What’s Love Got to Do With It…?

Tina Turner asked it best when she sang “What’s love got to do with it?” And what doeslove have to do with leadership? Let’s discuss…

There’s a new wave of leadership hitting our boardrooms and it isn’t concerned with a right or wrong way to lead. That ol’ rulebook?  Out the window. At least for leaders that want to spark innovation, excitement, and radical change in their organizations.

The Pecking Order

The pecking order is over. In fact, William Muir’s brilliant “superchicken” experiment taught us that it probably never worked in the first place.

Turns out, if you breed for productivity alone, you end up with a bunch of dead chickens.

Doesn’t reflect well on the old power (aka, leadership) model, does it? When we rely on the brilliance of one “super leader” without input, communication, or collaboration within a team, what are we left with?

Tired, sloppy, disorganized organizations and teams. And some seriously burned-out leaders — oh yeah, and employees.

The New Game Plan

Which is why we’re writing the new leadership game plan — or rather, breaking all the old leadership rules — as we go. We’re learning from our mistakes, when they inevitably happen. We’re going for it, because our teams and our employees are crying out for a new leadership icon. For a leader who is: accessible, relatable, inspirational, challenging, crazy, and can admit when they are wrong – as often as celebrate when they are right.

Toxic leadership flourishes in the absence of these qualities — in narcissism, manipulation, and deceit. According to leadership coach and author Ray Williams, “I’ve seen a disproportionate share of toxic leaders who continue to do harm to their employees and their organizations, despite all our knowledge about what constitutes good leadership, particularly with reference to emotional intelligence, humility and compassion.”

“Super-leader” is so 20th century — we aren’t looking for our best and brightest to be infallible. In fact, we are begging them to bare their blemishes.

Social connection expert and entrepreneur Brené Brown conducted thousands of interviews to determine what lies at the heart of social connection. Her thorough analysis dials down to one key element: vulnerability.

Don’t be fooled by language. Vulnerability is not weakness or submission. It’s about courage. The courage to show who you are to the world — including your employees. The courage it takes to be real in what can be a phony business environment.

And our workplaces are deceiving. A Gallup poll shows that 70% of employees are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” at work. That’s a stunning number. More than half of employees don’t feel a connection to their jobs.

WOW.  That feels wrong for 2016, doesn’t it?

Vulnerability — open connection, familial bonds, love over rivalry — could be the key to unlocking all that potential.

And it doesn’t cost a thing. (Now you’re paying attention, aren’t you?)

Who will you be, as a leader? 

As leader, would you trust someone you didn’t really know? Someone who had never had an open, vulnerable moment with you?

Not a chance. 

It’s time to wake up. Your employees, your teams, your people are sensitive to authenticity in leadership — as a sign of trust. And we know from research, trust in leadership, or in a particular leader, actually improves employee performance. It’s a non-negotiable.

Will you be the catalyst?  Will you be the authentic spark in a sea of sameness?

Or will you settle for the status quo, the mediocre, the old way of doing leadership and biz?

I invite you to say NO way

I invite you to think bigger. Share ideas instead of saving them for that “rainy day”. Stir the pot. Sit outside your office. Get connected, curious.  Actively listen to what your team is saying… or not saying. Share one fear with your team.  Invite others to do the same.  Ask for authentic feedback – and actually take it in.  Heck, maybe even have a little fun while you’re at it.

Leadership for the 21st century?  Turns out, love has everything to do with it.