Limerence in Leadership - Is this worth Philosophizing?

This is my thesis: caring for persons, the more able and the less able serving each other, is the rock upon which a good society is built. Whereas, until recently, caring was largely person to person, now most of it is mediated through institutions – often large, complex, powerful, impersonal; not always competent; sometimes corrupt. If a better society is to be built, one that is more just and more loving, one that provides greater creative opportunity for its people, then the most open course is to raise both the capacity to serve and the very performance as servant of existing major institutions by new regenerative forces operating within them.

A quote by Robert K. Greenleaf that I consider to be a timeless subject matter, worth of immense admiration by all those who touch it.

The clock ticks in reverse as we travel back to those days when people measured leadership standards with rank orders. The structure was pretty simple. And the thoughts behind the implication were monochromatic. But time changed with the standards of leadership. Yet to this day, we are unable to find the perfect depiction of a good leader?

Among the countless arguments, the voice that passed through my vein labyrinths and blinked into mind - everything starts with a leader who is truly in love with his people and organization. And that's what we are going to discuss in this blog post, Limerence in leadership.

What is Limerence?

Continuing with the narration, I find Dr. Linda Lambert's (reference) depiction of limerence to be humanistic and much more grounded in reality. Thus, there are some lines I would like to borrow from her book:

We spend large parts of our lives trying to get others to accept our patterns and trying to resist others’ patterns, which we may see as a form of mental hegemony.  We need to let go of seeing ourselves as self-contained entities with boundaries that exclude and define others.  In reciprocity we do not need others to accept our patterns; yet, curiously, when we let go of that need, it happens: our patterns gracefully seem to mesh. We come to realize that the joy that others feel, we feel also; that the success that others achieve, we do also; that the insights that others acquire, we do too. We call this friendship; we call this love. What a useful notion.

In a nutshell, limerence is the connotation of a deep desire for harmony. That harmony can be with a person, with your work, or any event. And it can be felt internally and externally.

In this subject matter, I find myself recollecting this certain conversation happened in one of my favorite historical drama about what makes a great ruler?

In a country of 1 billion people, 1 billion different viewpoints and personalities exist with 1 billion different livelihoods. It is only natural that there would be many societal problems with such a large population. To understand each of those personalities out there- you have to have the attitude of the one who leads by serving. That is by touching the people’s lives; listening to their small vulnerable voices; welcoming the new thoughts and ideas; changing not only the people but also the institution called kingdom. It takes time and hard work. Also, it is necessary for the people to realize that in each of those prosperous stories lies the legacy of that kind ruler.

So how to establish such two-way process of reciprocation in any institution? Because It becomes difficult when we start talking about scaling.


The cornerstone expression of limerence is authenticity. That is to address the part of self, hidden underneath a callous mask as we try the best to conceal our unfulfilled world. Without authenticity, we fail to sense oneness or connection. We feel displeased in sensing other’s views leading to the failed attempts of reciprocation. It would not be wrong to say we as collective institutions are the frequent victims of such leadership maneuvers.

Putting in a simple phrase, we leaders are unable to understand why we articulate the things that are world-apart from our true expectations. Even though we want to build the products with love and passion; even though we are nowhere lacking in creating fine ideas to boost the business, we still fail. Why the teams or the customer do not understand our motivations?

Through and through, what I understood- our inability to make meaningful connections is the result of our perpetual attempts (unconscious or conscious) to suppress our true feelings. When we could no longer keep those emotions in check, the whole thing becomes a grand show-off. But crisis like these come with a silver lining opportunity of personal transformation.

After all, this is a tale of emotion- discovering one’s emotion in their own periphery and doing the same in a larger crowd. Thus and so, I would define limerence as the act of self-love transforming into the love for others; for your job; for your team; for your career; for your family, friends, colleagues; for everything that encourages you to thrive more.


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