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Love and its Languages

Several years ago I wrote a Good Group Tip called Love and it was published in my first book. A high school friend of my daughter’s picked up the book and thumbed through it, stopping on the Love page. “I get that this is a book about group decision making, ” he said in a 16-year kind of way. “But what’s love got to do with it?”

I’m pretty sure he had no idea about the Tina Turner song. It’s just that he reckoned himself a future businessman and couldn’t see why Love would be in a business book.

Then this comment shows up at the website. Just days ago. About Love. From my brother John Prista Freshley. A businessman.

“I have started and led a wide variety of start-ups. And, ever since Craig wrote this tip in his book, I have included it in every company (starting in 2006). And, I have tried to practice and, often, quite explicitly. “I want us to have loving, caring relationships with each other. Start-ups are hard and love is part of the glue that will hold us together.” It is always a powerful moment.

A lesson learned….

Like many of Craig’s tips, it is sometimes super hard to practice and…a few years back, one of my daughters suggested that I read “The 5 Love Languages.” There are some simplistic things in there, but I instantly realized that many of my colleagues that I thought I was treating lovingly, did not receive it that way. I was not speaking their language!

I was direct, up-front, challenging them to grow, concerned about the career prospects. Sometimes, that was received as intended. And, sometimes, it was received at pushy, arrogant, “you don’t think I am any good and need to better.” It did not feel like love at all.

So, Craig – I suggest an edit to this old and powerful tip! “Love absolutely belongs in a meeting room and an organization. And, to demonstrate that, learn how your peers and colleagues know that you are being loving towards them.”

6 thoughts on “Love and its Languages

  1. In my experience love is crucial in group decision making. Part of it is respecting the dignity and personhood of group members. This means really listening instead of thinking of what you’ll say next. Trying to take their perspective. Asking clarification questions. It also means actively valuing their contributions. Acknowledging their good ideas and work in a public way. Be honest if their idea is better than yours.

    People will like to work with you. This is what I practice in groups including my eleven years on school board.

    I’ve decided when I finish my masters and start on my PhD I want to do my dissertation on campus food insecurity. Love is very much involved in the sense of caring about the students who have to tackle higher education while not having enough to eat.

  2. I’ve long said the 5 Love Languages must not have been written by anyone Jewish or Italian–if it were, then FOOD would be considered its whole own category #6! 🙂 Humor aside, to me Love is indeed the most important quality of good group process. It’s the driving force behind all the work i’ve done for decades. Thanks for helping share the word that it’s ok to talk about Love in the meeting room.

  3. Craig, I haven’t read the 5 Love Languages but I do know that in business respecting colleagues, especially their ideas and approaches to tasks can be a form of love. Asking how
    they “feel” about change and concepts re-enforces that love.

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