Challenge for the 21st Century Workplace: Create a More Loving Culture

Challenge: Create more “love in the workplace” If you can open up your eyes to a new definition of love. The environment and culture you are reaching for will be full of fun, friendliness, consideration, respect and kindness. Creating this new work place climate makes good business sense because it helps people connect on a new new and unique partnership were the goal is to find synergy between individual employees needs with organization goals.  By creating more fun, health (physical and psychology), productivity and quality of work life (QWL) for all kinds businesses happiness and profitability will be the end result.

Dr. Fredrickson, a leading researcher of positive emotions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, presents scientific evidence to argue that LOVE is not what we think it is. It is not a long-lasting, continually present emotion that sustains a marriage; it is not the yearning and passion that characterizes young romantic love; and it is not the blood-tie of kinship. Rather, it is what she calls a “micro-moment of positivity resonance.” She means that love is a connection, characterized by a flood of positive emotions, which you share with another person—any other person—whom you happen to connect with in the course of your day. You can experience these micro-moments with your romantic partner, child, or close friend. But you can also fall in love, however momentarily, with less likely candidates, like a stranger on the street, a colleague at work, or an attendant at a grocery store. Louis Armstrong put it best in “It’s a Wonderful World” when he sang, “I see friends shaking hands, sayin ‘how do you do?’ / They’re really sayin’, ‘I love you.'”

I know that love seems like a weird word to use in the context of business relationships, but it fits. Love may be the one critical thing needed to create  “ A Wonderful World” that Armstrong sings about. But it’s also a many-faceted thing. As Daniel Goleman writes in Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships, “neural wiring interacts in different combinations in love’s many varieties — romantic, familial, and parental — as well as in our capacities for connecting, whether in a friendship, with compassion, or just doting on a cat.” Uncomfortable with the word love? Substitute empathy or compassion, defined by psychotherapist Beverly Engel as “the ability to understand the emotional state of another person or oneself. Often confused with empathy, compassion has the added element of having a desire to reduce the suffering or pain of another.

People see love in the workplace as lunacy of “soft skills” gone off the rails. As a “soft” skill love evokes passion, mushy emotion, lack of focus, personality conflicts, and a big distraction from business goals of productivity and profitability for shareholders. So the result over many generations is that the love I am talking about—kindness, consideration, respect empathy and shared values and has largely been eliminated from the workplace.

That’s a been a big mistake. By focusing on a new perspectives and using the definition of love illuminated in Dr. Fredrickson’s Love 2.0 book these micro-moments of connection and caring outweigh and out shine the the narrow idea of messy romantic love and you’ll miss the importance of love’s broader meaning of unique and rewarding connections that drive positive energy and fulfilling interactions with others.

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