I have been writing articles for some time now about how to Lead with Love. My focus has been showing how leadership is more than a title or position, but how it is the ability to influence positive change in the lives of others. Anyone, at any level, can have a positive influence in the lives of those around them, they just have to be willing to connect with, and care for those people. It’s really that simple.
What I have found, is for many in a leadership position, while this concept is understood, they find it hard to implement. There has been a fear, development from many years of traditional leadership, that allowing those you lead to get to close to you in a negative. The belief is that you will become too emotionally attached to your people and you will be blinded. Your ability to see the real picture will be skewed. It is also believed that you will not be able to truly hold someone accountable because you are too afraid of hurting their feelings. The leadership style used then, is one of distance. Don’t let those you lead become to close to you and this will never be a problem. This in turn creates the saying, which many might know, “Leadership is lonely at the top.”
While I understand this notion, and granted, there are instances where people are blinded by their love and connection with those they lead, this IS NOT how you LEAD WITH LOVE!
Actually, this isn’t leading at all.
Leading with Love is not just seeing the good in people. It’s seeing the truth about people! This truth, is that while we are working to build others up to be the best they can be, people aren’t always going to want to be built up. There will be those you lead that either a. doesn’t have the ability to be built up, or b. doesn’t have the willingness to. When this occurs, it is your job as the leader, wanting to care for and protect the team, must be willing to speak truth to those individuals and hold them accountable for their actions or inactions.
This is not easy for heart led leaders to do, but it is absolutely necessary if your aim is to truly love and care for those you lead. When these conversations need to occur, the best way to approach it is with C.A.R.E.. When using C.A.R.E., you will have the ability to speak openly and honestly and develop next steps needed to rectify the situation and help the individual move in the direction of the rest of the team. If that doesn’t occur, and drastic action needs to be taken, you can rest assured you have done everything in your power to help that person, but this role or company might not be the best fit for them.
How to Lead with C.A.R.E
C. Clearly communicate the issue – When facing a situation that needs addressing, leaders need to know that they are clearly communicating the challenge the individual is creating. Clear communication, with documented facts and examples, allows you to be open and honest and communicate to the intellectually part of the brain, not just the emotional. Being able to clearly communicate, gives freedom to the leader to rest on the facts, not the emotion of the situation to guide them.
A. Allow time for Feedback – Once you have clearly communicated the challenge, allow room for feedback. This feedback might not always be constructive, but it is key to allow the person to absorb the new information and give their side of the story. Many people in this situation respond emotionally however, they all want a chance to be heard. Giving them the ability to respond, allows them to connect with you and trust you. They feel listened to, and understood.
R. Reevaluate with new information - After giving some time for feedback, new information might have come to light. Allow yourself the ability to review this new information. This might mean, taking a break and circling back after some time to give you an ability to review privately and reassess the previous information given. This will allow you time to decide if a new course of action is needed.
E. Explain Next Steps – After some time has been given to reevaluate the situation with the newly provided information, it is time to clearly explain next steps. These next steps could look like a 9- day action plan, a formal apology, a suspension or even a dismissal. It is your responsibility to make sure all parties clearly understand the next steps and potential repercussions for not completing. These have to be clearly stated, detailed and filed. Follow up will be essential to this process and making sure all parties have copies of the next steps is key.