Love can appear in all departments of our life, in all the sectors where we share space-time together. Sharing love with family and friends is extremely common and saying “I love you” to them is natural for many of us.

But we don’t use the word love that much at work. It seems almost a taboo and we learn to reign in our professional interactions. Boundaries are needed, for good reason.

I have a name for love in the workplace, and I call it respect. In this business context, respect is the mutual acknowledgment of our own uniquely and equally valuable presence as we participate together in this enterprise we call work.

When we listen to another person speak, we are respecting them. When we allow another person’s ideas to be heard – even if we do not agree with them – we are respecting them. Listening to another with full attention, rather than preparing a response in our head while they talk, is respecting them. Listening, and looking another in the eyes during communication, are incredibly powerful acts of respect that generously benefit the parties engaged.

When we do respond to another person, especially when we are not sharing their viewpoint, we can say, “I hear you, and I’d like to add another perspective…” rather than “Yeah, But…” (which turns people off and negates what they said). When we add to a conversation rather than subtract from it, we are practicing respect. We are practicing love.

Contemplating how our own personal attitude and temperament deeply influences our interactions with others in the workplace (and in all sectors of life) leads to more thoughtful, productive, and beneficial interactions. Camaraderie and cooperation grow, as do the bottom line results of our enterprises together, and that, dear readers, is a beautiful thing.

© 2020 James K. Papp