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Leadership – show the love


I believe there is a way of doing business and a way of leadng that does not involve leaving your heart or passions at the door.... do you?

Leadership….. Feel the love

Leadership and love…. two words you may not be used to seeing together.

Are they a provocative mix of work and pleasure?

I want to explore some of the connections that I see and that I believe exist between two important areas in my life.

Leadership and Love.

I believe there is a way of doing business and a way of leading that does not involve leaving your heart or passions at the door.

I notice extraordinary leaders make their emotions available to others – it’s from this energy that transformations in people, communities and organisations begin to happen.

Nelson Mandela once said, “It is better to lead from behind and put others in front” and this is all about putting others, in your team, first in an uncompromising way. Allowing them to grow and learn without having to always be craning their neck to look over your shoulder.

In leaders we see people we wish to connect with and follow. We feel inspired. Inspiration is a feeling that isn’t always tangible and that doesn’t matter. Leaders who inspire touch our hearts and minds – to feel this connection both hearts and minds therefore have to be open.

Ancient Greeks were fairly refined in how they thought about love, what might we learn about leadership from them?

  • “Eros” – passion, mind blowing, immersive, lustful love

In leadership we demonstrate undeniable passion to a cause, we become immersed, blinded even, driven by an intense desire. It’s a lustful energy.

  • “Agape” – self less, charitable, generous love

“Great leaders genuinely care for and love the people they lead more than they love leading itself. Leadership without love degenerates into self-serving manipulation” (Warren, R. 2008)

  • “Philia” – friendship, companionship, romantic love

A great leader attracts people towards them like a kindred spirit….. Engaging, caring and wanting the best for those around them.

  • “Ludus” – fun, playful love

Leaders learn how to bring out the best in themselves and others.

  • “Pragma” – long standing relationships, with patience and tolerance

With our leaders we can form enduring relationships, those where forgiveness is a given and mistakes are seen as feedback in service of the purpose. Those leaders we never lose touch with.

  • “Philautia” – self love

An extraordinary leader must get to know and love themselves – their best self, their authentic self. Only then can a leader be fully and consciously in service of others.

For many individuals in business listing differing ‘types’ of love might provide some more palatable lens’s on love within leadership.

It can take courage to lead or be led in this way. It can involve standing up and standing out in a way which is exciting, provocative and challenging.

Maybe it’s time to give your self a new permission as a leader, can you be vulnerable enough to love? Uncork your emotions, affection and compassion and bottle common sense.

I invite you to try it. Even if just once.

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