Great Leaders

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

People arriving at work with passion, 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 just seem to be out of gas – worn out from trying to balance life’s priorities.

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

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

Leadership Style

A manager of a company I work with is a master at using passion in his leadership style. He meets in forums with people most every day leaving them spell bound with his message.

The room is full of energy; the people are in awe, and they 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 self.

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.

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.

Leaders that are passionate are unstoppable. They are not crushed by difficulties and daily challenges because they believe they have control over their future.

This optimistic mindset puts a halt to 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 in contrast to what is falling apart or not going as planned.

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

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

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

I’ve noticed when story telling is effectively used people respond by being willing to go beyond the status quo.

Involve People in Passion

The difference between being a passionate doer and a passionate leader is involving people in your passion instead of going it alone. Passionate leaders know they must have faith in others for 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 ego 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 being ineffective. If people are feeling out of gas they need to quickly get to the gas station to refuel.

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.

Keep your Leadership 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 story telling

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

How Do Great Leaders Have Passion?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Dr. Mary Kay
Dr. Mary Kay is a business leadership strategist, executive coach, trainer, author, and founder of the About Leaders community and She’s consulted with hundreds of companies and trained thousands of leaders. Her Ultimate Leader Online course helps managers become more confident, decisive leaders. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.