A couple of years ago I begged a friend of mine to introduce me to one of the founders of the Ritz Carlton. (No, I wasn’t looking for a discount, but I wouldn’t turn one down if offered.) I really wanted to learn about the inner workings of The Ritz, which has one of the greatest work cultures in the world. I then begged Mr. Founder (actual name, Ed Staros) to host a small group of senior living leaders (Yes, I do a LOT of begging on behalf of our field!!) to share his secrets on how to grow and maintain an enviable workplace culture, and to my pleasant surprise, he graciously obliged!
We spent the day together, and I learned SO much from him, but the most impactful thing I learned happened to be the first words out of his mouth, “I love my employees.” He said it with a smile, and I felt how deeply he meant it. Then, he reminisced about the countless weddings, graduations, and funerals he had attended through the years for his staff and their families. And he said it again, “I LOVE my employees.”
The next thing he said has implications for you as a leader, “If you can’t love your employees, then you shouldn’t be a leader.”
Maybe that’s the ticket for better retention in this field, the love piece. We are a field driven by the heart, afterall. We run on care and compassion, and essentially love of humankind. The people who choose to work here give from their hearts to those they serve, day in and day out, and we know their buckets run dry from all that they give.
So for a leader, especially a leader in this field, loving your people should be an essential part of your job. You should genuinely love your employees. If that sentiment makes you feel a bit icky, think about it from their perspective.
- A loved employee is fulfilled and has more to give.
- A loved employee feels loyal to you, and your organization.
- A loved employee wants their family and friends to work with them, so they can also feel the love at work.
So, humbly, knowing some of you will say this is all crazy talk, I present to you a list of 36 Questions That Lead to Love. Directly from the New York Times article:
The idea is that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness. To quote the study’s authors, “One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure.” Allowing oneself to be vulnerable with another person can be exceedingly difficult, so this exercise forces the issue.
I’ve done these questions with friends, family, and people I work with. I am telling you, this activity is worth the time. Try a few with your team and use the closeness you gain to love more!
I think this is the perfect opportunity to remind you that I LOVE each and every one of you for doing what you do every day! Keep at it!! You ARE making a difference in so many lives, even though it doesn’t always feel that way. You are loved and appreciated. ❤️
To recap: love your team members more and know that I love you.
Hugs and big love,