I met Faith James, a powerful woman of color who consults and coaches around personal and corporate branding, when we were both guests on a podcast last month. Faith is amazing; she somehow thought I was amazing; she invited me to speak during her Being the CEO of You retreat back in April.
When Faith introduced me during the retreat, she described me as someone who leads with love. Perhaps needless to say, I loved that. I like to say that I’m the Executive Coach who walks around my clients’ C-suites talking about love. I’ve described feelings as the “F word” in the corporate world. And I indeed do my best to lead with love.
I believe that leading with love is a first and necessary step to Thoughtful Leadership – being present, intentional, and authentic – and to being the best leader – and person – that we can be.
So, what do I think leading with love means? Why do I think it’s so essential and life and leadership changing?
To me, leading with love means assuming good intentions and looking for the best in people. Leading with love means doing my best to be at my best, to come from a place of confidence and connection rather than fear. Leading with love means listening to others, sharing what I know and have learned, being open to their needs and perspectives, and looking for ways to be on the same side of the challenges facing us and to be there for each other and to “have each other’s backs.”
Obviously, I believe that leading with love is important. Essential even. That doesn’t mean that there is always perfect harmony or that it’s always easy. Or ever easy. Because leading with love also means knowing what my own needs and boundaries are and stating and standing by my boundaries. It means giving necessary tough feedback, being honest about what’s working and what’s not working, celebrating small wins and differences, and showing up and being kind, even when I may not want to. As we work and live with others, there are so many ways that we can end up at odds or that our goals and agendas can be in conflict. Inherent in the fact that we are all different people with different perspectives and different experiences is the fact that there will often be friction and disagreement. Friction and disagreement are important too. Essential even. If we always agreed with everyone, we’d be less likely to reach the best win-win outcome. And we reach the best win-win outcome when we come from love and lead with love.
I’m not suggesting you let yourself be a doormat in any way, and I’m not suggesting any form of inappropriate behavior or love in a romantic sense obviously. But I am suggesting that when we lead with love – with a desire to see the best in others, to give our best to others, and to find the best way to work, live, learn, and grow with others – that’s the best type of Thoughtful Leadership.
How do you lead with love? How do you want to lead with more love?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.
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