than constant competition, self-centred co-workers and money crazed managers? Moving from combat to compassion in such a competitive era may seem backward but overthrowing traditional business rules and thinking; person first, money second, could be an experiment that perhaps surpasses current business results.
After all, money first really hasn’t worked for us, so investing in the people that make organisations could help bring about objectives faster and more effectively than tried and tested methods.
Some more food for thought:
The Compassionate Instinct
Five Strategies to Advocate Compassion in the Workplace
The Compassion Lab
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