“He is a totally different dog than he was when I first met him!” My friend could not get over the difference in Louie in just a few months. When she visited us a month after I adopted him, he almost bit her head off and was very guarded while she was in my home.
Yet, during her visit a few months later, he was all smiles, tail wags, and kisses. She noticed that even his eyes were brighter and exuded love. In fact, my neighbors comment that he is so fun to see while we’re on our walks—such a different dog.
This was no accident—it was very intentional on my part to pour love into little Louie. What a transformation!
In our very first blog, I took a chance and wrote about showing him unconditional love, knowing how the business world viewed the “L” word in the workplace. In fact, I once worked for a boss who could barely utter the word “love,” much less show it. Unfortunately, it was one of the most toxic cultures in which I’ve ever worked. Unless you’re capable of showing authentic love to your employees, you will most likely cultivate a very toxic culture. Don’t confuse being nice with demonstrating love. They are two different qualities. Love is a heart issue!
A few months after my blog on love, Harvard Business Review* published a study that demonstrated when employees feel loved, they perform better. They made a distinction between friendship kind of love and romantic love (friendship love is based on warmth, affection, and connection, rather than passion). They stated, “It is the small moments between coworkers — a warm smile, a kind note, a sympathetic ear — day after day, month after month, that help create and maintain a strong culture of companionate love and the employee satisfaction, productivity, and client satisfaction that comes with it.”
On the flip side, my observation has been that when a boss tries to manufacture these qualities but their behavior demonstrates otherwise, it breeds fear and mistrust among their employees.
May I be so bold as to take this a step further? I think it is virtually impossible to feel joy or experience peace in your life if you’re incapable of love. There’s no way you can be patient with others without love, or show kindness or be good, or be faithful to your word, or be gentle or exhibit self control…without love. All of these excellent characteristics are rooted in love.
It wasn’t easy for me to show consistent, genuine love to Louie. And it has been even more difficult to show love to those who are unlovable, demanding or different from me, and even those who have disappointed me. But I know what true love is and I stand amazed that God so loves me! Who am I to withhold that love from people who may need it most?
I chose Louie, difficult personality and all. Granted, we usually do not get to choose those we are commanded to love in the workplace. But someone in your space could be transformed because you choose to love them.
*Harvard Business Review, Employees Who Feel Love Perform Better, Sigal Barsade Olivia (Mandy) O’Neill JANUARY 13, 2014