It’s Okay to Love in the Workplace.

“Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.” ― Brené Brown

“It’s okay to love in the workplace.”, I often told myself as I walked into the office.

Earlier on, when I started my career, I felt it was taboo to use the word love at work. Love was what I shared with my family and friends. It wasn’t a word I would share with my co-workers.

When I speak of love, it’s not about office romance as what will show up when you Google “love in the workplace”.

Love in the workplace is about the kind of human connection we experience on a daily basis in a work environment.

When I used to work in the corporate world as an employee, I recall certain behaviors and actions from how Teams and Leaders interacted with each other, including myself.

We may have good intentions joining a new company. Yet, we find ourselves assimilating into a defined culture. Sometimes that culture is based on love but most commonly, it’s based on fear.

What is the difference between fear-based and love-based cultures?

Take a brief moment and review the following characteristics between the two cultures below.

Read the “ACTIVITY” and then determine if the behaviors in your organization naturally resonate with the comments under the “CULTURE 1” column or the “CULTURE 2” column.

NOTE: The first answer is usually the right one.

ACTIVITY CULTURE 1 CULTURE 2
First impressions when you walk into the workplace Team members walk straight to their desks. Not a lot of eye contact. Team is welcoming and greetings all around.
Lunch room vibe Team members are eating at their desks most days. Team members are going out for lunch or eating together in the common rooms. Lots of conversations and laughter.
Energy and participation at social events Depends on the event. Usually the same people coming out. Almost everyone attends and are looking forward to the next event.
Engagement in team meetings Minimal conversations. Not a lot of questions. Energy is low. Team members are interacting before the meeting starts. Lots of questions and shared thoughts and ideas.
1:1 check-in meetings Quick updates and shorter meetings. Usually one person speaking most of the time (i.e. Leader). 1:1s may not even be happening. Meaningful conversations. Both team members and/or Leader are present and actively listening. There is trust. 1:1s are frequent and consistent.
Creativity and innovation opportunities No time. Just get the work done. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Failure is a learning experience. Think different. There’s always a way!
Growth and learning To each its’ own. Figure it out. Complete the work first before any development. Every moment is a learning experience. Coaching is a common language. Mentoring is a part of the job description.
New projects Low motivation. Sense of busy. Not now, maybe later. How will we fit it in? A lot of excitement and energy to start something new. When can we start?
Cross functional relations Teams work in silos. Us against them mentality. What’s in it for us? Teams proactively finding ways to collaborate. We are stronger doing things together.
Leadership presence Not available. Always busy. Closed doors. Lots of travel. Expectations high, support low. Walks around and interacts with team. Joins in for lunch and social events. Life of the party. I’ve got your back.
Product or service Confusing. Not a lot of focus. Unclear and not purpose-driven. Driven to create a legacy. Mission based. Purposeful. Will change the world.
Customer service Just get the job done. Be available. Go above and beyond. Make it happen! Customers = family.
Culture story Undefined and inconsistent. Just words on a wall. Inspiring! A shared experience brand. Storytelling has gone viral.

If CULTURE 1 is more aligned with your current company culture, then there are opportunities to grow. If CULTURE 2 sounds more like your day to day, then your company culture is right on track.

The above assessment tool is not intended to create frustration and anxiety. The purpose of this exercise is to inspire action so that Leaders and Teams can work together to demonstrate and integrate more mindfully the behaviors and actions listed in the Culture 2 column.

So what does it really mean to love in the workplace?

When I speak of the word love, I am simply referring to caring in the workplace.

Here are four data points that prove the significance and the key results of caring more at work.

  1. According to Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Survey, 10 million US employees who were considered the most loyal and stayed longer in their roles answered “yes” to Question 5 (Q05): My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  2. In a recent publication by The Wharton School called “Why Fostering a Culture of ‘Companionate Love’ in the Workplace Matters”, it featured a study that measured the effect of love on employees and patients within a long-term health care facility. One of the highlights from this study is that the culture of companionate love created higher levels of employee engagement with work and minimized absenteeism and employee burnout.
  3. In an article called “5 Human Truths in the Modern Workplace and How to Address Them” posted on Recognize This by Derek Irvine, Co-author of “The Power of Thanks”: How Social Recognition Empowers Employees and Creates a Best Place to Work and Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting with Globoforce, it shared the results of the Fall 2014 Workforce Mood Tracker revealing “…89% of workers say relationships matter to the quality of life. And those with more friends at work are also more likely to love and have pride in their companies, are two times more likely to trust leadership, are more engaged, and far less likely to jump ship.”
  4. Research also shows that the feeling of love, compassion, empathy, and understanding creates an energy of trust, openness, curiosity, vulnerability, courage and creativity. It’s when we feel safe, according to Simon Sinek’s TEDTalk on “Why good leaders make you feel safe”, that we have the ability to show up more like ourselves and give more.

So how can we bring more love into cultures?

Here are few ideas to share with your team today.

LOVE ACTION 1:

Vishen Lakhiani, Founder of Mindvalley is one of many companies that have committed to #chooselove as a strategy to increase engagement. What started as an experiment is now an annual event that has created a love movement within his organization and many other companies. Click here to learn about Mindvalley’s Love Week.

LOVE ACTION 2:

Try one of the universal drivers of employee happiness in Globoforce’s White Paper on “The Science of Happiness: How to Build a Killer Culture in Your Company”. Click here to download a copy.

LOVE ACTION 3:

Discover and define yours and your team’s languages of appreciation. In the book called “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace”, Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Paul White will help you identify the five languages of appreciation. Click here to take the online assessment or simply learn the definitions and share with your team members to learn what they feel is their appreciation language. It’s a great way to connect 1:1 and learn something new!

BONUS LOVE ACTION:

Find out what stage of culture development your company is currently at and receive free tips to elevate your culture today! Click here to take our 1 Minute Culture Test.

Years later, I am excited to say with confidence that “I love my team!”, “I love our partners!”, and “I love our clients!”. Love is one of SPARK Creations company core values and it’s one of my personal core values.

We are on a quest to reinstate love in the workplace. Join us and #chooselove

Which one of these love actions will you share today?

I would love to hear how your experience went. Share in the comments below and connect with me today!

Join me and other amazing people and culture leaders at the DisruptHR Vancouver event on March 30, 2016 held at Paysavvy. Save your seat here.

Lorie Corcuera
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