10 Ways to Become a More Passionate Leader
By Fast Company Executive Board
Passionate leaders are adept at sparking innovation and excitement in others. They inspire greatness and don’t balk at making disruptive changes within their organizations and industries.
Passionate leadership involves developing a deep connection with your purpose in business and life. The first step in becoming a more passionate leader centers on determining what passionate leadership means to you as a leader.
Consider the following steps to infuse more passion into your leadership style:
Share Your Vision
Speaking about something that you care deeply about can inspire others to embrace your vision and enthusiasm. Passion in leadership involves more than just the words you speak or write. Those we view as passionate often show it in their eyes, with their gestures, and in their speaking cadence. They feel passion and exude it. True passion is contagious and has a synergistic effect.
Engage With Everyone
Show up and regularly engage with everyone in your organization. Passionate leadership doesn’t mix with hiding behind closed doors or frequent absences. Nor does sharing your vision with only a select group of individuals. Others can feel left out and become anxious if they feel they aren't vital to your vision or know what it is.
Find ways to share your enthusiasm, your vision, and your organizational mission with everyone. Ask to occasionally join meetings you wouldn’t usually attend and share your ideas. Engage with people in the company chat platform or the breakroom. Every person in your organization has a part in helping to bring your vision to fruition.
Empower Your Teams
Passionate leaders generate productivity by instilling trust and a shared vision. Don’t bottleneck progress by limiting all of the decision making to yourself. . Hire well and empower your teams to make decisions and produce results.
Focus on Solutions, Not Problems
Encourage a solution-based attitude throughout the organization. Encourage others to recommend possible solutions to problems they bring to your attention. For example, when a member of your staff describes a problem to you, listen and then ask what they are recommending as a possible solution. They’ll soon learn not to raise issues with you without also offering possible solutions at that time.
Passion and negativity aren’t good bedfellows. Your attitude and mood carries a lot of weight in setting the organization tone. Negativity is contagious. Find a private outlet, such as an executive coach, for resolving negative feelings that may be deflating your passion.
Passionate leaders anticipate and drive change. That requires being disruptive. They set others up in their organizations to meet new challenges. They’re always looking for opportunities to make improvements that can help them meet end goals.
They’ve honed a management style that consistently seeks to improve processes and productivity even when it disrupts long-held organizational practices. That’s the opposite of the mantras “Why fix it if it isn't broken” and “because that’s how we’ve always done it.” Start with small changes that will lead to making larger ones. Don’t confuse disruption with destruction.
Disruptive leadership requires courage and a willingness to pivot when your changes fail as some surely will.
Be Transparent and Humble
Sharing who you are and what your passions are with others in your organization naturally encourages others to do the same. Disclosure encourages disclosure from others. Be genuine, share your concerns and don’t be afraid to ask others for possible solutions.
When others express concerns, listen with tactical empathy and be open to their ideas even if they contradict your own. Not only tell but show them you respect their opinions and perspectives. Aim for being transparent and even sell-effacing without letting your ego stand in your way.
Maintain a High Degree of Self Awareness
Self-awareness is a critical skill of passionate leaders that is often overlooked. That requires staying aware about how your words, actions and decisions may be impacting others. Leaders who are self aware tend to be empathetic listeners and responsive to concerns by allowing perspectives that may contrast with their own.
Never Stop Learning
Learning is an effective way to stoke the fires of passion when they wane. Read books and trade publications, listen to podcasts, and engage with others in an online forum of your peers. When you delve deeper into a subject you care about, it can elevate and renew your passion.
Burnout is the antithesis of passion. It can happen to the most driven leaders as well as their staff. Burnout in passionate leaders can occur more often from disappointment than from working long hours. Prioritize downtime to recharge and find positive ways to deal with the inevitable challenges you’ll face.
Passionate leaders embrace innovation and make disruptive improvements within their organization and industry. They understand the power of positivity and the importance of empowering and inspiring others.
Learn more about passion in leadership and related topics by checking out our blog or by joining a network of your peers. Fast Company Executive Board is a professional network of company founders, executives, and forward-looking leaders who are defining the future of business.
You’ll connect with other leaders in FCEB who are pioneering key developments at companies of all sizes, pursuing world-changing ideas, lending their collective wisdom and creating cultures that reward employees for creativity, risk-taking, and acumen. Contact us for information about becoming a member.