Zina Sutch and Patrick Malone’s new book has a title similar to the structural capacities of a position paper. The articulatory abilities of Leading with Love and Laughter: Letting Go and Getting Real at Work perfectly encapsulates and summarizes what Sutch and Malone’s book is about, almost akin to the succinctness of a really good thesis statement. While the actual concepts themselves Sutch and Malone write about are something inherent to a growing sociopolitical trend, it’s the approach they take with the descriptions that differentiates Leading with Love and Laughter from the considerable nature of identifiable peers. Sutch and Malone never flinch from material that has proven incendiary for prior generations.
For example, the concept of imbuing a workspace with elements ensuring the intensive emotional safety of its employees is not something the duo wrap in soullessly worded, bait-and-switch analogical prose. They simply come out and say it. This only serves to further compliment what they promote – a safe and inclusive workspace ensures long-term and fluid success for the enterprise as a whole. “When leaders begin with a foundation of authentic love for self, it is much easier to share love with others,” they write in a standout chapter. “Leaders like this are the real deal…Because they were their true selves, they were able to impact those they led and all of those around them. They led with love. You could too.”
It would be a lie to say that the idea of ‘leading with love’ isn’t the kind of rhetoric one would expect as native to the corporate jungle landscape. But more and more, considering the ever-changing nature of technological and social elements providing influence in an array of personal and professional milieus, it’s synonymous with expectations possessed by contemporary generations. A more just world has become a set of words applicable to all aspects of life – whether in home, or at the workplace. As such, leadership techniques – particularly the age-old respect gained through fear – retrospectively at best is viewed as outdated. At worst, it could be considered glorified abuse. The kind resulting in a vast array of social movements seeking to hold those in the highest echelons of power accountable.
At the end of the day, Sutch and Malone write, present circumstance has proven compassionate leadership results in a decidedly symbiotic, certifiably two-way street. “It doesn’t take long for a workplace to go from professional to toxic. Not that professional is bad in and of itself. We count on professionalism in our workplaces, to a point. It helps us with our processes, but its impact on relationships and culture is greatly overrated,” the authors write in a passage exemplary of the aforementioned traits. “It’s important to note that we weren’t born to be professional, we were born to love and laugh. And professional organizations so often miss the boat on real human relationships. So, if the organization has slipped from professional to toxic, buyer beware! Lack of accountability, divisiveness, and even lawsuits are sure to follow. Trust, the lubrication of all organizations, will be nonexistent. There may be no coming back from that.”
It’s that kind of motivation, mixed with the more emotional and viscera-laden passages in Sutch and Malone’s book that makes it such an appealing read from the get-go. Add to that the specifics of its topicalities and what the authors do is considerably accomplished in its subsequent implications. The kind of clear, concise writing with which Sutch and Malone present their concepts makes the book have the potential to reach a very wide and varied set of audiences. The themes and messaging might not be for everyone, but everyone will understand them and Sutch and Malone make a very good case for them indeed…