Leadership Requires Love – December 2006
By Sean Wolfington
“Love” isn’t often thought of as a common corporate term or factored into the management strategies and goals of dealerships and other businesses.
Love, like leadership, can be difficult to define. In the world of business it’s easy to discuss investments, strategies and other factors that influence success; but try drumming up a conversation in the board room about emotions like trust and love and watch the atmosphere of the conversation go from secure to silent. So, what’s love got to do with leadership?
The truth is that love and leadership are attributes that together make powerful allies. Love, in its purest sense, is about truly caring what happens to others, and leadership involves the ability to influence the behavior of others toward a common goal. Leaders who are bonded to their colleagues through love develop trusting relationships and effectively inspire loyalty, cooperation and a desire to achieve. Wouldn’t our businesses be more successful if we promoted and expected more loving and caring attitudes toward each other as well as to our customers?
Dr. John Hoyle, professor of educational administration at Texas A&M, has written his ninth book, “Leadership and the Force of Love.” In his book he explores “Six Keys to Motivating Others With Love:” visioning, communicating, teamworking, empowering, mentoring and evaluating. Hoyle believes that expressions of love are not only possible in a professional setting for persons in leadership positions, but are, in fact, critical for any success.
“If you look at the greatest leaders the world has ever known – Jesus Christ, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Billy Graham and others – you will find one common thread, and it’s that they led with love, not by force,” says Hoyle. “Great leaders reach people through the heart, not the head. The bottom line is this: If you can’t love, you can’t lead.”
It is a simple concept. We were created in the image of love, so it makes perfect sense to intentionally adapt that virtue whenever we step into a leadership role. Love is powerful
and transforming and need not be spoken of to exist. It can be perceived without words and extends beyond the boundaries of any language barriers. A true leader does not lift his hand above, but rather outstretches his hand toward his followers. Just imagine what a difference it would make in the world if all of our political, professional and business leaders would be inspired to act out of love rather than for power and wealth.
The world’s greatest leaders have incorporated love into their leadership responsibilities to make a difference and inspire others to greatness with incredible results. Don’t worry if the concept makes you a little nervous; simply intending to be an instrument of love is enough to begin to make a difference.
May the spirit of love be reborn in your heart this Christmas Season.
Sean Wolfington is the general manager of BZ Results, an ADP Company. He can be contacted at 866.802.5753, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.