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Leading with Love

October 4, 2012

In 1986 the average knowledge worker carried in their heads 75% of the knowledge they needed to do their job. By 2006 the average had dropped to 8%, today it’s around 5%, and within 10 years the average will be 1%. (ref. Carnegie-Mellon rolling study by Robert Kelley).

This is a paradigm shift. To succeed as a 1% knowledge worker requires learning different capabilities to before, not just trying harder. This is hitting leadership roles hardest, soonest. Leadership today requires much that leadership used to require; and a lot more that is part of a different paradigm.

As Peter Drucker said:

in times of turmoil, the danger lies not in the turmoil, but in facing it with yesterday’s logic.

Yesterday’s logic says:

  • Success is up to me.
  • I need to know myself everything related to how to do my job.
  • If I don’t know something I need, it’s up to me to learn and try harder.

But, if you’re at 1%, trying harder at best gets you to 3% if you’re a superhuman. Still nowhere near the 75% you need to succeed.

‘Leading with love’ can be a solution to get from 1% individuals up to 100% knowledge working teams – this post explores such and has been co-created with main input from Graham Boyd.

The new game in town!

Step into someone else’s box, not just out of your own. Let’s step into the box of people who’ve only ever known this 1% world, to find the rules of leading in a 1% knowledge worker world.

Gen Y has grown up in this world. They:

  • automatically turn first to their friends (both online and direct), and secondly to Wikipedia or search engines.
  • Say “I don’t know, can you help me” as a sign of strength and maturity.
  • Work together on everything as the only way to succeed.

The effectiveness of the lone wolf heroic leader is dropping, that of the highly connected self-organising leadership team is rising.

Love and Leadership

Love, feelings and intuition are central pillars when leading as a team in times of change. Unlike in much of today’s business world, where showing your feelings typically elicits criticism, many of the young leaders and entrepreneurs of today are extraordinarily effective precisely because they communicate how they feel immediately.

In nature we see resilient, adaptive organisms sensing and responding to their internal and external environment, so too in people. Feelings connect what is happening around us with our inner values.

When love-centred values are behind what you’re doing, you feel fully alive, you can contribute everything you have to deliver results without feeling drained.

Here are some attributes to being love-centred by Tree sisters

When fear-centred values are behind what you’re doing, your contribution is far less than your potential and usually leads to increased stress and dis-ease.

And the shadow side – being fearful by Tree sisters

Effective leaders in the 1% world coming our way:

  • Insist on sharing how they feel, and insist on knowing how their team feels, immediately and in real time.
  • Always take that as information on what is happening, never as a problem to fix or placate.
  • Stay at peak collective effectiveness by harnessing the complementary powers of logic, feelings and intuition.

Sharing feelings make it possible to get from 1% individuals up to 100% knowledge working teams. Feelings are the body’s instant messaging service. Short, immediate messages saying either “I love this, want more” or “I fear this, want less” to help you stay at your personal peak performance. Watch out for fearful feelings due to your comfort zone being challenged – moving beyond your comfort zone is a good thing (perhaps an essential thing in such transformational times). When each team member shares, the team gains insights from all perspectives into what is happening around them, and what this means for the team values and purpose; resilience improves due to local attunement and collective alignment – diversity within unity bring harmony.

These messages though can only be given and received if there is no judgement, and especially no attempt to shame or fix. Unlike most companies today, where tears are seen as a weakness that needs fixing, or to be tolerated.

Leadership and Love as 1% knowledge workers

Three things need to be true:

  • Love for each other, the organisation and the      purpose of the organisation. Not “I love you” kind of love, not      liking; but a deep commitment to each other and the purpose that brought      all together. (You can, in this sense, love someone you don’t like.)
  • No compromise between serving one’s own needs      and the collective needs; both can be met.
  • No compromise on delivering; all are there to      deliver, but with a focus on what works now, not what you believed was right      for yesterday. This means a readiness to let go of pre-conceived plans      when new data saying that the plans won’t work emerges.

Three actions you can take now:

  1. Learn the 15 most common names for fear-based and hope-based / love-based feelings and emotions.
  2. Identify which of your values are being triggered in each case.
  3. Find like-minded colleagues or people in other organisations to practice using thinking and feeling in tandem to deal with change through relationships of collaboration.

If you want to be part of a cross-generational group of entrepreneurs and leaders coming together to learn how to lead in this new paradigm, see Facebook: Or contact Graham at

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 26, 2012 10:30 am

    Love it! Thanks, a very inspiring start to my week.


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