Authentically Leading and Following Part VII

By Paula Brown Stafford and Lisa T. Grimes

n“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” – John C. Maxwell Everyone says the first couple years of college is the time to discover yourself. It’s okay to switch majors or even colleges. Trying new activities and clubs is encouraged. The whole point of college is to learn and find your passion. Unfortunately, the working world does not always work that way. You can’t just try a job one week, drop it, and pick something else the next week. We try our best to find jobs that fit our passion, but that is not always guaranteed. There will be things that we like, things we don’t like, and things we dread with every fiber of our being. We’re not saying it absolutely necessary to be passionate about your job in order to do it well. What we are saying is that having passion in some aspect of your job is important to feel fulfilled and reach full potential in that job. Today, we want to share how you can find your passion in your work and how you can promote passion on your team.

Find Your Personal Passion

Before you can start to promote passion, you must first find your own passion in your position. Here are two questions to get you started:

1. What do you love most about the company you work for?

Do you love the company’s vision? Does the company have a great culture? Is there a charity you love that the company sponsors? For me, Paula, the job at a pharmaceutical company became a career I was passionate about when I related my work to the positive impact those drugs made for not just the people taking them but for their families who get to enjoy life with them. Everything I did afterward, from data analysis to client contracts, had a greater meaning that could drive me forward.

2. What are you good at/enjoy doing?

We believe that everyone was created to have different passions and talents. It’s what makes us all unique and valuable to a team. Find what that talent is and own it. Have the confidence to say that you can write, organize or manage conflict better than anyone on your team. Then look for opportunities to do those tasks.

Promote Passion

As leaders, it is our responsibility to stir up passion within our followers. Once you know your passion, look for ways to discover what your teammates passion.

Share Vision

We mentioned vision in our blog on empowerment, but the same is true with promoting passion. People want to have meaning in their work, and when you can cast a vision that reflects a greater purpose, passion and productivity will result. Passion is contagious, and people will get excited when they see their leader excited.

Take Notice

As we shared previously, everyone is created with different passions and talents. Be observant. If one member of the team is particularly good at something, tell them. And give them projects that allow them to exercise that skill. The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling. When you put your talents and work together, you can find passion and fulfillment in your job. It also doesn’t have to directly relate to your position. If you love that your company sponsors an organization, and you are good at event planning, then organize a work fundraiser. If you can write and love the company’s culture, then write an article for the internal newsletter. And if you can’t align your passions with your current position, then look for other job opportunities. If you’re following your passion, you’ll stick with it better when the going gets tough.