Show Your Team You Love Them and Watch Performance Soar
Given the title of this article and the context of the workplace, you may be asking the same question as Tina Turner’s famous song, “What’s love got to do with it?”. You might even be inclined to hit delete! Research would advise you not to.
Here’s some evidence for showing your team you love them:
Research #1 – Research conducted by Marcial Losada shows just how important it is to demonstrate your affection for your team. His research, reported in Shawn Anchors book, The Happiness Advantage, indicates “it takes about three positive comments, experiences, or expressions to fend off the languishing effects of one negative”.
That’s 3:1 in favour of showing your love! That’s enough to drive the manager who thinks “I’m not going to thank them just for doing their job” caah-razy!
It gets even better (or worse, if you are the manager I just mentioned, but they’ve likely hit delete). The research shows that when you dip below a 3:1 ratio, workplace performance quickly declines. However, when you rise above it, “teams produce their very best work”. To get that result, you need a 6:1 ratio of positive to negative experiences.
Research #2 – Leadership researchers, James Kouzes and Barry Posner, conclude in their best selling book, The Leadership Challenge, that “The best-kept secret of successful leaders is love: staying in love with leading, with the people who do the work, with what their organizations produce, and with those who honour the organization by using its products and services.”
“Leadership is not an affair of the head. Leadership is an affair of the heart.” Kouzes and Posner
It’s easy for us to say things like, “I love the sea”, or “I love my work” or “I love my new car”. It’s not as easy to tell your team “I love you” and I certainly don’t expect you to do that. So, how can you, as their leader, activate your team’s excitement and desire to perform? How do you lead with love in a way that is appropriate in a professional environment?
Here are a few thought starters and examples for you to show your team you love them:
SWAP TASKS: In a small business team retreat I facilitated, the General Manager admitted that she knew having an operational manual in place would be beneficial to solving some of the problems we were discussing. After exploring her team’s DiSC styles, she realized this was not in her strengths zone. This results focused manager said, “I really don’t like doing this type of work.”
One of the more introverted and process-oriented managers in the group, raised his hand and said “I love doing that type of work. But I don’t love to do _____” Although I don’t recall exactly what his disliked task was, the point was clear! His task was more in her wheel-house then his. So they swapped tasks.
How can you encourage your team members to swap tasks?
CREATE A BEST IDEA OF THE MONTH CONTEST: One client I worked with had a creative solution to engage his team. They had a flip chart in their meeting room, and whenever someone came up with a good idea, they added it to the “Idea of the Month” flip chart. At the monthly company meeting, they discussed the ideas and chose the best one to spend time implementing that month.
When interviewing employees to garner feedback on how to improve the organizational culture, the feedback I received was that they really appreciated that contest and showed that the business owner cared about what they had to say.
How can you encourage team members to offer up ideas and implement some of them?
ATTEND A MEETING ON YOUR BEHALF: In my humble opinion, nothing shows “I care about you” more then believing in someone. Leadership expert John Maxwell suggests to never go to a meeting alone. Why? Because it’s an opportunity to help someone learn and grown and ready themselves for a next step in their career.
I believe that trusting someone to attend a meeting on your behalf can also be a way to help them learn through experience, and give them a glimpse into some of the issues that you need to address as a leader. Of course you need to use some intelligence here. You need to ensure the meeting topics are confidential, and you need to spend time setting up expectations.
Who are the team members that you need to develop? What meetings could they attend with you or on your behalf?
My hope is that these ideas inspire you to get creative and think how you can activate greatness in your team by demonstrating you love them. Go ahead and ask them for their ideas too!
Lisa Holden Rovers, MSc, is a certified leadership coach and award-winning human resources professional. In 2005, she founded Workplace Matters to help small and mid sized organizations build a strong leadership culture – one where leaders develop the mindset, skill set and habits that inspire team members and influence results. Schedule a complimentary discovery session to begin the journey of becoming a leader with influence.