A couple of years ago a very good friend of mine was asking himself a soul-searching question: “Do I actually love people?” You might say, what a stupid question! But think about it … do you?
As a leader, do you love people, or do you just use them? Do you care about them, or do you just command them around?
Leadership is relationship. You can command people to obey you because of your title or position, but you’ll only get them to follow you when they trust you. And they’ll only trust you when they know that you love them.
You know those timid rat-like little dogs – the kind that are always running away from people, and loud noises, and moving objects in general? A dog like that will never follow you – he’s too scared! Well, people are generally like that. But a dog that knows that you love him and will take care of him – he’s loyal, he’ll follow you, and he’ll make your life a joy.
Now, I’m a naturally task-oriented guy. To do lists, daily goals, weekly objectives, that’s how I function (sounds super boring doesn’t it?). “Task-mode” – as my wife calls it – is great when I’m in front of my computer, but it really sucks when I’m trying to lead people … as much as I’d sometimes like them to, humans don’t respond to commands like Microsoft Word does. Different kettle of fish.
Sometimes I get it right and give people acceptance and love – and they flourish! When I get it wrong, I don’t invest in the relationship and treat them like a program.
What’s your experience of love and leadership?