Many years ago I taught an MBA presentation skills class and I included a section on audience analysis. I shared that it was important to determine how the intended audience of any presentation felt about the topic…and the tension in the room was always palpable. I began to call “feel” the “F word” – as if it was something that couldn’t be discussed in a business setting.

But “feelings” is an “F word” that matters. They have everything to do with business settings, at least in part. We know through breakthrough work such as Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence research that it’s important to acknowledge emotions – our own feelings and those of others – in the workplace. Without that acknowledgment, emotions can get in the way of communication and mutual understanding. If someone is extremely upset about something, it’s nearly impossible to move forward on the business at hand. If someone is wildly passionate about something else, it’s nearly impossible to ignore it. We are human beings and we are full of emotions, and like an elephant sitting in the middle of a living room, they can’t be ignored.

I’ll go even further. I’ll tell you what love has to do with it. Not only should emotions not be ignored, they should be intentionally brought into a business setting. I have found, and seen, that when love –care and concern for others and for the task at hand – is brought into the business setting, business flourishes. When leaders and managers share love with their colleagues – love for the work and open, human concern for the people around them – people thrive and give their best. When coworkers share the loving, caring side of themselves, people respond. When I love my clients, and simply offer them a place to learn and be their best, they blossom. That’s what love has got to do with it. That’s an “F word” we should use more often.

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