With Valentine’s Day less than a week away, I’ve been thinking about love. In fact, this time of year, stories about being in love are all around. As I was driving to work last week, there was a brief story on satellite radio that told about how people behave better when they are in love. This sparked me thinking about whether or not being in love, or being loved in general, can make a person be a better manager. So, I set out to find out.
I found study after study that tout the health and other benefits of being in love or being loved. The key is not only physical, but mental.
People who are loved:
- have lower stress levels
- get better sleep
- take fewer risks
- practice more preventative health
- have increased levels of Dopamine (which positively affects pleasure and motivation)
Just yesterday, the Washington Post ran an article on the health benefits of falling and staying in love. According to them, “Hugging and hand-holding have been found to release the hormone oxytocin, which lowers the levels of stress hormones in the body, reducing blood pressure, improving mood and increasing tolerance for pain, according to research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.”
So, I wonder, does being loved or in love make you a better manager? I think it can. If you are experiencing some of the benefits mentioned above on a regular basis, you are likely to bring a more positive attitude to work. Theoretically, you should be able to better manage your responses to stressful situations. And on the flip side, if you are going through personal relationship problems at home or if you are depressed, it will be much more challenging for you as a manger. You will have to somehow overcompensate at work just to be able to motivate others. Hard to do when you’re not feeling very motivated yourself.
In order to provide an environment that fosters employee engagement and coaching, HR needs to think outside the box. Maybe the missing link is our ability to help support employees who are having personal relationship difficulties. What do you think?