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Love as a Company Value and Showing Co-workers You Care

February 2017 | By Youssef Sleiman

Of all the holidays, Valentine’s Day – the red hearts, chocolate, romantic love – seems like an odd one to celebrate at work.

But what if it’s the holiday your workplace needs?

More than half of your waking life is spent away from loved ones. So it's important to show love to those around you.

At Interstate Batteries, we have a series of values we work by. A few are probably familiar: Excellence, Integrity, Courage.

Then there’s Love. Interstate’s the first company I worked for that committed to love as a way to do business day in, day out.

When love is in your company culture, you discover all of love’s broader definitions. Brotherly love. Empathy. Charity. Treating others like you’d want to be treated.

As social creatures, beings who live by being with others, you and I and all of our co-workers need meaningful connections in our lives.

The biggest wedge in that pie chart is our work life. Most working adults – including you – spend more hours in the workplace than at any other place in your life, according to the American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And love is one of the keystones to retaining talented team members and making your teams more productive. 

That’s the gist of a quirky finding in a Gallup 1999 workplace study. One of the 12 key dimensions of a great workgroup is that team members can say “I have a best friend at work.” That’s essentially what C.S. Lewis called philia love, the friend bond, in The Four Loves.

Besides romantic love, Lewis defined three other loves: friendship, empathy, and charity. And each one enriches work lives. They keep talented people close and attract new rock stars.

On an instinctive level, we may know this. But we rarely act on it.

So, this Valentine’s Day, let’s practice.

With recognition. 

If you see a job well done, call it out. It’s easy to find the one mistake in a thousand right moves. Yet it’s rare to see recognition for someone who’s made a thousand right moves and one mistake. So, write a kind note to someone – and hit Reply All. At Interstate Batteries, we have a formal recognition called “Green Stars” where we compliment co-workers on a job well done. Could your workplace use more structure to make recognition part of the work day? 

With appreciation. 

A handwritten note, a call, even an email – just compliment someone. You can absolutely change someone’s work day with positive words. And wouldn’t you want one of your most difficult days brightened with good, sincere thoughts of gratitude from a colleague?

Want to go the extra mile? Compliment someone who doesn’t always stand out. Apply your strategic mind to jotting down a sincere compliment to someone who doesn’t receive many.

With sincerity. 

Can you love someone enough to be hard with them? 

It’s easier to love someone just enough to not have to upset them, to press them, to show them how they can become better. When you’re kindly giving feedback, you’re using your special access to a person to deliver a message that normally they couldn’t hear. That’s a trusted position we haven’t all earned. If you have, then showing love like this may help someone grow.

With kindness. 

Simply holding this mental posture can foster a work environment that makes other people glad to work beside you.

So, hold the door. Carry the copies that have piled up on the printer – and with a smile. Thank someone for organizing a meeting. Offer to carry something. In short, treat them the way you’d like to be treated.

Now, I’m going to break a rule and end this post by introducing a new idea, one that I hope to see in the comments or written about in your own posts.

Could love equip professionals to be better than they are? Could love be the trick to unlocking our emotional IQs, to make us sharper strategists, smarter marketers, and better analysts?

All while making us better people? 

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