Oh yeah, you knew this was coming from me at some point, didn’t you. This is the 21st Thursday column “the aloha lady” has written for Leon (thank you for loving me Leon!) and it’s February, just two days after Valentine’s Day, so I’m taking my shot.

Now don’t roll your eyes. Be brave, be open-minded, and keep reading, for you have to admit you’d love your job a whole lot more if there was a whole lot more to love about it. I’m hoping I can help you get there by helping you LOVE you at work.

Let’s do this: Empathy is a skill we all need in life, empathy being the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. When you empathize with someone, you can feel some of the things they feel without being in their same circumstances. An exercise in empathy is a good way for us to look at this question of where LOVE is needed in business, and at work, so we start to reap some of the joy in it. You’ve got to agree that love is joyful!

Through the eyes of a Visionary Leader:
We LOVE being at work when we feel our work is meaningful and worthwhile. It is meaningful and worthwhile when we have bought in to the purpose behind our Leader’s vision— if not, you need to choose a new leader. What is it that the Leaders in your work-life love so much about their vision? What notion do they LOVE and incessantly talk about so passionately? They believe that is why you have chosen to work with them.

Through the eyes of a Great Manager:
A Great Manager is looking for your talent and your strength, for he wants to optimize it and capitalize it— he’s bought in to that purpose behind the Leader’s vision too (and yes, sometimes he can have both roles) and he knows he needs you to help make it happen. You are the one who LOVES your own talents, the ones that make your heart sing. Have you come right out and told your manager what they are so he can LOVE them too? Have you showed him how you want to use them at work everyday, or are you still playing hide and seek with him? Great Managers are defined by their good intention, not by their ability to read your mind. Don’t have a Great Manager? Life is short; choose a new one who is.

Through the eyes of Your Peers:
This one is easy. Your Peers want to LOVE working with you. So exactly how lovable are you? Your Peers will define this through their working relationships with you, and you’ll define it through the kinds of relationships you LOVE having with them versus those that are hard to maintain because they are counter to what you value. Be Proactive and take control of your relationships. As Stephen Covey says, make some “emotional bank account deposits” —understand that it’s your account.

Through the eyes of an Employee:
Let’s say you’re the manager or leader. No, already wrote about that…This is for everyone: What about the other employees at your workplace you interact with rarely to occasionally? They simply want to LOVE having you around. They want to consider you “one of the good guys” and one of their alternate resources. Are you the one they hope gets picked when there’s an interdepartmental team put together? Are you the one they talk about as the “one who knows,” the “really nice one,” or the “one that walks the talk?” When you are, it helps you LOVE being around them too; you feed off each other.

Through the eyes of a Customer:
What does the Customer LOVE about the product or service that your company provides for them? How do they perceive it actually improves the quality of their life? In my company, managers and leaders are our customers, and we work to bring nobility to their professions through the Managing with Aloha movement; we coach them to be our poster children, to be Great Managers and Visionary Leaders. When your passionate purpose for being at work is aligned with that LOVE of the Customer, that is, you believe that the work you do is critical to their getting it, you feel you LOVE your work. You’ve got to be there to deliver it to them. That’s the way the worthwhile, intentional jobs we LOVE work the best. I honestly believe it’s the only way.

Through the eyes of a Worthy Stockholder:
By now you can see a prevalent theme here is your ability to consciously choose the people you LOVE being in the company of. True, most of us are distanced from the Stockholders, however another reason we LOVE our work and our company, is when we think of our profits going to worthy Stockholders. Worthy because they’re aligned with our purpose and vision too. We feel they support us and we sense they LOVE being a Stockholder because it feels good and right: They LOVE knowing that their dividends are a result of delivering something meaningful to the Customer. They willingly reinvest in the company when we need them to.

Through the eyes of Your Child:
If you are a parent, one of the greatest gifts you can give your child is demonstrating to them that you LOVE your job, and you LOVE the work you do. Otherwise, they will dread going to work when they grow up, and they will have a much more difficult job discovering their own talents and employing them in the best possible way. Give them the LOVE-liest picture you can of what work is all about. Talk to them about why you LOVE it, and how it gives you a life that you also LOVE. If you cannot do this truthfully, and with complete sincerity they will see right through you, for in their shorter lives they actually know you far better than you think. So if you can’t say it and mean it with the job you have now, make your number 1 priority finding the job you will LOVE.

Through the eyes of those Who Love You:
Your spouse, your siblings, your parents and friends, they want to LOVE you whole and happy. They hurt when you hurt, because they couldn’t turn off their unconditional love and acceptance of you if they tried. Work affects so much about you, physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. Understand how much your LOVE-ing your work is all about you, your values, and your choices in filling your own life with the LOVE which will help you thrive and prosper.

Through Your Eyes:
Your turn. What would you write here? What do you LOVE at the right work in the right business and the right company for you? What is your passion and purpose? What can you be doing which uses all your talents and strengths, so that the fact that someone actually pays you to do it is icing on the cake? I challenge you to write it down so you come to some clarity with it. Not for me, for you. Then go get it. Ho‘o, as we say in Hawai‘i, make it happen.

A last important point: The word is emphatically LOVE, not like. Like is not good enough. Your life is worth much more than that. Your life is worth LOVE.

My LOVE and aloha to you, Rosa

Articles referenced here:
5 Things Employees Need to Learn—From You
The 10 Beliefs of Great Managers

Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. She is also the founder and head coach of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership.

Rosa’s Previous Thursday Column was: Gracious, Genuine Greetings.

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