12 Most Electrifying Ways Leaders Can Unleash Employee Passion
What does it mean to unleash employee passion?
To start, it doesn’t mean letting employees run amuck and do whatever they want. It does mean, however, spending time learning about what your employees’ aspirations are. It means spending time deepening your relationship with employees. It means paying attention to the work environment and doing what you can to remove blocks to passion.
To unleash employee passion, be diligent in reducing activities that interfere with getting to work that matters. This doesn’t mean you need to eliminate mundane work tasks.
Here’s a rule of thumb to help guide your leadership acts: lead so that your team can contribute their best work while working with you. This list covers ways to help make that happen.
1. Know what’s on their plate
Understand the work load employees carry. This doesn’t mean you should micromanage them. You want to look for who or what is robbing their time. Then discuss your concerns and coach employees to overcome the “time robbers”.
Passion withers away when stress dominates.
2. Create good news
The amount of crappy news today acts like a giant vacuum sucking up passion. Passion can be unleashed despite such abysmal news. You can release passion in others by sharing good news from the journey to reach noble outcomes linked to the team’s bigger purpose or company goals.
3. Refresh or create a team purpose statement
Teams lose sight of their purpose. Too often it’s assumed and not discussed. Unleash passion by co-creating a team purpose statement. Spend time identifying ways to know the purpose is alive. Agree on roles the team plays in pursuing their purpose. Make sure related traditions are shared with new team members. Keep it organic.
4. Exposure to collaborators
Silos are byproducts of organizational design and poor management decisions. Silos are passion suckers. Bust silos by connecting employees’ ideas to decision makers across the company. Plug employees into projects that let them use their talents or sharpen their saw. Remember that inclusion is a powerful invitation that encourages us to show others what we’re made of.
5. Development assignments
Two of my go-to leadership experts, Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger of Lominger International, advocate a better approach to developing talent: 70% development assignments and 30% learning solutions. Most companies and leaders reverse the percentages. When people are learning from development assignments and seeing results, passion for work will increase.
6. Create optimism
Leaders create optimism in the workplace by providing an environment that lets passion surface. Leaders should make way for employees to use their talents to do good work. They must redefine the relationships as collaborative and dismantle the rigid hierarchical beliefs that treat employees as cogs in a wheel.
7. Leverage strengths
Do you know what you’re good at? What about your employees? Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton have raised awareness of this leadership belief. When we can apply our strengths to our work, passion goes up. The strengths view is made stronger when we ditch the limitations of title or role. Instead we look at what people are good at and plug them into work where they can excel.
8. Ditch work-life-balance
Work life balance is a fruitless pursuit. Balance implies some equilibrium between the two worlds. Instead adopt an Integrated Life Philosophy. The Integrated Life Philosophy challenges leaders to honor the role employees hold and to understand that when each role is tended to, the quality of work and dedication is likely to increase. It’s an acknowledgement that we are all masters of our destiny and taps into the freedom inherit in the belief.
9. Meaningful work
Employees want work that matters. Pile on mundane work that doesn’t develop their talents, you’ll get bored employees who stay and shut down, leave, or bug you until you make a change. None of these are acceptable if you’re interested in leading effectively.
10. Cut the BS
Employees can smell BS a mile away. Be honest about company news. If you can’t share what’s going on, tell them so. Show them that you will keep them informed. If you have hard feedback to give, don’t water it down by “playing safe.” Passion thrives in the trust and honesty of relationships.
11. 15 minute & 30 minute meetings
Create more time for employees to do work that matters. Master the art of meeting brevity. 15 minute update/download meetings are great. Set a standard for 30 minute meetings. Start, end on time. Don’t reward late comers. Let passion surface in doing the work, not talking about it.
12. Expand where work can be done
With the wide availability of mobile devices and cloud solutions, work can be done anywhere. Let employees work in environments that best suit their working styles. Trust is key for those who struggle with this strong trend that dominates the top places to work.
Passion in the workplace is not the end goal leaders should pursue. Rather, leaders in the 21st century should aim to deepen relationships with employees and act as curators of an engaging workplace environment.
The passion will follow.