Sunday, 1 July 2012

Are you a chicken or a pig?

Leaders with passion inspire a similar response on their part of their staff. 

These leaders are passionate about their work and this passion evokes an emotional response on the part of their team.  The response is not directed towards the leader. But rather it is an emotional response to the goal.  The individuals on the team become invested in the successful achievement of the objective and this is a reflection of the passion modeled by the leader.  Call it pride of accomplishment; a willingness to go the extra mile; that 'never say die' attitude.  Regardless of how you choose to define it, it boils down to a commitment to the goal that is evidenced by a higher level of personal devotion than might otherwise be anticipated.
Think about times when your leader has failed to have a passion towards the team’s objective.  How did that impact your commitment?  How willing were you to search for the answers or make the effort to overcome a particular challenge when the one most responsible for the outcome chose only to be involved in the efforts.

A passionate leader is a committed leader.  The difference between commitment and involvement is best defined by the story about the breakfast of bacon and eggs.  In this analogy  the chicken is involved.  But the pig... the pig is committed. 

When a leader lacks passion, the results are predictable.  The opposite of passion is not hate.  Rather, it is indifference.
And it is this attitude, perhaps more than any other, which will sap the enthusiasm out of a team faster than anything. 

When there is conflict amongst team members, at least there is an emotional response happening.  And the response indicates that people care about the outcome.  The issue then becomes one of channeling the emotion in the right direction.  Not unlike the experience of many entertainers who relate that they have butterflies before a performance.  What they have mastered is the art of having them fly in formation.

In a like manner, the inspirational leader will harness the passion of the team and focus it on the achievement of the goal.  For a time it may seem like a task not unlike herding cats.  But this is far preferable to trying to manufacture interest where none exists.  It is always easier to steer a course when you are moving than when you have not yet overcome inertia.

Be passionate but be real.  Remember that one of the aspects of a noble goal is that it is achievable.  If you have taken an unrealistic appraisal of the situation and the goal is truly not achievable, then grab hold to reality.  Your staff will have already acknowledged the situation and they are simply waiting for you to catch up so that a new strategy can be defined.  Any false bravado will simply erode their confidence in your judgement.

So be passionate, be committed, but be real!

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