Heightened awareness. That’s what love is in a business context, notes Barbara Fredrickson, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
She has conducted more than 25 years of research on positive emotions.
In her book LOVE 2.0, Fredrickson notes that when humans are in love, they reach out for something beyond their own “cocoon of self- interest” and become more aware of others. They become more likely to focus on the needs, wants and concerns of others and to see things from another’s perspective.
“The best kept secret of successful leaders is love”
Focusing on others is so intensive for the most effective leaders that “the best-kept secret of successful leaders is love.”
That’s the conclusion of researchers James Kouzes and Barry Posner in their seminal book The Leadership Challenge. Their research is based on more than two million interviews and surveys over the last 30 years with leaders all over the world.
And that secret is also the key to sustaining long-term leadership success add Kouzes and Posner: “Of all the things that sustain a leader over time, love is the most lasting.”
When a leader is in love with the process of leading, he or she has “the fire to ignite other people, see inside other people, and have a greater desire to get things done,” noted John H. Stanford, a former Major General in the United States Army, cited in The Leadership Challenge.
Psychologists tell us that love is a behavior more than simply a feeling, a behavior that champions others, a behavior that validates the dignity and worth of another human being, and a behavior that compels you to hate the sin but love the sinner.
Loving others in a business context –with a heightened sense of awareness — is so vital – that Kouzes and Posner flatly state in their bible of leadership development (The Leadership Challenge) that:
“Leadership is not an affair of the head. Leadership is an affair of the heart.”
For more information on how you can positively impact your bottom line with love in a business context (empathy), purchase a 300-page book filled with 77 short stories (5-minute reads called Leadership Mints) on examples from business, sports and politics. It’s titled:
LOVING Like a Leader with Empathy– one of three books in The Leadership Mints Series designed to help leaders refresh their feeling for leading. And as a bonus, the postscript titled– BUSINESS: A HUMAN EXPERIENCE — shares the impetus for this book on empathy impacting the bottom line.