When you talk about love in the workplace, most folks think of inter-office romances or tawdry office affairs. At the very least, our culture teaches us that love should not be part of our workplace vernacular. That’s unfortunate since it is love which energizes us toward new heights and gives us courage to take authentic action.
Over the past couple of days, I’ve been reflecting on what Dennis Bakke in Joy At Work says about love and its place in our worklives. Rather than running away from love because it’s “mushy” or “soft” or simply “inappropriate,” what else is there?
It is love that allows us to give up our power of control. It is love that allows us to treat each person in our organization with respect and dignity. Love sends people around the world to serve others. Love inspires people to work with greater purpose.
As for when we feel attacked or misunderstood in our work, Bakke continues with his own experience:
Love helps me understand why some colleagues, supervisors, board members, and subordinates did not subscribe to my theories or behave in a manner consistent with our highest principles and values. Love makes it possible for me to forgive those who derided my views and caused me so much pain. Because love is directed toward others, it allows for the possibility that my critics were right and I was wrong. And, if I was wrong, I would hope that love would enable my detractors to forgive the forceful way I pushed my philosophy.
And as for why bringing love to our workplace is so important:
I continue to believe that love is the final and crucial ingredient in a joy-filled workplace. It is a state of mind that requires no extra costs and no difficult trade-offs against competing organizational goals. It does not demand higher compensation or fancy offices or sophisticated information systems or more specialized staff people. Yet love is perfectly consistent with even the most aggressive economic goals.
Some folks may bristle and disbelieve that last statement about the compatibility of love with making a profit, but I share his faith. In today’s world, profit is really easy come, easy go. Even those companies and non-profits who have enjoyed consistent growth can’t accurately predict the future or increasingly fickle customers. But, love is always there for us, always within us to bring to our work and those we work with. That’s the challenge, though…often it takes courage to bring that love to places where love may not always be present or to folks who don’t believe it belongs in a professional office environment.
Today, keep the Beatles in your heart and sing, “All you need is love, love, love is all you need.”