By Anik Desjardins, CHRP, ACC, certified coach
Can love have a place in leadership? Many believe that these two words cannot co-exist. Too risky, too strong, too promiscuous, not professional, not timely. We believe that to be a manager, we must maintain an emotional distance from our employees to make good decisions and to manage effectively. Experience has shown me otherwise.
For example, I’ve seen that in the most effective teams I’ve worked with, people love each other, challenge their ideas with kindness, and tell the real things, which allows them to be very team-oriented and achieve their business objectives. I loved my teams and my collaborators when I was a manager. I often feel this same love for my colleagues and collaborators today as a coach. Has it stopped me from making tough decisions throughout my career, having courageous conversations, managing performance, and naming my expectations and goals? Absolutely not. I even believe that it has often made me discern and communicate in a more appropriate way.
How does it translate for me to be a leader who allows himself love for his team?
- Take a sincere interest in others, with curiosity, with attentive listening. Ask how you are doing, check in at our team meetings.
- Be generous with our time with others. If someone needs to talk to us, needs our expertise or our support on a project or in a difficult situation, we make ourselves available. As I like to feel that a colleague is watching my back, I try to do the same.
- Telling each other that you appreciate yourself, precisely what you appreciate in others, saying thank you. This is the basis of recognition.
- Tell each other what is not working, with respect, with courage, with the intention of preserving the relationship and for the good of our team or our organization. Love each other enough to speak the truth, to challenge and to give feedback.
- Being flexible and open to each other’s ideas, even when they don’t resonate with us, while having the ability to name our discomforts, our limits.
- Manage with sensitivity, respect and consistency performance issues of our team members or a job termination, as we would like it to be done for us.
The love of our team and our organization allows us to take collaboration to a new level. I had the chance to experience it in different contexts. And to feel the impact of others on me, and mine on others. My employees who felt loved and appreciated tended to go the extra mile in all projects. And to collaborate in a fluid and committed way.
For you, what can it look like to allow you to love your employees and your colleagues? What are your brakes? Are you afraid that it will prevent you from managing properly, being efficient or making the necessary decisions? Is this really the case? How can loving your collaborators and employees be a lever to mobilize, retain and achieve your goals?
I take this opportunity to thank my golden colleagues at o2Coaching! We often share our love to one another, we talk about our development, we ask for feedback and we challenge each other. They still show me every day that we can create a climate of performance by taking care of each other. By texting “good meeting, good week, good day” on mornings, by being present, we nourish our daily pleasure in collaborating and our desire to succeed as a team. I am convinced that allowing you to love your employees and collaborators generates performance and retention in your team. And that’s what we want these days, isn’t it!