Passion is defined as a strong emotion or feeling about something. We all are passionate about things in our lives: our family, children, hobbies, and, hopefully, our careers. I read the book The Corner Office by Adam Bryant. The book captures the thoughts of numerous CEOs in many different industries.
Specifically, it is about how they not only advanced their own careers to that top spot, but also what they look for in hiring people and promoting people inside their organizations. One thing that came out was they all make attempts to share and show their passions and they look for passionate people to add to their teams. The people they want on their teams do not necessarily have to be passionate about the work (although that helps), but passionate about anything. Why? Because showing passion demonstrates to the CEOs the individual has some fire and drive inside them and this is what they want from the people on their teams.
We often think it’s only okay to be passionate at work about work-related items. But, that is not necessarily the case. Demonstrating you are passionate about, for example, coaching your daughter’s soccer team shows you have strong feelings and emotions you put forth towards something and that can translate into drive about work. Senior leaders look for enthusiasm in their employees because if employees are passionate about something, then leaders can tap into that energy. If the leaders are good, they will not only welcome your expression of these passions but also find a way to tap into those passions and leverage them in the workplace (and so should you).
For example, I have a client who is a CEO and knows one of his employees is extremely passionate about the environment. Although this employee’s role as Marketing Director does not primarily deal with the environmental arena, the CEO tapped into that passion by allowing her to lead the company’s “Green” effort. Her enthusiasm about this topic spread across the organization and community leaders recognized them for their efforts. If she had never expressed her enthusiasm about helping the environment to her CEO, their efforts and recognition in the community might not have happened.
Some people are not comfortable expressing their eagerness or excitement at work about things that do not relate to their work and that is often because they have never done it. In these cases, it helps to start small. Taking small steps to share your passions with those you work with will give you the comfort level to start sharing more. And when you start sharing more, people around you will likely become more enthusiastic about what you’re sharing because your enthusiasm will be contagious. Many of the CEOs in Adam Bryant’s book said they like being around people who are enthusiastic about different subjects and who demonstrate their passions; those are the people they want on their team. So, what are you enthusiastic about? Share it and watch what happens. I’d bet others would pick up on your passion and joy and want you on their team as well.
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