It’s the season of love – the week of Valentine’s Day when everyone who sells anything is trying to tie their product to romance.
I’m not trying to sell you a bouquet or a bottle of wine. I’m trying to sell you an idea.
And admittedly, the love I am speaking of isn’t the sort that takes place in front of a roaring fire or across from a flickering flame of a candle. But make no mistake; it is love we are talking about.
To be a great leader, there are things you must care about deeply, embrace, and even love. A simple understanding of, awareness of, and resignation for these things won’t do if you want to lead in transformational and powerful ways.
I love my wife; she has a list of wonderful traits, attributes and abilities longer than I could list. And yet, if I am honest with you, there are things about her that frustrate and challenge me. For my love to be full though, I must recognize and embrace those things as a part of the total package of who she is.
In a similar way, the list of things leaders must love comes with a dark side too. In general, the five ideas I am about to share with you will make sense and you will nod your head, but the items on the flipside might be harder to swallow. Yet, like those “other” things about my wife, to embrace one side requires compassion for the other side as well.
Let’s get started.
Leaders must love their purpose and their goal; and so leaders must embrace mistakes.
You can’t be dedicated to the work of leadership without a passion for the reason the work matters. When there is passion for the purpose and a strong belief in the goals you are trying to achieve, you will be more focused, more diligent, more energetic – and all of those traits will be noticed and emulated by the team you lead. Leaders must love the pursuit of meaningful goals.
And with that pursuit comes mistakes. Not every effort will be perfect. Not every try will work. If we love the goal we must embrace the mistakes that naturally will occur. If we don’t embrace mistakes we will either play it too safe, or not share mistakes as a learning opportunity.
Leaders must love their team members; and so leaders must embrace conflict.
Your team is the engine that moves you forward. If you don’t love that engine, it can never operate at top performance. Think of the best leader you have ever personally observed. How did they feel about their team? Their loyalty and belief in them showed, right? In other words, they loved their team.
And they are people, so they won’t always get along with us, or each other. If there were never any quibbling or conflict, you would have groupthink and your engine would sputter. Embrace conflict so that you will deal with it appropriately and early enough so it can be helpful, not counterproductive.
Leaders must love developing others; and so leaders must embrace learning.
No team is perfect, no skill set complete. So leaders must relish their role as a coach in order to nurture and help the team members that they love to be as successful as possible. If we don’t love this role it will get put off until you “aren’t so busy.” And how often does that time come?
Coaching is all about learning. If we want to help others learn, we must be a learner ourselves. After all, the best way to influence people is through our example.
Leaders must love Customers; and so they must embrace questions.
Call them Customers, Clients, Students, Patients or whatever you call them in your business. If you don’t love them, you can’t serve them as fully as they deserve. You must love them, even though they can be difficult and challenging at times, because they are the source of your paychecks. Being clear about this helps you create that love of Customers with your team too.

Author's Bio: 

Join leaders from around the world as a member of the Remarkable Leadership Learning System. This system includes two complimentary months of that unique system as part of Kevin Eikenberry's Most Remarkable Free Leadership Gift Ever today at
Kevin Eikenberry is a leadership expert and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. You can learn more about him and a special offer on his newest book, Remarkable Leadership: Unleashing Your Leadership Potential One Skill at a time, at