Have you ever been around someone magnetic? Someone whom regardless of what they were up to, you wanted to be involved with? In all likelihood, that person has a clear sense of who they are, and a settled single-mindedness as to where they are going in life. They have passion and enthusiasm about the future. These kinds of people are infectious to others. It doesn’t matter if they’re coaching a little league team, transforming a school district, or leading a major corporation; you want to be a part of it. Today, we’re going to discuss why this is such an important pattern to develop in becoming an influential leader.
The kind of energy you bring to your workplace – whether it is positive or negative – is contagious. Passion and enthusiasm rubs off on the people around you. Unfortunately, so do things like apathy, lethargy, and indifference. We all have “off” days, but look at what you’re consistently putting out to the world, and ask yourself if it’s the kind of energy and excitement you want your teams and organization to have.
Because this zeal is transferred to the people around us, it’s important to cultivate a passionate and enthusiastic perspective and make it a habit. If your positive energy becomes an authentic habit, it’ll then become something that happens naturally the majority of the time…while your off days will become anomalies.
As leaders, it’s critical that we’re passionate about our work and the lives we live. If you don’t exhibit this on a regular basis, it would be wise to ask yourself what you’re really doing this for. Bringing your passion to your organization and the others around you will create an infectious enthusiasm, which is necessary to win in today’s competitive workplace.
Habits create reality. I find that in many cases, the people who aren’t passionate about their work say it’s because they haven’t found the right job, role, or niche. The interesting thing about this is usually no matter where these people end up, they have a way of seeing what’s wrong with their situation, and this attitude stays with them despite where they go or what they do.
We have the ability to generate our own enthusiasm, but what’s often missing is a mission or purpose greater than ourselves. Crystalize a purpose for your leadership. Do you want to be the best division in the company, create a record sales year, or have the safest workplace of any business in North America? Whatever it is, make it something that you can become passionate about and draw others into the pursuit of it.
Passionate leaders have a belief that they’re in control of their future. This belief creates the enthusiasm that makes them unstoppable. Business can be chaotic – it’s almost never a smooth ride. Successful leaders are accepting of hardship, and maintain an optimistic perspective in even the most dire of circumstances. This means developing a tolerance for things not working in your favor, and redirecting your focus to what is. This action creates a positive mental attitude and helps squash any trend towards negative thought patterns from team members. It’s much more empowering to be led by someone who has an unstoppable attitude than someone who’s being a victim of his or her circumstances.
Passion is something that you can generate on your own, but becomes much more powerful when shared with people. The leaders who make the biggest ripples in their organizations are those who multiply their passion by inspiring others of the possibilities that exist ahead. Great leaders surround themselves with other passionate, positive individuals, which multiplies their collective energy. Teams need passion to win! Just as food nourishes the body, and training sharpens our skills, passion ignites our hearts to go above and beyond. People require the energy and focus that passion creates. Your job is to set the pace by living your passion out – enthusiastically, consistently, and authentically.
When things are going well, it’s easy to be passionate. Effective leaders are able to create that excitement despite any adverse circumstances. Think about it: if you’re having a great day, you feel good and energized about what you’re up to. But if something goes sideways and your thoughts take over, that positive attitude can quickly spiral into negative thinking. This negative energy is a distraction and shakes the confidence of followers, while zapping much of their enthusiasm and momentum. Smart leaders have a few go-to methods for re-charging their passion when it gets low or things don’t go as planned.
As humans, we’re moved by a great story. It’s a way of communicating that’s been ingrained in us for thousands of years. Over centuries, we’ve passed down lessons and history through storytelling, making it one of the oldest traditions of mankind. We’re moved and inspired by stories, and it’s crucial to utilize this to excite others with your passion. You’ve developed a mission for your organization that you’re excited about, and now you want to infuse that passion in those around you. Create and tell a story about your vision that touches people at their core. If you wish to make the safest workplace in North America, then tell a story about how work injuries have affected people’s lives, and how you are all putting and end to that. Tell a story about what your mission means to you, and how your vision and organization is making a difference in the world. Whatever it is, craft this story from a place that really inspires you, tell it from your heart, and share it often.
That concludes the 8 effective leadership habits series. Remember that effective leaders cultivate these habits with patience over time. Have patience with yourself as new habits are learned slowly. As you cultivate little habits, you’ll soon grow these into solid leadership character traits benefitting your life and the people around you.