Valentine’s Day is around the corner, so I want to talk about PASSION… Passion at Work, that it! There is some debate about whether it is appropriate for people to show their emotions in the workplace.

  • One camp says “Passion at Work?? Heck No! Emotions have no place at work! We pay people to do their jobs. Emotions at work can become a distraction from productivity!”
  • Another camp says “Passion at Work?? Of course! Our employees are humans. Humans are emotional creatures. Stifling emotions at work can cause physiological and psychological problems which can become a distraction from productivity!”

Think about it.

Job satisfaction is an EMOTIONAL issue. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report, 60% of people are emotionally detached at work and 19% are miserable. In a word (or two): SUPER DISENGAGED. This is certainly a distraction from productivity!

When I talk about engaged employees, I envision people who are EMOTIONALLY committed to the company and its goals. They care about their work product, their teammates, and their company’s reputation – this sounds like Passion at Work.

Why is Passion at Work important?

I can give you five good reasons:

  1. Reduce absenteeism – If people feel good about their jobs, they show up!
  2. Increase productivity – When people are connected to their company’s mission, they work harder!
  3. Improve safety – Passion breeds focus, and focus reduces the likelihood of mistakes leading to injuries!
  4. Boost innovation and creativity – People experiencing higher levels of energy naturally have their “juices flowing”. Get them thinking about an exciting challenge, and watch the ideas percolate!
  5. Happier Customers – If people are engaged, they often think on behalf of customers (proactive problem solving) and create positive interactions with their customers.

What can YOU do to generate more Passion at Work?

  1. Manage your own Passion at Work – Practice and Model Emotional Intelligence. As leaders, we are always on stage. Therefore, our emotions are especially important. What we think, do and believe gets conveyed to our team. Become aware of your emotions as they come up. Name them (i.e. angry, disappointed, scared, excited, etc.). Decide how best to respond in that situation to bring about the most productive outcome. Proud? Talk about why! Furious? Perhaps take a deep breath or a brisk walk or scribble your frustration on a piece of paper that you then shred before engaging in the conversation. (Sometimes NOT expressing your emotion in the moment is the best course of action.)
  2. Build relationships with your team members. Really get to know your employees – what makes them tick, what are they passionate about in and outside of work, who is in their family, what are their career aspirations, what kinds of work do they find emerging or draining, what do they need from you to do their best work? These questions can help you create a motivating work environment for each person on your team.
  3. Communicate a Compelling Vision. Why does your team exist? Where are you going together? Get emotional about it! While some leaders hold a limiting belief that if they show any emotion, they will look weak, I think the opposite is true. When a leader shows emotion, they look human (relatable) and honest (more readily building trust with others). And when a leader expresses their passion and commitment, they can truly inspire and rally their teams around the work to be done!  

“If you want to build a ship, don’t gather your people and ask them to provide wood, prepare tools, and assign tasks. Call them together and raise in their minds the longing for the endless sea.”

–Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, writer and aviator.

Let’s generate more Passion at Work! Contact me for more ideas!