There’s probably no more valuable an asset for an organization than a passionate leader. Passion is a profound feeling of positivity for something that is deeply and personally meaningful. Passion is more than just a thought. Passion is about vision. What’s more, passion inspires others to join and identify with your vision.
Nobody has ever been inspired by a leader who was not passionate. Passion, or a lack of it, is highly contagious and flows from the top-down. If an organization ever hopes to have a passionate, inspired, and highly productive workforce, it needs an equally passionate HR leader. So, how can you spot a passionate leader, and how can you become one?
When you boil down to it, passion can be defined by three basic but powerful elements. These are energy, emotion, and conviction.
The first and most obvious sign of a passionate HR leader is energy. People will naturally be drawn to a passionate and charismatic leader’s drive and resolve. This is what psychologists call emotional contagion. As a leader, your positive and negative moods will influence other people around you.
Passionate HR leaders, however, are almost always shrouded in a veil of positive energy, which generates a virtuous cycle of optimism, collaboration, drive, and increased productivity. However, there is a caveat to how much energy people around passionate leaders can absorb before they reject it completely.
For instance, say you’re giving an impassioned speech to a group of burned-out, frustrated, and highly-dissatisfied employees, hoping to inspire them and boost their engagement levels. What do you think will happen? Well, nine times out of ten, they will react with cynicism and may even backfire on you. Though understandable and unfortunate, there’s a way around it.
When you’re speaking to people about what you’re passionate about, try calibrating your energy to match that of your listeners. Rate their energy level on a scale from one to ten, and aim to deliver your speech one or two levels above that. To project this energy during your speeches, you should speak with enthusiasm, smile authentically, use positive language, and use animated gestures to get your point across.
Talking about your passion and exhibiting the energy associated with it will allow people to see your emotions. In this scenario, they will also feel permitted to share theirs. When you want to appeal to another person’s emotions, stories are an excellent way of doing it.
They command attention, invoke the right emotions, trigger empathy, provide valuable lessons, and resonate at a more fundamental human level. All of these will help release oxytocin. When communicating with others, you can use emotions to tell engaging stories, make emotional appeals, and use emotion words.
Last but not least, conviction is a defining characteristic of passionate people. This trait shows your commitment and inspires and encourages others to join in your passion. Nonverbal cues are the primary way of communicating conviction. This is something incredibly hard to mimic, as there is no single aspect that works every time.
Various behaviors of nonverbal communication have different degrees of effectiveness based on the context of the situation. The important part here, however, is that your nonverbal cues align with the content of what you’re saying. Speaking with conviction means that you use simple language, smile when appropriate, display an open body language, and exude confidence.
For better or worse, HR leaders or otherwise will have a tough time imitating passion. That said, finding something to be passionate about is another matter entirely. In the end, it’s all about identifying something that you feel most passionate about and fashion your messages to fit around it. Everything else – energy, emotion, and conviction, will come naturally.
Committed to your success!