Do you remember the classic Tina Turner song? So how much love is in your organization and should you care?  Are you thinking “Seriously? You’re going to talk about love? How does this help me raise the ROI and build my business?”  Well, new neuroscience research shows love has a LOT to do with success in business because it’s a driver of trust – which is a driver of loyalty.


Dr. Paul Zak studies a neurohormone called Oxytocin and its effects on business, decisions, and relationships.  Oxytocin is released when we feel love, show compassion, and express appreciation.  Zak discovered that when there’s more of this chemical in our blood, we also feel more trust towards others.  When trust is higher there is higher productivity, employee retention, engagement and purpose driven work.

A new formula linking emotional capital to the bottom line:  

+Love → +Oyxtocin → +Trust → +Results

If we want the benefits of trust, we might consider:  How do we bring love into the workplace? When I spoke with Paul he said there are 8 areas where leaders can raise trust at work; Zak uses the acronym OXYTOCIN to remember them.

Paul Zak: 8 Tips for Trust

O – stands for ovation. This involves praising people who achieve their goals. Remember the adage, praise in public, and criticize in private.

X – Expectation. Give people a challenge to achieve. Expect the best.

Y – Yield. Give people control over their work lives. Don’t micromanage.

T – Transfer. Give people autonomy.

O – Openness. Show transparency, be honest.

C – Caring. Having empathy for the people you work with.

I – Invest. Invest in people, through your time and opportunities for advancement and education.

N – Natural. It is important for leaders to show who they are, warts and all, being honest and showing that it better to disclose then lie and hide who they are.


Caring Isn’t Just About Facts

A recent, very public counter-example: Tim Armstrong, a leader at AOL, fired a manager at a meeting for taking a picture. When you read through the whole story you can see that he was under immense pressure and the manager in question had acted inappropriately when he took the picture. The furor that happened later was a perfect example of what happens when we don’t follow the OXYTOCIN tips!

Irrespective of the employee’s transgression, what people remember is the lack of empathy and caring shown by the leader. The result was an atmosphere of distrust and a cost to the company. There was no love lost here!

Love in the workplace can be as simple as setting aside time to engage in deep listening. It means setting aside time where there are no interruptions and listening to what the other person has to say, without interruption and without jumping in with whatever you want to say. It involves being empathetic and listening beyond the words.

It can be taking the time to socialize with your staff by closing the office early on a Friday and meeting for a beer (or tea) and conversation. It can be caring enough to talk one on one to an employee when you can see that something is troubling them.

There is no “one way” to do this.  Real caring starts on the inside. 

What can you do to bring more love into your workplace? When will you start?

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