Recently, during practice with a team learning about love (yes, learning about love in the workplace), I referenced the book by C.S. Lewis titled The Four Loves. In this short but meaty read, Lewis explains affection, friendship, Eros, and agape as four very different expressions of love. Three of the four (Eros not one of ’em) are required if you want your team to perform at it’s peak. And, all these loves can be distorted and turned from energizing to agonizing. Yes, there can be too much love not just too little.
So, here I am headed to Chicago for another practice with a team I love, re-reading Lewis on love. As I read this book for only the second time, I’m reminded how little I understand this word I throw around all the time. I talk about loving your craft and loving your team as pre-requisites for leadership. What the heck am I saying? How much affection is required? I have no idea. What kinda affection is appropriate? I know what’s not, much clearer than what is. Everyone cannot be friends with everyone on a team. So, as a leader, what kinda cliques are healthy subgroups of a system and what kinds are destructive? When you focus on the few (which I highly recommend) what kinda club are you creating on the inside who feel like they’re outside? Is this the root of sabotage? Are we better off as leaders burying the “l” word and going back to the tried/true, old standby – fear?
Nope. We’re not.
Love your craft and love your team, leader. And, learn the languages of your team. Pour yourself into a few with the aim of making them so strong they won’t think they need you. Like me, you’re gonna have to FIO (figure it out) along the way. Remember to give and take care. And, the more you give, somehow, the more you’re gonna receive. Love your craft and love your team. Be kind, not nice. Remember, kind is love in action. Nice is love in appearance. “Be good. Do good.” Thank you, John Adams. Fall on your knees, leader, and ask for help. Humbly repair. None of us has this formula all figured out. All I know for certain is this is the only way. Love always finds a way forward. Love.
“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.” C.S. Lewis
Thanks, Clive, for making me think this morning. I’ve got a lot to learn about love. I’ll try and pass the gift along. God, help me. Good…