Often when we think of love, we associate it with the notion of romantic attraction – as in a dozen roses and a box of chocolate. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, this line of thinking is made even stronger by the advertisers selling cards and flowers (no offense if you work for Hallmark or Godiva!) Clearly, this expression of love quickly crosses the boundaries of appropriateness at work.

So, is there any place at all for love in our professional lives? Is there a way to appropriately express and apply love at work? Perhaps there is if we are willing to re-contextualize the way in which we think about and define love. If we expand our view of love, we can consider the many forms that love takes beyond just the romantic. Consider how the expressions of love below have powerful applications in our professional lives.

Love can take the form of empathy
According to Chris Voss, the former FBI Lead International Kidnapping Negotiator, the ability to see things from another’s perspective is a key skill in building mutuality and coming to an agreement. This applies whether we’re negotiating the life of a hostage, or having a simple conversation with a colleague or client.

Love can take the form of vulnerability and courage
We need to look no further than the amazing work of Brene Brown to see the power of vulnerability and courage in our professional lives. Having recently completed a seven-year study on the future of leadership, Brene’s work points to the powerful effect of these skill of the heart.

Love can take the form of emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence has been a hot topic in the world of leadership development since Daniel Goleman published his pioneering book on this topic in 1995. The willingness to recognize and acknowledge our feelings and those of others is one aspect of the connection between a leader’s EQ and the measurable business outcomes they produce.

Love can take the form of service and collaboration
As stated by Robert K Greenleaf, author of “The Servant as Leader,” when leaders shift their mindset to that of service, everyone wins – leader, employee, company, and client. We can express love as a willingness to work together to seek win-win scenarios, an intention to make life better for everyone around us, and the desire to make a difference in the world.

Love can take the form of inspiration and purpose
As so clearly pointed out by Simon Sinek, when we stay true to our why, we inspire those around us. Purpose and inspiration generate loyalty, create fulfillment, and vault companies and leaders to the top of their game.

So, this year, as Valentine’s Day approaches, we can all seek out opportunities to appropriately apply love in our professional lives in a way that makes a difference. We can all look for opportunities to contribute to the effectiveness, happiness, and harmony of our colleagues, our clients, our company and the world. No flowers or chocolates necessary.

If you would like to bring collaboration, emotional intelligence, inspiration and purpose to your workplace, please contact us. Our corporate team building activities, experiential keynotes, conference openers, and leadership development workshops are a perfect way to make a difference in the lives of those in your world.