Leading With Love

Thursday, July 25, 2103

I was in Paris for two weeks the beginning of July and more than once, I not only experienced the positive impacts of interacting with people who love their work but I also experienced people leading with love.  An example that stands out was from one of the waiters at an outdoor café where we ate more than once.  With the tons of places to eat in Paris, we actually ate at this outdoor café three times.  Why? Well, not only was the food great but the head waiter at this café was a perfect example of how to lead with love.  The impact of his behavior on his team of waiter/waitresses and the café customers was contagiously inspiring.

This gentleman was responsible for greeting everyone who entered the café and seating them (equivalent to a host or hostess in the US); however, we also had the pleasure of having him serve us our food one afternoon.   When he greeted patrons, he welcomed them with genuine joy and appreciation.  He would seat them, find their particular waiter or waitress and introduce him or her to the customers.  While doing this, he said very positive things about how well they would be cared for by their particular waiter or waitress.  As I observed him, it was inspiring to see how he interacted with his team of waiters and waitresses.  They were mostly speaking French while interacting with each other so I couldn’t fully comprehend all they were saying but words were not necessary – I could tell by their energy, smiles, and interactions that there was genuine love and affection amongst this team.   This all spilled over to the customers.

In addition, because we had the opportunity to have this gentleman serve us a meal, we got to speak to him a bit about his background.  He talked about how he loved working in the restaurant industry and had worked at various places all around the world: Canada, The Caribbean, Europe, etc.  When he discovered we were American, he told us about the places he visited in the US and what he loved about the US.  It was such a joy speaking and engaging with him.  It was evident he loved what he did, loved interacting with his customers and sharing his joy with others.

We visited that café three times because the energy and atmosphere was wonderful.  One day we spent several hours there watching people, watching the positive inspiring style of the lead waiter, and soaking in all that great energy.  It was obvious why this café was always crowded and filled with a positive buzz.  This gentleman was leading and working with love for everyone and everything around him and it truly was contagious.

Of course, it got me thinking about the way many of us tend to work and lead in our lives.  Sadly enough, I don’t encounter experiences like this one from Paris very frequently.   And, it makes me think and pose the question:  do we love what we do?  Are we expressing loving energy towards our co-workers and customers?  I have seen what can happen when one person does that and I imagine how great “work” could be if we all took the time to focus on what we love about what we do and what we love about the people around us instead of looking for what is wrong.  Just as negative energy and complaining about things is contagious, so is being loving and kind.   As we experienced in that Paris café, all it takes is one person with that type of energy to create an environment filled with love and joy.  Why not be that one person who begins to make the shift in your workplace?    Even if no one reacts at first or even if people look at you funny, so be it! I guarantee YOU will feel so much better about your work and your life and I guarantee, eventually, it will become contagious.

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