Lead with Your Passion

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a passionate person. If you are human, you probably have something that you are passionate about too. Yet, many managers lack the passion at work to inspire their workforce.

 How do you inspire your unmotivated staff? Have you tried cash? Rewards? Bribery? If what you are doing is not working, you need to try something different. Have you explored leading your organization with passion? In a nutshell, you will be playing the role of the passionate leader. This person has an internal drive because “he loves what he does.”  Are you internally inspired?

Let me make a distinction between a great leader and great manager. I’ve seen passionate managers; however, they weren’t great leaders.These managers were zealots for getting the tasks completed and checking the boxes. Their influence was directly related to their position in the organization, not their personal influence. Richard Joyner, author of Leadership Management, notes the qualities that make a good leader would make poor managers in general. What is the critical reason for this distinction? A manager must be detailed-oriented to achieve success while a good leader must be concept-oriented (seeing the big picture). There are a few exceptions, however.  Joyner explains that large organizations are usually bureaucratic and make it difficult for great leaders to rise to the top. In my organization, it is difficult to implement innovative processes due to a bureaucratic structure. Managers are rewarded for handling tasks, not inspiring people.

Some leaders are forced to start new organizations (for example, Steve Jobs of Apple).  In fact, some leaders disrupt the status quo with their passion. For example, Jesus Christ was not part of “the establishment” but his zeal transformed the world. Therefore, countless leaders (especially change agents) can be energized with their passion. Indeed, it is a critical component for any leader who wants to transform their organizations.  If you want a more charged organization, it starts at the top, leader!

 What is the reason for the lack of passion in many leaders in contemporary organizations?

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

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5 thoughts on “Lead with Your Passion

  1. I must agree with the comment stated above that leaders inspire their followers and are not primarily focused on handling tasks like managers. After spending several years in the military, I have had the opportunity to observe and learn from great and poor leaders. One of the characteristics that was undeniably present on every great leader was his passion for his jobs or goals and his vision which compelled his followers to help him accomplish his vision.

  2. Like Miguel I have had my primary exposure to both great and poor leadership with years of military experience. There are certain characteristics in common among all of the great leaders I ever served under besides passion for the job. Great leaders never ask their subordinates to do something that they would not be willing to do themselves. Leading by example is the most important quality of a great leader. Even passionate leaders at times must complete tasks for the organization that are difficult and unpleasant and only through example can they motivate subordinates to continue putting forth all effort into the task at hand.. Great leaders also instill respect into their subordinates by making them feel that they are an important integral part of the team. Another quality of a great leader is giving credit where it is due and recognizing achievements and contributions made by subordinates. The last characteristic I can think of which was shared by all great leaders I have known was fairness and impartiality.
    Though it is true that passion for the organization mission is an absolute requirement for all great leaders, there are other characteristics which have equal importance. The characteristics of effective leadership are all laid out clearly in army manual FM22-100 which is a publication that many corporate managers could benefit greatly by familiarizing themselves with.

  3. I must agree with the comment stated above that leaders inspire their followers and are not primarily concerned with small tasks as managers often are. After spending several years in the military, I have had the opportunity to observe and learn from great and poor leaders. One of the characteristics that was undeniably present on every great leader was passion. As Michele Payn-Knope states “leadership is passion. Without passion, a person will have very little influence as a leader.” A good leader compels his followers to materialize his vision and accomplish a common goal.
    The lack of passion on modern leaders can be attributed to a lack of vision. Leaders must be able to see beyond immediate tasks and death lines into the greater scheme of things. A leader cannot lead if he/she does not know where the organization is going.
    Additionally, passion can’t be developed unless a leader feels the energy of his corporation running through his flesh. Nowadays It’s not uncommon for corporate leaders to see their role as merely a job and their responsibilities as nothing more than nuisances that they have to put up with in order to get paid.

    Payn-Knoper, Michelle. “Passion: The Light of Leadership.” Cause Matters Corp. 10 Jul 2010.

  4. I agree with the above comments. A great leader develops a following through the admiration of passion which emanates from within, not how well one can perform a task. If all of the great leader of the world are closely examined, they became a great leader with a great following because of a deep passion the possessed for what they did. Napoleon, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Chief of Surgery at the local hospital all have one thing in common, they were/are incredibly passionate about what they did/do. Managers must engage their employees through exploitation of competence and desire, in order to bring meaning to their work. Leaders who build passionate following show their following (employees for instance) that they care about them as a person, and that they are valued and appreciated. And when you have developed a passionate following through your passion, employees are now willing to devote extra time, or down time, to better accomplishing a task and yielding excellent results.

    Literature Cited
    The Passionate Leader
    http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/21522/leadership/the_passionate_leader.html

  5. A great leader develops a following through the admiration of passion which emanates from within, not how well one can perform a task. If all of the great leader of the world are closely examined, they became a great leader with a great following because of a deep passion the possessed for what they did. Managers must engage their employees through exploitation of competence and desire, in order to bring meaning to their work. Leaders who build passionate following show their following (employees for instance) that they care about them as a person, and that they are valued and appreciated. Leaders may have lack passion if there are performing a job in which they are unhappy with, in which case the individual should pursue his/her passion, exploit his/her competence and desire in the field and use that to build a passionate following (employees). And when you have developed a passionate following through your passion, employees are now willing to devote extra time, or down time, to better accomplishing a task and yielding excellent results.

    Literature Cited
    The Passionate Leader
    http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/21522/leadership/the_passionate_leader.html

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