Are You Loving as a Leader?

By Nicole LaBeach, PhD, PCC

As a leader, are you loving like you matter? At first glance, did you have to read the question a couple times to see if you understood it correctly? If so, you’re not alone. If we’re honest, the word “love” can sometimes be seen as misplaced when seen close to the word “leader.” The words “emotional intelligence” are often well received, but love? Well, for many of us the COVID experience has placed a new value on the word love and the identification of what matters.

So, I offer the question again. As a leader, are you loving like you matter? In this time, the power of love has become more clear for many of us. That love is not to be underestimated. And, love is a definitive call in each of our lives — one to another. Recipients should feel seen, valued, regarded, validated, accepted, celebrated, appreciated, and/or nurtured, through our love. Simply, love will never ask that we ignore one’s value. Therein lies the tricky part; love requires that we not only seek to love others (the recipient, e.g., individual contributors and teams) but also simultaneously love ourselves (the giver, e.g., the leader). Love doesn’t ask that we offer it as a gift to others but perpetrate it in a package of neglect, indifference, disrespect, misuse, or disregard to/for ourselves, as if we don’t matter. Indeed, love desires we love the vessel from which it is being poured.

As much as we speak of, and may experience sacrifice and selflessness, in how we seek to love others, we must also stand in our call to be good stewards of ourselves and our own self-love. Hence, how would you rate yourself when it comes to being a leader who loves like YOU matter?

Whether you feel like you’re doing a great job or you could use a tune-up in this area, the following tips are sure to boost or maintain your success:

1. Practice Self-Compassion

Simply put, be more kind to yourself! Leaders who practice self-compassion, learn how to be compassionate to others. Being super critical and unduly hard on yourself can only hurt you and rub off on those you care about and lead. If you’re your worst, most diminishing critic, cease and desist. Being harsh toward yourself is a tell-tale sign that you’re not loving like you matter, which will naturally affect your ability to love and lead others like they matter.

2. Practice Gratitude

What are you grateful for? Grateful leaders model and show others the value of gratitude. Can you identify and/or see your blessings? Can you see your daily grace? When you grasp daily messages that speak to love received in the small, big, and unexpected packages, it’s hard to ignore how absolutely significant you are as a person and to others you lead. When we allow gratitude to take center stage, our value is illuminated and options that seek to disregard it become too costly to afford. When we allow gratitude to flourish in our leadership, we call those we lead to do the same.

3. Practice Being the First

Love has a unique way of creating love. Leaders who love, promote their followers to be courageous in how they love and lead. When you dare to be the first to choose you, love you, accept you, and believe in you, you give others permission to do and reciprocate the same. When you go first, you model self-awareness, growth, self-acceptance, self-worth in ways that will harness the respect of those you lead and give them permission to go first in their own lives.

4. Practice Healthy Boundaries

What are your parameters for saying yes or no? What are your values, personal limits, and guide rails? Leaders with unhealthy boundaries are a significant challenge to themselves and those who follow them (e.g., high potential for inappropriate actions and de-railers). As leaders, part of loving like we matter requires honoring our boundaries, seeing our worth independent of what we can do for others, how people see us, and what people expect of or from us. Healthy boundaries not only teach others how to treat us but they highlight our values based on our actions. These boundaries serve to give clear guidelines on how to promote loving others without disrespecting ourselves even as it pertains to how we lead.

5. Practice Humanity and Deservingness of Love

Every time we accept how much we matter as spirit filled beings, it becomes more challenging to act like we don’t matter to ourselves and others don’t matter. Leaders, who understand their humanity often embrace it, show it, and support others in their humanity! In and of itself, owning the truth of who we are and why we matter in connection with others is one of the best ways to keep ourselves honest when it comes to loving ourselves. In doing so, we can best lead in ways that are humane and in service, humility, and excellence to those who follow us.

To learn more about self-awareness and loving yourself as a leader, schedule a consultation with Nicole.