What emotion do the best managers lead with?


Think about it this way…

Can a manager truly lead someone if they don’t love them?

The real role of a modern day manager has evolved from what it orginally used to be. Meaning the skills and emotions have continued to evolve as well. The Millennial workforce with their desire for mentorship, growth and invovlement have played a large part in this…and thank God because what we are about to step into (future of work) is beautiful.

There are plenty who roll their eyes at this — but those are the same people who forget what it was like to be young, hungry and have raw talent. Yes, experience and perspective round out raw huger and talent but every generation goes through this as they enter a previously entrenched workforce.

**Also, I wonder did those same people forget who raised these “millennials” :)

Anyways, back to the question — can a manager truly lead someone if they don’t love them?

I don’t think so. Sure, you can absolutely manage someone if you don’t love them. However, no one wakes up in the morning saying to themselves…OH GOODIE I CAN’T WAIT TO BE MANAGED TODAY! Nah, that doesn’t happen. Ever. We as humans want to be led, not managed.

We as humans want to be led, not managed.

The modern day manager when they lead with love isn’t avoiding challenging situations, or going soft. In fact they may be doing the opposite, they may double down on someone, they may be providing critical feedback or even letting someone know if they don’t shape up they may be on their way out of the organization.

Other ways we see managers leading with love:

  • providing honest, consistent feedback
  • firing someone who isn’t the right fit
  • putting in extra work to help them develop
  • giving air cover for a great idea to fly
  • checking in to see how they are feeling
  • talking through difficult decisions and outcomes
  • putting team members up for promotions outside of the team
  • helping identify career growth and skill development needed
  • assigning strench assignments inside of strength alignment

In some ways these are pretty standard tasks for managers. So can’t they be done by a manager who doesn’t love their people?

Sure. But the difference is in how it feels for the employee. Not just how it feels in the moment but most importantly how it feels afterwards. There is an energy signature when something is delivered with love. It’s just sweeter.

There are times a manager will say to me “I just need to be careful with what I say all the time” and although I don’t have full context I wonder if they are leading with love? Because this really changes the delivery and center of operation.

the final thought here…

If you’re a leader or manager and you’re reading this — what would your “alumni” say about you? I can’t recall much of what I learned in college but I certaily remember the relationships and professors I had who cared for me. I can recall years later how those people made me feel.

I can recall years later how those people made me feel.

When it comes to college alumni — this connection is insanely powerful and practical in business and networking. Why is a shared place of education so bonding? The emotions. The shared stories and places. The connection.

I actually really like the idea of you as a leader having alumni… Those who at one point worked for you - whether you helped build and grow them or couldn’t wait to get them off your roster…they worked for you and are now your alumni. Wow that’s a powerful thought. You, have alumni and they have emotions and shared stories regarding you. Are those memories postive or negative?

I once had the CEO of a company I worked for tell me “I would rather have people fear me than love me.” I was initially intrigued by this statement — and figured I had something to learn about leadership. After my first couple months working under this CEO I saw how toxic his fear based leadership style really was.

About once or twice a year I connect with some friends who are my fellow alumni. No, not my college but alumni of this CEO. We’ll reflect and laugh about the water bottles that flew across the room on occasion, the F you’s, and occasional dressdowns. But we’ll also reflect on the massive opportunities we had, how we had positions at the company that caused us to grow, how the CEO would stretch us. Even bad leaders have positives but it’s this lack of love that leaves us with the negative aftertaste. In this case the bad outways the good. Fear won. He forever etched in his lasting belief of “fear over love.”

What would your alumni say about you?

Would they say you cared about who they were? Would they say you loved them?