For managers, coaches and consultants working with others around their character strengths, it’s sometimes difficult to see how the strength of love can be appropriately expressed in a work environment. The key is finding the right context and expression with colleagues which will differ from the way it is expressed among loved ones.
Here’s a conversation I often have with professionals who take a look at the 24 character strengths in the VIA classification to help clarify this distinction:
Ryan: “Yes, that’s right!”
Manager: “And, I can even see how strengths like curiosity and gratitude have a place at work because employees can ask one another curious questions, express interest in projects, and they can be grateful and appreciative of the positive that exists at their company.”
Ryan: “Yes, all 24 of the character strengths are highly relevant in the workplace.”
Manager: “But what about love? There’s no place for love in the workplace. This stuff has its limits, right?
Ryan: “Is it not relevant to express warmth and care to your coworkers? To show support and genuineness when a co-worker is upset? To offer the practice of careful listening to customers and thoughtful, mindful speech with your boss?” These are examples of love.
Then they get it. Love simply takes on a different form but it is still love. Love will often be expressed differently at home and in one’s closest relationships, perhaps with hugs, kisses, and loving touch. That is not the way love is expressed in most workplaces.
This shows that all 24 character strengths – which are parts of all of us – not only have a place at work but they are what really matters most in the workplace.
In the last five years, there has been an ever-increasing array of connections between character strengths and work outcomes. Here are 10 of the research benefits to using your character strengths at work right now!
- Higher work performance
- Less counterproductive work behavior
- Better stress management
- Greater harmonious passion
- Greater flourishing at work
- More work-as-a-calling (meaningful work)
- More positive work experiences
- Greater work engagement
- Higher job satisfaction
- Increased strengths use the next day
Take simple action
- Express love at work by being warm, caring, and genuine to each person you interact with.
- Spot character strengths in your colleagues, boss, and subordinates.
- Tell one co-worker today why you appreciate them for their particular character strengths.
- Align your signature strengths with your daily work tasks.
- Use one of your highest strengths in a new way.