using the force for effectivev leadership

I’ve loved the Beatles for decades. Saturday has been Beatles Day at our house for many years. A big reason I subscribe to Sirius radio is because of Channel 18 — The Beatles channel. Our son, Chris, is now a Beatles fan after all those years of relentless exposure to their music.

There are many reasons for 1960s Beatlemania and the endurance of their music. A big one is their upbeat music focused on love. As their song, The Word, explains, “Say the word and you’ll be free; Say the word and be like me; Say the word I am thinking of; Have you heard the word is love?”

Another favorite is Star Wars — especially the original trilogy. Some of the other episodes are good, and some are unwatchable. Star Wars is a classic good guys versus bad guys tale based on powerful concepts of mythology identified by Joseph Campbell in his classic book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (click here to read my review of his biography and work).

A central thread running through the Star Wars stories is “the force.” The Star Wars website gives this definition, “The Force is a mysterious energy field created by life that binds the galaxy together.”

The light and dark sides of our life force are the two very powerful emotions of love and fear. Love plays to our strengths, optimism, hopes, and dreams. Fear accentuates weaknesses, feeds on pessimism, and points to dystopian futures.

Love isn’t “the word” found in many organizations. Fear’s more like it.

Fear of criticism, fear of failure, fear of getting caught, or fear of speaking up. The L-word makes many managers squirm. These are the same managers loudly pronouncing goals of higher employee engagement and increased customer loyalty. They’ll often use another L-word — leadership — in ignorance of how their loveless orientation is rooted in pessimism and fear. These managers use “leader-speak” about vision, values, engagement, or caring, but their rhetoric is often heartless.

Tomorrow we publish my June blogs in the July issue of The Leader Letter. Love is the word of this issue. We’ll start with Zenger Folkman’s research on emotions at work, showing how soft skills produce hard results. Strong leaders boost positive emotions. You can read a few insightful thoughts on this vital topic. In Love Them and Lead Them, we’ll see examples of leaders bringing the love.

Are you feeling the love? Unless you’re a great actor, it’s hard to fake what you don’t feel. BS meters are ever more sensitive these days. Few uninspired leaders can inspire and impassion others. Creating leadership energy is an inside job.

In The Word, the Beatles also sing, “Now that I know what I feel must be right; I’m here to show everybody the light” What’s “the word” most people associate with your leadership? Are you tapping into the light or dark side of The Force?