How Leadership Development Built on Love Generates Breakthrough Results

How Leadership Development Built on Love Generates Breakthrough Results

Social media continually promotes turmoil, chaos, disruption, and anxiety. In the midst of this fear, I’m asking myself, “What might I do to make a positive impact?, especially with  Leadership Development?

As this is the 4th Anniversary of Millennials Matter: Proven Strategies for Building Your Next-Gen Leader, I’m posing the same question to you…

“What might you do to make a positive impact on your Next-Gen and Millennial leaders?”

Leadership Development Built on Love Fights Fear

Yes, you read correctly – love!

You may have heard that it’s helpful to read the first chapter of a book…. and the last chapter FIRST (when reading a non-fiction book).

Why the last chapter?

Here’s some insider information – an author typically starts with what they feel is most important to communicate. AND, the also end with what they think is THE most important concept.

I confess, when writing Millennials Matter, I thought long and hard about the last chapter, asking myself, “What is THE most important thing I’d like the reader to know?”  I pondered for months.

Finally – I got it! Chapter 30: Love is the Ultimate Measure.

Yes, you read correctly – love!

Why love in a non-fiction, leadership development book. It’s not something that we talk about much in the business world, or in the Leadership Development space.

Yet, I believe it’s important for us as leaders to consider how we practically live out the First and Second Great Commandments in our everyday work and lives. What does it look like in the real, work-a-day world of building a great business that serves employees, clients, vendors, suppliers, etc? How might we operationalize love, so it becomes the foundation for all that we do?

Here’s a shortened extract from Chapter 30 – Love is the Ultimate Measure.  I trust it inspires you in your leadership development journey to build a “Culture of Service.”  You can read the full story on pages 221 – 223 of Millennials Matter.

What does Love Have to do with Sales Growth?

“We haven’t talked enough about love.”

I had just finished teaching a two-hour session on Sales for Emerging Entrepreneurs. Budding tech entrepreneurs in the audience were paired with mentors and investors with the hope of accelerating their business growth. As I wrapped up the train­ing, the company’s CEO, a respected entrepreneur and investor, interjected, “Danita, this has been great, but there’s one thing we haven’t spent enough time on today.”

University of Sioux Falls – Culture of Service

You know how a dozen thoughts can whiz through your head in a matter of seconds?

My thoughts went something like this: I’m pretty thorough. What could I have missed? I’ve been relent­less in stressing how critical it is to deeply understand our prospects’ frustrations and headaches, as well as their goals before we start the data dump about all the great “stuff” we’ve engineered for them. Was he hoping I would talk about technical competence, the sales process, or sales metrics?

Instead of dumping all those pre-emptive self-defense points on him, I ask him to expound. “Tell me more.”

“You’re missing a critical link,” he said.

Again, my thoughts raced. But I set them aside to keep listening.

The CEO continued, “We haven’t talked enough about love. To truly serve our employees, clients, and prospects, we need to love them.”

Love. I confess I was thrown off by the word. When I read the ancient Scriptures, I’m often reminded that love is the ultimate measure of my life, but it’s not a common topic in the business world. However, this entrepreneurial guru, whose life goal was to inspire emerging entrepreneurs and leaders, thought we needed to talk more about love—in a business meeting.

Research has shown that the more people feel loved at work, the more engaged and productive they are. Employees report higher levels of satisfaction and teamwork, and showed up to work more often!

While this might be true for every generation, I believe love can have a particularly positive impact on your millennial and next-gen team members

Operationalize your Leadership Development

How might we, as leaders, “operationalize” a word like love?  It’s a word that doesn’t appear to mesh with exceeding business and sales growth results.

Here’s an idea to consider…whenever we build the leadership capacity of those around us, we are practically operationalizing love.

For the last couple of months, I’ve been writing about a power-packed question that can help us build the leadership capacity of those in our sphere of influence.  The question looks deceptively simple and straightforward. Yet, it is jam-packed with leadership secrets. Here’s the question:

“What might I do to make a positive impact?”

Here’s a summary of the key ideas in my recent article series, 5 Bold Leadership Decisions.  Coach those on your teams to:

  • Ask “what” questions to stimulate a Future-Focused Mindset and create a clear vision for where they’re heading.
  • Use the power of the word “might” to spark an Innovative Mindset for creative problem-solving. This word invites possibilities, options, and new connections.
  • Take ownership of their behavior by leveraging the tiny word, “I.” This word nurtures an Ownership Mindset so that they take responsibility for creating breakthrough solutions.
  • Ignite the Action Mindset with the word, “do.” If there’s no action, results will stay the same. By asking action-oriented or excuse-busting questions, you nurture personal responsibility.
  • Focus on making a positive impact. An Optimistic Mindset sees the opportunities of making a constructive difference.

What makes these mindsets critically important at this time?

Experts predict that we will continue to navigate market and economic disruption. Your future leader needs a strategy that will create breakthrough solutions during these demanding times.

Leadership Development and the Prayer of St Francis of Assisi

The fear-mongers are upping their game!  They are trying to get everyone to follow fear, versus to lead in hope and faith.

How do we counter this attack? What might you do to make a positive impact on the mindset of your future leaders?

The Prayer of St Francis of Assisi has always held a special place in my heart.  Here’s the story that I share in Millennials Matter about this famous prayer…

“In high school, I announced I was planning to use St. Francis of Assisi’s famous prayer as the closing to my graduation speech. Not everyone was impressed.

‘St. Francis of Assisi wasn’t a rich man, so you can’t use him to measure success,’ the superintendent instructed me. ‘Danita, your job is to inspire leaders to be successful. St. Francis, he wasn’t successful. He was just a poor monk. To inspire leaders to success, you need a stronger image.’

In spite of his concern, I believed St. Francis’ prayer was apro­pos. Even though it was written close to a thousand years ago, every word of his prayer still carries a strong moral message for today. Then, as now, the Prayer of St. Francis calls us to a higher purpose—an ideal that each of us can strive for in all aspects of our life, especially as we seek to maximize our businesses, mobi­lize our leaders and realize our leadership legacy.

To this day, the prayer hangs in my office as a daily reminder to answer the call to servant leadership in my business and per­sonal life. I share it with you in the hope that it will encourage you as you shift gears to coach, mentor, and lead with love the up-and-coming leaders in your sphere of influence. For, indeed, love is the ultimate measure of our lives.”


Prayer of St Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console,

to be understood as to understand,

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


~ Saint Francis of Assisi ~

What might you do to become an instrument of peace during these chaotic times?

You are being called to make a positive impact, and to build great leaders.

I invite you to use the ideas I present in Millennials Matter, to stimulate your thinking as you spark dynamic com­munication and build a trusting relationship with a future leader in your sphere of influence.

Your leadership matters NOW, more than ever!

Leadership Development Lesson: Use your leadership experience to make a positive impact in the New Year.

Leadership Development Question: What might you do to show Millennials and Next-Gen leaders that they too can make a positive impact on others?

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