Elements of Leadership: Part Three – Love and The Matrix
Though you will learn quite a lot from this post on its own – please be aware that this is part three in a series that Phil is writing on essential elements of leadership. It will make even more sense if you read parts one and two as well!
Love in the office usually refers to illicit physical relationships, and is generally seen as a 'bad thing'. The fact is that love in the office is a very important and a much overlooked benefit.
When most people think of love, they think of Eros love, or erotic love. What is more important is Agape love.
What is Agape?
Wikipedia describes agape love as:
love: esp. brotherly love, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God
This fits right in with the notion you may have heard – that each of us has a spark of god within us. Hence, the true meaning of that much over used word Namaste – I salute the god within you.
Ego or Self?
So what has this to do with the office – and the matrix?
True leadership lies in an acknowledgement that we are all people, we are all striving, we all have fears and hopes, and we are imperfect – perfectly imperfect as one commentator put it. Leaders, followers, executives, tradesmen, supervisors, labourers are all people, and should be honoured as such. People want to make a contribution, they want to be heard, they want to be respected.
Most organizations are hierarchical, and this structure has many benefits, but an unintended consequence seems to be that a person at a certain level believes himself or herself to be superior to all those of a lower level. Sometimes this is despite the fact that they were themselves at that level only a week earlier. As we have mentioned before, such is the power of the matrix.
A parallel interpretation is that of ego vs. self. Armed with feelings of superiority, whether true or derived from the matrix, results in these individuals speaking from ego, rather than self.
I love these people.
So, what to do?
When you find yourself speaking from ego – butting heads, arguing, dismissing, making people wrong – just say to yourself “I love these people.” It doesn't have to be out loud, but I know it works as I do it myself.
When you have time to reflect, you will probably notice that the feelings that caused these outbursts of ego originated in the matrix. When you use this simple technique and put yourself in a state of agape love for your colleagues, you can relate to them as people – just as you are a person – and honour them for that.
One very important caution – you have to mean it!
It is not a magic word like abracadabra; it will take some practise.
And when you say it, the matrix will fight it to the death, because it does herald death – death of the matrix and of the ego, so give it a chance.
But once the ability to enter this state has been established, you will see your team and your colleagues differently. Each one is a vital part of the team. The Project Manager/Team Leader/Supervisor is a member of the team. Each team member is working toward the same overall objective. Everyone has his or her role and skill set to go with it. The project cannot be completed without everyone’s contribution, so every role is just as important as another.
Don't look to the matrix to find out what a person's contribution should be – you will be misled and find yourself in ego territory.
And ego territory is where all leaders have to be calm, know everything, and always make the right decisions.