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The Love of Leadership | SCOAP-Profile

In my talk at TEDxZug in 2013 I spoke on a topic that concerns all of humanity. All economic systems, all political systems and all corporate systems. Indeed any system in which human beings operate. In short I said that there is one component all of these systems need to have to support humanity: the basic rationale for all these systems is that ultimately they increase the well-being of humanity (socialism and capitalism, for example, claim to help humanity but in different ways). Many of these systems do not exactly deal with this one component.

This one component is exceptionally powerful.

  • If you have this as a child, your brain will grow stronger connections, you will have higher IQ and you will be more successful in life.
  • If you have this component, you will have more friends and you will learn faster.
  • If you have this one component, your brain will also be more adaptive, flexible and engage in healthy risk taking and exploration activities.

But also on the negative side:

  • If you don’t have this compnonent, your IQ will suffer.
  • If you don’t have it, the synaptic density in your brain will be less (connections between brain cells) and even the neural circuitry of you brain will be changed.
  • If you don’t have it, you will have fewer friends, trust less people and in turn be trusted by fewer.*

We can see that this component is essential for the healthy functioning of individual human beings. At the same time all human economic and political, not to mention business systems, are made up of human beings and so this one component will become magnified in strength and its positive or negative effects also. This will particularly be true in a company, whether it be 5, 5’000 or 50’000 people.

This one component is, of course, love. 

Many may not consider love a part of business systems, strategy or leadership but that must be wrong. Love is the most fundamental human emotion right from childbirth when every single human being enters the world to a rush of oxytocin passed between mother and child. So indeed how can it not be a part of all systems in which human beings operate.

Of course we can reformulate love and its different aspects in many ways. If we look into the brain, we see the concept of attachment and bonding driven strongly by the above-mentioned oxytocin system. In business environments this translates into: friendship, trust and loyalty. These are very powerful concepts in business and every business person and leader knows of the value of trust and loyalty whether it be with employees or customers. From the viewpoint of the brain that is the same as the attachment and bonding system. In short love.

Can your business afford to be without love?

* See “Neuropsychotherpy” by Klaus Grawe for a look into attachment and its influence on mental health. Also see the (seminal) work of John Bowlby, Harold Harlow and Howard Skeels.