Valentine’s Day is the day when we show those we love that we appreciate them and care about them.
Traditionally we associate it with girlfriends and boyfriends, husbands and wives but I think we should ask ourselves – could we learn from some of the messages associated with Valentine’s Day in the workplace?
We know that organisations of today have a task on their hands to work out how to engage employees so that they feel they have a great place to work, they work together and respect each other – love the company and love each other!
When asked what they want from a leader, employees commonly use words like trust, compassion, integrity, respect and transparency. So do the lessons of love come into it?
Just think about what binds a girlfriend and boyfriend or husband and wife together in a positive way, what enhances the love between them: they are concerned for each other; they show appreciation; they recognize boundaries and respect each other; they tell others how great their partner is; they invest time and effort in one another; they might sometimes criticize each other but it is done discreetly, constructively and in the spirit of maintaining balance within the relationship and keeping things on an even keel.
I was looking for some way of defining what I mean by ‘love’ in terms of the workplace and I thought this phrase did the job just right:
“Love in business and work means making decisions and conducting oneself in a way that cares for people and the world we live in.” (businessballs.com).
So how can ‘love’ be translated into positive behaviours in the workplace? Well it’s not about romance but it is something that has to be worked at and it’s definitely not a ‘one night stand’!
Good leaders and managers recognize that a key factor in engaging and motivating employees is to build a purposeful relationship with them over time so that both sides feel that their opinion matters, they have an important role to play in each other’s success and the success of the organization. Just in the case of a romantic relationship, investing time and effort is vital in making it work. Building a great working relationship, engagement and strong leadership means investing in the kind of things that will enrich the employee’s experience of working for the organization; effective communication, consideration of the needs of others, building rapport, showing respect and treating people with dignity.
Creating an environment where employees feel a connection with their organization, their leaders and their team brings great benefits. It is a rewarding and productive experience to go to work in a place where you feel respected and appreciated, where communication is good and boundaries are clear. Such a culture and values encourages innovation, collaboration and continuous improvement.
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