Leadership through Love, Not Bullying: A Lesson about Inspiring Your Colleagues

Of the many theories about leadership, including that skyscraper of hardcover books, case studies, academic texts, white papers and popular best sellers, few offer any valuable insight concerning a consistent, replicable rule about successful leadership.

The cumulative effect of every purported secret to effective leadership, and the reason these shortcuts (which are almost always a dead-end to frustration and self-doubt) fail to work, is further proof that executives need to look beyond the traditional business tomes, seminars and “coaches” that dominate this world.

Or: If you seek to inspire your colleagues and earn their trust – if you recognize that browbeating your employees and bullying your way through the workday is a waste of time – then creating a loving atmosphere should be your top priority.

That environment, free of fear and devoid of reprisals, enables a person to be more inventive, communicative and collaborative.

You will not, however, find such a place in the office buildings downtown or in the suburban campuses, where entire rows of cubicles look like a maze – the so-called “rat race” is more than a figure of speech, or so it would appear – in which anxiety is pervasive, morale is low and distrust is rampant.

The alternative exists nearby, as it is in and of the city; a refuge for men and women fighting drug and alcohol abuse, a place of comfort, friendship, healing, and yes, love.

I write these words from experience, where, as the Founder and Executive Director of La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center, I know that recovery begins with acceptance. It flourishes with love, and inspires others with personal warmth and integrity.

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Applying this principle to the workplace, in which we remind each employee about his or her worth, is the best way to establish an emotional investment throughout an office: It is not about withholding judgment or ignoring bad behavior, as we should never blind ourselves to the problems people face, but it is a way for an individual to reclaim his or her identity; it is a chance for a worker to be part of something real, to have a stake in a project or a business with a genuine mission.

By adopting the ideals of one group – by emulating the actions of the recovery movement – executives can enlist their employees in an endeavor of mutual enlightenment, encouragement and enthusiasm.

A Workforce with a Purpose: Respecting Each Employee's Identity

The universal lesson to this discussion is one respect. That is, business owners need to not only respect their workers; they must dignify each individual, aiding that person in moments of trial and applauding that employee during times of triumph.

By studying other disciplines – by borrowing from the best maxims regarding various rehabilitative programs – executives will have more than a pithy phrase at their disposal, or an aphorism about leadership at the ready.

They will have, instead, a proven method of uniting their respective workers; they will have, in spirit and deeds, a team of dedicated men and women with a purpose-driven outlook.

That attitude translates into enhanced productivity, increased efficiency and overriding sense of trust – a statement of resolution, complemented by results executives and employees can celebrate.

From the success of one subject of interest to its use within another field of importance, the proverbial ingredients for personal advancement and professional achievement are available for the taking.

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With intelligence and wisdom, as well as love, we can become the leaders we deserve to be; we can become the model employees we should be.

Let us abide by these transcendent qualities, today and forevermore.

Manny Rodriguez is the executive director of La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center, a treatment center for men and women in the heart of Hollywood, California, that offers an integrated approach to overcoming drug and alcohol addiction through clinical therapy, 12-step involvement, nutrition, fitness and community support.

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