This is the 50th anniversary of Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving. I believe this short book offers some powerful guidance for the infusion of love in strength based leadership.
Erich Fromm was a psychologist and philosopher. Here is a line from the forward of his book on the art of loving.
I want to convince the reader that all attempts for love are bound to fail, unless he [sic] tries most actively to develop his total personality, so as to achieve a productive orientation; that satisfaction in individual love cannot be attained without the capacity to love one’s neighbor, without true humility, courage, faith and discipline.
Leaders need to develop their total personality to be productive and their leadership must be based on humility, courage, faith, and discipline. Here are 3 reflective questions for your development as a leader:
1. How well have you developed your total personality as a leader?
2. How do you leverage your total personality in leadership?
3. Are your actions based on humility, courage, faith, and discipline?
Here is a quotation from Paracelsus that begins Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving:
He who knows nothing, loves nothing. He who can do nothing understands nothing. He who understand nothing is worthless. But he who understands also loves, notices, sees…The more knowledge is inherent in a thing, the greater the love.. Anyone who imagines that all fruits ripen at the same time as the strawberries knows nothing about grapes.
I believe this is a very important key to the love in strength based leadership. We must understand ourselves, others, and the art of leadership. When we practice this love we notice and see (essential components in appreciation and recognition initiatives). And as our knowledge of leadership grows so to does our love expand. The last line could be written by Marcus Buckingham as it acknowledges a strong focus on individual differences.
One of the strengths of the fifty year old book is a focus on the practice of love. Fromm was not content to simply talk about love, or experience love. Rather Fromm wanted us to focus on the practice of this art that shares much with all art. In the next three posts I will focus on his 3 central practices in the art of loving: discipline, concentration, and patience.