Love the ones you’re with

When we take time to reflect on the people and things we are grateful for — our families, our children, our pets, our health, our freedom — did your coworkers and board members make your list?

“Employees who felt they worked in a loving, caring culture reported higher levels of satisfaction and teamwork.  They showed up to work more often. Our research also demonstrated that this type of culture related directly to client outcomes.”

In a landmark research project, it showed that feeling “loved” and cared about was an essential ingredient to employee retention, performance, and client outcomes.  

And to be clear, the kind of love the researchers were talking about wasn’t romantic love. It’s something called companionate love that’s based on warmth, connection, and the “affection we feel for those with whom our lives are deeply intertwined.”

And what’s true for coworkers, is also true for board members. We expect so much from our board, but rarely are intentional about telling them how much we appreciate them.

Elie Wiesel

So what’s it look like to demonstrate companionate love to your colleagues and board members?

1. Focus on what’s NOT wrong.

It’s so easy to find all the things to gripe and complain about, and often it takes real discipline and a commitment to focus on what’s going well.  When we focus on amplifying strengths and the positive, we create a totally different energy.


2. Express appreciation.  

Taking the simple step to express what you probably already have running through your mind is so powerful.  So many times we think to ourselves “that was nice” or “you’re really good at that” but don’t just say it out loud.  


3. Recognize the whole person.

Cisco Systems, which employs tens of thousands of people, developed an internal system to alert the CEO whenever someone at the company–or his or her immediate family members–became seriously ill or died.  People have rich and meaningful pieces of their lives outside of the office and it matters that you acknowledge and honor that.


4. Turn up the joy.  

We can be serious and do serious work without taking ourselves too seriously. Taking time to celebrate, to play and laugh together is essential.

Most importantly, though, it’s those regular small moments— a warm smile, an unexpected note, a sympathetic ear — day after day, month after month, that helps create and and sustain a culture of caring and love.

How are you going to show your colleagues and board members some love today?

You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes.

Amy Varga

Amy Varga


Amy Varga is a beloved fundraising trainer, coach and consultant. She and her team at The Varga Group have guided over a hundred nonprofit clients to raise millions of dollars through their services in capital campaign counsel, major gifts training, leadership coaching, and board development projects.