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What’s Love Got to do with it?

It’s the season of love, at least it’s supposed to be. No doubt you’re thinking, “this is work, Melissa – what’s love got to do with it?”

Understandable reaction because this is a blog that talks about leadership and communication in the work environment. However, let’s consider the different types of love and how it may be demonstrated – in the workplace.

Love doesn’t have to be the romantic type, i.e., the office romance; it can be one of showing compassion and empathy to those with whom you come in contact. As a leader, it’s critical that you show empathy to people. It’s actually part of your job and leaders who feel empathy and model it, are proven to be more successful.

I’m a firm believer that leadership is demonstrated at all levels. Just because your paystub doesn’t indicate that you’re a manager or member of your company’s C-suite, doesn’t mean you don’t lead at some level. Every time you walk into a tough situation with your team, those around you are watching how you engage. Do you throw yourself into the mire and muck with some of the others? Or do you choose the more professional and, as some would say, the high road?

Do you jump all over that junior employee who is exhausted from driving up and down 95 and still struggling to figure out the organizational culture? Or do you cut him/her some slack for their comments or ‘doe in the headlight’ look because you remember what it was like when you were new and didn’t know the ropes?

If you are a member of the leadership team, how do you show empathy to others?

  • If you see someone struggling with a task or situation, have a sincere conversation with them. “I can see that you’re struggling with something this morning. What can I do to support you?” Don’t just walk by and tell them to “suck it up and get on with it.” And yes, I HAVE heard people say that to their colleagues.
  • Get out of your office, circulate, and talk with the people on your team. Ask how things are going. Ask them for specific and targeted feedback. “What are two things that I’m doing that you find supportive and helpful? What is one thing I could do differently that would provide benefit?”
  • Send handwritten notes to employees thanking them for their contributions to the team. Don’t just say “thanks for a great job.” Instead, identify the individual actions about which you’re commenting. “Thank you for all that you bring to the team. I appreciate knowing that you’re the first one here each morning as I know I can count on you if I’m in a bind and the rest haven’t made it here yet.”


It’s not that difficult to bring a sense of empathy to your organization. According to a recent Gallup poll, disengaged employees cost the U.S. $450 billion to $550 billion per year. Those feeling undervalued will take their talents and move elsewhere within the Beltway. Hiring new staff and losing old ones are an expensive proposition for all establishments. Consider the return on investment with your own organization if you use a little more care and concern with your team. You’ll make Tina Turner proud too!


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