1. What is Love Leadership about- both the book and the concept behind it?

First, I think it's important to say what it is not. The idea of a new Love Leadership style radiating out into the world, beginning with business, is not a return to New Age, 60's kumbaya moments where we end by all hugging each other. Not that hugging is bad, mind you. I am all for it, as appropriate. But what I am writing about centers on interpersonal relationships, specifically an evolution from the personality-driven, "win friends and influence people" style of leadership, and the autocratic, top-down, domineering "do as I say" style of leadership, and even the rigid, intellectual "here are the 6, 7 or 10 rules" style, to a way of leading that always makes sure people are valued for their humanity under all circumstances. I mean, even when they have to be chastised, or fired, they are always left with their dignity. Love Leadership is about driving the fear out of your organization so that people can perform at their highest level. It is about you as a leader being authentic, vulnerable, courageous and principled, with the intent to do good beyond yourself. It is about getting better results in your life and helping others to do the same, whether personally, professionally or organizationally. This may sound simple, and like most simple things, it is always easier said than done. But I am absolutely convinced that this style of leadership is exactly what we need now in all areas of life.

2. Why did you write Love Leadership, and why did you write it now?

Even a few years back, the world may not have been ready for this type of book, for this message of bringing a love-based style of leadership into the corner offices, conference and board rooms- and into other areas of human endeavor, such as politics, government, learning institutions, the medical profession, law enforcement, nonprofit organizations, athletics and more. However, times have changed. While people once winced at an executive openly saying he "loved" a colleague or employee, now it's much more accepted. The discomfort level is far lower than a decade ago, when I said I loved a team member in a meeting and people rolled their eyes and couldn't even look at me. Now coaches openly express their love for their athletes. World leaders speak of love. Well, not enough of them do, but the tide is turning. I simply wanted to put a name to a new style of leadership that I was seeing, so that others could see it as well, with the ultimate hope of making it normal versus what may currently be seen as abnormal. I want to ride that wave, keep that momentum going. Whatever I can do will be a contribution. I actually felt it was my responsibility and obligation to share this with others. Kind of paying-it-forward to other leaders, perhaps leaving a legacy. I talk about the idea of legacy in the book- how we each need to examine the legacy we will leave, and if we think we can do better, make the necessary changes now, putting into the action the words of Lou Tice, "If it is to be, it is up to me."

3. How did you gain your insights into Love Leadership?

It was a process, mostly experiential, but supported by my purposeful study of leadership. Also, through my experience with family, my parents, my sisters, my aunts, uncles, friends and colleagues. Plus being part of The Pacific Institute, led by the extraordinary Lou Tice, definitely helped. The greatest insights came through my consulting and working with hundreds, if not thousands, of leaders where I saw what worked and what didn't. Another eye-opener was working as a consultant with some wonderful people who are what I consider natural Love Leaders, for example, Myrna Bentley, who is described in the book. It always bothered me when I worked in some seriously "buttoned down" corporate environments that you couldn't express your feelings without some negative judgment settling over you like a dark cloud and poisoning the atmosphere. I also saw firsthand how Love Leadership positively impacted companies, teamwork, levels of employee job satisfaction, and ultimately the degree of success a company could hope to achieve. So again, it was a slow but steady process that brought me to understand the need for this new kind of leadership. At the least I wanted to label it, in order to make it more easily understood. Overall, I wrote this book to help people increase their capacity to love and allow love into their style of leadership.

4. What does it mean to redefine and reinvent one's self as a Love Leader?

I think it begins with taking a good hard look at yourself and what you stand for. Do you stand for integrity, honesty and courage? Do you encourage open and honest communication and even welcome intelligent "push back" when people don't agree with you? If you demand respect, do you also give respect? Some people pay lip service to having this kind of a culture, but when it comes down to it, they want people to follow them blindly. In the book I talk about the differences between values and principles. With Love Leadership, principles win out every time. A group of criminals may have a value system they all adhere to where you can kill people and it's just "business" but you don't ever kill the women and children. That may be a value, but it's hardly a principle. As Stephen Covey says, principles are "true north"- your moral compass. There are universal principles. There is absolute right and wrong, and a Love Leader's behavior is guided by these. I use an example in the book about how one company was in desperate circumstances financially and had to fire hundreds of employees, many of whom had been with them for years. The way they did it was ugly and demeaning. There were much better ways to do it that still would have resulted in layoffs, but would have allowed people their dignity rather than openly humiliating them, as was done. The more authentic and principled you are, the easier it becomes to do the right thing, to make the right decisions, because these come from who you really are deep down as a human being. Individuals who know who they really are- well, there's no pretense in them. They're effective leaders because they behave in a loving way, and that way has people respond back to them in a loving way. It's amazing to see. By the way, on a family level, if you see siblings who connect with each other, very often it's because they did have a loving leader- their parents. As a rule, the best teamwork and performance comes from people who know they are loved and appreciated.

5. How would you classify this book- as a business book or as something else?

I began writing this book for business and clearly this is a book that speaks to business owners, business executives, and managers, people "in charge." But as I got further into writing the book, it became increasingly difficult to delineate when the Love Leadership relationship to business ended and its relationship to family or life began. I am hoping that all people find this book valuable because love and leadership are not confined to one area or the other. It is not written as a business book per se, which is why the subtitle is "What the World Needs Now." Two favorite books of mine are by Canadian author Robin Sharma, who wrote The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and by Spencer Johnson, who wrote Who Moved My Cheese? Both books are wonderfully written for everyone to read, whether or not they are in business, because they speak to human nature. I would hope that Love Leadership is like that, that it can speak to and inspire anyone, whether they lead a business, a family, a team, an institution or a nation.

6. What barriers exist to Love Leadership as a dominant style?

Unfortunately, many people still believe that you can't motivate people by being authentic and showing vulnerability, that you need to use a command-and-control style. To me, these are leaders who are afraid to seem weak in any way. Being authentic and vulnerable are actually not weaknesses. They are strengths. I go into this at length in the book. We have a fear-based and, of course, in many ways still homophobic culture where men are afraid to express love for another man. Telling another man that you love him, as a way of expressing how deeply you appreciate and value him, does not mean you love him romantically. But we have to face the obstacles. And for women too, trying to be "macho" doesn't work- that's another authenticity issue that I talk about. Thankfully, these concepts, these holdovers from an earlier, more repressive age, are losing power. Men are now hugging their sons. The younger kids today are more open and expressive about loving each other.

7. Is it realistic to believe that Love Leadership is an evolutionary possibility?

I am an idealist and an optimist, so the answer is, yes, I do think it's realistic. I also think it makes common sense. When we're born, we're all about love. In our later years, most of us, facing death, "soften" and become more about love. What happens to us in between? "Ay, there's the rub," as Shakespeare's Hamlet says. That's when we're raising our families, making our fortunes, competing- often from a scarcity rather than an abundance point of view. So what we do is put "love" on the back burner for a few decades, except for romantic or sexuality-based love, the love of our children, or a kind of vague, generalized "love of humanity." Deepak Chopra believes, and I agree, that the collective consciousness on the planet is changing, that it is gradually becoming more peaceful. It may be difficult to find evidence of this if we go to the news broadcasts, but like Deepak, I am optimistic that there is a positive sea change underway. I am hopeful that there will be many more Love Leaders in the years ahead, and that they, in what Malcolm Gladwell would characterize as a "tipping point," will change the world to a more mature, loving place.

8. What do you hope your readers will be left with when they read this book?

I would like each reader to be left with a sense of urgency about transforming his or her own style of leadership, and a conviction and confidence that, in so doing, he or she can become a Love Leader and impact every person they interact with. I'd also like them to be open to leaving a positive legacy that can make this planet a better place. If Love Leadership does become the new paradigm, it will only be because individuals are willing to change. The more capacity to love you have, the more you exhibit and manifest it, the less defensive and judgmental we become. I keep returning to that quote by Warren Buffet, the second richest man on the planet, who said that his measurement of success is that the people you hope love you, do. I strive to get to a point where each day I am increasing my capacity to love, and I hope this book inspires readers to consider doing the same.

I end Chapter 10 with a quote from Victor Frankl, the Holocaust survivor and esteemed psychoanalyst and author. He wrote how just thinking about love was what saved him and another prisoner in one of the concentration camps. His conclusion was: "The salvation of man is through love and in love." I dream of having a peaceful, loving resolution to conflict, which can be the new normal. That, simply stated, is what this book is all about- making the commitment on a personal and planetary level to take it up a notch. I want my readers to be genuine, fearless, courageous and adventurous. I want them to do any and everything that increases their capacity to love. I want them to mentor others. There is way too much anger, hurt, revenge, passivity and hopelessness in the world today. I think Love Leadership is a big part of the answer. I hope that people will read this book, and that it will help them see that there is a far better way to be than giving in and giving up.