Your Co-Worker’s Love

teddy bear traffic hugging each other

What? Love and business? Yep. It is a concept I explain in Lovabilitymy new book — it means building a product that customers love and a business where people can do meaningful work and be happy doing it. The word “lovability” sounds friendly, but achieving it is not easy. It requires honoring a deep responsibility to yourself and your co-workers.

Let me give you a concrete example. A few years back, a member of our team needed to rush her daughter to the emergency room. There was no time to explain, but she had to go quickly. She posted a message via group chat. One of her colleagues picked up a scheduled customer meeting that was on her calendar with about three minutes’ notice, no questions asked.

That is lovability in action. It is about bringing your best to each day and helping your co-workers do the same.

Why would her colleague not jump in and help her? He was available and she needed someone to help. But I also realize that most of us have experienced the reverse scenario. The co-worker who was too focused on their own work to help. Or worse, the colleague who promised to help “later.” Or what about the person who refused to do work that they believed to be “below their pay grade”?

Lovability is about being happy at work and treating everyone with respect. It acknowledges that we spend more time with co-workers than our family and that we all benefit from making our business relationships meaningful. It leads to mutually positive interactions and exchanges of value that are lasting. And as that love deepens, people feel grateful and committed. This leads to sustainable happiness and achievement for everyone.

Do you want to be part of creating this type of workplace? If that sounds interesting, here is what I recommend you do — regardless of your role:  

Be transparent. That means setting clear goals and sharing your plan of action. Share the “why” behind your plans and you will find ways to forge even more lasting bonds as you work together to make that plan a reality. Sharing also means that you cannot hoard knowledge or opportunities. Give your co-workers a chance to succeed at a project, rather than shutting them down before they even start. 

Act as a supportive coach. This does not require that you directly manage another teammate. But it does require that you are personally vested in each person’s success. You do this by giving meaningful and direct feedback. And you also find opportunities to guide each other as you develop skills, grow into new ones, weather challenging times, and reach career goals. Oh, and do not forget that coaches celebrate wins. Look for ways to acknowledge achievements. 

Put the team’s best interests first. Part of this is watching out for any dysfunctional elements that could hinder progress, such as office drama or work that does not fit into the overall goals. It is also about giving freely of your own time and energy. It might be a last-minute emergency request like the one I described earlier. But it might be smaller, like taking time out of your busy schedule to bounce off ideas or even just listen. It should not feel like an annoyance — but rather a welcomed responsibility. 

Co-workers spend an awful lot of time with each other — when you can build trust, commitment, and even love together, you collectively will have the best opportunity to build lasting value.  

Are you ready to take this on? You can find the tools for this love-forward approach in my new book. As I mentioned, it is not easy and every day is not perfect. It requires dedication and sacrifice. It will often push you to put the interests of others ahead of your own. But it leads to the ultimate reward — meaningful work and a happy team.

What is the nicest thing a co-worker has done for you?

About Brian and Aha!

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 roadmap software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the adventure of living a meaningful life.

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  1. Lorna Thompson

    I was once working as a Technical Writer at Sprint. Since the building in which I worked was on the campus of Sprint’s World Headquarters, it was also the workplace of Sprint’s most senior executives.

    One day, I was attending a project team meeting in a conference room. More people than expected decided to attend, so we needed more copies of the material we were planning to review.

    One of Sprint’s Sr. Vice Presidents saw me hurriedly leave the conference room, and quickly head for the copy machine. Unbelievably, he reached out his hands to take the original documents from me. He told me he could see I was needed in the meeting, and he asked whether he could make the copies for me. I was stunned by his presence, let alone his offer to help me. At first, I just smiled and thanked him, and told him I could handle it. But he insisted. I wasn’t about to stand in a hallway arguing with one of Sprint’s Sr. Vice Presidents, so I thanked him profusely and accepted his offer.

    Later that same day, he stopped me again in the hallway, and asked me whether the meeting had gone well. I told him it had, thanks in part to his unexpected generosity in helping me. I told him I knew what his position was within the company, and that I was sincerely grateful that he had used his valuable time to assist me. He smiled and said something I will never forget. He told me, “At the end of the game, the kings and the pawns go back in the same box.”

    He had reminded me to always treat my co-workers with compassion and respect, regardless of whether they fall above or below me on the org chart.


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