Many people do not see any type of connection between love and the workplace. My goal over this 4 blog series is to change your view on this. Hopefully after reading this series you will see that love absolutely fits into the workplace.
Here is a summary of the 4 parts that we will be covering:
Part 1: A Different Kind of Company
Part 2: Agape Love
Part 3: The Handbook of Love: A Playbook for Life
Part 4: Putting Love into Play at Work
If you have ever had the chance to see the show on CBS called Undercover Boss, you know that there have been some amazing and uplifting stores on the program. If you have not seen the show, here is a short overview to get you up to speed. On the show, the owner of a large corporation goes undercover within his own business. They come on, usually at an entry-level position to see what it is like to work for their own company. They see how other employees within the company treat them and see areas that need to be improved. At the end of the show, the boss brings in all the people that they worked with and reveal their true identity to them. Usually they find that there are many things they can do to improve their company and improve the lives of the people within the company.
On one particular episode of Undercover Boss more than 18 million viewers tuned in to watch the show that featured Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation (HFE) and president and CEO Joel Manby. That amount of viewers made it the highest-rated program on CBS that week and the second most popular show on any network, trailing only American Idol.
Many of the people who watched those employees in action on that episode wanted to know why their places of work were not more like what they had seen on that episode. The HFE employees seemed to be more respectful, cooperative, joyful, and more loving. What was displayed to the world in that episode confirmed the wise management philosophy that the leaders at HFE had been nurturing for half a century. That philosophy is leading with love.
Leading with love is counterintuitive in today’s business environment because it turns many so-called leadership principles upside-down. Yet the outpouring of support from people who had never even heard of HFE convinced Joel Manby that while they might be doing something slightly crazy by leading with love, they were also doing something that people were hungry to be a part of.
Joel Manby commented that before he had come to HFE, he had been living by the numbers because numbers were all that his leaders seemed to care about. He commented that if he had any deeper principles, he needed to check them at the company door, because once he was at work, it was all about financial performance.
Manby said that when he performed well, he was rewarded and respected. When he failed, he felt like he was being kicked to the curb. It was that simple. He said that he longed for a better way. He wanted to care about the people he worked with and for. He wanted to work somewhere that rejected the false dichotomy between profit and people or profit and principles. Unfortunately, he had been in business long enough to know that was a nearly impossible dream.
Manby said that his experience at HFE has revolutionized the way he sees leadership. He is convinced that leading with love is the best way to run an organization. Any organization. The bottom line is best served when leaders lead with love. He said that he understands that this is a controversial claim, but he also now understands that it is true.
Love isn’t a feeling, but an action. An action by which leaders and entire organizations can experience almost unimaginable success and personal fulfillment.
This idea is not a new one. The bible discusses the idea of treating workers this way.
Colossians 4:1 (The Message)
4 And masters, treat your servants considerately. Be fair with them. Don’t forget for a minute that you, too, serve a Master—God in heaven.
I want to end today’s blog by asking you two questions that I want you to consider:
What’s your initial reaction to the idea of leading with love?
Why do you feel this way?
Be sure to check out Part 2 of this blog series when I discuss agape love and what that means exactly.