Thursday, September 26, 2013

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Do you remember the song from Tina Turner in the 80’s? Are you thinking, “Seriously? You’re going to talk about love? How does this help me raise the ROI and build my business?” Well, it seems love has a LOT to do with success in business and how much or how well we trust.

Dr. Paul Zak discovered that when oxytocin was released, the trust we feel towards others also increases. Oxytocin is released when we love, show compassion and appreciation.

How do we bring love into the workplace? How much love is in your organization and should you care?

When trust is higher there is higher productivity, employee retention, engagement and purpose driven work.

When I spoke with Paul he said there are 8 areas where we can raise trust and, coincidentally, we can use the acronym OXYTOCIN to remember them.

O – Ovation. This involves praising people who achieve their goals. Remember the adage, praise in public, and criticize in private.

X – Expectation. Give people a challenge to achieve. Expect the best.

Y – Yield. Give people control over their work lives. Don’t micromanage.

T – Transfer. Giving them autonomy.

O – Openness. Show transparency which facilitates trust.

C – Caring. Having empathy for the people you work with.

I – Invest. Invest in people, through your time and opportunities for advancement and education.

N – Natural. It is important for leaders to show who they are, warts and all, being honest and showing that it better to disclose then lie and hide who they are.

In a very public display that went against building trust, the AOL leader Tim Armstrong fired a manager at a meeting for taking a picture. When you read through the whole story you can see that he was under immense pressure and the manager in question had acted inappropriately when he took the picture. The furor that happened later was a perfect example of what happens when we criticize in public. Regardless of the transgression of the employee, what people remember is the lack of empathy and caring shown by the leader. The result was an atmosphere of distrust at a cost to the company. There was no love lost here!

Love in the workplace can be as simple as setting aside time to engage in deep listening. What do I mean by deep listening? It means setting aside time where there are no interruptions and listening to what the other person has to say, without interruption and without jumping in with whatever you want to say. It involves being empathetic and listening beyond the words.

It can be taking the time to socialize with your staff by closing the office early on a Friday and meeting for a beer (or tea) and conversation. It can be caring enough to talk one on one to an employee when you can see that something is troubling them.

What can you do to bring more love into your workplace? When will you start?

photo by torbakhopper/Flickr