Leadership Skills #2: Great Leaders Ignite Passion

By Dr. Mary Kay

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

Great leaders ignite passion and arrive at work excited to start the day to get the most done possible! I don’t know about your situation, but recently I have witnessed a high level of frustration from managers and employees that say people seem to be out of gas – worn out from trying to balance life’s priorities.

Wouldn’t it be great if the people we work with were as passionate about getting the job done as we think we are?

Mental and physical energy has been zapped from worrying about the economy, priorities at home, caring for others, and at the same time, trying to stay healthy and fit.

More than likely, we all could use a boost in the leadership skill of being energetic and passionate. We are all in the same boat – trying to make a difference.

Leadership Style

A company manager I work with is a master at using passion in his leadership style. He meets in forums with people almost every day, leaving them spellbound with his message.

The room is full of energy; the people are in awe and feel like they have been to a pep rally ignited to charge ahead.

This manager can get the people in his organization to do more than any other leader I have seen. He isn’t a fast, smooth talker or a motivational speaker. He isn’t even that great of a communicator. Employees often get confused by some of his examples.

Here’s the secret to his passion:

  • This manager makes dialoguing with people a priority; and
  • He expresses his message in a manner that demonstrates his conviction, desire, and hunger to meet objectives.

This passionate approach is contagious, and the employees in the company are passionate people too.

What is it That Passionate Leaders Do?

Have you run across the saying, “passion can’t be taught; either you have it, or it’s caught”? Passionate leaders spread passion to others through their love of life, doing new things, taking risks, being motivated, having a sense of urgency, and reinventing themselves.

It is a long list, but I’ve narrowed these descriptions of passion down to four main leadership behaviors.

Passionate people are optimistic, have a great story, involve people, and have a simple recharge strategy.

Passionate people are optimistic, have a great story, involve people, and have a simple, recharge strategy.

Optimistically Tolerant

People responding to passion sounds really good, but I had to find out what passionate people do to stay passionate. Do they take vitamins? Exercise? Is it genetic? Leaders that have worked on igniting people with passion habitually practice passion as a form of optimism.

Passionate leaders are unstoppable. Difficulties and daily challenges do not crush them because they believe they have control over their future.

This optimistic mindset halts negative thinking and fuels the drive to succeed. How do they redirect negative thinking? A key leadership skill to becoming more passionate is to work on being more tolerant.

Passionate people counteract their frustration by focusing on what is going right and what is working now instead of what is falling apart or not going as planned.

A passionate leader tells a compelling story that catches people’s attention and guides them to see it, feel it, and envision the future.

By utilizing attention-getting mechanisms to excite and inspire others, people become emotionally involved in new ideas and help implement a change. Once people connect purpose to actions, they are ready to go.

Passionate leaders, like change agents, enthuse others to believe in their cause. They ignite a spirit and trust in others to engage in their mission. When the story is understood and clear, followers can understand the purpose and fit in and become excited about expected outcomes.

When storytelling is effectively used, I’ve noticed that people respond by being willing to go beyond the status quo.

Great Leaders Inspire Passion and Involve People

The difference between being a passionate doer and a passionate leader involves people in your passion instead of going it alone. Passionate leaders know they must have faith in others to be passionate about what needs to be accomplished. This mindset is a big distinction between being a passionate doer and a passionate leader.

The secret here is: passionate leaders truly endorse people as their most valuable asset by not letting their egos get out of hand. They need people to buy in to implement their passion. Passionate leaders surround themselves with passionate, knowledgeable experts that will provide solid ideas and suggestions the leader may not have thought of.

Events and conversations we have with others affect our level of passion. We know this to be true. We’re having a fantastic day, and suddenly someone calls us on the phone to complain, and the next thing we know, if we aren’t careful, we are in a negative mood – out of gas.

Our negative energy reverts to distraction, and distraction leads us to be ineffective. If people feel out of gas, they must get to the gas station to refuel quickly.

Do you have a strategy for refueling? What can you instantly do to refuel your leadership passion and recharge your batteries? For me, it is music. Music puts me in a productive state and energizes me.

Great Leaders Inspire Passion at a High Level

1. Make time to meet with the people that will impact your passion

2. Communicate with passion by:

  • Being honest and approachable
  • Professionally speaking, the unspeakable
  • Listening to others’ feelings
  • Disagreeing without shooting the messenger
  • Staying focused on the results of your passion

3. Paint a clear picture of your passion to others through great storytelling

4. Identify a simple way to recharge to keep passion at a high level

Are You a Great Leader that inspires Passion?

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Dr. Mary Kay
Dr. Mary Kay
Dr. Mary Kay is a business leadership strategist, executive coach, trainer, author, and co-founder of the About Leaders community. She’s consulted with hundreds of companies and trained over 30,000 leaders. Her Ultimate Leader Masterclass helps managers become more confident, decisive leaders.
  • Marie Hunting says:

    Mary Kay you look so beautiful.I am so proud to have you as a friend.You have accomplished so much.I love you Marie

  • Dr. Mary Kay says:

    Thanks Marie for your kind remarks. I appreciate your support and your friendship.

  • Pieter du Plessis says:

    I really enjoyed your article and will find your book. As clinical psychologist I often facilitate workshops and aim to work on passion more – thanx for your valuable input!

  • Dr. Mary Kay Whitaker says:

    Thanks Pieter for reading the article. Great to have you on AboutLeaders!

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