www.wealthandfinance-news.com 10 Wealth & Finance International - Issue 8 - 2018 I tried and failed to describe the humanness in business leadership without saying ‘love’. If you’ve picked up this article, you probably feel ok about loving your work - and saying as much. There’s another perspective for love here though – a deeply human examination of leadership that is people focused but continues to drive business. We could of course use several other words instead – caring, authentic, ethical, considerate for example. I’m certain that if I asked any leader, at whatever level of an organisation, each would say that these qualities are crucial human aspects of leadership. Sadly, they are elements often missing in both leadership texts and practice. Intellectually, we reel them off and acknowledge their importance without really giving it another thought. But what if giving it thought is really the key to excellence in leadership? Love in this context is a philosophical concept – an academic view not a romantic one. The one word that captures all the attributes we list above – it’s about giving a damn. If we are to discuss business from the human view, we can’t not talk about love – it doesn’t make any sense, even if it is a word that went out of fashion long ago in business; I’m arguing that it must be used to understand the foundations of leadership and how we can do business better. Love is a highly contemplated concept amongst philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle. Humans have been debating it for centuries and continue to do so. Why do we find it so fascinating – and so frightening to speak of outside of our personal relationships? It’s because we have stopped seeing love as anything other than the amorous kind. If we reduce love to this category only, inevitably it has no place at work. Professional, credible careers must be based on hard, measurable data, heavy workloads and measurable objectives, all of which must impact the bottom line. We are required to behave ‘professionally’, without personal interruptions and distractions. In our attempts to be business-like and credible, we have ‘over professionalised’ human behaviours at work, to the detriment of the humanness. If your only working relationships are with inanimate objects, this is likely not a problem, but if you interact with other people at work, collaboration and facilitation of best practice in others is hampered. Aristotle argued that the first point of love is self-love. This makes sense in business. If we don’t care, aren’t compassionate and don’t have consideration for ourselves, we can’t be the best version of ourselves as leader as possible. If you are tired and stressed, you can’t be the best possible leader. Well-being is as important to create internally as it is to facilitate in others. Aristotle argues that the ability to love oneself is ‘noble and virtuous’ – so, it allows us to reflect and act in ways which aid excellence, ensures consideration and equality and enables growth and development. There are varieties of love which are appropriate and beneficial at work. For example, the kind that forms meaningful relationships and enables us to care what happens to us, our teams and the organisation. Privately, we are more likely have Why risk using the ‘L’ word in a serious business article? It’s not just another frivolous piece to make you feel good, it has real place in the business world. So how can love ever be any part of the demanding world of the average manager, when the priority is to just get business done? Why do you have to think about love, when simple hard work is what it’s really all about? The Business of Love and Why We Can’t Afford Not to Have It trust, loyalty to and feel accountable towards those we have loving relationships with. Love is the root of respectful relationships and represents our drive to see and create the best for those we love. In translating this love into the workplace, we can expect more trust, respect and accountable relationships. Without such relationships, business is never the best it can be. We are left with teams who are disconnected from one another and from the organisation; who lack loyalty to organisational values and their leaders; and who lack confidence in their abilities and their development potential. You know a team where love is missing, whether you’re brave enough to say the word out loud or not. These are the teams who are disconnected, unassured and who seem lost. Ethically, we have to care about love and love to care (and lead) if we are ever going to achieve the best from ourselves and our people. You don’t have to call it ‘Love’ out loud – care, authenticity, respect, consideration, humanness or any of those words will do. It is the act of love which makes business great.