A Review of Love Works by Joel Manby

In my experience, the word love is rarely used at work. While we may love our work, we rarely think of love as an effective business strategy or management philosophy.

Perhaps it’s because we usually think of love as an emotion rather a behavior. When we look at love in action, however, love works—at work. And it can be a powerful tool to help us strengthen our teams and improve bottom line results.

My friend, Joel Manby, has just written a powerful book on this very topic. You may have seen him on the hit television show, Undercover Boss, along with some 18 million viewers who watched this particular episode.

Joel is the President and CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment, which owns and operates dozens of theme parks across the country such as Dollywood, Silver Dollar City, and Stone Mountain in Georgia. He and his colleagues practice servant-based leadership, based on the philosophy of leading with love.

After the show, Joel received an avalanche of mail from people people wanting to learn more. He said, “I never imagined how people from across the world would embrace our company and culture like they did. People were starving for a better a way to lead.”

That inspired Joel to write Love Works: Seven Timeless Principles for Effective Leaders (Zondervan), a new book that I read several weeks ago. I highly recommend it. It is must-reading for anyone in leadership.

Love Works is a practical how-to guide for anyone who wants to lead with love at work. Whether you lead a small business, a department, a large company, or a non-profit ministry, this book is for you.

The seven principles explored in Love Works come from one of the oldest and most respected authorities on human behavior: the Bible. In 1 Corinthians chapter 13, the apostle Paul writes,

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

We’ve all heard this passage read at weddings, but how many of us have ever thought of it as a business philsophy?

Joel elaborates on these seven principles:

  1. Be patient—demonstrate self-control in difficult situations.
  2. Be kind—show encouragement and enthusiasm.
  3. Be trusting—place confidence in those around you.
  4. Be unselfish—think of yourself less.
  5. Be truthful—define reality corporately and individually.
  6. Be forgiving—release the grip of the grudge.
  7. Be dedicated—stick to your values in all circumstances.

If you choose to lead with love, others around you may not initially understand what you’re doing. But Joel admonishes to do it anyway. This type of leadership is more important than the temporary approval of your coworkers.

Choosing to lead with love is the single most difficult decision a leader can make, but a wise leader dedicates him or herself to it because it is also the single best way to lead an organization.

I gave away 50 copies of Love Works. To qualify, my readers had to comment below. You can find the list of winners here.
Question: Why do you want to read Love Works? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://www.facebook.com/arlene.pellicane Arlene Pellicane

    Our society tends to focus on feelings rather than actions.  This looks like a great book to show that love is an action – we have behave in a loving way – and should happen in the workplace AND at home.

  • G Stuartvail

    Col 3:15. Let love rule.

  • K Parks

    I am glad to see so many people who desire to read your book to learn more about applying the principle of living in love in the workplace.  I see as I write this there are 408 comments!  Hopefully all will read your book to learn about Word-based doctrine and begin to practice this in their environment away from home.  Why do I want a copy?  In reading the book, I hope there will be practical advice in how to apply the principles.  I suppose that even if you know these principles it is easy to “forget” them when on the job.  Some positive information will be helpful to me to remember that the Word is not only for me to live in my personal relationships but also in my business life.  Perhaps as I apply these principles at work I will realize greater success in my career goals as well!  I also would like to recommend this to my company’s leadership to add to our company’s library.  I wish you success with your book.  It is certainly needed in today’s workplace.

  • http://twitter.com/rickysant Ricky Sant

    I would love a copy of Love Works so I can learn more about the 7 principles and use them effectively at work, church and in my home with my family.  Love is such a powerful word, emotion, sentiment and feeling.  I look forward to reading what Joel has done with his company and servant based leadership.

  • Rie Carter

    I’m a Girl Scout trainer.  I’m always looking for ways to help our volunteers do a better job.  Can’t wait to read this book!

  • Snookie in Kentucky

    My husband and I work with our senior citizens. Our church is 700 and 20% seniors. They are often set in their ways and no about to change.  We would love to impliment some new ideas and help them and us make the transformation into a united love relationship with all of the young couples who are leaders of our congregation. We will read and implement the 13 chapter of 1st Corinthians with Joel’s help… help.

  • Kharrington1010

    I am teaching night classes at a career college, shaping leaders for the workplace and community. I need to employ more of these truths in my interactions. Teaching cirriculjm is one thing, but teaching character and leadership would be so much more.

  • http://BrentFielder.com Brent Fielder

    After listening to Joel on Andy Stanley’s podcast it made me intrigued on the topic.  I respect Joel a lot and look forward to reading the book.

  • Doug Jolley

    I saw him on the 700 Club and was inspired by his message

  • Sjohnston

    I believe this would be a great book to read and internalize.  It will help me to “walk as Jesus walked” and I want that to be true of my life.

  • Talia

    Love is such an important influence in our lives. How can you give love away if you don’t feel loved? Self-love is important in business as well as our personal lives, it is easier to stand for your values when making tough choices in life if you love and value yourself. I would like to learn more from a business driven by the principle of love.

  • Matt Gibson

    Joel–I am so glad you wrote a book. Your episode of Undercover Boss was touching and inspiring. Thank you for putting your experience in writing so others can learn from you.

    Michael and Joel–I will tell you why I want to read Love Works: in short, because I find that the principle of applying love does in fact work at work and elsewhere, and I’d like to improve my practice of this important principle. Recently I had a situation at my work where my colleague was treating me disrespectfully. The person was being rude and unprofessional. My initial reaction was to bristle up, clench my fists, and fight back (not physically, of course!). Fortunately, I took some time to think about it over an evening. I made the decision to be patient, kind, and forgiving.  The next morning when I spoke to my colleague, I did so cheerfully. I tried to understand his perspective and I showed him appreciation.  He had, after all, done a lot of good, despite the way he had recently treated me.  I was shocked at how immediately his countenance changed and the situation was resolved. I can now say that our relationship is positive, when it could have been completely shattered.

    Beyond work, I find the same principle of love is true at home, church, and other organizations that I am involved with. Of course, it is most valuable in my family with my role as a husband and father. 

    I should be clear, however, that I don’t share these things to boast. I share them to let you know how much I value the principles you are teaching, how much I want to learn more, and how much I want to apply them as I strive to become a better leader.   Thanks again for your positive impact.

  • http://abundantspiritualwellbeing.wordpress.com/ Carol J. Smith

    Wow–I am really excited to hear about LOVE WORKS, because clearly we know this is what is missing in so many relationships not only within our marriages and families but evidently in the workplace. I love the power of this Scripture in 1 Corinthians 13, I keep it posted visibly in my living area. We can all benefit by practicing the seven principles of love. We can do it God’s way as love is the center of all we are… created in HIS image!

  • Lisa S.

    I am looking for ways to re-energize the co-workers in my life.  LOVE never fails.

  • Mike

    I run a rustic resort in Southeast Asia called Telunas Beach.We are working with our staff on the principle of Going the Second Mile for our guests and each other. Even though wecome from different backgrounds we find that love is the difference maker. I’d love to learn from a man who has been living out a similar philosophy within his company.

  • Judy Smyer

    As a career coach, I believe Love Works will be very useful to my clients and to me. Saw Mr. Manby on CBN yesterday and can’t wait to read his book!

  • Vic Holubec

    Having led & put together numerous leadership & team development classes over the past 30+ years, I have acquired, shared, & continue to use a vast library of leadership books.  Most recently I have used Blanchard & Hodges excellent book, Lead Like Jesus, as well as several of John Maxwell’s wonderful books, so I would highly appreciate wrapping my hands & head around Joel Manby’s Love Works.  Look forward to sharing more of the details behind the “Seven Principles” you highlight in upcoming leadership classes in my church & in other Christian ministry training.  Thanks

  • Brian Embry

    Wow, all these great comments and reasons, me I just wanted to learn more. No more no less…

  • Glazierthai

    I and my wife are working with severely broken women in Bangkok, dealing with trauma, dysfunctional relationships, educational deficiencies and much more. Leading with love gets stretched to the limit, as we try to be a place of healing, a school, a family, a  vocational skills training center, discipleship center, and a business all in one! We need all the encouragement and advice we can get, so this book could be a real help to our cross-cultural team, helping us to lead from the correct center in all we do

    • http://abundantspiritualwellbeing.wordpress.com/ Carol J. Smith

      Would love to connect and share resources for my passion is spiritual healing and wellness. Feel free to visit my website: http://www.transformingfocus.com or abundantspiritualwellbeing.wordpress.com for more info. Caroljsmith12@gmail.com

  • Andrea Nichols

    I want to read love works so that I can focus on bringing these beautiful principles to my workplace through my own actions. I have always loved this passage. I am the team leader of the Exploratory Teachers at the elementary school where I work. 

  • Cantulori

    I have been a leader before and I was not a very good one. But since I have excepted God in my life he is showing new ideas and when I saw this I knew it was for me. God is good.

  • Mruehlmann

    I’d like to read , reread and pass along great messages.  I believe that “Love Works” is an incredible message and should be lived in all aspects of life, not only in business.  I can’t think of one person that shouldn’t want to read this book.

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  • ana edie

    Manbi joe deeply admire as these beings were multiplied in the face of the earth … that different would this world, there would be no indifference to so much suffering and pain in some humans I join their cause as would be under his leadership …

  • ana edie

    Es hora de despertar … de aplicar los principios básicos del amor de multiplicar a ese Joe Manbi …

  • martin

    I beleive in God and beleive in His Power. The Lord has gave your message to share. God is Love. God is in the work place and we need to share more of His Love so others may see Him.