Deri's Blogs

Why You Need To Lead With Love

I remember early in my career, I heard a business speaker talk about ‘love’; he said that a leader’s purpose, their contribution, their significance in an organization is to perpetuate ‘love’.

I recall at the time being perplexed. What could ‘love’ have to do with ‘work’? I saw them as two very different, unrelated life experiences. Now I see that quite differently.

Sigmund Freud is quoted as saying “Love and work are the cornerstones of humanness.” And, what is the role of the leader, if not to elevate humanness!

You see, I do believe that a leader’s role is to lead with love. Not love, as I thought of it in my early years at work, not erotic love best left for outside the workplace, but affectionate love or philia, as the Ancient Greeks called it.  Aristotle said, philia is a “dispassionate virtuous love” that involves the feelings of loyalty among friends, camaraderie among team mates, and the sense of sacrifice for your pack.

That kind of love is pretty useful in today’s workplace!

The Greeks also understood that in order to care for others, we must first learn to care for ourselves. This form of self-love is not the unhealthy kind we might describe as vanity, self-obsession, or narcissism.  Instead, philautia is self-love in its healthiest form.

Philauatia is akin to the Buddhist philosophy of “self-compassion”;  the deep understanding that it is only once you have the strength to love yourself and feel comfortable in your own skin, that you will be able to provide love to others. As Aristotle put it, “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s (woman’s) feelings for himself (herself).” That’s why, if you meet someone who is angry or cruel toward you, that is a glimpse into how that person feels about, and treats, themselves. Likewise, the more kind, caring, and compassionate you are to yourself, the more you will be that way to others.

You cannot share what you do not have. If you do not love yourself, you cannot love anyone else. The only way to truly be happy is to find unconditional love for yourself.

Only once you learn to love and understand yourself, will you be ready to search for the highest and most radical type of love according to the Greeks;  agape, or selfless unconditional love.

This third type of love is not the sentimental outpouring that often passes as love in our society. Agape is what some call spiritual love. It is an unconditional love, bigger than ourselves. It is compassion without boundaries, it is empathy without limits.

It is what the Buddhists describe as “mettā” or “universal loving kindness.” It is the purest form of love that is free from desires and expectations. It is about loving others regardless of their flaws and shortcomings.

Agape is the kind of love that accepts, forgives and believes … for the greater good. It is the love that brings out the best in our common humanity.

This last type of love is the one that can be most difficult to wrap your head around, when it comes to your thinking about a leader’s contribution at work.

But, what, I wonder, is a leader’s role…a leader’s gift…if not to accept, forgive, and believe in the greater good. In fact, is that not the role for us all?

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker, Author, and Organizational consultant, Deri works with organizations who want to create happy and healthy workplaces for increased positivity, productivity and prosperity! 



What Clients Say...

“Deri, you are the best! Not a dull moment and the time went too fast!”
Linda Borbridge, Manager, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network
“I’m often asked to recommend a professional speaker who will captivate and motivate, and without hesitation Deri Latimer comes to mind. Deri has a reputation for a no-nonsense, energetic, synergistic approach. Her cutting-edge sessions are the perfect combination of science and inspiration and will have you moving into a new groove.”
Dr. Lewena Bayer, CEO, Civility Experts Inc.
“Deri is the personification of quality, style, and enthusiasm in her message. She delivered a message with our group that heightened their awareness and ability to share success. My hope is that you too will seek her out as a keynote, connector, and catalyst for change.”
Joseph Bork, Program Director, St. Mary’s University
“I am usually the type to sit in the crowd, quietly take it all in, and take notes, notes that end up in a binder, often never to be seen once I return to work. Deri was engaging, fun and as real as they get. I was so moved by her session that I shocked myself by approaching her after the session to chat. During the session I didn’t need to take notes because her concepts hit home and stuck with me. I have already taken her advice and acted on her tips and tools to be more positive. Her positivity is contagious and her message is one that everyone should take time to listen to.”
Amy Normal, VP, Corporate Services, Said Business School, University of Oxford
“I had the privilege of hearing Deri keynote at our conference. She captivates, motivates, and positively engages an audience with her unique combination of wisdom about neuroscience and positive behaviors that can be life changing when put into action. I would recommend her without any reservation for those seeking a speaker who can move an audience – from associates on a manufacturing floor to members of an executive leadership team – into action. Her takeaways are designed for positive impact. Prepare to laugh, to be curious, to be hungry for more time to listen to Deri.”
Vickie Maris, Host, Agile Digital Business
“Deri, your seminar truly resonated with our team. You took the time to learn about our roles, our challenges and opportunities and created an inspiring and motivating seminar just for us and made an impact with every person there. Having your book to use as a tool in our day-to-day has also been very valuable and has enhanced the results we got out of the time with you. We all hope that we will see you again at the next conference!”
Chantelle Arsenault, GBA, Great West Life Assurance Company of Canada
“It was an absolute pleasure to have Deri speak at our AGM. Deri brought an amazing level of passion and energy as she engaged our members with her talk on growth mindset. If you are looking for a speaker to connect with your audience, I would highly recommend that you reach out to Deri. Thank you, Deri – we were lucky to have you!”
Rob Chester, Director Information Security, Wawanesa Insurance
“A wonderfully authentic speaker with an infectious positive energy, Deri takes the crowd back to the roots of inspiration by sparking something within the humanity of the people in the room. Her fantastic sense of humor and knowledgeable way of integrating experiential learning opportunities into an inspirational message makes her a speaker not to miss!”
Ashley Collette, Social Work Officer, Canadian Armed Forces
“I forgot to take notes because I was taking it all in and feeling change take hold…”
Derek Rumboldt-Delouche, Director, Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada
“That was fantastic! That was the most energized I have ever felt leaving a conference!!”
Barb Spurway, Principal Consultant, Protegra
“I cannot exaggerate how positively our Forum delegates reacted to your presentation. You set the perfect tone for the entire conference and left a lasting impression on our delegates and CPA staff alike.”
Sarah Marshall, President, Canadian Physiotherapy Association
“You changed people.”
Michelle Kletke, Human Resources Manager, TNG, Jim Pattison Group