Loving Leaders Advance Healing Cultures

|By Jayne Felgen and Pamela Schaid|
An excerpt from the Award Winning Book, Advancing Relationship-Based Cultures.

How often do discussions of leadership include the word love? Whether it has been intentionally placed to the side or simply assumed that there is no place for love in leadership, we find that words like loving have not typically led the list of characteristics that describe an outstanding leader. Words like strategic, visionary, analytical, fiscally responsible, and team-focused might top the list, but somehow the seat of our humanity, the willingness to be guided by love doesn’t usually make the list. Still, when we reflect on those positional leaders we’ve known who stand out as exemplars, we do not have to look too deeply to see the love. It was there. You could feel it in their actions, interactions, values, and purpose. When we think of those leaders, words such as purposeful, attentive, authentic, trustworthy, patient, vulnerable, kind, generous, humble, respectful, sincere, caring, and unselfish come right to mind. Love led the way; most of us just haven’t named it as such. In our work as nurses, executive leaders, and consultants in health care, we have been privileged to witness those who lead and manage in ways that help to advance the cultures of their organizations into what they want them to be—cultures that help people heal, not just recover.  Loving leadership is marked by deep affection and caring for those with whom we work and lead.

It is a deep devotion to feelings of caring and respect. It involves nurturing, supporting growth and development, wanting the best for each person, and desiring to help people identify their gifts, talents, and strengths. Love in leadership means truly caring about each person, celebrating successes, as well as having empathy in times of struggle. It includes releasing judgment and forgiving past difficulties. It means being fully present in our interactions.

This is great news for those of us who have known all along that we can become better versions of ourselves. This kind of leadership promotes thriving in our direct reports and creates a culture of healing and wellbeing for co-workers, patients, and families.

For further reading on Loving Leaders Advance Healing Cultures download the chapter here: