Passionate leaders are intrinsically motivated and they care about not only their own development they care about the development of their team members. Sometimes leaders view passionate leadership as something that is extroverted, or even sometimes coercive.
Passionate leaders genuinely care about others. They realise that if their teams are high performing, they are high performing. Members of their teams know that their leaders care about them because they show it consistently. These leaders pay attention to the well-being of their staff, making decisions that demonstrate empathy without being seen as a push-over.
Passionate leaders build trust through honesty. They refrain from practicing blunt honesty which can be unproductive. They also avoid being so tactful that their ideas, or requests are not perceived clearly instead, their honesty is respectful and authentic, leaving persons inspired to improve.
Passionate leaders practice adaptive leadership, effectively changing how they communicate based on who they are communicating with. Passionate leaders understand their value systems and whether their personal values are aligned with the values of the company. When there is incongruence between the two, these leaders recognize it and are willing to take corrective action, not allowing themselves to settle for less.
Passionate leaders communicate in a way that supports members of the team. They are open to other points of view and not just because of the optics. They sincerely invite others to share their opinions encouraging divergent views. Not only do they genuinely want to hear different ideas, they are willing to integrate the new information into the final solution.
Based on my experience, one of the most significant indicators of passionate leadership is the ability of these leaders to maintain their commitment in light of multiple obstacles even over long periods of time. They are resourceful and optimistic because their commitment comes from deep within based on an understanding of what is important to them.
Sometimes leaders mistake passionate leadership with emotional communication, coercive acts, argumentative behaviours, or even anger. I have witnessed multiple persons, whether they are leaders or not, using the word passionate to describe behaviour that appears to be largely angry, using competitive language and behaviours that do not support relationship building. When overpowering, aggressive interactions are being confused with passionate ones, the team is impacted in a way that does not set the stage for safe communication, empathy or most importantly, trust.
Passionate leaders celebrate others. They understand the power of recognizing members of their teams for their achievements in ways that motivate them deeply. These leaders recognize persons by giving specific examples of the desired behaviours, and by understanding the immediacy of recognizing action.
Passionate leaders are inclusive, able to diffuse latent conflict and more than willing to share information and knowledge. Their mantra is inclusivity and cohesion. They understand the importance of building and sustaining a well-connected, high performing team so they take assertive action to achieve this.
Passionate leaders are optimistic. They not only generate enthusiasm, commitment and creativity, they sustain these qualities over time even when faced with setbacks.
Passionate leaders drive the vision of the organization and when others share their passion for the vision, this builds momentum.
Intrinsic motivation, passion and optimism are attractive. I have a colleague who started a thriving book business from the trunk of his car. He grew his business significantly because he is an avid reader who is passionate about books. In the early days, he used to stand next to his car and with great enthusiasm, talk about what he loved about the books while giving away just enough about the book.
His authentic excitement continues to draw his clients into conversations in a way that they do not feel coerced into buying, instead, they are inspired to purchase books from him. So as you can see, true passion is attractive, especially when it is enthusiastic and respectful.