A Good Leader Works with Passion

“If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A Good Leader Works with Passion

Many people talk about passion, but few of us really apply it to our job. Shouldn’t we, though? We spend almost as much time with our colleagues at work as we do with our families. Out of each twenty-four-hour period, we sleep for around eight hours, commute to work, put in at least another eight hours on the job, journey home, and enjoy what little time remains with our spouse, children and friends.


Many of us make a definite distinction between home and work. We would do practically anything for the benefit of our family. We feel this passion without even questioning its depth. But the other part of our lives, the working part, can be something else altogether. We want to do well because it means promotion and a raise, and this makes life better for our family, but many of us are not really passionate about it or about the colleagues with whom we spend so much of our days. We should be. Without passion for this integral part of our lives, we are sleepwalking through our days for the sake of the paycheck we receive. With passion, however, our self-respect and sense of self-worth grow, co-workers are encouraged, and we have more to give both at work and at home.


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. Here are just a few of the 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

I encourage you to look at your work with passion, with a sense of discovery and adventure. Explore the possibilities, implications, and ramifications. Relish the challenges. Greet them with the same passion you would a best friend from college you hadn’t seen for years. If you feel it, your teammates will too.



Adapted excerpt from: “Inspired People Produce Results” – Jeremy Kingsley, McGraw-Hill (2013)

1. “Passion at the Top—Apathy, Contempt for Managers,” PR Newswire, January 21, 2005, http://www2.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/01-21-2005/0002869774&EDATE.

2. Drs. Kevin and Jackie Freiberg, “Passion: Finding It in Your Life, Building It in Your Business,” Speakers Platform, http://www.speaking.com/articles_html/Drs.KevinandJackieFreiberg_854.html.

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