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Is There a Place for LOVE in Business?

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I have always felt extremely annoyed when someone trots out the oft used expression, “It’s nothing personal, it’s just business”,  as though saying that takes away the potential to offend the person who is being shafted.  

Let’s be realistic, this is an expression only used when someone is the winner and someone is the loser.

If both sides emerged happily then no one would have a need for the phrase.

So, should we de-personalise business and make it purely transactional with no relationship required?  Or do we bring love in business? 

Is There a Scope of Love In Business? 

  • If it is not personal how do we treat our employees?
  • If it’s not personal why bother trying to understand the customer?
  • If it’s not personal surely it is so much easier to say – my way or the high-way.

No confusion, we are in it for the money, we all know where we stand, keep the boss happy, keep your head down and we all get to escape at 5pm on Friday for our freedom of the weekend.

Easy, right? A business without LOVE. But is it the right way? Is there really no scope of love in business? 

If you work in a business where that is the current philosophy, if you are an employee, how do you feel when it comes to Sunday night?   Do you have an unhappy knot in the pit of your stomach, worried what mistakes you might have made and will get hauled over the coals for?   

Nothing personal, obviously, but you know any reprimand is served-up with a side order of humiliation.

Fear means you are too afraid to speak up, make suggestions, support others, or go above and beyond because it is easier to stay below the radar. But had there been love in business, things would be different. 

As a boss, it can be exhausting working in that environment. Watching over your staff all the time to make sure they are busy, checking their work to find a mistake and ensuring others don’t make the same mistake by letting everyone know what happened.

You can’t help it if your frustration slips out in a group email.  

In your head you say “Keeping customers is always a top priority. People aren’t loyal these days, they always want the cheapest. We make a mistake and they jump ship.  

Stress is just part of the package of being a boss, …isn’t it?” Trying have love in business. Try making the employees feel they belong and then see the change. 

Imagine LOVE in business: what would that look like?

As an employee knowing your hard work is appreciated, that your contributions are valued, that your work is essential to the effective running of the business, and most of all feeling trusted and respected.  

When this way of working is established and mutual respect has been earned, trust follows, and in turn love: not romantic, all encompassing, passion but solid, reliable, loyal, comfortable love. Love in business can get you all that.

As a boss, this brings confidence in a team who are all pulling together, working for the greater good.  Your team understand the problems and are looking to solve them before they even get to you.

Customers feel this bond; they become part of ‘family’ and loyalty spreads. Love in business makes all that possible. 

When there is love in business, there are multiple possibilities: 

  • You feel confident in your team and are able to share your concerns for the business and your aspirations because you know you are not alone.
  • You are committed to each other because the bond of love in business is evident.
  • You would no more send an angry email to all staff berating a member of your team, than you would cancel Christmas for your child.  

In my experience, I have seen plenty of examples of the business without love,  and gradually more examples of businesses that are allowing more trust, respect and love to enter their way of working.  
The business that is founded on love, respect and trust are phenomenally more successful than those who go ‘old school’. Love in business enhances productivity. 

In my book Step Up I share an incident that sadly was quite common only 7 years ago.   

I attended an evening book review with a business organisation where approximately 20 business owners sat down to look at The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson.

The question was around how to discipline staff.

They suggested a type of “sandwich”, where the manager acknowledges a good point, highlighted the area for improvement and followed this up with another positive remark. all of which is designed to help the individual retain their self-esteem while still showing them how to improve.

The men in the room all readily admitted it was their practice to publicly humiliate a member of their team if they made mistake:  they felt they HAD to do that so the individual would never make the mistake again.
I was shocked they genuinely did not see an alternative.

They saw the book as a revelation and were relieved to be shown another way.  In reality, none of them enjoyed playing the bad guy, but thought it was what you had to do. When there is love in business, no one needs to play the villain. 

If you have been an employee and have seen this happen you are aware of the fall-out that occurs after someone has been treated with disrespect in such a way.  The mood of the room changes, the divide between management and staff grows, resentment festers, anger and retribution surface and relationships are damaged.

So, how do you bring love in business? 

Is it possible to change your current working practice and grow a company where everyone loves coming to work on a Monday morning?  

They love their job so much they can’t help talking about it while off duty,  and even came to work having found you some business while they were out on a Saturday night?

The answer is simple.

Treat everyone as a Human Being First. Bring Love in Business

Not as a secretary, the guy in admin, the finance chap or the boss, but simply as a human being, with ideas, thoughts, emotions, feelings, ambition, and unfulfilled dreams.

We are all the same, we just find ourselves in different circumstances.

Imagine if someone came to you and looked deep into your eyes and saw the real YOU! The one yearning to be a success, the one passionate about making a difference.

If they committed to helping you, don’t you think you might be willing to help them achieve their dreams too?

The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly is a great read and illustrates how even a basic janitorial cleaning company was turned around simply by helping every person in the business to achieve their dreams.   

In doing that they also helped the boss achieve his dreams too.

Who do you have around you at work at the moment, but the relationship isn’t working? For some reason neither of you are getting the best from the arrangement.

What if you strip away their title (boss, accountant, sales manager etc) and see them as simply a Human Being First? Could you make a change to the way you communicate to move the relationship forwards and get on a level playing field?

It isn’t always easy to make the start but the rewards are immeasurable.

This can be done in all relationships – teenage daughter, dad, sister: meet them where they are, without expectation and discover who they are and what they want for themselves and how you might be the one to make it happen for them.

Human Being First is one of the 12 Core Values of BeCollaboration and by using this within our Collaborator Community we witness to a group of people who work together to create an authentic space of connection, abundance and love.

We do business together, it is personal, and love flows.

Gill Tiney

Gill Tiney

Speaker | Author | Connector

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