Editorial: Love your people

Feb 06, 2015

HeartsIt may sound cheesy, but it applies to both personal and professional relationships.

There’s so much written these days about how to be a great leader. It’s everywhere. A million ideas and things one should do if they want to win the hearts and minds of their people. This fascination for leadership is well merited, especially in a business like the one we work in. Architects, engineers, scientists, planners, and other related professionals are NOT easy people to “lead.” As highly intelligent professionals, they value their independence and may resist any attempts to guide them, viewing compliance as weakness. But the fact is this: If you can get everyone working together in a common direction amazing things can happen. Great projects are an incredibly complex team effort that requires extraordinary effort and cooperation. One of the keys to leadership that is NOT often discussed is that of love – love for the people you work with. It sounds kinda cheesy and a little too new-age to talk about “love” in a business publication but believe me, it’s critical to you. If you can show your love and win over people’s hearts and minds, they’ll move mountains for you. Love for your people is shown through:
  • Time. Whom you spend time with is one very important way to share love. Whom do you talk to? Whom do you go out to lunch with? Whom do you go see at the end of the day? Time equates love. Never spend time with someone and they will think you don’t love them.
  • Recognition. Who gets the promotions? Whom do you talk about/talk up? Recognition is one important way to show love. Ignore people and how they contribute and they will think you don’t love them.
  • Appreciation. Whom do you thank? Public thanks or private thanks are both critical in terms of showing love for someone. Do more thanking and you’ll be showing more love.
  • Money. I hate to say it but money does equate love – whether that refers to employees, subconstultants, and others you do business with. The more money you give someone, the more love you show for them.
  • Tolerance. When you love someone you tolerate their idiosyncrasies. When you don’t, these things become reason to talk about people behind their backs or worse, to make them feel unloved. Same thing applies to performance blips or mistakes. Tolerance means love. No tolerance means “no love.”
  • Forgiveness. If you love someone you forgive them. Even when they do you wrong or cause big problems. Forgiveness is one of the key elements of love. If you can’t forgive someone for something they said or did, you aren’t showing them love and can’t expect to get it back.
  • Compassion. Can you empathize with other people or put yourself in their shoes? Compassion breeds understanding. Understanding equates love. If you are unsympathetic, people will think you don’t care – and not just the ones you are unsympathetic toward.
As the song says, “If you want to get love you have to give love.” It is every bit as true in the workplace as it is in your personal life. Think about it. Better yet, use it to your advantage and for the good of all. Mark Zweig is the chairman and CEO of Zweig Group. Contact him with questions or comments at mzweig@zweiggroup.com.
This article first appeared in The Zweig Letter (ISSN 1068-1310), issue #1090, originally published 2/9/2015. Copyright© 2015, Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.