As water is the substance of life, so character is the substance of leadership. The sun provides light making it possible for us to see where we are going. Therefore, leadership needs vision, vision to see where we are going. As well, a leader’s vision makes it possible for others to see where they are going. Water / character and sun / vision are two essentials to life and leadership.
Another essential to life is enzymes. Enzymes are essential because they are the digestive agent in all natural foods. They aid in the digestive process, but there are also enzymes involved in working to build and stabilize our immune system. Pam Omidyar, founder of HopeLab, claims we should all be enzymes. “Enzymes are the catalysts that make possible biochemical reactions. Enzymes increase the rate of a reaction, but are not themselves consumed by the reaction…In short, enzymes are nature’s activists.”
As enzymes are essential to life, the nature of enzymes describes another essential to leadership…passion. In fact leadership has been defined as “people who leave their footprints in their areas of passion,” Jonathan Byrnes. Passion is the fuel for leadership vision. Passion is the activist behind the achievement of goals. Passion changes lives. In reality, how can a leader change the lives of others if their own life has not first been changed? Byrnes continues to describe eight characteristics needed to make paradigmatic change.
Ask yourself, “what am I passionate about in life and work?” There should be something exciting about waking up each day. When was the last time you could not sleep because of something you were excited about? John Maxwell reminds us, “a leader with great passion and few skills always outperforms a leader with great skills and no passion.” Passion is the driving motivation within leaders. Passion gets them up and moves them ahead.
Apathy and indifference destroy passionate leadership. The Bible reminds us of the dangers and consequences of both. Jesus addressed the nature of this problem with the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22. The result of the Laodicean attitude created self-reliance and a blindness to their own true needs. Because the Laodiceans were so lukewarm, Jesus said, “I will vomit you out of my mouth,” (v. 16).
John Wesley said, “when you set yourself on fire, people will come to watch you burn.” Give it some thought! If you and I are going to be the activist as leaders, passion is a must. How can you and I have the kind of passion to bring success to leadership?
1. Set yourself on fire. Determine what it is you really like. It is difficult, if not impossible, to have and enjoy success in leadership without doing what you really like. What could you not stop doing regardless of the consequences? Passion is the difference maker in your life and it will make a difference in the lives of others.
2. Crank up the heat. What can you spend hours and hours working on and never get tired of doing? The answer will be found in the areas surrounding what you really like to do above anything else. When you fan this flame the impossibility factor is removed.
3. Find passionate people. Passion is contagious. Spend time with passionate people and be infected by their influence.
4. Share it with others. Light the fire in others. Share and inspire others with the passion driving your life.
5 comments on “Essentials To Leadership #3”
5. Don’t confuse passion with obsession. Love your passion as an element of life, let it shape your life without ruling it. The obsessed cannot share because they want it all. They cling to it as it is and suffocate it to prevent it from growing and changing or if need be, letting it die.
Wow Mark. That is great. I intend to incorporate this as a part of my class I am teaching. Very good. One of the things I love about the leadership class and having the blog is how much more I am learning and able to include in my material to help the students as they prepare for ministry. Thanks again.
While I agree with Mark F that obsession can suffocate growth and at times create such myopathy that one can miss sources of input that feed growth. I also think it is a fine line to walk. Passion requires a small bit of obsession in order to avoid rabbit chases and distraction doesn’t it? I mean, real passion is focused – not exclusive and unteachable – but focused. The trick is to walk the line. Stay passionate, but don’t let it become obsessive.
Suggestion: You need to require your students to read this blog. Get them used to following a blog. Maybe even require that they make a thoughtful (not just “great post”) comment on a post.
As I work with Continuous Improvement Leaders around the world, passion is one of the main leadership traits that I look for. These leaders need to be able transform their organizations and without passion, they are not able to inspire their organization to change and improve. They may be great at getting the work done, but getting others to follow and then lead will be extremely difficult.
Passion is not measured by what you get done, but by what others get done because of you.
Paul, thanks for looking over the blog and thank you for the great statement about passion. It will definitely have a nice fit into my class. The last statement is one of the best I have read on passion. Thanks.