The Power of Leading with Love

“It might sound bizarre, but one of the beliefs for effective leadership is to be madly in love with all the people you’re leading.”  Ken Blanchard

Two years ago I made a leap to launch my own business to focus on doing what makes my heart sing.

In hindsight, I realize that a big reason why I am drawn to this work is my fascination and passion for the “causes and conditions” that make individual and organizational transformation possible.

When I bring love into leadership (and all that that means for me), it has profound effects, and influences a wide range of outcomes with the individuals and organizations I work with.

I’ve seen it lead to increased earned and contributed revenue, increased board and staff engagement, reduced staff turnover, more differentiation in the marketplace and more clarity in making decisions.

In addition to these potential outcomes, bringing love into my work as a leader also has an immediate impact on how I and others feel.

I’ve set an intention to create and experience it as much as possible!

Every time I coach a successful leader, or guide an organization through a time of transition or moment of opportunity – working with their Board and staff, I have a visceral experience, and it feels like love. [NOTE: I choose my clients very well!]

And, more importantly, when I feel this way it is an indication that others are connecting to their joy, their purpose, their impact.

It’s an incredibly powerful experience when it happens for the first time in a “professional setting.”

This love in leadership helps me to hold a vision for my clients until they can see their unique strengths, and until they recognize their superpowers as I see them.

Love helps me support and guide the dedicated board members, founders, executives and staff who all want to make a difference and see a path forward.

Love helps me coach successful leaders to create “campaigns” and shared “goals of impact” to achieve (and celebrate) with the teams they lead and the communities they serve.

The bottom line?

Leaders who bring love to their work get results!

Engagement goes up. Priorities become clear. Revenue goals are met and surpassed.  Dream jobs are secured and integrated into dream lives.

As author John Hope Bryant champions – this is the new way to lead in a fear-based world.

Many of you reading this, work within or serve mission-driven arts & culture non-profits, and heart-centered businesses. You have an (often underutilized) advantage to connect through mission!

Regardless of your business, here are 3 questions to ask yourself as you work on all your pressing deadlines:

  1. If I take a minute, and look beyond all the necessary tactics, deadlines, best practices and strategies I’ve planned to achieve success, what would I do to show I am opening my heart to those around me? Specifically. What can I do and what can I say to help others be their best? To lighten their load?  To let them know they are seen and heard, and valued? And connected to the larger vision I see.
  2. When I am frustrated with someone, can I choose to assume that they really do want to do a good job?
  3. Can I choose to be fully present, and create strategies to enroll and engage, connect and inspire?

So…Are you ready to have your heart sing doing your life’s work? Are you ready to lead…with love?

If so, I’m here to support you and your organization over the next 6-12 months – and would love to hear from you!

To your success, and my best wishes for a multi-faceted, love-filled Valentine’s Day!


P.S. – Click HERE to schedule a confidential and complimentary 1:1 Strategy Call

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  1. Be a good communicator. Be open and honest. Have and show integrity. Seek collaboration – but also make decisions. Do what you said you would do. Don’t ever ever micro-manage. Give people accountability and give them permission to act and decide.

  2. Love is a devotion we can’t control. So, to say “effective leadership can only exist when we are madly in love with all the people you’re leading”, is not only wrong, it is dangerous and a bad attitude for a leader. Particularly for an interim, whose roll is to lead, to fast solve crises and improve performance together to deliver high value.

    As interims, CEO’s are likely to hire us, after a brief meeting. Even if we love them, love, at first sight, is a risky business that can change greatly with experience. It is feasible that we may dislike them with an equal passion. It is unlikely that we have met the myriad of stakeholders with whom we need to engage and whom we may like or dislike, love or hate.

    I submit that as professionals we must base our decision on the benefits we can deliver to the organisation, its customers, suppliers and ourselves. We must subvert our emotions about stakeholders, as people and focus to deliver high-value results with them. That we should love.

    • Hi Peter,
      Thank you for your response! For me, Ken Blanchard’s quote was a jumping off point for the blog, as it resonated with the deep gratitude and appreciation (“a full heart”) I feel for those who dedicate their careers to mission-driven organizations and purposeful careers/lives. As an interim CEO for non-profits, and in my coaching & consulting roles, I help create transformational results. Organizational confidence, clarity, effectiveness; increased revenue, and ultimately – IMPACT, come from a process of looking for and revealing individual and team strengths and building upon that. My “come from” is that people want to do well, and while I may have to institute big changes, they are done with compassion and context (“love”).

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