LOVE is a word we don’t use often enough in business except perhaps for customers wanting to love our offering. I am writing this column after hosting the second annual Hunter Growth Seminar for Women and am feeling a lot of love from the day. We had inspiring speakers help participants to grow personally, financially, spirituality and in their career.
A common theme came to me from the day. You have got to love yourself to grow. Women in particular, but also men, don’t put themselves first often enough in their personal lives or careers. On a personal level, you can’t ask people to love you or your work if it is clear you don’t love yourself. Love yourself a little more it may not be so important to seek other people’s love. Learning to love yourself helps to unlock your passion and get your work-life balance right. How?
It helps make sure that you are not the barrier to achieving your goals and gives you strength to break recurring negative patterns in your life. You start to be a hero and not a victim, taking charge of your life rather than waiting for things to happen. You learn to say “no” to non-priority work and family issues. When you love yourself it is easier to learn new communication styles, be more assertive, deal with challenging people and let unhelpful emotion go.
Marketing yourself is very important in the workplace. You can’t always wait for people to recognise your achievements or offer you the role you want. Women in particular are not always good at doing this. Loving yourself a little more makes it important and easier to put your marketing hat on. But what’s love got to do with business specifically? Of course, loving your customers is vital in business. If there isn’t love in the business, it is harder to sustain customer love.
When business owners and leaders love what they do they are more likely to be creative and passionate and successful. When your staff love coming to work or feel loved at work they are more likely to be more loyal and productive. Your staff are motivated by their own passions rather than your company values and mission statement.
When you create some love between business goals and their passion you have a perfect match for business success. Later this month I will be speaking at the Attract and Retain Working Women Conference in Sydney. Love will be a theme of my keynote as we discuss strategies to increase female participation in the workplace. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that conflict won’t and shouldn’t occur in a workplace.
I’m not saying everyone should walk around the office holding hands. Business owners need to be espousing a special kind of love – tough love. Too often business leaders and managers show either too soft an engagement style or show a hard-line performance management style. You don’t want to be taken advantage of when showing love for your staff, suppliers or customers.
Tough love is a balanced approach to leadership. You need to have the tough conversations when necessary. Get started by saying “I love myself” every day, including when things get in the road of you achieving your goals. Write down three things you are going to change because you love yourself and act on them.