What is “Passion”? The dictionary says: “a strong and barely controllable emotion”; “a state or outburst of strong emotion”; and “an intense desire or enthusiasm for something”. Passion is the positive emotional state of mind – which drives a willingness to apply discretionary effort; long-term commitment; peak performance; and satisfaction.
The Passionate Leader
Leaders need to love what they do; otherwise, where are they leading their employees? Leaders who display passion can engage the hearts and mind of employees, foster their commitment and determination, and empower their employees to meet meaningful goals.
Passionate leaders create an environment that energizes others; mixing passion with employee involvement, and transparency. Communicating passion every day, and in different ways – a face-to-face engagement, an exciting meeting, or a quick e-mail – allows the leaders’ enthusiasm to shine. If an employee feels trusted and involved, they can share their leaders’ passions and develop their dedication to their organizations.
Leaders with a passion have the power to instill a sense of meaning – they can provide a “bigger picture”, making the work their employees do worthwhile. Passion makes work about more than just a paycheck. People who feel that their work is valued feel empowered to make meaningful changes for their customers.
The Passionate Employee
Employee engagement and employee passion are essential for productivity, profitability, and customer loyalty. An engaged, motivated, and empowered workforce is far more likely to work at optimal levels, and have a higher performance.
In 2006, The Ken Blanchard Companies embarked on a new study to explore the concept of Employee Passion more fully concluding that, for employees to be passionate about their work, they need to have meaningful work – which means they should understand how their work adds value to the organization and creates positive results. They need an organizational culture that encourages collaboration, sharing, interdependence, and team spirit. The work environment needs to be fair – benefits, resources, and workloads are fair and balanced. They should be given the autonomy to choose how tasks are completed; have the information and authority needed to make authoritative decisions – and know the boundaries of this; and be trusted to do their job without micro-management.
Employee passion is reinforced with recognition – which can be verbal, written, or monetary; praise or promotions – for their accomplishments, and the opportunity for growth, where employees are supported in future career planning. Employees also need to feel connected with their leader and their colleagues, which requires honesty and integrity at all levels; and making an effort to build rapport.
Train Your Passion
By asking yourself what drives you to work hard; commit; achieve; and what makes you happy, you can grow your own enthusiasm for your work. Ask yourself:
- What makes you feel energized?
- What makes you get up in the morning?
- What keeps you going when things get tough?
- What makes everything you do worthwhile?
Passionate leaders spend time with their employees – learning about employee needs and desires, how to communicate with them, and what makes work meaningful to them. Employees with a passionate leader – where this passion is communicated and shared – are more enthusiastic and engaged. Organizations must provide meaningful work, autonomy, and opportunities for growth, encourage collaboration and recognition, and address the concept of fairness in order to maximize Employee Passion. Passion, in turn, creates driven, enthusiastic, committed and hard working employees.
Employees with a positive attitude create success.
Find your passion, grow it, and share it!
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About the author: Jemma Garraghan is an EMEA Project Manager at the Ken Blanchard Companies. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org