Whether we want to associate love with our businesses or not, the presence of love or the lack of it, plays a powerful role in our ROI. It affects our profitability, health, employee engagement, teamwork, customer satisfaction; all of what makes a business successful. Conceptually most business owners would acknowledge a preference for loving employees and clients. Yet, many are uncomfortable acknowledging the role love plays in the workplace.

Here’s a clue why in one of my favorite quotes:

You are eight years old. It is Sunday evening. You have been granted an extra hour before bed. The family is playing Monopoly. You have been told you are big enough to join them.

You Lose. You are losing continuously. Your stomach cramps with fear. Nearly all your possessions are gone. The money pile in front of you is almost gone. Your brothers are snatching all the houses from your streets. The last street is being sold. You have to give in. You have lost.

Suddenly you know it’s only a game. You jump up with joy and knock the big lamp over. It falls on the floor and drags the teapot with it. The others are angry with you, but you laugh when you go upstairs. You know you are nothing and know you have nothing. And you know that not-to-be and not-to-have give immeasurable freedom.

Janwillem van de Wetering

We can’t do a good job, create a great life or run a successful business when we’re all tensed up with fear and a belief in dog-eat-dog! And we are all tensed up whenever our fear is greater than the love within us and in our companies. That’s why too many people express a desire to leave “the corporate” environment. They are referring to the love-less-ness within so many of them. In order to change the status quo about this, consider the following:

When Fear is Attack

Fear is in play whenever we operate from limiting beliefs. Fear creates subconscious hostility, hidden under sophisticated coping mechanisms, including avoidance of vulnerability, especially that of love. Fear puts us in attack mode and we don’t even know it. For example, a client seeks me out, frustrated by poor treatment from others. When questioned why he didn’t address this directly, he admits he’s afraid. He comes to realize he’d rather complain and blame because it feels less vulnerable. I tell him his fear positions him in attack mode.

This is because in general, when we fear others, we are assuming a negative intention about them and holding them in our mind as “enemy”. Like a dog that senses fear and grows hostile, our fear evokes a similar defensive, hostile response in others and worst of all, we don’t realize we are the cause of this, not the victim of it. I think about this every time I feel afraid of anyone; when I judge, or try to fix, convert, or change someone. Or when I get stage fright or resist people who express negative emotions. That’s when I ask myself, “What fear is blocking the love in me?”

Personal Has No Place At Work – Or Does It?

Many people say it’s not good for work to be personal. In truth, we can’t leave our personal selves at home nor should we, even if we could. Rather than try to eliminate being personal, why not create conditions in which being personal is key to authentic success? Life, even at work, is personal and to wish it weren’t sets everyone up for failure and perpetuates faulty systems. The resistance to work being personal makes concepts such as love, and vulnerability and caring relationships in the workplace seem naive or inappropriate. What are needed are social and emotional intelligence skills so everyone can master practical applications of love for greater effectiveness at work.

The Sweetest ROI

“Oh no! Don’t make me sing Kumbaya!” This too-common refrain is heard along with others like, “Don’t get all touchy-feely on me.” And “Next thing you know, she’ll make us hug.” My response? Consider Pollyanna got a bad rap and Kumbaya is pretty awesome compared to gossip, sarcasm and aggression. Broaden your definition of ROI. Rather than settling for financial abundance alone, expand it to include meaningful connections and collaborative contributions, trust, values, whole-hearted living and yes ~ LOVE! There – now go hug your employees!

Why People Hire LifeWork Systems

Business owners, community leaders, and educators hire Judy Ryan and Lifework Systems because they want the advantages of an extraordinary workplace. For a limited time, Judy’s book, What’s the Deal with Workplace Culture Change? is available FREE at www.GetMyCultureBook.com You can also contact Judy at 314-239-4727.

This article is published in the St. Louis Small Business Monthly, March 2016