Love opens the door to talent development, recruitment, retention and employee and customer engagement and retention, to thriving organizations, families, planet, and nations.

Hi Marilyn O’Hearne here. Let’s talk about a four letter word, love, that’s not used or practiced enough in business or in organizations, regarding our planet and within our families and what happens when we do. “A teacher opens the door, but you must walk through it,”  Chinese proverb. I think that door to thriving is love.

We know that in a learning environment, as parents, spouses, teachers, presenters, trainers; that love provides the safe environment needed for learning and development. I say that is also true for leaders and coaches and just think about how love impacts organizations and how people and systems thrive when love is practiced. 

In another part of the world, one of my United Nations executive leadership clients’ coaching goal was to be love in the workplace. He was very far along in the key leadership skills needed for a thriving organization: such as communication, especially communicating a clear and inspiring vision and each person’s part in contributing to it, managing teams, delegation, EQ and Cultural Intelligence as well as positively influencing others. His remaining goal was to show up and speak with love in every aspect of his leadership as he also strived to do at home. He is successfully providing an open door to further development and thriving of his team, organization, stakeholders, employees and family through acting from love through our coaching.

How can you implement this? Ask yourself when making decisions, before communicating: “What’s the most loving thing I can say or do with this person, team, within our organization, community, family?” Communicating with each person about the value they bring and how they are contributing to the vision with their strengths is a great starting place. 

A highlight in recent years, other than the birth of my grandchildren, was feedback I received from Culturally Intelligent Mentor Coaching + Certificate program participants, particularly one from China. At the conclusion of the program, she said, “I started this slowly, cautiously, like a turtle, not feeling very confident and through your love and patience, Marilyn, I experienced transformation, not only with the coaching competencies, but also within.” Other participants, coaching clients, and speaking audiences throughout my career use words like “compassion, openness, stabilizing confidence, peaceful presence.” Wow! That is really heartwarming for me to hear and I’m thrilled that she’s thriving, partially as a result of the love and compassion that she and other mentor coaching, coaching supervisees and coaching clients experience with me and their cohort peers. 

When I think about loving organizations, I think about Southwest Airlines. Its founder really practiced love as that door opener. That is what they hire for, their culture is and they have a very successful organization as a result. Southwest is my number one US airline for sure for their practice of love, even in the midst of challenges, striving to make things right.

In coaching we call this love “unconditional positive regard” and know it is crucial for providing that safe, trusting environment for learning and for people becoming everything that they can be. As a coach I delight in lovingly partnering with leaders, teams and coaches to unlock their full potential and see that utilized in their workplace, in their lives. And it is important to apply to yourself!

If you want research as a reminder, I am including the Wharton Business School research article that backs up the importance of loving compassion in the workplace. Here is a preview: “They found that units with higher levels of companionate love had lower levels of absenteeism and employee burnout. The researchers also discovered that a culture of companionate love led to higher levels of employee engagement with their work via greater teamwork and employee satisfaction..’This is something that can definitely be very purposeful...'”

*Books like Jack Mitchell’s Hug Your Customer; Hug Your People point to the benefits of putting care or love into action in the workplace.“’Hugging’ is Jack’s metaphor for bringing humanity back into the workplace… by getting to know, pay attention to and being curious about those we do business with by taking the time to learn what matters to them.” And, I add, to act based on what you learn matters to them.

When working virtually, this can mean scheduling some additional time individually and/or at the beginning of a team meeting and/or scheduling a virtual team or individual coffee.

My question is how are you opening the door through love for the people that you work with, live with, etc., to thrive as well as yourself and your organization? 

Here’s to thriving people and organizations! To our success, we are in this together!

Marilyn O’Hearne, MSW, MCC, LLC; CQ MCC

P.S. Leaders, apply for an #UnlockALLPotential strategy session with me to discover how to further unlock your, your team and your organization’s potential. Limited availability.

What is costing you to wait? Act now!

*See also Benefiel’s Soul at Work;The Soul of a Leader; Parker Palmer’s A Hidden Wholeness; and Stanley Herman’s The Tao at Work.

First published 12/29/17 and updated