Leading With Love: Contemplative Leaders in Action

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 4:34 PM PDT

Lead with Love. What does that mean? Well, for starters, that’s a fully loaded phrase!

Would leading with love mean that you would have to care about that annoying co-worker who doesn’t seem to ever reply to your emails? That you shouldn’t get annoyed by the gal who always speaks up at a staff meeting with yet another “great idea”? Or, that you would still have to like your supervisor even though he seems to micro-manage you more these days now that your organization is in midst of an overhaul?

Chris Lowney, author of Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company That Changed the World describes leading with love this way: 

“Long before love is a corporate virtue that improves team performance, it is a personal leadership stance. The love-driven leader possesses the vision to see and engage others as they are, not through the cultural filters, prejudices, or narrow-mindedness that diminishes them.” 

Love in the context of leadership in the workplace is less about expecting warm-fuzzy feelings towards your co-worker to emerge, but rather it is more about looking at your co-worker as a whole person – someone with hopes, aspirations, shortcomings and limitations, yet with unending potential. 

Perhaps leading with love is noticing that your too busy co-worker is trying to keep her head above water since she had to take time off to care for her ailing parent… or maybe it is becoming self-aware of your own prejudices towards your co-worker’s idea, and then boldly offering your own idea out loud to the group. It might even look like extending compassion to your supervisor by letting him know that you recognize that the transition is hard and that he can trust you will do your best to get your work done.

The Contemplative Leaders in Action (CLA) Ignatian Leadership program is a great example of a professional and spiritual development opportunity where alumni can learn and practice out the skills and qualities needed to become a loving leader. Through monthly gatherings, retreats, mentorship, and an engaging learning community of diverse emerging leaders, CLA participants create an environment where it is safe to explore and question the relevance of love in the context of professional life.

If you are an alum between the ages of 25-39 and live in the Puget Sound Region and you are looking to grow in your leadership, Magis at Seattle University invites you to apply for this dynamic program. Or, if you know a Jesuit alumnus/na that could benefit from a program like this, feel free to nominate him or her by emailing us. Applications are due May 29, 2015. To learn more about CLA, visit our page online.

Through practicing self-awareness, ingenuity, and bold humility, you may just be transformed into a leader who learns to lead with love.