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Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.  But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8


First, let’s start with a couple of questions that stir up some personal reflection:

  • How many leaders today do what they do first and foremost because they love people?
  • How would you like to be driven to lead others because of your desire to love others?

Being realistic, those who aspire to leadership most often have other motives.  More money.  More advancement.  More power.  A feeling of superiority.  An ego-boosting title.  Even better social recognition.

Even for the leaders that say they are motivated by love, if they are human, they are motivated in part by other, less admirable factors as well.  That’s just reality.

Being able to make our hearts unselfish, tackling other people’s problems, and the stress of being responsible for others is just a price most of us are not willing to pay.

For us Calvanists (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvinism), there is a concept termed “total depravity” and the admission that, as human beings, we all suffer from it.  Total depravity is the fallen state of human beings as a result of original sin.  The doctrine of total depravity asserts that people are, as a result of the fall, not inclined or even able to love God wholly with heart, mind, and strength, but rather are inclined by nature to serve their own wills and desires and reject the rule of God.  It also does not mean that people are as evil as possible.  Rather, it means that even the good which a person may intend is faulty in its premise, false in its motive, and weak in its implementation; and there is no mere refinement of natural capacities that can correct this condition.  Thus, even acts of generosity and altruism are selfish acts in disguise.

The greatest leaders admit this and are realistic about their own nature.  But, they choose to battle it and work on their hearts with relentless intentionality.  Quite simply, they love.  Their passion is not money, reputation or fancy clothes (all are dangerous idols).  Their passion is just to help and positively influence as many people as they can.  This is certainly a powerful form of love.

Leaders today are under ever increasing pressure, and the world is moving at a faster pace – a trend that is unlikely to slow down anytime soon.  In particular, the business world has become almost purely a results-oriented culture.  Whether it is keeping shareholders happy, winning more votes or getting more hospital patients through the door, it’s all about targets, incentives, and profitability.

In such a pressurized environment, long-view (see week 23) and value-based leadership becomes challenging.  If expectations on progress and results are set too high – even unrealistic (see week 24) – then the pressure on leaders is passed down to their staff. Regularly, leaders often use an authoritative, controlling (see week 42) attitude – even borderline dictatorship.

A business cannot be healthy without leaders that are caring.  Businesses that excel at customer service are really showing you that they authentically care about who people are, and believe they deserve the best.

Great leaders love people.  Serving their people is more important than any pressure from the outside.  Leaders who love people are genuine, and as a result, we all want to work for them.  We are inspired by them.

The great thing about loving others is that it is a boomerang – it keeps coming back.  Love always comes back to you – more than what you gave out in the first place.

Focus on your heart and making it love others, even people you don’t like.  Then, focus on the message you are trying to deliver and lead people toward a destination.

Love is perhaps the most powerful emotion that any of us can experience. It’s what connects us to our parents, our children, our friends, our passions – everything.  It makes us happy and willing to lay down our lives for others.  And, authentically loving another person builds a connection that is indestructible.

Love is not something that you can teach yourself or something you can read about getting better at.  It’s not a people skill.  It comes from our hearts and is deep within our spirit.

I find it easy to love my family and friends.  I find it hard to love, really love, people outside of that circle.  It’s not an issue with them, and it’s not an issue because of anything that I’m doing.  It’s a heart issue.  Only through changing my own heart and consciously deciding to accept others for what they are, how they are made, and forgive them for their flaws, can I begin to love others.  Furthermore, love is not something created through two people.  It’s something that comes from within their own hearts, so each of us have to start with ourselves.

If you try to “love your people”, for reasons that are not authentic, it is only a matter of time before you are found a fraud and things will all fall apart.  Counterfeit love will always be discovered, eventually.  Love has to be authentic.  It has to be real.  And, that can only come from a changed heart.  Your heart!

Leaders that love others are incredibly more effective than average leaders.  So, try to transform your heart.  Do it for yourself, but not because you are a leader.  Do it for yourself.  You will be happier, more fulfilled, and more at peace with yourself than you ever imagined.

Jesus promised us that he would be there for us.  No matter how long someone had been gone or how ugly they might have been on the way out, he promised to be there if and when they came back.

Jesus never slammed the door shut or burned a bridge.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

Jesus promised us that he would be there for us.  No matter how long someone had been gone or how ugly they might have been on the way out, he promised to be there if and when they came back.

Doors are built with hinges…is this symbolic of the “eternal” door?  Jesus knew that doors that were shut must be made to be left open.  He was a carpenter, remember?!

Each of Jesus’ followers failed him at one time or another, especially when he needed them most.  Did his love flicker?  No, never.  His love was forgiving, consistent, and unconditional.  The people close to him got to feel the power of that firsthand.

We all crave the feeling of being loved.  It’s what makes us human, and Jesus taught us that nothing is more important.  He showed us what love is, and how it should be shown.  If a leader can show love to others in the way that Jesus did, they will have conquered the greatest secret in all of leadership.


Dan Lucas
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