You might wonder what love has to do in the context of leadership and you are right because much is talked about leadership qualities, but the word love is seldom mentioned. We don’t like to use that word when it comes to our professional roles and love is reserved for our personal lives.
However, isn’t caring for those you lead another name for love?
As a leader we are in a nurturing role as we care for our team and the people we work with. That is an essential quality of any leader. This came into sharp focus this weekend while I was caring for my dog who suddenly was struggling to walk. He is a puppy and you would expect him to be playful and bouncy which he usually is, but he woke up with a limp and I could see how it was causing him great discomfort. As any pet owner will know as soon as you realise something is not right you go into action and do what you must in terms of getting them to the vets even if it costs a fair bit because your pet is your family member and because you love them. This made me think aren’t we in a leadership role even when we are not at work? I’d say leadership is a trait most of us have in every role we perform, and the basis of that stems from taking pride in the work we do, but most importantly for the people in our lives.
I was talking to someone recently who have lost their parent. They are my age and they said they had a wonderful connection with their parent but have the guilt of not saying how much they appreciated their parent when they were alive. It made me think, I am the youngest in my family, but my siblings had a very different relationship with my dad, one where words like ‘I love you’ were not at all natural or the done thing. It is generational thing, nowadays we are more able to say how we feel. I remember always saying to my dad how much I loved him but 20 years ago I would not have said those words. So what changed, well, my father and I grew closer, I came to know him much better and appreciate him even more, plus being the youngest he was a different father to me than he was to my older siblings. Having lost my father cracked me open in unimaginable ways so much so that I am very mindful now to show my appreciation to others in case I don’t get the chance to say what I feel.
By the way I am not suggested you say to your colleagues that you love them but recognise the word care is another form of love.
If a leader is respected it is because they do more than just guide and support those they lead, it is because they care and nurture their team to the point they take on a parental role. This role is sacred and must be done with diligence. So the next time when you interact with someone in your team ask yourself do you care for them? You may find yourself that you care for them more than you care to admit. Respect and regard comes from much more than transactional interactions it is much deeper.
I will end on the note, my puppy is finding his bouncy energy again, and he is going to see an orthopaedic vet tomorrow to get to the bottom of the sudden lameness he suffered this weekend. I am the leader of the pack so it was down to me to have his back, another trait all leaders usually have.
It is a good thing to care and it is okay to recognise you care more deeply than you care to admit, because if you do YOU ARE A LEADER.
20th February 2022