What's Love Got to Do with It?


Phyllis H. Hendry discerns the difference in a leader who chooses love as his or her core value, and the outcomes of love-focused leadership on organizations and families.

Several months ago, I was invited to be on a radio program and the interviewer asked an interesting question.  He said, “I know you teach leadership, but you talk a lot about love;  What’s love got to do with it?”  My answer was simple. “Everything.”  We spent the next hour talking about the difference in a leader who chooses love as his or her core value and the outcomes of love-focused leadership on organizations and families.  

I am convinced when people choose love as a core value, they become a different leader, spouse, friend, parent,  neighbor and more.  Love changes us.  It is simply the greatest change agent of all time.  Love brings into our lives words we could have never have fully understood before – like grace, trust, forgiveness, sacrifice and service. When we love, someone else becomes more important than we are; our motivation is his or her need and how we might fill it. Our focus is intentional on what is best for the object of our love even if it means sacrifice and selflessness for us.
This kind of love is not soft, not easy.  It is a fierce knowing that nothing changes.  It gives grace every time, forgiveness when the hurt is cutting, and it stands when everything else falls.  It is a force that raises up the one loved with encouragement and yet, with complete love, always speaks the truth even when it is uncomfortable.  Your love becomes greater than the desire to be comfortable. What would a leader look like who has chosen love as his or her core value?
First, when love is the core value, the intention and motivation of the heart in every relationship will be simply to ask, “What is the most loving thing to do?” Understand the question is never, “What is the easiest thing to do?” Love challenges us to move past the easiest for the benefit of those we influence. Our motivation is simply to bring the highest and best to the person we are leading, truly seeking what God has for him or her.

Secondly, when love is our core value, our thinking is others-centered. The changed heart now informs the head. The Lead Like Jesus diagram of the inverted pyramid is a perfect picture of how a love-based leader pours out love.  When I look at that diagram, I see leaders whose hearts and now thinking have been changed and they are literally pouring love on relationships, organizations, and families by serving them.

Thirdly, when love is our core value, we live in freedom. Because we have found our identity in Jesus, we know who we are in Him.  We are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 6:4), we have fullness in Jesus, (Colossians 2:10-11), we are fearless (I John 4;18), we are righteous (Romans 6:6;11), we participate in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4), we are forgiven (I John 1:9) and more. Our self-worth, security, and  wisdom come through the deep connection to the Father, just like Jesus.  We can become all that God has called us to be living life through Him.  

Scripture reminds that Jesus came to set the captives free and that because we have His Spirit we have freedom. (Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17) We have the power within us to choose a life exempt from external control.

We can choose love as our core value and when we do, we have the opportunity to build incredible relationships and have results beyond what we have imagined.  In addition, we have the blessing of having eternal impact on the lives of those we lead and introducing them to the One who loves them most.  I continue to believe that it is only by love that love is awakened and it is the calling of a lifetime of every leader.

Are there relationships in your life where the question, “What is the most loving thing to do?” needs to be asked?  How will you respond? Father, thank you for loving us.  Help us to love others like you do – without condition and sacrificially.

Written by Phyllis H. Hendry

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