I was nervous to ask him a question. Ken Blanchard. He is the founder and owner of an organization with such a big impact on the world. His books have sold millions of copies and his companies' training courses have been delivered to millions of clients.
It was the winter of 2003 in San Diego. I had just spent 3 days learning how to lead teams using their Situational Leadership II model and as a special treat on the final day, Ken Blanchard was stopping by to say hello to our class.
I finally rustled up the courage and asked him how this model related to his book on servant leadership. He said it was love. Being a situational leader or being a servant leader is exactly the same thing. They are both based upon love.
When as leaders, we make the needs of our people real and truly give them what they need to succeed, we are loving them. When we put aside our own style for the style that best fits the situation, we are loving them--we are loving ourselves, we are loving our organization.
Harvard Business Review recently came out with a study that tells us more about love. When associates feel loved at work, they are more productive, more engaged, and of course they get more results.
I'm not surprised. I'm sure you aren't surprised either. Love. It's one of those words that's taboo at the workplace. I imagine partly because in English--love can mean so many different things.
In order to clarify--my definition of love is simple--love is doing what is best for the object of your love--including yourself. HBR defines love as warmth, affection, and connection.
What would our workplaces look like if we all loved our associates, loved our co-workers, loved our bosses? They would be radically different that is for certain. It starts with me though. It starts with you.
My mission in this world is to create more love in this world. My mission is to teach people how to give and receive real love--including myself. That's why, bring it full circle, this week I'm getting certified to teach the course that Ken Blanchard was talking about years ago. I've chosen this program because of his words 13 years ago. It's all about love.
How about you--what are you doing to bring more love to your workplace, to your life.
Here are five options:
- Assess your interactions this week with your associates. Are you giving them what they need or are you giving them your default style?
- Choose some authenticity with your colleagues this week. Tell them how the project is really going. Drop some of your mask if you can. Authenticity breeds more authenticity--which breeds love.
- Smile, greet people warmly, connect. It may take some courage but try it for a week and see what happens when you show up as your most connective self.
- Hold a celebration of love. Tell each other how awesome each of and every one of you are. Tell your boss how awesome you are--what you do well--how committed you are to the organization. This is good for your organization--good for your team.
- And probably most courageous, love yourself. Take a day off. Get a massage. Truly show yourself tender loving care this week. It will impact your workplace.
We all work. We all are attempting to make a difference in the world. I'm wanting more of it to come from a place of love. Will you join me?