It’s a LOVE Thing, but What’s Love Got to Do With It?

effort employee engagement energy engagement leaders purpose leadership leadership purpose leading with a clear purpose leading with purpose love organizational purpose passion purpose purpose of leadership purposeful leadership why do you love your job Feb 06, 2024
Why Do You Love Your Job

If we’re going to keep a clear purpose that truly drives us to lead effectively at the top of our minds on a daily basis, understanding how we’re wired certainly matters, but our best long term results will be from pursuing something we love! As I said before though, the idea of loving everything we do, every single day, is just plain unrealistic. However, we absolutely need to love at least some of what we do to be able to press through the tough times and be the leader our teams deserve!

Here’s where you’re likely asking, “Wes, what’s love got to do with it?” - and possibly even in Tina Turner’s voice… To answer that, I want you to think back to the Harvard Business Review article I referenced several times in What’s KILLING Your Profitability? by Leah Buchanan called Things They Do For Love, where she shared this:

“Company leaders won’t be surprised that employee engagement—the extent to which workers commit to something or someone in their organizations—influences performance and retention. But they may be surprised by how much engagement matters. Increased commitment can lead to a 57% improvement in discretionary effort—that is, employees’ willingness to exceed duty’s call. That greater effort produces, on average, a 20% individual performance improvement and an 87% reduction in the desire to pull up stakes, according to the Corporate Leadership Council, which surveyed more than 50,000 employees in more than 59 organizations worldwide.”

We’ll look at how this ties to providing a clear purpose for the teams we lead later. For now, I want you to consider the best leader you’ve ever worked for and the worst boss you’ve ever reported to. Now think about how that discretionary effort came into play for you. Even for the most accountable and driven among us, I’m willing to bet that there was still a notice difference in the extra they gave for the best leaders as compared to what they gave when following the orders of a miserable boss!

That same thing applies for us when we’re the one in that leadership role, we just need to make sure what we’ve chosen to hold ourselves accountable to gives us the fuel to expend that discretionary effort consistently. And that’s where it becomes a love thing!

I recently heard Marcus Buckingham say that “love is the most powerful force in business for driving behavior.” He went on to explain how predictable behavior is when we’re able to build love into what we do and what our team or customers experience. Assuming he’s correct, and I really believe he is, being able to define the specific things about leading a team or an organization that we truly love isn’t a nice to have, it’s a must have!

Again, we’re never going to love it all so it’s critical for us to nail the specifics down and prioritize the time we dedicate to them - so that’s where we’ll pick up next time.