What’s wrong with loving your job? That question would play well at most MBA programs, even at Harvard. But there is a variation of that question that tends to make people squeamish: What’s wrong with loving your people and the customers you serve?
For whatever reason, the concept of loving your people — telling them that you love them — makes some executives really uncomfortable. We have been programmed, wrongly I believe, that the phrase and intent of personal love and business strategy are not normally used in the same sentence. Sometimes in the same book. I know a CEO who was caught in a political purge after the boss who hired him left the organization for another position. One of the reasons cited by HR for his ouster: “We do not feel it is appropriate to tell your employees that you love them. “
What a shame. I suspect that his replacement, most assuredly sterilized of those inappropriate feelings, probably will not set any new records for employee engagement and customer service excellence. The research in both civilian and military arenas suggests that leaders who know how to impart compassion and love to their teams realize higher levels of performance across all the operational, clinical/quality and satisfactions dimensions. In other words, if you invest in your team, the results you are able to generate are better and more sustainable.
You decide. What sounds better, “grinding on people” to improve, or “respecting and loving people”?
This is not inappropriate language. OK, if it makes you uncomfortable don’t use it, just do it.
© 2020 John Gregory Self