Date Added: December 2012
Note: This article appeared in the December 16, 2012 issue of The Green Bay Press-Gazette.
We recently discussed “heart and soul inspired” leaders. While the term leader is used, we are really encompassing everyone because all people have the ability to be heart and soul inspired. This may be best displayed through love (the verb).
Love is a word rarely associated with business or leadership. It is a “touchy-feel” word, which scares many people. Despite this, one local organization heroically has it as a corporate value.
We think of love as a feeling; however, this organization has defined love (the verb) as its only corporate value. Love as a feeling is difficult and makes many uncomfortable. Love as a verb can still make many uncomfortable, but it is much more explainable.
Consider the organization’s definition of love (the verb). Love is patient, kind, humble, respectful, selfless, forgiving, honest and hopeful. These words are individually listed in many organizations corporate values, so why not just use the term love to explain them all, making it simpler for employees?
What organization or human being doesn’t seek these traits in others and from others; and ideally for themselves? With credit to Ronald Rolheiser, President of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, and building upon the eight items describing love as a verb; consider how this relates to every human being personally, at work, with family, and in the community. It seems the people we want to interact with, be friends with, work with, and serve with are those who are patient, kind, humble, respectful, selfless, forgiving, honest and hopeful.
People who are patient enough to forgive their enemies. People who are kind and generous, to tolerate selfishness. People willing to demonstrate their humility and faith, even if misunderstood or judged. People who are respectful, and express grace to those who are hostile.
People who are selfless and secure, allowing themselves to appear insignificant and anonymous. People with a heart which is completely accepting of others – even when they are vindictive. People honest enough to openly communicate, even when they may be in the minority. People hopeful and strong enough to display weakness and vulnerability; knowing when to be silent and when to help others.
Love is a word I often struggle with because I have only thought of it as a feeling. We are each asked to love all others, which didn’t make sense to me until I understood love as a verb. A verb encompassing eight distinct qualities – qualities we hope to exhibit ourselves and certainly seek in others.
What business doesn’t want employees demonstrating love (the verb)? What community organization doesn’t want volunteers displaying love? What family doesn’t want family members showing love? What individual doesn’t want to be the person they can be by conveying love? What person doesn’t want to receive love?
As an individual that considers himself a Realist (not an Optimist), I have been told these concepts are unrealistic and utopic. Despite striving to express love (the verb) each and every day, like every other person, I fail because I am an imperfect being.
We may not always love each other as a feeling; yet, our imperfection is what makes us each unique individuals, fully capable of loving each other as a verb. Isn’t this something we should strive for every day with everyone we interact with? This is only unrealistic if we choose not to love. And it seems that we, our organizations, our families, our communities and our world need a bit more love. Happy holidays!
David Yeghiaian is committed to leading people on a life-changing journey to being great leaders. Reach him at email@example.com.