Passionate Leadership

Illumine Training - Parts of the brain

Connect 2014, London

If you are on this page, it is likely that you attended the recent Connect event in London. I hope you enjoyed the event and if you went along to Clive Lewis’s presentation on Passionate Leadership, we hope that you enjoyed it and found it thought-provoking.

The model of passion in the workplace that Clive presented is based on in-depth research into the nature and components of passion – or engagement – at work. There are some tips below for sustaining passion at work, but first a quick reminder of the model and how it came about.

The research into the nature and components of passion led directly to a new definition of passion at work, together with a unique model that elegantly describes the components of passion at work and how they work together:

“Passion at work is what we feel when we are doing meaningful work that makes us feel better about ourselves at a pace that feels like real progress”

Passion model

Meaning can come from the product or the process of what we are doing at work. Progress is only really progress if it feels that way to us. And of course what is meaningful to us and what constitutes a valid signal of progress is different for every person.

The model forms the basis of a journey for individuals to understand and take responsibility for, meaning and progress in their working lives and for leaders to create the conditions where passion can flow for their followers and for themselves.

Of course, as well as identifying PassionFlow™ as being the combination of high levels of meaning and high feelings of progress, the research also identified lots of other ‘states’ that are definitely not passion, including: griping, dreaming, coasting and obsessing. On a PassionWorks!™ workshop you will be able to explore how to move yourself and your people from some of these positions to the desired PassionFlow™.

About the PassionWorks!™ Research and Book

The book, PassionWorks!™ – your guide to passion in the modern workplace was researched and written by David Jones, based on in-depth interviews with over 200 people from Europe and North America who were passionate about their work. The objective was to understand passion at work and from the research a uniquely practical model of how passion operates, was developed. David had started out with the firm belief that there had to be more to passion and engagement, than ‘I love my job’. His research confirmed that passion is dependent on the combination of doing work that has real meaning for the person doing it, and a feeling that real progress is being made. Furthermore the model identifies eight specific ‘non-passion’ states and shows you how to move people (yourself, your team) to a positive, productive state.

What next?

Why not talk to us about how the PassionWorks™ approach could help you and your team to become (or stay) passionate and engaged. The benefits are obvious but knowing how to achieve them is not! Contact one of our friendly team to find out more, discuss your needs, or to arrange a no-obligation discussion with one of our consultants. Contact us.



5 Tips for Sustaining Your PassionFlow™

Tip 1 Take 1 Minute
Never underestimate the power of a minute to help stay clear and focused. Know your drivers of meaning. We are hardwired to care, to create, and to relate. Remind yourself, daily.

Take one minute right now and answer these questions:

  • What is most meaningful to me in my work?
  • What relationships matter the most?
  • What about my company’s mission or products gives me a sense of pride?
  • How do I use my knowledge, skills, and talents for good?
  • Which of my tasks or projects are necessary for the organization to function well? Or, help us move forward?
  • How do I add value or contribute in ways that are unique to me?
  • In what little (or big) ways do I make this a better place to work?
  • How do I live my personal values at work? How do I express them?

Just reminding yourself, will uplift you! It grounds you and allows you to keep a healthy perspective. It allows you not to sweat the small stuff but to be poised to leverage opportunities to support what matters most to you.

Tip 2 Notice What’s Working

It’s so easy to criticize others or the company. We can always find something that’s wrong with someone or something. Nothing’s perfect.

Your Colleagues
Being irritated or annoyed by others isn’t good for our own passion though so flip it! We all have our idiosyncrasies. We all have things to work on. So force yourself to notice what the other person also does well. Or, remind yourself of their strengths and positive traits. It helps you put what’s irritating you into a more balanced view. It diminishes the irritation (Notice I didn’t say takes it away!), sets a better foundation for future interactions; and, most importantly, keeps you out of serious griping and so automatically supports your health.

The Company

Focusing on how the company’s screwed something up will also drag you down. The company, because it’s people, will make mistakes: They won’t handle an issue well. They will make bad decisions. They will have stupid policies. Also true is that many things are working well and noticing these is equally, if not more, important.

Appreciating what is working and what’s “right” will go a long way to supporting your passion. Taking the good stuff for-granted is easy. Noticing what’s wrong is easy. Passionate people also train themselves to appreciate what’s working and what’s right with the world. Don’t misunderstand … passionate people are usually very realistic. But, realistic means seeing all what’s there, not just the stuff that frustrates you. Seeing all of reality not just the stuff that bugs you!

Tip 3 Persist
Persistence doesn’t get talked about very much. But, we have found it to be a core driver of action and progress, which we all need to feel passionate. Refusing to give up or let go is sometimes necessary to sustaining our passion at work. However, this doesn’t have to mean we become a pain for others! Being persistent can take on many forms. For example:

  • Find a new way, a different path, to the same end. Be creative. Seek alternatives.
  • Discipline yourself to do the grunt work so you can see the great result.
  • Advocate for what you think is important. Talk to lots of people at various times. Spread the word! Trust that the right person will come along to support you.

Persistence means that you’re willing to invest time and effort into something you believe in or care about. It means accepting that sometimes things don’t come easily and are not always fun but are, at the end of the day, worth it!

Persistence means you believe in your ability to succeed….ultimately.  The more often you persist and demonstrate your capabilities, the more your confidence and self-esteem will grow. You will begin to create a virtuous cycle which will hold your passion fast, even in tough times.

Tip 4 Take Initiative

Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to support what’s meaningful. First of all, keep your drivers top of mind. They ground you in what matters most. With these drivers at the forefront, look to create new initiatives or take new actions to directly support them:

  • Propose ideas for a new programme or product feature.
  • Suggest a way to improve your service.
  • Offer to improve a process that will help everyone work with greater impact.
  • Pay attention to people: Take a colleague to lunch or share a coffee break. Take time to check-in. Share good news.
  • Learn something new. Challenge yourself.
  • Create community: start a running team or a photography club at work. (Or any other extracurricular activity.)

We can’t sustain our passion at work by doing the same-old, same-old! We need to keep exploring ways to keep our drivers engaged and present. Passion doesn’t thrive where there is complacency and passivity. To sustain passion means to stay curious, to play, to involve our hearts and minds and to challenge ourselves.

Tip 5 Pull back
This may sound like a contradiction of Tip #4. Well, there is a fine balance. It’s also easy to overdo it! We can start to care too much and do too much. A key to sustaining passion at work is to ensure we have enough time to engage in the work and activities that matter most to us. Yes, we need a challenge, but too much challenge creates anxiety and can throw off our work-life balance.

It’s key to know where to invest time and effort and when to say no or when “enough is good enough.” We can’t keep adding to our “to do” list. We can’t keep adding on more and more projects. Our energy has its limits. What we can do, is recognize what work or activities truly add value and ensure we protect them. It’s easy to say yes to everything; it’s much harder to know when and how to say no. In other words, it’s as important to know what to stop doing as it is to know what to start doing.  We need to consciously choose both.

Interested? Like to find out more? Please contact us. We’d be very pleased to tell you more about this approach and find out more about your needs.

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