All you need is love. Love is the answer. Love makes the world go round. Love. Love. Love. What’s love got to do with it?!
All humans need and crave love – it’s nearly as essential as air for our well-being. John Lennon from the Beatles who famously composed the song “All You Need Is Love”, sadly had everything except love from the one he needed it from the most. But we just don’t need it from our partner, family and friends, but also from, believe it or not, our leader, our boss. In my experience, for many, “Show me the money” is often overshadowed by the overwhelming need for their boss to “Show them the love’.
If you think of all the leaders you know of, which ones inspire you the most?
Which ones are the most effective and have a strong following – a following not out of fear, but from admiration and respect? The ones who rule from position and title and expect because they’ve issued a command you must obey or else? Or the ones, who show a genuine interest in their team, invest in their lives and show appreciation for a job well done?
Love inspires commitment and it inspires unity: two key factors for building a strong team.
In 2002, I wrote a book, “The Dream is Everything”, and in the chapter “The Most Powerful Force in the Universe”, I spoke about why love is an essential component of great leadership. The love we offer to our staff and colleagues inspires commitment – a commitment that is essential to achieving our dream/vision. We need the commitment of others who are part of our dream. But people are not going to help us achieve the dream/vision if they don’t feel loved by us. How many people will continue to fight a battle if they believe their political or military masters have abandoned them? In the same way, a lack of love on our part towards our followers will result in disintegration, in the commitments and hard work required for the ultimate fulfilment of the dream/company goals.
Can you remember a time when you felt your leader/boss abandoned you?
How did you feel?
Great coaches inspire magnificent performances from their teams. First they get the whole team committed to each other, and then to the goal. A top-flight coach will work on creating a context of unity and one in which the team feels embraced. Team bonding is an important contributor to success at the highest levels of sport, and it is the coach’s job to engineer this.
When team members feel appreciated for the vital role they play in a team, they’ll want to commit. As committed players they become even richer contributors to team goals. A player whose commitment is not appreciated or whose contributions are downplayed will inevitably become a poor contributor, and the teams overall performance will suffer as a result.
How do you feel toward your boss/company/team when your efforts are praised and acknowledged?
How do you feel when they are not?
Swede Sven Goran Ericksson was the first foreign coach of the English national side (2001- 2006) and was a master at creating a “family feel” in the team and inspiring a deep commitment in his players. When Eriksson signed on, the English were perennial underachievers in Europe: their captain, David Beckham, was despised. Ericksson revolutionised the side’s performances and in late 2001 they even beat arch-rivals Germany by an unprecedented score of 5-1. Beckham was a revelation as captain.
Ericksson created a spirit of love and unity and nurtured a commitment to the larger team goals. He inspired confidence in the individual players and in the team as a whole. That’s what a great coach, leader and boss can do through love.
How do you show love to your team?
As team leaders, the love that my wife/business partner and I have flows toward those who are helping us lead our organisation. They share our dream and live it too. If we were to walk into meetings and hardly exchange a word of encouragement with them, how much unity would be present? Love means embrace, warmth and sharing. One of the ways we show love to our team is to often invite them to a meal – because meals create a context for open, familiar sharing. Meals traditionally are a means of hospitality, symbolising a desire for honest, open dealings and the establishing of formal relations. I suggest we feel embraced when someone buys us a meal. I encourage you to have meals with your staff in your home or do something equally surprising and nurturing for them. When you show them a little love, you’re well on your way to growing your business and your life.
How can you love your team better?
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I trust I will add value to your leadership journey.
Check out my new Leading4Growth Online Leadership Development Program. It will build your leadership strength!
Some other articles on Leadership I’ve written:
Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire!