Let Love Lead the Way

Entrepreneurs’ Digest
Published: Sept-Oct 2013
By Ronald Lee, Managing Director, PrimeStaff Management Services

 

“Love” leadership is the secret weapon to retaining talent in a tight labour market.

Given the rising cost of living in Singapore, employers would be forgiven for thinking that the most effective carrot to dangle in front of your employees is money.

While this may be true for a certain percentage of workers, the majority of employees really value appreciation, recognition and empowerment; the intrinsic stuff that makes a person want to stay with his or her team.

As such, many companies still practice fear-based leadership, which, in progressive HR and management circles, is long dead. Using fear to manipulate employees into producing results may seem effective – but only in the short term, as unhappiness and resentment can set in and infect the workforce very quickly.To be sure, this is not a new concept. It’s a philosophy that sounds great on paper but in reality, it is much harder to bring this theory to life and inculcate such a corporate culture within the organisational ranks.

Consider leading with “love” instead.

Leading with love starts with loving the people you lead. This touchy-feely philosophy may sound like it has no place in the business world but if you look at it from the perspective where love equals caring, then the easy-to-understand formula works out as such: loving your people will create more loyal and dedicated employees who will be more willing to follow you into battle.

It is a positive cycle intrinsic to human nature: when we show love, we demonstrate appreciation for the person and in turn, the person will have a higher tendency to want to work harder and more effectively for that person he or she loves.

To lead with love is thus to understand how to bring out the best in people and to care enough to know what is important to them in order to help them to succeed.

As leadership guru John C. Maxwell put it, “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” So showing genuine care will empower your people to perform at a much greater level than anyone believes possible.

Additionally, love brings more energy and passion to the workplace and the tasks at hand, and thus inspires more success on both an individual and team level. When colleagues have love for their teammates, they would be more motivated to work harder for the success of the team.

 

A Talent Retention Strategy Called Love

“Love” is an intangible form of motivation that can be the secret weapon in a tight labour market. And it costs nothing – except the lack of an ego and a great dose of humility – so it is a great strategy to harness especially when a business is not able to compete on compensation and benefits to attract and retain talent. So focus on creating a family-like environment where your people are empowered to flourish through a culture of acknowledgement, recognition, and care and concern – and you will make it harder for your employees to leave even if they are presented with a fabulous job opportunity from your competitor.

At PrimeStaff, for instance, one of our core values is our passion for people – be they our clients, our candidates and even our own staff – and this stems from a genuine care for people. Because we operate from a space of “love”, we truly care about the success of our customers who need our help to grow their workforce, our candidates who seek better jobs through us, our staff who we endeavour to develop to their best potential, and our business partners who we desire to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with. This guiding philosophy ensures that all our decisions and dealings are aligned with this “love” principle, and it has served us very well in our almost two decades of business.

When leading with love, some bosses practice “tough love”, which the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, was known for. Exerting “tough love” means pushing your people to excel and perform at their peak not because productivity and profitability is your primary motivation but because you genuinely desire to see your people grow and live up to their true potential.

As clichéd as it may sound, when the going gets tough, love is what will see your people through the difficult times. When employees are tempted to quit for whatever reasons, their love for the boss, company and co-workers will be the reason they stay and help steer things back on course. Such a deep sense of loyalty certainly cannot be bought but only inspired through love.

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