Book Review: 'Real Love in the Workplace'
The book “Real Love in the Workplace” by Greg Baer attempts to bring “Real Love” principles into the workplace in order to improve it. What does this book say? And what are the pros and cons of the “Real Love” concept brought into the workplace?
The Principles of Real Love in the Workplace
- What all people need most is to be loved.
- People behave badly because they don’t feel loved.
- When I’m frustrated or angry, I’m wrong.
- I can’t give what I don’t have, so I must find real love for myself.
- People need to be loved and taught.
- After people have been loved and taught, they need to be loved and taught again.
- People are happiest and most productive when responsible.
- People are happiest and most productive when loving.
Points in Favor of Real Love in the Workplace
Addressing how to change your own outlook and behaviors can improve your workplace relationships even if you cannot implement this concept in the workplace.
The book does a good job describing how to give positive feedback, which reinforces good behaviors, to praise, which can become meaningless or addictive to everyone’s detriment.
The book describes how expectations can become a burden. We set expectations ourselves and become frustrated when others don’t meet our expectations. We can avoid many frustrations in the workplace by accepting others as they are and the world in general as-is instead of creating imaginary standards and getting angry when they don’t meet it.
The book “Real Love in the Workplace” discusses the demeaning use of meaning as a measure of people’s worth, as well as the limits of financial rewards in motivating people.
“Real Love” discusses how to fight the victim mentality in managers that are counterproductive in the workplace. And the book makes the distinction between dealing with behavior patterns, which you need to deal with patiently to resolve, and tolerating bad behavior like stealing, which you don’t.
The book discusses the negative behaviors managing through fear creates, to the detriment of the organization. It results in victimology, attacking, clinging and lying.
The rules of seeing are a good way of implementing respectful active listening.
This book describes the dangerous costs of victimhood, such as their inability to be redirected from their perceived grievances, constant need to spread discontent to gain power and validation of their complaints, endless complaining and resistance to taking blame for their own mistakes or correction of those mistakes. If only social justice warriors read this book and learned from it …
Strikes Against Real Love in the Workplace
A no-gossip policy is a simple way to gain many of the benefits this book suggests to build trust and stop backbiting behavior, but it is only listed as one of many things to implement to gain the benefits outlined in this book.
Not everyone can make the emotional commitment to their coworkers that this book expects them to make.
The second principle of “Real Love in the Workplace” ignores the narcissists and psychopaths. It assumes, at worst, someone is a sociopath, having trouble functioning because they have poor social relationships and social skills and thus need careful integration with the group. This book overlooks the psychopaths who don’t need external validation and narcissists that think they already receive it.
In an era of ready outsourcing, right-sizing and forcing people out when they become too expensive compared to younger talent, this book’s principles are not practical for many firms.
This book briefly mentions diversity, but it overlooks the downside of diversity policies that value people based on their demographic check boxes. Diversity and affirmative action are undermining respect for all people as people due to preferences based on sex, race and other factors outside of one's control. All are not equal in such an environment.
Spreading “Real Love” involves teaching others that they need to change their behaviors; the meme in “Real Love” that others need to be shown and taught, spreading the belief system, can be seen as an imposition as best, an attempt to convert them to a secular ideology at worst.
Observations about “Real Love in the Workplace”
This book is only practically implemented in a small business, a larger business with close knit teams or distributed work sites. It is not practical in a large organization. It is not possible in a business with thousands of people, where several hundred people on a production line report to a few managers.
This book discusses empowerment, but it focuses on personal empowerment with mastery of one’s emotions, actions and reactions. A more readily implemented type of empowerment in the workplace can be found in quality circles and Six Sigma, where employees are asked for their suggestions to improve quality and productivity in the workforce and given the freedom to implement it if it isn’t disruptive in the workplace. However, “Real Love in the Workplace” overstates the business benefits of implementing its ideology and quotes business metrics more likely attributed to Six Sigma and quality circles than a self-actualized manager enlightening his workforce.