By Dr. Krystal White
When previous colleagues or interested clients ask me why I wrote a book on self-awareness in love instead of leadership development (my chosen profession), my “old brain” automatic reaction is to cringe internally, logically defend externally, and deflate spiritually. In conscious response, I reply that I wrote it in order to raise more attention to matters of the heart.
Somehow, even though organizations can talk a lot about love or give family-work balance lip service, many of us feel exposed if we reveal our truths about how we let work interfere with our personal relationships, or how we let our home life take priority over our professional functioning. We sometimes tout how one enhances the other (especially in leadership speeches or at special occasions or times of the year) but rarely does the domain of the “person” genuinely come into focus during the day.
Leaders who say, “that’s not my business!” are missing out on a critical moderating factor not only to their “bottom line” but to the tipping point of workforce engagement. Understanding why you love the way you love, reveals a few fundamental insights high-performing thought leaders can leverage.
Love is energy, fuel, and emotional motivation.
These types of sources do not distinguish between contexts, time frames, roles or even events. The gas in a car doesn’t care about whether it’s snowing or sunny out, if there is unnecessary construction or annoying passengers, even: it is ready to go. More gas = more capacity.
It’s the same with love. Leaders that know what they love right now, and bring more of that into their personal life, have a wider capacity to do well at work in their soft skills and analytical decision making.
Not everyone loves the same way.
Some leaders want their personal relationships to inspire them to learn and advance more at work. Others seek relationships that will comfort and nurture them after work. And still others just want their personal relationships to be reliably self-sustaining, so they don’t have to worry about one when they are in the element of the other.
Appreciating these differences can help you more effectivity guide others towards their fulfillment rather than steering them towards your own.
Powerful partnerships are going to be the competitive advantage of the next generation’s transformational thought leaders.
Investing in training and tools to help yourself and your most critical leaders empower their personal partnerships is guaranteed to improve performance and engagement. We send elite leaders to conferences all the time to learn about “leadership” and “best-practices” or even “resilience.” Organizations that genuinely value the skill of increasing relational connectivity (without lowering the standards professionally) will not only retain talent, they will be a target for talent.
So, to answer those people who asked me why I wrote a book on self-awareness in love, my answer is that my intention is to inspire more love. Especially in leaders who courageously want more of it.
KRYSTAL WHITE, Ph.D., is the author of The Letter Code: Deciphering Why You Love the Way You Love. She is also a leadership psychologist with more than 15 years of experience working with individuals, organizations, and communities. Dr. White holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, is a board certified child and adolescent psychologist, and has completed a medical fellowship at Madigan Army Medical Center in developmental pediatric psychology. She also holds a master’s degree in Christian Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a master’s degree in mind, brain, and education from Harvard University.