Your passion isn’t as great as you think it is

I continue to be amazed that life is a never-ending journey of learning. I am presently reading a book entitled “The Power of Moments,” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. I read something that has given me a perspective that I never thought I would have; my passion is bad for my organization.
Like many of you, I am the founder of my company. I was passionate about my industry, so I started my own company. My passion lends an even stronger voice as its president. I get excited. My voice tone and body language get more animated. It must, right? I’m passionate! Wrong.
Passion is individualistic. If my passion isn’t yours, it will isolate your team. As I think back on my time as president, I have many examples of my passionate voice isolating some of my strongest leaders. They had ideas. They were good ideas. But they weren’t my ideas.
I liked the path they were on, but I immediately jumped to coming up with an idea that would be my own, thinking my idea must be better because I’m so passionate about what I do. Wrong. That’s me treating the most important leaders poorly.
Your job as a leader is to unite people. If you’re not careful, your passionate voice will cause your team to drift to chasing different passions.
What if your employees could only be strong on one trait — passion or purpose? Which would you have them choose?
Purpose trumps passion every time for me. I set out on a mission to have some one-on-one interaction with our employees. I wanted to know their purpose.
I asked, “Why have you chosen to be a security officer for your career?” Approximately 75 percent of the employees I spoke to responded, “I like keeping people safe.” Those employees have purpose. They are our top performers.
It made sense, because the other 25 percent gave answers that had no purpose directly related to their job. Spend time asking your employees what their purpose is. It will change how you lead your organization and who you choose to spend your time with.
Left brain vs. right brain
Have you ever seen the left brain vs. right brain diagram? We think passion is a good thing. Passion comes from our right brain, the hemisphere that is loaded with color. The left brain has no color at all because that is the hemisphere that is analytical and methodical.
In other words, purpose derives from the left brain and passion comes from the right brain. If you are not familiar with this theory, I suggest you get familiar with it. It will help you to better understand yourself, your people and how you can better lead your organization.
Identify the people who bring purpose to your organization. You will notice that those are the ones you count on. Ask their purpose and feed their souls.

If you do, you will have made them, yourself and your organization better.

Dennis W. Lejeck is founder and president of Black Knight Security