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Senior Correspondent

Leadership is agony without passion. Everyone who ever made a difference had passion. Nothing of significance is done without it.

Here are some things that drain passion:

  1. Distant leaders
  2. Work without purpose
  3. Labor without rest
  4. Achievement without reward
  5. Negative teammates – reform or remove persistently negative people, even if they deliver results

Passion fuels boldness. Leaders with passion speak up, lean in and make mission-driven decisions. They serve freely and commit willingly. Cowardly leaders hide, lie and make self-serving, self-protective decisions. Some fears are good, but cowardice is always bad.

When you fuel passion in others, you enable action. Don’t drive people. Ignite their passion.

Seven principles of passion:

  1. Share purpose. People who share purpose fuel each other’s passion. Do something that matters. It’s hard to get excited about something that doesn’t matter. Without purpose, there's no passion. Ask yourself, "What am I doing, really? Making widgets? Selling products? Is that all?"
  2. Chase a dream. Describe the world where your purpose is fulfilled. How is the world better because you succeed?
  3. Fight an enemy. Passion gets hotter when enemies come knocking. What happens if you fail?
  4. Tell stories of passionate exploits. Who’s going the extra mile? Who joined the team? Who shares your beliefs?
  5. Energize passion with belief. Team members won’t go all in if you focus on their weaknesses. Believe in your team.
  6. Reach high. Excellence honors passion, and noble purpose demands high standards.
  7. Describe better. Avoid nagging about failure. The opportunity of progress is it’s never done. You should celebrate wins, and reach for better. Focusing on failure drains passion.

Bonus: Passionate leaders attract talent; passionless leaders repel it.

What drains your passion? What ignites and fuels your passion?

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