At first blush (and blushing), love and leadership are not strange bedfellows. My dissertation for my first doctorate was on mate selection. Within a decade, Harvard School of Business was promoting a new flavor of leadership, using words like intimacy, lovingness and compassion. I can already hear the grumbling from you no-nonsense types who espouse the philosophy that people will see such a combinational leadership style as weak. Worse yet, surely it would have folks taking advantage of you. Wrong. Remember, you can fire a person with compassion.
As for the role of lovingness in highly effective leadership, try this definition: “Lovingness is letting the other person know where you are in the relationship at all times.” Yes, this is intended for the home front as well as at work. Think of it like this – if the performance of your direct report is substandard, it would be lacking in compassion (well…lovingness) to NOT share with them your perceptions. This is information that is rightfully theirs. Instead, those who are uncomfortable giving negative feedback, claiming it may hurt their direct reports’ feelings, are actually more concerned about their OWN discomfort than the overall wellbeing of their direct reports. On the other hand, those who impatiently and angrily point out the direct report’s deficiencies are not promoting improvements in the long run. For one, people reporting to angry managers are so afraid of making mistakes that they make more. They are so focused on the anger in the tone of the message that they oftentimes miss the message itself and run around asking others less knowledgeable how to fix the problem.
Humanistic leadership is the style that works today – especially if you wish to attract AND retain the most talented of Generation Y. Humanistic leadership takes courage because you are dealing effectively and efficiently with others by making a meaningful human connection. You know whether you are doing that or not. Want to get your head and your heart to meld in order to be your best? Look for leadership development that is grounded in self-awareness and emotional intelligence processes and content. Make it so your co-workers look forward to coming to work, working with you, and giving their very best every day. In this way, you can make every day a Valentine’s Day for both yourself and those with whom you work.