Does Your CEO Love You?

dog and cat hugging in the grass

So you are putting in another late night at the office. Tied up in meetings all day with no time to get to your real work. And just now catching up on 15 “urgent” emails from your boss. You are giving your best, most heartfelt effort — but it never seems to be enough. If love is truly evidenced by our actions, then you are showing plenty of it to your company leaders. But do they love you back?

If the above scenario sounds all-too familiar, then I imagine your answer is “no.” Maybe you never even considered the question. Love is hard to fathom when your company takes, takes, takes — giving very little in return. And it is even harder not to feel resentful when your own love goes unnoticed and unreciprocated.

But a strong leader will love you back. Because the thing they care about most is sustainable achievement and that is best supported through love — showing it, sharing it, giving it.

This concept may sound squishy, so let’s do some creative math: 100 + 100 = 100. (No, that’s not a typo.) The company gives 100 percent to you, and you give 100 percent back with meaningful skill and effort. That leads to collective achievement. It adds up to 100 percent results for everyone, not 200 percent for one party.

Both you and your company need to give everything you have to be great and build something lasting. But it must start with your company and its leaders.

Leaders are the ones responsible for creating a framework for success. And since companies are a collection of people, let’s simplify my initial question to this — does your CEO love you? They should. And they should treat you as a vital part of the mutual value equation. That expression of love goes beyond providing basic needs like compensation.

“I love you” — here are the three most meaningful ways leaders show it:

Sense of purpose
You feel loved when you understand how you contribute to something meaningful. Strong leaders share the company’s vision and goals, giving you purpose and showing you how your work fits into the larger picture. At Aha! we are totally transparent with what we are trying to accomplish and have an important shared belief that seems obvious. Have a plan and act based on it. We call this “goal first and action.” This provides the team with a mandate to pursue our objectives with vigor.

Go great
You feel loved when you are challenged to be your best. A loving leader will be your most active and encouraging coach. These individuals are personally vested in your growth — seeing you hone your skills, learn new ones, and set and reach your loftiest goals. As you master your work, your efforts are rewarded and leaders within your company will look for opportunities for your advancement.

Sustainable happiness
You feel content when you are happy. The ultimate “I love you” is when leaders lay the foundation for sustainable happiness — helping you to be happy in all that you do. This does not mean that every day in a high growth company will be a peach. But it does mean that your ongoing work should be enjoyable and fulfilling, and increasingly challenging as you work harder and contribute more to the organization’s success.

When your company leaders take the lead on love, a deep, mutually beneficial relationship follows. And that leads to success for everyone.

I believe in work love and loving work. So much so, that I wrote a book about how to build lovable products and lovable companies and be happy doing it. And as the CEO of Aha! I do my best to make every teammate feel valued and heard. It is good business to care.

And I’m grateful for what we have been able to accomplish together. We are one of the fastest growing companies in the United States and are now trusted by over 100,000 product builders at many of the world’s best-known companies.

So, yes, I love the team. It is easy. They comprise the greatest collection of talented, productive, and kind people that I have worked with. There is no comparison.

Does your CEO love you?

About Brian and Aha!

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product roadmap software — and the author of Lovability. His two previous startups were acquired by well-known public companies. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the adventure of living a meaningful life.

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