By Angela M. Jackson | Owner, The Great Frame Up  

Great leaders lead with love because the ability to see the big picture and encourage others to do their best is really a gift.

It is a given that we all have areas where we need to grow. However, it is refreshing and encouraging when a manager, co-worker or friend is able to identify growth opportunities. Thus, when these words of wisdom are shared, it gives us the opportunity to improve and experience growth.

In my own personal journey, I’ll never forget a story my father shared with me. 

A client gently encouraged him to make a greater effort to be on time for meetings. This wasn’t a small client either! The client’s feedback helped my father see from the perspective of others that his professionalism was reflected in his timeliness to meetings. In turn, this little tidbit trickled down to his daughter and I try my best to be on time or five minutes early for meetings. Sure, I fail on occasion, but my father’s client, over 40 years ago, was leading with love. And much later, when my father shared his story with me, he was leading his daughter in love as well.

Be patient and honest
In our busy society, the demands on our lives, deadlines and unexpected emergencies often cloud our perspective. When working in a team or managing employees it can be frustrating when perceived expectations are not met. We must keep in mind that in order to reach our goals, the expectations of those we manage and lead must be clearly defined and specific. 

Goals and objectives not clearly defined and accompanied by sketchy deadlines for completion create opportunities for confusion and frustration. When objectives are clearly outlined, we should be patient with new information; every individual has a learning curve. After allowing appropriate time for improvement, if the clearly defined and understood objectives are not reached, it may be important to initiate honest communication.

We all know that round objects don’t fit well into square holes. Many times it is the organization itself that is not a fit for the individual. Taking time to clearly explain the challenges of "fitting" into the organization and honestly discussing the individual’s failure to meet your expectations is another example of leading with love. Of course, this should always be done in quiet and confidence so that it can be received in the same manner you delivered the message. This positive input regarding a negative situation may often free the individual from the stress of repeatedly trying and failing to fit into an organization or position that is really not suitable for their own gifts and talents. It is at this point in your shared journey that they may then be free to pursue a path more in alignment with their skill sets.

Know when to ask for help
Leading with love means you’re comfortable seeking help. Asking for assistance for performance improvement from professionals and resources that will ultimately make you a better manager, business owner or leader is a sign of strength, not weakness.

The importance of cognitive health simply cannot be overstated. Seek new opportunities to learn.As one professional advises, "At work, attend workshops, classes or conferences; outside work, consider taking up a new hobby such as learning a musical instrument, a new language, or a sport."

Be willing to sacrifice
Learn the ultimate value of sacrifice. Great leaders are able to understand the good to the team and the good of the whole over their individual self-interest or self-promotion. This is an extremely valuable trait. Leading with love creates opportunities to share the spotlight or even showcase someone else on the teams’ achievements. When you discover new
opportunities to go out of your way to lift up your neighbor, the rewards are immeasurable. 

For example, a little lift in a letter of recommendation can catapult a career. These kind and loving gestures will be remembered for a lifetime. More importantly, you will be able to experience the satisfaction of knowingly supporting another individual in the ongoing pursuit of a professional career or building a successful business.

Practice leading with love
1. Be patient and honest as a manager and in business. Integrity is underrated. Kindness is always welcomed.
2. Ask for help from a variety of reliable resources.
3. Maintain cognitive health.
4. Sacrifice for the good of the whole. A single candle lights the room, but stars in the sky shine brighter together!

"Many people walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints on your heart."
–- Eleanor Roosevelt
Angela Jackson is owner of the Great Frame Up, an art gallery and custom framing business in West Des Moines. She previously was president of Angela Jackson Consulting, a human resource and leadership consulting company and served as senior corporate counsel for Maytag Corp. in Newton. Angela serves on various boards and commissions including the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, and the Des Moines Arts Festival. Contact Angela via email