Ladies and gentlemen, I am going to be writing about a very touchy leadership style for most of you. In fact, if you even keep reading past the headline you are already a special breed of leader. Love is a word that brings up all sorts of visions and emotions.
So, how does love impact your leadership? First, we need to really define the type of love we are talking about.
Love in leadership
The Marine Corps has two primary objectives. The first is mission accomplishment. The mission is our job and we will do our job. The second is troop welfare. You must look out for those in your charge, lead them, and (unspoken, unwritten, and universally understood) love them.
You see, the secret every great military leader knows that you don’t accomplish your mission with a dysfunctional team that is tired, hungry, and checked out. To meet your primary objective you must meet your secondary objective first.
So, in the case of leadership, love means simply caring for your team. It isn’t some really weird, strange and touchy-feely concept. It is that brotherly or sisterly type of love you see displayed in every great act of valor. If you have read the book or seen the movie, “Lone Survivor”, you see this played out repeatedly as the men of Operation Red Wings try to survive and save each other on that mountain. But, there is no other scene that embodies this principle like Lt. Michael Murphy (Medal of Honor Citation) and his sacrifice for his team.
Love and your leadership style?
Now, nobody is asking you to climb out on a rock and take rounds for your team. Well, not literally anyway. However, sometimes that will be required in a metaphorical sense. What is asked of you is to open yourself up to building stronger relationships, being more vulnerable, being more authentic and, being comfortable with not being the most important piece of the puzzle.
It requires an immense amount of effort but it is an effort with the highest return on investment you will ever make.
The best part is this type of love fits extremely well into any leadership style. Every single team and team member wants to work for and with people whom they love and who loves them back. It is simply human nature that drives that desire. Besides a few exceptions, you cannot hide it or fight it.
In fact, look no further than companies such as Chic-Fil-A and Barry-Wehmiller for proof. I have talked about Chic-Fil-A a few times on my podcast and I’m sure, sadly, many of you may have never heard of Barry-Wehmiller so I will focus on them. CEO Bob Chapman began leading his team with a concept called, “Truly Human Leadership”. Now, think about that title for one second, Truly Human Leadership, and what sort of imagery it brings to your mind.
There is a lot that goes into it but I think it can be summarized with these words, love them like family. Bob and Barry-Wehmiller treat their team members, regardless of position in the organization, like an extended family. The part that makes it truly magical is they extend it to the actual family of the team member.
The family leadership style of Truly Human Leadership is one that embraces the very same concepts of brotherly love that makes the military such a tight-knit group. It proves that from the battlefield to the boardroom when you love your people they will love you back with loyalty, innovation, and success beyond anything you could ever imagine.
But, don’t take my word for it. Listen to Bob’s TEDx Talk. It will be the best 22 minutes of your day. And yes, you can spare those minutes!
To truly lead successful teams you must be willing to open yourself up, be vulnerable, be authentic, and love them like family.