Ponder this today on Valentine’s Day: Who do you love at work?
Ideally you are at the top of the list.
Love for Self and Others
You might also love certain of your colleagues, or people from customers, suppliers or partners. Even if you’ve never said or thought that you love these people, you do, because you love working with them.
Consider what it is you love about each of those people. Maybe they are funny, considerate, productive, helpful, or on your wavelength. Maybe you strike them the same way and they love working with you.
Often love just seems to arise naturally, with no effort. And yet, it’s also clear that some people are more well-loved than others.
Those people may do different things, but often they have different approaches, attitudes and ways of being. They may actually feel more loving and thus create a different type of energy around them.
Fostering Love at Work
How can you foster love at work? Here are a few ideas to tap into love for yourself and to create an environment where love between yourself and between others is more likely to appear.
- Take brief pauses to really connect. This may be a silent pause to check in with yourself, or a pause to intentionally check in with someone else and really listen to how they are doing.
- Be grateful and appreciative. Sometimes just saying thank you is a significant shift toward positive emotions. Celebrate the work you do, particularly the bits you don’t really enjoy. And be conscious of the value of work others do that you might not enjoy or that you take for granted. In my case, things like taking out the trash, conducting audits, balancing the books, etc.
- Send good wishes to yourself and others. Lovingkindness is a mindfulness practice where we send health, happiness, safety and peace to ourselves and others. This can be particularly healing with someone with whom we have had an upset. Even if you can’t shift your feeling, taking the time to notice how you feel is useful.
- Refresh yourself. Whatever helps you to feel positive, do it. If you are stuck for ideas, try one of these: Take a short walk outside. Fully savor your coffee, tea or other beverage. Stretch and tune into your body. Pay attention to your breathing. Bring to mind a loved one and fill up with your emotions for them.
- In a meeting, allow time at the beginning to connect into the purpose for being together, and acknowledge the value each participant can bring to the meeting. Strive for dialogue where each person can speak freely with others only listening and asking clarifying questions. Give some time for each person’s ideas to fully land before moving on to others’ views.
Love Breeds Success
Love at work might be even more important than efficiency. I am not the only one who believes that. Just today, Harvard Business Review sent an HBR article to my attention: Why Highly Efficient Leaders Fail.
“The high levels of efficiency that allow highly task-focused leaders to be so productive often come at the expense of a more people-based focus. Things like building relationships, inspiring a team, developing others, and showing empathy can fall by the wayside. Highly efficient leaders often lose their focus on people due to a limiting belief that more people-focused activities will slow them down and impede their ability to execute, and to ultimately be successful.
Slow down and show the love. The author’s ideas for leaders include:
- Get feedback
- Identify high-value ways to focus on people
- Engage in self-observation and reflection
- De-bunk your limiting beliefs
- Practice self-management
Clearly, companies where people love to work have greater success. It turns out that feeling positive emotions like various types of love and interpersonal connection is a key factor in employee satisfaction and leadership effectiveness too.
That does not mean you will feel happiness, joy or love at every moment. Part of a healthy and loving workplace is to be present to the moments where we do – and don’t – feel that love.
Happy Valentine’s Day! We love each other and our clients and newsletter and blog readers. Thank you. Love you!