Can You Have Leadership Without Love?


There was a part of me that told me never to write this post. Who wants to read an article about Leadership and the importance of Love as a framework for higher outcomes?


Yet, in my last 6 years of coaching, I have witnessed how love can be the key ingredient in taking meager sales or high turnover and transform a company from the foundation straight to the top.


Let me share a real-life example of a situation that I witnessed and how, with some better human dynamics, things could have gone very differently.


Company X had an employee going through a rough patch in their life. They had been through a bad break up in their personal life, and they were struggling to remain focused and composed at work.


Normally, I think a company would “just let things play out,” because this was a personal matter. Nevertheless, I knew at the time, it would be less costly to come from a place of love. “Just letting things play out” is level 3 energy in Energy Leadership (a leadership tool I use with every company I work with). Level 3 is all about doing the minimal amount of communication and minimal amount of care for employees and often leads to turnover—within the ranks of both high and low energy employees. This means a lot of one’s workforce is susceptible to these missteps of Level Three Leadership.


Because Company X and it’s employees were not operating in levels 4-7 (which are considered representative of higher and more anabolic energy), they were not empathetic or loving towards this individual going through personal crisis. You could actually feel people in the workplace starting to judge the employee’s normal human experience instead of asking them what they needed or how to help.


The employee was not offered the coaching that, at a minimal cost, could have salvaged her role in the company. They also lost the opportunity to strengthen her loyalty and by-in to her role and the organization. If she would have been offered coaching, which in this case would have been an act of love. She would have seen her employer as wise, kind a fair. Being wise, kind and fair is Level 6 in Energy Leadership.


Rather, the company lost this employee, along with the time, money and resources that went into training, as well as the asset of their job experience. Furthermore, the emotional cost was significant on both ends, as both parties reciprocated hatred by the time all had played out. Company X then was responsible for refilling the employee’s position, which meant more man hours in hiring, training, and the potential for beginner mistakes.


What could have been a better outcome?


The companies I work with, know that they have humans on their staff and as is typical, humans sometimes need coaching to navigate personal and professional situations—hopefully before they can turn into a toxic environment for everyone involved. This kind of coaching means helping staff learn the mental and emotional tools they need to do their jobs in the best ways for everyone. Human beings do not operate on a completely logical system, like computers. We are not all motivated by spreadsheets or have the skills to handle the unexpected with perfect grace.


Sometimes, (okay, almost all the time) we may need an experienced 3rd party perspective to help us handle these human experiences. If the employee I mentioned had received coaching, along with their team, the toxic dynamics that unfurled might never have had a chance to pick up steam.


There would have been conversations on how to support someone who is going through this kind of trauma (and oh, there are so many kinds!). The individual would have received the support so that they could start the process of caring for themselves again, and create a space at work, that was just for work. Their personal life, rather than becoming a point of contention, could re-situate itself in the appropriate sphere and they could grieve the life change in private, perhaps with the help of a therapist.


The skills Company X would be learning—these high-level emotional leadership skills— would then be readily available to be used the next time another person in the company was going through something. Every person, even the most logical of personalities, are going to, at some point, go through a human experience that will knock them off their pedestal.


The best part of this story is that it can be used as a source of learning: the best leaders—the ones seeking to build a place of learning and achieve higher outcomes and more accountability—understand that coaching is a way to create a new framework and fill in the the gaps.


Want to take your team or company to more profitable and functional heights? Book a free consultation with Endless Ocean Coaching today!