The Time is NOW to Lead with Love

Brad HughesBlog, Connect Better, Engage Better, Lead Better


  • Love all members of your community and have the courage to tell them you love them.
  • Leading with love is good for all members of the community including yourself. It provides benefits like less worry, fear, and stress, and increased feelings of support, safety, and comfort.

Is it possible to love the people you lead?

It absolutely is. You just have to open your heart and mind to do so and begin to align your words and actions accordingly. 

As a teacher and now as a school leader, I always felt this to be true and tried to demonstrate it. It was Hamish Brewer in his book Relentless that gave me the inspiration and courage to say it – out loud!

The fear and uncertainty of the pandemic mean others need us to lead with love more than ever. Click To Tweet

To an educator: “I love you and appreciate the amazing job you’re doing.”

To a child: “I love you and you’re awesome. Have a great day today!”

To a parent: “I love you and miss your kids. Thanks for all you’re doing to support their learning at home.”

We are leading with love when love is the foundation of all our interactions and decisions. We start by simply showing up with a loving presence and letting our care for kids, families, and communities guide us. The fear and uncertainty of the pandemic mean others need us to lead with love more than ever.

Why lead with love?

Leading with love is good for educators.

When we put love at the forefront of our work, we give our colleagues permission to do the same. Putting love “out there” is crucial right now as our staff teams navigate the directives and advisories related to teaching in a pandemic. Giving educators the go-ahead to make decisions based on love helps release them from worry and fear, and supports their obligations with the reassurance that someone will always have their back.

Leading with love is good for kids.

We bolster the other loving relationships in kids’ lives by naming and demonstrating our love for them.

I recently overheard a teacher leading a child with love through a tough time: “At school, we’re family. There’s nothing you could do to make me stop loving you. We might have setbacks or bumps in the road, but that’s how family rolls. Nothing will ever change the fact that at school, we’re family.”

Leading with love is good for the community.

It has never been more important to reestablish schools as places of safety, comfort, and learning within our communities. This depends a great deal on the capacity of the caring adults within each building. Our communities need our schools to lead, serve, and communicate with love as an antidote to the stress, fear, and overwhelm in our lives right now.

Leading with love is good for me.

It brings out the best in me and aligns with the successes and needs around me. Leading with love interrupts intrusive, negative thinking and shifts my focus away from worries. I know I am improving outcomes for kids when I love and support the adults that serve them. Caring for others becomes another way I care for myself, which lowers my stress and increases my capacity to serve.

Educators and schools need to love actively – especially now.

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Why not just put it out there?

More on Leading with Love:

Three Ways Great Leaders Show Love in the Workplace

An Educator’s Legacy Podcast: Leading with Love with Brad Hughes

I Am Love : A Book of Compassion by Susan Verde

About Brad Hughes

Brad is an elementary school principal with 25 years’ experience in education. He is currently at Forest Hill Public School in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, designated a HERO Generation school in the Waterloo Region District School Board. Prior to becoming a school leader, Brad taught for 16 years in classrooms from Kindergarten to eighth grade, most recently teaching middle school Visual Arts, French and Special Education.

Brad is a certified Self-Reg School Champion and has an ongoing commitment to reframing the joys and challenges of school life through a Self-Reg lens. Brad and his wife Jennifer are proud parents of a son and daughter both in university. He describes himself as an optimist and recovering perfectionist who is passionate about #LeadingWithLove and improving the lives of kids by supporting the adults that serve them.