What’s love got to do with it?

May 16, 2016

Talking about love in business might make us uncomfortable. Isn’t business all about head, not heart? When we talk of love at work, we don’t mean romantic love. It is love for what we do (passion), love for the people we do it with (teammates) and love for the people we do it for (customers).

In a longitudinal study titled ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It’, researchers Sigal Barsade and Olivia O’Neill coined the term emotional culture to characterise workplaces where employees felt loved and cared for and described the positive, measurable impact on performance and wellbeing. So people who feel loved at work, do more work and feel better about themselves!

The simplest way to express love at work is through appreciation. Appreciation is showing and telling people what you love about their work. However we might feel awkward, unsure how it will be received, or perhaps we simply don’t have enough practice. In a wonderful scene from Absolutely Fabulous, Jennifer Saunders’ character, Eddy, is trying to teach Patsy (Joanna Lumley) how to smile. All Patsy can muster is a grimace, ugly but very funny.

We all seek appreciation but are often negligent about giving it, resorting to the occasional cliché like ‘Good job!’ or a generic ‘Well done’. However there is power in the small gestures: a handwritten note, a personal thank you and taking time to ask after people.

When you first start to practise appreciation, it can feel like a grimace. With perseverance, though, and the reward of seeing the impact it has on people, appreciation can soon come naturally. What is not to love about that?

What are your thoughts – please comment, I love hearing from you.

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