Passion led us here

People with passion have a heartfelt, deep, authentic excitement about work. They care –really care in their bones– about colleagues, employees, and friends. They love to learn and grow, and they get a huge kick out of people around them doing the same.
— Jack Welch , former CEO of General Electric

Passion in leadership is not easy to define, measure and especially teach and yet within leadership it is a key trait that is a definitive sign of the success of a great leader. Passionate leaders also foster commitment and determination in their employees and get more done.

According to Brian Holmes a true leader must feel what they are doing, their passion must be active and relate to what they are doing otherwise the doing becomes mundane. Holmes has six signs of a true leader and some are obvious like passion is a deep desire but also some interesting signs such as passion is an obligation and those who are passionate have a deep resolution to finish what they started.

So passion is something that the individual needs to lead. What can you do to use passion to ensure your organization is enthused with it from the top down and bottom up?

We start by thinking about what passionate leaders do. Passionate leaders are tolerant and optimistic in their outlook – they are not crushed by difficulties or negative thinking. Their tolerance allows them to counteract frustrations and always move forward. Great leaders refuel along the way and they find ways to keep their passion high even under stressful circumstances.

Second, the leader with passion involves and enthuses their people. They know that they must have faith in their people to accomplish things. Leaders who truly endorse people as their most valuable asset really do inject it into all they do.  A classic example of this outlook is Steve Jobs's behaviour at Apple. Although he had become a business icon, an article in Computer World also commented on Jobs' enthusiasm for mentoring others and his genuine excitement and awe in doing it.

There are some really practical ways that you can use your passion within your organisation. We can think of this in three ways – make work meaningful, create a place people want to work and always keep your employee's aware and cognisant of the vision and what you are all doing to make it happen.

Employees who feel and believe in the passion of their leader have already given over their hearts and minds and are actively engaged in their work. A passionate leader with an engaged workforce therefore has a tremendous opportunity to create powerful change within an organization.

What powerful changes has a great leader inspired you to do with their passion and unending energy for it? Do you inspire people through your passion? How can we harness the power of great leadership passion and do more for our organizations and communities?

About the author 

Fiona McKay is a leadership keynote and motivational speaker, strategist and succession expert. She is the Managing Director of Lightbulb Leadership Solutions and the Curator of the global #FeedbackFirst campaign. You can call her to talk about any aspect of this article on +44 (0)161 905 1219.



Fiona McKay