The one quality all successful leaders need

March 10, 2015, 6:35 PM UTC

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “As a leader, is it better to be feared or loved?” is written by Amy Errett, CEO and co-founder of Madison Reed.

Showing compassion and love for our employees is not usually thought of as an important leadership trait, but it should be — especially in Silicon Valley. As a woman CEO in Silicon Valley I strongly believe leadership by love (not fear) is essential. Here are a few ways being a loved leader can benefit the tech world:

Encourage mistakes
Fear in the workplace is a by-product of the kind of tough-love leadership style we see too often. However, in my experience, the most successful team members are the ones that can be themselves at work and this means making mistakes. And leading with love means acknowledging that everyone can (and should) make mistakes. Focus on the long-term benefits of learning from mistakes and not the short-term setbacks. This will drive far more success than fear of failure.

Display empathy
When you give your employees any type of feedback, show compassion. Displaying empathy lets people accept your feedback without feeling threatenedthis builds trust. If your employees can’t trust that you have their best interest in mind, then they can’t successfully work towards their true potential. In other words, treat your people the same way you would treat your customers. At the end of each day, I compile a list of a few successes from the day and share them company-wide. This shows my employees I care about their accomplishments on a daily basis.

Build value
Growing and scaling a business are the priorities of any CEO – that’s a given. But success should be measured by factors that go beyond dollars and cents. At the end of the quarter, the metric that matters most to me is: return on love. Did we display love to our customers and to each other? And most importantly, did we create long-lasting relationships where our customers are invested in Madison Reed’s success?

Read all answers to the Leadership Insider question: As a leader, is it better to be feared or loved?

Should leaders be loved or feared? by Robert Reffkin, co-founder and CEO of Urban Compass.

As a leader, is it better to be feared or loved? by Danae Ringelmann, founder and Chief Development Officer at Indiegogo.

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