#260: Integrating Love Into Your Leadership with Joel Manby

By July 13, 2020Podcast

In this episode of the L3 Leadership Podcast, you’ll hear Joel Manby talk about how to integrate love into your leadership.


Joel has been the CEO of major corporations for over 25+ years leading organizations such SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, Herschend Enterprises (the largest family-owned theme park and entertainment company in the United States), Saab Automobile USA, and  Amazon’s car selling partner, which was sold to CarsDirect.com in 2001. Joel summarized these leadership principles in my book Love Works detailing how to integrate “love the verb” into the leadership ethos and philosophy of any organization. 

Joel is currently the non-executive Chairman of Orange, a non-profit organization dedicated to the development and distribution of student, youth, and next-generation curriculum to over 9,000 churches in 40+ countries. In addition to his duties as chairman of Orange, Joel consults and speaks on Love Works, crisis leadership lessons, and other leadership topics designed to fit the needs of an audience.



1. What did I do to “get out of the pile” or get noticed as a younger leader? 

Certainly the following characteristics helped: skillset, intuition, anticipation of the next steps, but more than anything… work ethic. “I may have not been the smartest, I was the most hard working”. “I did the very best job that I could in everything that I did.”

2. What does loving people in an organization look like?

There has to be processes and systems put in place to hold up your organizational values. These are systems that reward and correct according to your values and desired culture. 

Leading with love is not a soft thing or just a “Christian” thing. Leading with tough love is often the case. Leading with tough love means holding people accountable and having difficult conversations in order to uphold your company’s vision and values. 

3. A rule of loving leadership: Praise in public, admonish in private. 

A simple cadence that I’ve followed when offering this tough love is: Praise them for their strengths, admonish them specifically and briefly, and put them right back on the horse. 

4. Your guests will never rise above the enthusiasm and interest of your employees.



I think a lot of leaders, especially entrepreneurial autocratic type leaders, can get in a lot of trouble thinking they always have the right answer. -Joel ManbyClick To Tweet
I know that the level of the enthusiasm of our own company will never be higher than the enthusiasm of that worker. -Joel ManbyClick To Tweet
Love's not soft. Love is tough. -Joel ManbyClick To Tweet
I would say it's probably one of the weakest things that most leaders have in their repertoire is the ability to confront people and tell them the truth about the situation. But that's leading with love. -Joel ManbyClick To Tweet
And I think the way you manage it is really truthful communication and it's trustworthy communication. -Joel ManbyClick To Tweet
We don't have to talk about our Christianity. We have to live it out. And that just means following those words of love, in my opinion. -Joel ManbyClick To Tweet
The level of enthusiasm of the guest never rises higher than the enthusiasm of your own employee. -Joel ManbyClick To Tweet
What I think every leader needs to know is we all fail every day. We just have to learn from it and keep moving forward. -Joel ManbyClick To Tweet



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Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.


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Doug is the Director of Development at Light of Life Rescue Mission and Founder and CEO of L3 Leadership. He is the author of his eBook, “Making the Most of Mentoring”, a step by step guide to help you build and cultivate relationships with mentors. He blogs at dougsmithlive.com, he is the host of the L3 Leadership podcast, and he is sought after public speaker.  He is married to his high school sweetheart, Laura, who currently works as an Account Executive at Ivalua. Together, they love family, personal growth, travel, working out, and serving others.