My name is Paul Hughes. It’s unlikely you will have heard of me, but I have something really important to share about leadership.
For 22 years I worked with the same team in the same software technology company. Over that lengthy journey my team and I faced many enormous challenges, constraints, and complexities, but somehow always managed to deliver results that made a huge difference to the business. We were at the core of, and a catalyst for, inspirational growth of the company over a long sustained period.
Coupled with this, we had a culture that saw people thrive. Our turnover over two decades was remarkably low and it wasn’t uncommon for someone to express that working in the team had a significantly positive impact on their life.
Now please don’t mistake me — I’m not suggesting that our journey was an unwavering experience of delight. We had our fair share of good times and really tough times. We faced many struggles, made many mistakes, dealt with lots of challenging and uncertain change, had times at the edge of (and even right over into) burnout, and I’m sure that there are some who would describe parts of the journey in a negative light.
But through it all we stuck together. We supported each other. We came through times of adversity and were transformed on the other side.
In the depth of a journey over two decades, I discovered something crucially important. Something foundational. Something that has stood the test of time and has been battle tested in intense circumstances. Something that makes it possible to lead in such a way that both delivers strong results and sees people thrive, in both the short term and the long term.
That thing is love.
Love Your Team is a movement that is spreading love in the corporate world. Now, I’m not talking about romantic love, but rather the unconditional love that recognises and holds the value of every single person to the fullest degree, and strives to align every word, every action, every decision with that recognition, at all times and in all places.
The first time I talked publicly about Love Your Team was at the Melbourne CTO Summit in December 2014. I told the story of an intense and challenging software development project where love made a difference:
If you have 18 minutes to spare, I encourage you to watch that talk. And then to reflect on what kind of impact it could have if you intentionally made loving your team the most important priority in your leadership.
Love is the key to helping people thrive, to feel safer in stepping out and fulfilling more of their latent potential. The more unconditional love becomes your foundation, the more peace and joy you find for yourself, the more the people around you flourish, and the ripple effects on the results of the business and on people’s lives can be remarkable.
Recently I’ve been hosting 30-day leadership challenges, to help leaders grow in effectiveness. These challenges don’t involve spending lots of extra time outside of work in training, bur rather are about intentionally practicing the foundation of great leadership in the midst of your work. Leaders do the challenge in groups of 12, and connect on a video call for 1 hour per week to share what they are learning and experiencing.
Something astonishing from these challenges has been how quickly some leaders have been able to significantly transform their leadership impact. By holding the intention to be a truly loving leader, and having the courage and discipline to follow through on that, some leaders have made remarkable breakthrough in just 30 days.
If you want to find out more about Love Your Team, then the best step is to join the Love Your Team community to connect with other leaders who are embracing this movement. Through that community you’ll also be able to find out about any upcoming 30-day challenges to help you on your journey.
Being part of that community, and taking part in the challenges, is completely free. My reason for starting Love Your Team was to play my part in seeing a better world of work. I’ve experienced myself, and had feedback from countless others, the life-changing impact that a culture based on genuine unconditional love can have, not just on life at work but in life in general. I think our world could do with more of that.