Sarah West

Sarah West

1 important reason why you should use the word ‘love’ in the workplace

I’m a numbers person by trade but over the last 5 years in senior leadership roles I’ve really become fascinated with people. 

I’ve always loved people but really digging into the who people truly are and why they behave in certain ways.  I’ve taken more personality assessments than I’d like to admit! I have also had the opportunity to go through a divorce and almost losing a child to gain a deeper understanding of myself and people in general. Add all of that to the amazing mentor whom I’ve gotten to call my boss for the last 7 years and my fascination with people was inevitable.

Have you guys heard the elephant and rider when it comes to making decisions?  

The emotional part of our brains (the amygdala)  is like the elephant and the logical part of our brains is the elephant rider.  

Now if everything is going hunky dory down the path the rider can maintain control, but if a threat presents itself the elephant or emotion is going to take over! 

Wayne shared with me years ago that we make decisions out of two different emotions: fear or love.  Now think back to all the decisions you made today.

You got out of bed this morning, it could have been out of fear of losing your job if you didn’t show up. Fear could have motivated you to move due to the need of providing for your family.

OR

Love may have motivated you to go to the job you love where you are making a difference. Love for the people you are around or the love for your family lit a fire in you because you know if you were to stay home all day they weren’t taken care of. 

But, why on earth would you say “I love you” to a coworker? Well just saying it isn’t enough if you don’t feel it, people can sniff out insincerity like an RA trying to catch the potheads down the hall.

I didn’t start saying “I love you” to people at work with any intention but to let them know they are loved…by me.  

What I discovered by sharing that I love them, is that people then felt safe.  Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has safety just above food, water and shelter. So, if I can make them feel safe by expressing what I’m feeling towards them…guess what happens?  They call HR and I get fired….ok, just kidding I told the HR manager I love him too!

Seriously though…what happens is…they go above and beyond. They work harder and smarter because they feel safe.  They get curious, solve problems and take risks. I have a little man at home that is just over 1 year old and wow, he is curious and taking risks all day long. Why… because he’s loved, he knows he’s safe.  

Think of what your employees would do if they made their decisions out of love rather than fear.  Think of how many less people would be at your door asking you questions if they didn’t have the fear of reprimand.  How many more small decisions could they make rather than you making them all? How many minutes or hours would you get back in your day not dealing with workplace drama because your team members know they are safe and loved?

Now loving certain people is easier than others. Think of someone you work with that you can’t wait to serve, the next time they ask you for something you drop everything and are happy to do it.  Shift that though to someone you work with that you purposely avoid.  You see Bill coming down the hall and know he’s emailed you three times to get him those TPS reports or Milton and you have his red stapler he’s been asking everyone about.  But you take a hard right in the next cube and start a conversation with the accounting intern just to avoid the conversation.  Unless you recognize why you are behaving in that way, you have an unconscious bias.  Think about these people, which one do you serve out of love…and how can your awareness bring you to be a better leader to all, even to Bill and Milton?  

We all have bias, most of which are unconscious.  

Who do you have an unconscious bias for? 

 Who are you not loving in the workplace? What if you did?  

What if you loved them so much they did those TPS reports without complaining?

What if you said I love you and changed the way they worked?  

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