“What’s love got to do with it?”
— Timmy Turner in Tulsa
Well, Timmy, love’s got a lot to do with it. Love is a critical component of being a Best Boss. To be the most exceptional leader you can be, you can’t ignore its power and its influence.
Transactional Manager vs. Transformational Leader
We’re not talking about the Valentine’s Day kind of love. We’re not talking about romantic love. We’re talking about a sense of connection, empathy, support, and of wanting success for the people you supervise. Now, if you don’t, that’s fine. You can be a transactional manager, and there is nothing wrong with that. You do this, we pay you that, and so be it. That’s the nature of our relationship. But what we’re really looking for you to do is to become a transformational leader. And we can’t ignore love when we’re talking about transformational leadership.
Look around you. Based on news reports and what you hear from your colleagues in different parts of your organization, you can tell if they are coming from a place of love or from a place of transaction. We want to make sure that we are really leaning into this idea of being a Best Boss. And being a Best Boss is about including love in the relationships you have with the people you supervise and your colleagues and your boss. Again, there is nothing wrong if you just want to go tit-for-tat and be a transactional manager. Unfortunately, that’s not the most effective way of being a leader.
Fear vs. Love
There are only two emotional bases for all the behaviors and decisions that we make. Think about this. Everything we do comes from either a place of fear or a place of love. Are we afraid to move forward? Are we afraid of something that’s not happening for us? Are we afraid of failure? Or are we coming to this point from a place of love and support? So ask yourself – the behaviors and decisions that you make today with the folks that you supervise – are they coming from a place of love, of deeply felt empathy? Or are they coming from a place of fear, fear of failure, fear of not being successful?
Always start with empathy. Promote success. Give feed forward, meaning looking forward as opposed to looking back in feedback. Promote success as opposed to avoiding failure. These are the components of having a loving, empathetic relationship with the people that you work with.
Love as a Leadership Competency
Love as a leadership competency means you need to do the work in loving yourself. If you don’t, your love for others, no matter how hard you try, will filter through disappointment, frustration, and unmet needs. It will slide into that transactional relationship that we were just talking about.
So if you’re going to adopt this notion of loving on the people that you work with and that work for you, you need to do the work on loving yourself. That’s super important. As RuPaul says, one of my favorite leadership gurus in the world, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?” Can I get an amen?