What’s Valentine’s Day got to teach us about leadership? A lot more than meets the eye…
We know that dis-engagement is happening in record numbers in the workplace. According to a Gallup poll, the percentage of U.S. workers in 2015 who Gallup considered engaged in their jobs averaged 32%. The majority (50.8%) of employees were “not engaged,” while another 17.2% were “actively disengaged.”
In my experience with leaders in organizations, I know that dis-engagement stems from a number of causes, including lack of clarity about the strategy, goals and objectives, and consistent accountability for results. However, I believe at the root of all this is the significance of showing care—love—if you will for others.
I don’t mean the kind of love you share with a partner; I mean the kind of love that you show when you see the other person’s needs, concerns, worries, and offer a genuine, listening ear. Showing love means showing respect and care for the feelings and needs of another person, whether at work or at home.
In relationships, we can all learn to become more intentional about how we are showing up. According to a Huffington Post article on what happy couples consistently do, it was reported that they regularly 1) check in with each other, 2) offer each other compliments, 3) act generously, without keeping score and 4) say thank you and express gratitude.
These sound like successful actions for both work and personal relationships. What links them together is a common mindset; the belief that I am connected to others and that expressing my connection is at the heart of what offers joy and meaning. Results will follow.
As you reflect on the implications for leadership, consider the following questions:
- Do I consistently communicate with others that show that I care about them, not just about the work they are doing?
- Do I offer compliments when I see behavior that is consistent with our cultural values, acknowledging what’s working?
- Am I generous with my time, or do I always seem too “busy” or “distracted” to care?
As you celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, consider the quality of your connection. More than flowers, chocolates, or champagne, what we all most want is better engagement, both at work and at home.
Call on your inner Cupid and watch what happens!