This little thing called love

14 February 2019

This little thing called love

As it is Valentine’s Day, I cannot help but reflect on the notion of ‘love’, which is interpreted in so many different ways, depending on background, faith, orientation, philosophy, values and many other facets.

A wider interpretation

Whilst many consider love in the traditional sense associated with Valentine’s Day, my research and work delves into a wider interpretation: the unconditional acceptance of other human beings and oneself, without judgement and reproach; the love that says we are more than a means to an end in an organisation chasing bottom-line growth; the love that says we have permission to be ourselves, to speak up and stand for what we believe in without being excluded or left out of the ‘club’.

This interpretation may at first seem impossible to realise, but imagine if all people, of all ages, were determined to leave a legacy and a world in which the wider sense of love were to prevail. This could lead to a small slither of hope of one day there being no war, no discrimination, no exclusion, no poverty, no inequality, bottom-line business profits would grow and leaders would see and behave in a more collaborative way with other employees, regardless of status.

Changing workplace culture

How then can love as a capability be developed in business? The first step is encouraging a dialogue around what this wider sense of love means in the working environment and the difference it could make to workplace culture, collaboration and business success. Providing tools, development opportunities and resources that enable leaders at all levels to understand and embrace themselves as humans first would further develop a base culture of partnership and kindness.

On the recruitment and progression side, selecting leaders for critical roles that have the right technical skills but also the values of empathy, emotional intelligence and service would also help as these qualities will translate in to their relationships with colleagues and other stakeholders.

In addition, we can continue to dream and hope for a little more openness, honesty and love in a wider community and business sense. Small steps towards a more collaborative future are all it takes.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Yetunde Hofmann
Visiting Fellow and Development Coach

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Yetunde Hofmann and Professor Kevin Money will be hosting a ‘Love in Business’ event on Developing Your Most Critical Leadership Capability for members of The Henley Partnership in September 2019. Find out more here.