6 Stages of Love to Becoming a G.O.A.T. Leader

G.O.A.T = Greatest of All Time

All humans have one thing in common: we want to love and be loved. We accept this idea when it comes to family, pets, sports teams, and favorite bands. But the moment we get to the office, a switch goes off, and that acceptance goes out the window. We don’t show love in the workplace despite its prevalence in the rest of our lives.

If you only associate love with your spouse or family, then it makes sense that it would feel awkward to show it to colleagues. With this in mind, let’s consider love like the ancient Greeks. They viewed it as too complicated to define with one phrase. To them, love took on six forms:

1. Eros (Self Passionate)

This type of love is irrational and uncompromising. In leadership, this is a “my way or the highway” kind of manager. The manager loves his ideas and authority above all else. It’s not a good look for any manager.  

Expect this outcome:  You’re not a leader yet and just a manager.  You will most likely push people away from you, while your results will be short term.     

2. Philia (Friendship)

Philia equates to deep bonds born from shared experiences. It’s loyalty, sacrifice, and belonging. When the pressure is on at work, support your team, and be open with them about the demands you share. You’ll likely find that they want to help you in return.  

Expect this outcome:  You’re starting to win hearts and you’re on the right path to becoming a leader.  

3. Ludus (Playful)

This version of love is a connection built from playfulness, laughter, and banter with those around us. It establishes personal relationships through human interaction. In this new world, Ludus, is getting harder to find, and the leaders doing it are getting the most traction.

Expect this outcome:  You’re starting to create a tribe that others want to follow you.  

4. Agape (Self-less)

Agape is selfless love, and it’s a must for any leader. It’s universal, empathetic, and kind. We must have each other’s backs as friends and colleagues alike.

Expect this outcome:  You’re becoming highly effective as a leader, and your tribe is starting to say great things about you.  

5. Pragma (Trust)

Pragma is rooted in compromise and patience. As a leader, you need to practice empathy for your employees. They’re not cogs in the machine; they’re people. When you treat them as such, they will see and love you for it.

Expect this outcome: You’re on way to becoming a mentor.  Your tribe is starting to come extremely loyal to you and others in your tribe.  

6. Philautia (Self-love)

Philautia = self-love. Before you can hold anyone else accountable, you must love yourself first enough to practice balanced accountability. It’s the only way to find lasting success.

Expect this outcome:  Congratulations, you’re a G.O.A.T. leading by example, and your tribe will never leave you.  You’ll be maximizing your performance and called upon to share your secrets in love.  

Love is an Verb…

You must actively communicate with your tribe about how much you love them, even if you think you’re showing it with your actions. No one is a mind reader. Just be sure to keep the moment genuine. It can be hard to praise or compliment people, so a common reaction is to fall back on comedy as a defense mechanism. It may be natural, but it’s sloppy. To avoid this, start by telling your employees what you love about them and their performances. This process involves showing your feelings but doesn’t require too much sentimentality. For example:  

“I love how you helped that client.”

“I love that you turned in this assignment way ahead of schedule.”

“I love your commitment to our team.”

Empower your team to share the love throughout the organization.  A great resource in this modern world is SPARCK.  It’s an online personalized employee recognition and engagement program that creates a thriving workplace your tribe will love. 

If the thought of love makes you squirm, you’re not alone. In fact, the “stronger” you are, the more likely you are to resist this. However, when you let your guard down, your tribe will be more than ready to support you. Showing your humanity makes it safe for them to engage, and they’ll be ready to commit to whatever the company needs. When your staff feels loved, it’ll amaze you just how far they’ll be willing to go. Who wouldn’t want that kind of loyalty?

About the Author

Hernani Alves started as a part-time employee and eventually grew to become the President for a $3 Billion Company that was regularly voted as Best Workplace. Today, he as an author and international speaker that helps leaders build world-class teams focused on getting results. 

Hernani has been featured in: Stanford University, HR.com, Young Upstart, Best Recruiter, Idea Mensch, CEOWorld Magazine, Conscious Company, Extreme Leadership, and more. 

In his book, Balanced Accountability, Hernani reveals the framework needed to improve accountability in the workplace by winning hearts to maximize performance.  

Download:  Free Six Question Employee Report Card.  

To connect with Hernani, please visit his Twitter, LinkedIn or Schedule a Call with Hernani


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