There is a productivity crisis in the workplace. Here’s how to solve it—without terrifying workers

 Nike has recently announced a new return-to-office policy, requiring employees to come into the company's headquarters four days a week starting in January. The company reasons that there is a unique synergy and power that comes from working together in person. However, this decision has sparked concerns among some employees regarding flexibility. 

This shift echoes the trend seen in other companies such as Apple and Goldman Sachs, where there is a push for workers to return to the office predominantly full-time, leading employees to feel pressured. 

Many leaders are making decisions based on fear, including a recent survey that revealed that one in three corporate managers is primarily motivated by fear. Fear in the workplace has resulted in significant productivity losses. 

Transforming from fear-driven leadership to "love leadership" is essential to create a culture of trust, loyalty, and stability. Here are five steps that leaders can take to foster "love leadership":

1. Respect Boundaries: Leaders should establish healthy boundaries and promote a healthy work-life balance, setting an example for employees and creating an efficient and productive work environment. 

2. Acknowledge Good Work: Instead of focusing on setbacks or weaknesses, leaders should appreciate employees' contributions and provide positive feedback. Acknowledging and rewarding employees for their efforts is crucial for employee satisfaction and office morale.

3. Welcome Feedback: Encouraging and genuinely welcoming honest employee feedback is important, as it promotes engagement, discretionary effort, and retention.

4. Encourage Collaboration: Leaders who promote collaboration can build trust, increase performance, and create a more engaged and connected workforce.

5. Embrace Humility: Leaders should adopt humility and recognize the strengths and contributions of the entire team, leading to higher performance, greater followership, and more discretionary effort from the team.

Ultimately, regardless of the return-to-office mandate, leaders who practice love leadership are more likely to gain the trust of their employees and see improved performance.  

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