A survey of more than seven thousand American workers found that only 45 percent of workers say they are satisfied or extremely satisfied with their jobs. “At the same time, a much lower number actually feel very ‘engaged’ by their jobs. Only 20 percent feel very passionate about their jobs; less than 15 percent agree that they feel strongly energized by their work; and only 31 percent (strongly or moderately) believe that their employer inspires the best in them.”1
The vast majority of the American workforce does not feel passionate about what they do and does not feel inspired by their bosses. You can be a different kind of leader, one that inspires passion. Kevin and Jackie Freiberg talk about six reasons why passion in the workplace is so important:
- Passion intensifies our focus.
- Passion enables innovation and creativity.
- Passion provides the drive to persevere, to avoid cutting corners, and to pursue excellence.
- Passion creates energy among colleagues that allows work to be completed more quickly.
- Passion helps people deal with fear.
- Passion makes employees want to stay in their jobs and contribute even when they’re not feeling their best.2
Leaders, communicate your vision; make everyone around you see, taste, and feel it. Make it irresistible. Use words and pictures. Use music. Move as you speak. Do not stop until each team member is inspired and filled with the desire to make the dream a reality.
Before I speak to an audience, I always remind myself of an important rule: Be a novel, not a newspaper. Newspapers are usually thrown away the next day. Novels may be reread and cherished for years. When I speak, people want more than newspaper headlines. They desire to know more than the basic facts. They want principles and stories that touch their five senses and emotions. They want to experience what I’m saying. The same is true of your staff. If you want them to understand and catch your passion, you’ve got to give them more than the facts. Tell them the story behind your excitement and they’ll begin to latch onto your vision.
As you describe your vision, take care to explain exactly how the dream can be reached. If your team does not clearly see how this can be done, the dream is merely smoke. Invite participation. You want your team to begin to think as one, with each member having input. When everyone is sharing their ideas, brainstorming, seizing on thoughts and theories and conceiving ways to put them into practice, you will have succeeded.
Adapted excerpt from: “Inspired People Produce Results” – Jeremy Kingsley, McGraw-Hill (2013)