Passion is a profound positive feeling for something that is deeply and personally meaningful.
Passion is more that this though. Passion is about vision, and also contains energy, excitement and enthusiasm.
Passion inspires others to join and identify with your vision. No one has ever been inspired by a leader who is not passionate. Passion – and alternatively, the lack of passion! – is contagious. If you want to have a passionate, inspired workforce, it begins with you: the leader.
Turning vision into reality requires passion. Passion elevates productivity and ensures employee commitment to your vision. Passion is born out of something that is intensely meaningful to you. It is not a general hobby or a fleeting interest; rather, it is core to who you are.
When you are passionate about something, you can’t help but think about it, work at it and be excited about it. Your passion influences your daily choices and activities. What you do and say centres on your passion. Passion eventually leads to mastery and success, in large part because you are always thinking and working on the thing you are passionate about. Most successful leaders don’t have a job – they have a passion.
Passion is Rooted in Making a Difference
The desire of leaders and organisations to make a difference may not always be immediately apparent. But when you look closely, you can usually find that aspiring to make a difference in the lives of others drives passion. To make a more useful product or to provide a better service, one must be passionate about making a difference.
At ACHIEVE, our focus on making a difference is articulated as a desire to better lives: “Our purpose is to provide exceptional training and resources to better lives”. We are audacious enough to believe that our training and resources will improve lives; and they do! My proudest moments as leader of our organisation are when I hear from clients how a workshop has helped them, their family or one of their clients. Making a difference matters to me and the senior leaders of our organisation, and because it matters to us, it matters to our staff.
Building Passion in Employees
Far too many people lack passion for their work. Many employees feel trapped, are bored or simply hate their jobs. Because of this, the organisations they work for can only achieve so much. They become stuck and are limited due to this lack of passion.
Having passion as a leader is one thing; inspiring passion in your employees is another thing altogether. Employees will not automatically be passionate about the work they do. Perhaps for a short time they will, but if you are aiming for long term engagement and excitement, you should be intentional about providing inspiration. Leaders inspire employees to be passionate by expressing genuine enthusiasm and articulating why the organisation does what it does –why and how the organisation makes a difference.
Too often I have worked with organisations whose leaders have a clear idea about how they make a difference, but they have kept this information to themselves. They haven’t shared and talked with their staff about why and how the organisation makes a difference. Think about it: do employees of your organisation know why the organisation exists? Do they know how the organisation makes a difference? Employees expect leaders to be passionate, and if you are not, why would they be?
To inspire passion in employees, leaders need to be vocal and excited about why the organisation matters, and employees need to see that their leaders are passionate about this. In turn, employees will become more passionate. Without passion, employees will not sustain the energy and focus necessary to help the organisation truly succeed and make a difference.
Passion Surrounds Us
Thankfully, many passionate organisations, leaders and employees are out there everywhere. Often these are small organisations doing unique and creative things. These organisations have leaders who aren’t bystanders. They are actively involved and engaged with their employees, and they work to mobilize the organisation in a common direction for a common cause. They believe that what they do makes a difference! They have passion.