Leadership: Love Through Action

by | Feb 20, 2024

Our social feeds are full of images of people loving and in love—from Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce to wedding proposals to family reunions and valentine-themed products on virtual and IRL shelves.   Whether it’s romantic love or familial love, we often think of love as if it were an event-driven series of big moments. 

 National Caregivers Day on February 16 reminds us that 95% of the time, love manifests in small, ordinary moments and actions. 

Most caregivers are leaders according to The Learn Lead Lift Framework®, which defines leadership as influencing others not solely for the purpose of satisfying your own interests. On a daily basis they demonstrate the powerful alchemy between mindsets (how we think), skill sets (what we know or know how to do), and behaviors (how we show up to others), that is both leadership and care. They remind us that leadership is love through action.

Caregivers also remind us that saying “no” is a powerful expression of love and leadership. Saying “yes” to everything does not serve the people we care for or lead well. Holding others accountable for both their behaviors and results, whether they are our child, neighbor, best friend or co-worker matters in love and in leadership.

Some people use the term “tough love” to describe saying “no” or holding others accountable. Why not drop the “tough” and just go with “love” instead?

Years ago, when my children were young and both work and caregiving were both strong areas of focus for both my partner and I, I woke up one morning to a voice that sounded like a whisper yet resonated like a gong, saying, “To love and be loved—that is why you are here.” It has since become a mantra of sorts that deeply grounds my work and decision making. When faced with both big and small decisions, the logical part of my brain is quick to generate and weigh pros and cons. Then, I pull out the 3T Model® and consider how executing on a decision will impact my time, energy and resources and those of my team and/or family. 

But for split-second decisions, or as a final gut check, love rules.

How will this decision or action move me closer into alignment with loving others (giving) or increase my capacity to receive love from others?

That last part is challenging for me yet no less important because receiving love is what replenishes the well from which I draw upon to love and lead others.     

This month I encourage you to recall someone who said “no” to you as an act of love. Maybe you didn’t appreciate it or receive it that way at the time. Can the more mature version of you today think about it differently, and how does it make you feel when you do so? 

Finally, consider telling a caregiver in your life how much you appreciate them, even all the times they tell you or someone you love, “no.”

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