CEO Corner: The Value of Love-Based Leadership – My Interview with Yetunde Hofmann Part. 2

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“Being a strong leader means that it’s not about you but much more about everyone around you and helping them to achieve, grow and develop.”

Author, Yetunde Hofmann, interviewed me for her new book, Beyond Engagement – The Value of Love-Based Leadership in Organisations. I was interviewed, along with a number of CEOs, including the former CEO of Dyson, Martin McCourt on this important topic.

Last week, I published the first instalment of my interview where I explored my definition of love and how it can be applied to an organisation. In this extract, I discuss this idea further, diving into the difference love can make in an organisation and the impact it has on the business as a whole.

Stay tuned for the final part next week.

What difference does love make if it’s present in an organisation?

Love in an organisation would make a massive difference. Ultimately people love being loved and all the things that that positive energy gives them. Jeff Bezos talks about customer obsession and that customers can be difficult and awkward and it is the same love for your customers that can actually drive innovation in your business. If your customers really see that you care about them, that will drive a reciprocal behaviour that is good for you as an organisation and you could apply that to productivity and your own employees. When your own employees really feel that they are loved and are cared for, it becomes less about the money and more about wanting to climb mountains for you.”

“At HeadBox, we have four values, namely Brilliance, Integrity, Empathy and Curiosity. Brilliance for me is all about striving for excellence, the constant pursuit to be better, to be a better version of yourself, trying to optimise who you are by always learning, developing and pushing yourself. Integrity is about delivering what you say you are going to do when you say you’re going to do it. This builds trust with your team and your clients and is something that we put a lot of emphasis on at HeadBox. Empathy is about listening to your clients and your team and understanding the world through someone else’s eyes.

“Being a strong leader means that it is not about you and much more about everyone around you and helping them to achieve, grow and develop. Kindness is also a part of this. I always want my team to know that they can speak to me about anything and I will always do my best to respond and support them in a kind, fair and considerate way. Finally, curiosity is key as it is impossible to change the world and make it a better place if you’re not curious. The people we have hired at HeadBox dedicate a lot of their time and energy to the HeadBox cause so it’s very important that I deliver for them as the leader of this business by building the best culture, based on these values and setting an example in all of them.”

Could you talk about the impact of love on leadership team effectiveness?

“It would have a positive impact on effectiveness because if people are really clear why they are here and why they’re following you and why that’s important to them and why it gives them meaning and why that gives them happiness in what they’re doing, they will do it better. So I think that is one part of it and a big part of it – of why it would have an impact on leadership team effectiveness.” 

“Another part – you could argue – as a counterpart to data-driven decisions – yes data can tell you a lot of things based on evidence and fact but to be really effective you need that human touch and that human element because data can get things wrong too because of the context and of course things that are not necessarily able to be captured in the data – but it cannot really deal as much with the instinctive nature of people – to get people to do things that they never thought they could do is not about data – it is about love-based leadership.”

And, the impact on your own organisation’s performance and bottom line?

“If you link it to the difference it would make to employee engagement, feeling included, the difference it would make to productivity and so on, customer client experience, employee wellbeing, and so on, I think it would all flow to the bottom line. It would absolutely make a difference.”

How can the impact of love be measured in an organisation?

“Things like customer and client experience, employee engagement – all of this can be measurable and will give you an indication; But they may measure love in the context in which we are talking. But it is worth exploring. I think you could measure love – maybe you may need to create a measurement.  You could create a love index; a measurement index. You could go and talk to your clients, your employees, your customers, your suppliers – and then explore what makes up a love measurement index. So you could definitely measure it and how much you attribute to your bottom line to that love measurement index on its own would take some working out but it’s not impossible to do. The first thing is to start somewhere with measurement.”

“You could look at creating a love measurement index with your employees – to understand how your employees feel about working here and working in your organisation.  Think for example of the retention of your people and what they would say in conversations about you when they’re with friends and around the table having a meal with their family.”

In the third and final instalment, I discuss the actions senior leaders can take to actively establish the presence of Love alongside the impact of love on an organisation’s behaviour in community and society.

Beyond Engagement – The Value of Love-Based Leadership in Organisations by Yetunde Hofmann is released on 12th May 2020 and you can pre-order it here.

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