Do You Need More Passion in Your Leadership?

What is Passionate Leadership?

There are many definitions of passion, but the meaning that resonates with me most within the context of leadership comes from the urban dictionary:

Passion is when you put more energy into something than is required to do it. It is more than just enthusiasm or excitement, passion is ambition that is materialized into action to put as much heart, mind body and soul into something as is possible.

Passion is a driving force that comes from within. It is naturally inspired by following your personal values and what you care about. Passion transcends the boundaries of a role, task or project because it is the energy that fuels your ideas, choices and behaviours. It comes from choosing to live authentically, taking action to do what you naturally do best and continuously working at it to get better and better over time.

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”

C.G. Jung 

Passion is exponentially engaging

Passionate leadership provides energy and enthusiasm into the workplace and engages and inspires others in the process. These leaders create excitement and connection of purpose with others. It’s this connection of purpose and the relentless pursuit of improvement that has exponential effects on the entire team. This connection creates a greater sense of community and allows opportunities for others to contribute to meet the challenges that arise, collectively raising the performance of the entire team.

According to research, 71% of executive leaders say employee engagement is critical to their company’s success. This means that improving engagement and employee experience is strategically important.

Further analysis done by Gallup has shown that the quality of a leader makes the difference in business success and that the leader plays a singular role in the life of an employee.

The quality of a manager accounts for 70% of the variance in team engagement.


How do you start the journey to lead with passion?

Leaders can develop passion in their leadership when they adhere to their personal values, stay grounded with integrity, put people first and develop the following 10 behaviours: 

  1. Passionate leaders are positively energized by the work they do and energize those around them. Because they understand who they are and what their strengths and natural talents are, they use those skills which focuses and energizes themselves and inspires others. With an ability to see the potential in others, they encourage others to use their own natural talents in their work – empowering the whole team.
  2. Passionate leaders clearly communicate the vision and connect others with purpose. They are enthusiastic about their vision and give clear direction on strategic priorities to engage others to realize their goals and connection to the vision.
  3. Passionate leaders build trust by building strong relationships. They care deeply about helping others. They choose to trust others first. They are great listeners and communicators. They listen with full focus on the individual with the intent to understand.
  4. Passionate leaders invest their time in helping others achieve their full potential. They freely support others to become the best version of themselves. They schedule regular meetings with individuals for meaningful dialogue. This is done through listening, encouragement, being curious and openly giving clear, constructive feedback when it’s necessary.
  5. Passionate leaders show their authenticity and vulnerability. They have the courage to uniquely be who they are. They aren’t afraid to make mistakes and take a risk. They openly admit when they make a mistake because they believe that mistakes are innate to learning, growth and opportunity. This extends to others’ as well.
  6. Passionate leaders are emotionally aware and pause before they react. They understand the effect they have on others and their own emotional triggers. This awareness allows them to manage themselves effectively when in emotionally charged situations.
  7. Passionate leaders invite community and collaboration. They create a safe environment for all to feel open to share, learn and grow together. They encourage fairness and inclusion and invite all opinions to be heard. This open-minded thinking encourages healthy conflict, which is important for team building and innovation.
  8. Passionate leaders execute on their ideas and plans. Planning without execution does not create results. They also recognize you can’t drive forwards by looking back.
  9. Passionate leaders never stop learning. They have a growth mindset and are not afraid to be challenged on their ideas or receive feedback on their actions. They remain humble and open to seeking out new concepts, emerging trends and learning from others.
  10. Passionate leaders reward excellence. They respect and value others. They recognize performance excellence or improvement in others and publicly recognize the efforts through gratitude and praise. They are intuitively aware that individuals need to authentically feel that they matter and that the work they do is valued.

Every leader can get better and build their passion. The best leaders understand this can only happen with a plan and a real focus on building new habits and behaviours.

Leadership development is a journey, not an event. Learning and growing are achievable with a clear mindset and an understanding that it is possible when you follow your passion!