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“I know what love is.”

February 14, 2012

20120214-093041.jpgI love that line spoken by Tom Hanks as the title character in “Forrest Gump.” Of course, he was responding to the much more experienced Jenny, the love of his life, who had just told the special man he didn’t even know what love is. Oh, Forrest knew. It’s Jenny who really didn’t get it. Speaking of love, yesterday I saw a retweet of a blog titled, “Does Being In Love Make You A Better Manager?

I say no. You don’t have to be in love to understand people have lives outside of work, that they have children that get sick, or parents that do. You just have to be human and understand your employees will be much more productive, even over-performing, if they know you sincerely care about them and their families. That’s a generalization, but it’s been my experience. When I was interviewing a dozen years ago with Kronos, my future manager laid out three priorities for me as an employee:

1. My family
2. My personal development
3. My work

I didn’t know Pete well at the time, but those priorities became the reality of work life at Kronos. Now I’m in Marketing, so we don’t have the same high-pressure of a production environment or a billable role, like our Cloud Services consultants, but last night I learned they work with a similar set of priorities in spite of the intense pressure they work under to deliver the experience our customers expect.

At dinner with some of our cloud team last night, I chatted with “Bob,” who shared with me some struggles he’s had the last couple years related to health and to parenting. His story was heart wrenching, and I asked how he deals with the stress of such trying circumstances. “Well, Andrew (his manager) has been very supportive,” he replied. “He told me to do what I have to do to take care of myself and my family.” Bob’s job very demanding and pressure packed. He goes above and beyond to get it done and support all the co-workers who depend so highly upon him. It’s not surprising, given the personal support he receives from his manager.

So while being in love doesn’t necessarily make you a better manager, it doesn’t hurt either. Since October of 2009, my employees have been happier and better performing than ever… I’m not really sure why.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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