Is Leadership Without Passion Really Leadership?


Let me start this post with a few questions:

  1. Are you a passionate leader?
  2. Is it possible to lead without passion?
  3. Will people really follow you if you are not passionate about what you are doing?

When I reflect on my personal experience as a leader my response to the first question is sometimes.  There were times throughout my leadership career when I was very passionate about what my group was charged with accomplishing.   During my periods of passionate leadership I would wake up in the morning looking forward to starting my day with excitement and anticipation.  The day would be one interesting challenge after another and I would lose track of time.  It was truly a “flow” experience.  I also noticed during those times that most of my team was equally excited because I was always communicating my vision and they would witness my passion throughout the day.

There were other times in my leadership career when I wasn’t a passionate leader.  I would wake up at my usual time and drive into the office out of a sense of obligation and self discipline.  I worked just as hard, but each day dragged on, and I couldn’t wait to get home.  As you can imagine, this impacted my team as well.  They were not as excited, or passionate about what they were doing either.  You may find it interesting to note that a number of times I had the same team, both when I was passionate, and when I wasn’t but due to shifts in responsibilities our roles had changed.

I had the good fortune over the years to have worked for organizations that were dedicated to leadership development.  I had the privilege of going to many leadership and management workshops.  As a result of these experiences I became dedicated to my own leadership development and applied much of what I was learning.  However, the success of my application of what I was learning was not consistent.  I didn’t know why until I read this quote:

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world.”

The proverbial light bulb went on and I gained some valuable insights regarding leadership:

  1. Leadership without passion is not leadership, you are simply going through the motions with very few followers.
  2. With passion, you can be a very effective leader even if you have not yet developed leadership skills.
  3. The answer to the age-old question of, “are leaders born or developed?”, is that it is both.  We are all natural born leaders when we align what we do with our passion.  We all can become better leaders through training and coaching.
  4. Leadership development in the absence of passion will only make us better managers.
  5. Sometimes we can find our passion in our current roles with nothing more than a change in mindset.

Please share your thoughts on passion and leadership by commenting below.  If you would like to learn more about finding your passion and passionate leadership please complete your contact information below.

Smart Hiring: Five Steps To Improve Your Hiring Success!

BreakthroughPerformance.TalentManagementHiring the right people is at the core of breakthrough performance.  As business owners and leaders we all know that this is a critical ingredient to the success of our organizations.   Our goal is to get the right people, with the right talents, delivering the right results.  I have communicated this goal in previous posts and will continue to stress how important this is to your success.

Does your current hiring process support this goal?  If you are experiencing any of these symptoms perhaps the answer is no:

  1. Voluntary turnover is increasing
  2. Your recent hires are not fitting well with your organization and its values
  3. Your onboarding process is ineffective, or doesn’t exist

As my good friend and coach Chris Ruisi always says, “you need to hire slow and fire fast!”.  The first step may be to slow down and consider following these five steps to ensure smart hiring processes and get the most out of your people:

  1. Identify hiring problems–Analyze your hiring process and identify the root cause of your talent shortfall.
  2. Recruit people who match specific positions–Invest the time to identify the success profile for all of your positions.  You should develop a competency-based job description.  Consider using pre-employment assessments that will identify the cognitive, behavioral and career interests of the candidate.
  3. Be innovative when you prospect for new candidates–Ask your top employees for referrals, look for companies announcing cutbacks, partner with colleges and vocational schools.
  4. Prepare for a winning behavioral interview–Spend a sufficient amount of time reviewing the candidates resume in relation to the job requirements.  Plan to ask behavioral questions of your candidates.  Rather than asking the interviewee if they are comfortable effectively dealing with conflict, ask them to give you an example of how they handled a conflict situation with a co-worker or customer.  Ask them to tell you the story by sharing the problem, the actions they took, and the results.
  5. Continually refine your best hiring practices–You should regularly analyze the success of your hiring process and make the necessary adjustments.  These should be an ongoing process, not an event.

Learn more about these five best practices and much more by requesting the Hiring Blook: 10 Success Steps for Effective Hiring.