‘Passion’ and ‘passionate’ are interesting words. Initial consideration of these words may conjure up thoughts of a love interest (head-over-heels kind of love) or an engaging hobby like golf. These types of passion are not what I am talking about in this blog. What I am seeing and hearing in these words is an adjective describing a leadership trait, a person who inspires or influences themselves and others to achieve greatness. I truly, wholeheartedly believe that “ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” Let’s take a closer look.
Steve Jobs summed up passion in the workplace by stating, “Apple is not about making boxes for people to get their jobs done, although we do that well. Apple is about something more. Its core value is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.” And boy did he.
“Change the world for the better” – a very lofty goal! Unrealistic? Maybe or maybe not. If we could change the world for the better, what would you do and how would you go about it? Are you up for the challenge? Do you have the passion it takes to foster real change?
I believe passionate leaders are very focused on their vision and are totally committed to the results, new products, or world change. Passionate leaders inspire others through their conviction to achieve more than they ever thought possible. Their positive attitude is contagious and motivates others to think differently, which in turn does change the world. When a leader is passionate, people feel a deep sense of being led in a worthy direction by someone who is committed to something more important than his or her own individual glory.
This all sounds great, but do we see passionate leaders in the workplace in numbers? I don’t think so. From my personal experience, I really haven’t worked with many passionate leaders over my career. Have you? I have found that most leaders are just working to keep their jobs as opposed to passionately making a real difference. Entrepreneurs tend to be classified as passionate leaders; they have taken the plunge and become an owner of an enterprise created through their vision, self-confidence and belief in who they are and what their business can do for the community, market place or the world. What about corporate positions, have you seen passionate leaders in corporate America? Or do they start with passion and soon change to the status quo, just to keep their jobs? These people closely adhere to “don’t rock the boat” philosophy.
Passionate leaders should also score high on the EQ test. It just goes without saying that these types of high influencers of positivity and change must have a unique level of personal awareness at the core to communicate on a higher level. And, these folks must also be able to tap into others’ motivational forces that flow from their inner passion.
In my next blog, we will examine those who are passion-less. These folks live in a world where “the glass is half empty” and will perform an honest day’s work without giving fully of themselves, taking risks, or experiencing fire-in-the-belly passion for their work. Can they change?
I say yes. We can all live in a world of passion if we grab on to what is truly most meaningful to our lives, and we can make a difference in our workplace and our community. We do not need to be the head of a company to have passion either. It is in all of us – we just need to have the confidence that our voices and thoughts can “change the world.”
Please send your thoughts and examples on this topic to the Human Balance blog. Would love to hear from you. Contact information below.
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Amelya Stevenson, M.A., SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP