Hug Your People!


What? And break every rule in the book?

Okay… so I don’t mean an actual hug! I mean something that feels more like a virtual hug. I mean something like what you can read about in the book I just finished reading called Hug Your People, by Jack Mitchell. It is so good and meaningful that I’ve decided “to do some hugging” and buy a copy for all the supervisors, managers and directors on my team. It’s a small investment that I believe will reap big rewards.

Think about what a hug is, though. has the traditional definition describing an affectionate embrace. It is the second definition that I believe Mr. Mitchell is referring too: to hold steadfastly to; to cherish. A hug is a way of showing affection, yes, but also a way of showing that we care. It’s a way of sharing strength or showing support. A hug can be a sign of compassion. A hug can demonstrate empathy or sympathy. A hug is acknowledgement. A hug is recognition. A hug very simply means, “You matter. I care about you and your well-being.”

In his book, Leadership Promises for Your Week, John Maxwell offers wonderful short devotion-type short stories to inspire the reader daily.

The second lesson for week fifteen is titled “Leaders Touch a Heart Before They Ask for a Hand.” Isn’t that perfect?

We have to find a way to connect with people if we hope they follow us. Hug Your People. Touch the Heart. It’s all about connection.

So, how do we hug our people, without getting ourselves into trouble? By finding ways to demonstrate all of the above characteristics of a hug, without the actual, physical, hug. One caveat, however; I do believe a gentle hug can be a most appropriate way of showing that I care about someone at very select times. That being said, I invite you to think about ways that you can show the people in your organization how you cherish them.

Notice, I said show, not tell! Get to know them. Find out what motivates them. Show an interest in their ideas. Connect with them. It is your actions that speak volumes. Supportive behavior, consistent over time, will show that the people you depend on for your success mean the world to you.

How will you hug your people today?

L2L Contributing Author