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Leading with Love — Modeling Healthy Relationships as a Leader

Updated: May 4


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You’ve been vying for that promotion. You’re working overtime on your startup. You’re trying to transfer to that cool new division at the company. You’re passionate about your work and don’t mind working overtime. You’re a leader and an ambitious human, which is inspirational and admirable. With a supportive partner, your career is flourishing. The beauty of love is that it can make us feel braver and capable enough to do seemingly impossible things.


Love can make us believe in the beauty of our dreams, and an encouraging partner can deepen our ambition and drive. These are all very good things. However, our ambition, like everything else, needs a healthy sense of balance. Have you ever faced a time when work interfered with your relationship? If so, then this read is for you. Leadership and promotions are great, but couples cannot forget that their first responsibility is to show up and co-lead their own relationship. Here are some ways you can model love through your role as a leader at work or head of your company.


Talk about your partner


In the twentieth century, we were taught that leaders separate their home and work lives. Yes — there are leaders who do that. According to management research, they are classified as segmentors instead of integrators. The segmentors are those that keep their work and home lives separate, while integrators gladly integrate both. In the twenty-first century, authenticity is paramount to leadership. Employees want to know that their leaders are human, just like them. Sharing bits about your relationship — such as the fact that you make time for your spouse to go to the movies every now and then, makes you human and will make you more likable to others.


Institute family or relationship-friendly work policies


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As a leader, you have a key influence on how others begin to view the importance of their family and relationships. You can implement policies that choose whether employees engage with their spouse or partner at home — or if they continue to work until the wee hours of the night. Taking steps such as blocking the sending of emails or slack messages after work hours or even preventing employees from taking work laptops home, can help to promote a greater work-life balance. When there is work-life balance, relationships can blossom, as partners have the space to become more mindful. Don’t just align with the status quo of being overworked- take steps against it through policies and practices that foster it.


Promote a more celebratory and communal company culture


Having a company wide event? Invite your employees to invite those closest to them — friends, families, and romantic partners. Bringing a partner to a work event is a great way to introduce them to your world — especially if they work in an industry or field that differs from your own. Practices such as “family day”, or even “couples’ game night” at venues or spaces outside of work, can help relationships to deepen and strengthen, without neglecting employees’ ties to the workplace. These events can also promote greater understanding amongst couples — giving each partner insight into the different challenges their significant other faces at work. Greater exposure and context is always a good thing.


Support relationship milestones — and acknowledge the changes they might bring


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Is someone on your team recently engaged, having a baby, or a newlywed? These are milestones that should be celebrated — not hidden from the boss out of fear. At the weekly meetings, make time to recognize the relationship-oriented milestones in your employees’ lives. Once you hear the news, ask them if they are comfortable sharing with the company or team. If they are, make some time to celebrate it! After all, work is just a small part of our lives — we are so much more than the jobs we do. Make some time to authentically value your employees for their remarkable relationship gains as well. Your culture will be better for it!


Pursue a hobby or side project with your partner


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You can pursue a hobby or side project with your partner. Telling subordinates or employees about it might encourage them to do the same. There are couple’s YouTube channels, podcasts, DIY gurus, food and couple’s travel vloggers and bloggers, the opportunities are endless! When you find something that you and your spouse are both passionate about — why not make it into a side project? It doesn’t have to be an entrepreneurial endeavor — just something that you both work on that gives you a mutual sense of joy. You can document your side projects via social media, and invite your work circles to partake in your exploration. This is a great way to model love to those you work with.


Through quality time and patience, relationships develop healthy roots. However, work can be a threat to that. It’s important for leaders not only to make time for their own relationships, but to model a healthy love for the subordinates that loom up to them.

 

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