Love is the Heart of Leadership at Nielsen

Natasha is the Vice President of Talent Engagement and Development, based in Chicago, IL. Throughout her career at Nielsen, Natasha has worked with our leadership to ensure that our culture supports patience, humility, and most importantly, love.

Earlier this year, I was in a team meeting and we started the day outlining the ground rules.

“Be honest!”

“Listen!”

“Show respect!” someone cried out.

As our buzz faded, I suggested…”Be loving?”

I’ll admit that on this particular day I was looking for some compassion. I was feeling beat up from the prior day’s travel and a little homesick. But I wasn’t alone in my thinking, and I was surprised to see everyone else nodding in unison in response to my suggestion. They all wanted the same! And just like that, “be loving” was a part of the day’s bylaws.

Shouldn’t it always be this easy?

I haven’t always agreed with people who say it’s okay to show your feelings at work—especially something as tender as love. So for years, I’d check my feelings at the door, as they say, maintaining decorum, and getting straight to business. I learned, however, that we spend far too much time at work to not be happy—joyous, even—about the work we do and the people who surround us. Loving leaders get this and go out of their way to treat others well. This builds loyalty—and as warm-and-fuzzy as it sounds, there are business implications. Loyalty reduces turnover and motivates us to do our best.

It makes me proud to say that I work for a company where I can be myself—my most loving self—without fear of being thrown under the bus if I say, or do, something that others don’t agree with. I’ve found that the leaders around me feel the same way, just like that day in the meeting where I suggested we be loving.

Here are some more ways the best leaders at Nielsen show love in their day-to-day:

Patience. We all get busy, of course, and this can reduce the time we have to create close connections. Nielsen leaders are patient. They nurture and provide opportunities to help others to grow. They recognize that being generous with their time to train and coach others is a good investment. Patience allows us to create a personal connection with someone else.

Kindness. “Nice” gets a bad rap at some other companies, and that’s a shame. Some organizations turn a blind eye to bullying or backstabbing. Kindness is a great motivator and helps to build a supportive work culture. At Nielsen, kindness isn’t just a nice to have, it’s a critical leadership trait.

Free of jealousy. Jealousy is useless, and it rears its head in the workplace too often. Comparing success, accolades and recognition…and for what? Everyone’s work journey is too unique to compare. We’ve taken individual paths, intentionally or not, that have landed us in different places. Our leaders know that it’s more useful to direct their energy toward plans that help us reach our goals.

Humility. Being humble doesn’t mean a lack confidence. In fact, it’s the opposite. Humility shows a heightened realization of how others have contributed to your success.

Not demanding their own way. Being a loving leader means compromising and being a team player. Pushing to get your own way is the opposite of leadership—and it only shows an inability to integrate the great ideas and talents of others. Our leaders encourage openness and welcome all associates to bring their ideas to the table.

Not holding grudges. Things don’t always go as planned, and it can be easy to harbor hard feelings. Addressing situations and being candid are necessary leadership behaviors. This keeps us connected to other associates around the world.

Do a keyword search on leadership: there are nearly 200,000 books on Amazon. Suffice it to say, there’s plenty of content out there. While I’m sure they’re all full of great advice, the one simple thing I’ve learned over the years is that love never fails.