When was the last time you let yourself love others at work? I mean really, truly love. I mean the kind of love that songs are written about and we reserve mainly for our children and spouse? The kind of self-sacrificing, laborious love that takes effort? The kind that we stand-in-awe of and bend over backward for?
Come up empty? Me too.
At some point in modern history, the concept of love as an action, and not just a feeling of romance, has been completely removed—often forbidden—from workplace settings. And yes, as dental professionals this aptly pertains to our beloved dental practice.
When did we ban loving others from the workplace? Was it when corporate entities and their no-nonsense regulations began to define our roles? Was it when the first intra-office romantic scandal broke out? Was it with the inception of the #metoo movement and everything that goes with it?
We rely on love to endure and succeed in every aspect of life: we yearn to speak the same love language as our spouse, we work hard to love our children unconditionally, and we offer endless forgiveness to our parents and siblings. But do we ever even consider loving the people we spend the most hours and the closest proximity with from 9-5?
What does it mean for a manager to speak the same love language as those they manage? What does it mean for a business owner to show unconditional love to employees? What does it mean to offer forgiveness to our coworkers?
Loving others in the workplace embodies itself as the most rudimentary form of love we know, full of admiration, benevolence, and commitment. It means meeting the needs of others instead of only meeting the needs of yourself. It means actively listening instead of actively talking. It means watching other’s backs instead of going behind another’s back.
Former Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi said it best:
I don’t necessarily have to like my players and associates, but as their leader, I must love them. Love is loyalty, love is teamwork, love respects the dignity of the individual. This is the strength of any organization.
Love leads to success in both personal and professional relationships. So why does it seem an unnatural thing to love others at work?
Dentistry is often a complex web of relationships for employer, employee, and patient alike. Dental hygienists are known to persistently exude empathy to patients in order to win them over and help them lead a better life, and we’re known to tire ourselves out by going above and beyond. We end the day exhausted from caring and yet go home and love in an entirely different way—as partner, parent, friend.
Why not take that love full circle! In an effort to embrace loving others in workplaces everywhere, I invite you to join a nationwide movement and capture your #LoveInTheWorkplace moments. Did a colleague bring cupcakes for a birthday? Did your employer take a moment to listen to you? Did your patient give you well-timed encouragement? Did you receive a hug when you needed it most?
Starting today, post these moments on social media and include hashtag #LoveInTheWorkplace.