“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.”
This post was co-written by Col Albers and his friend/mentor, Joe Scrivner. For more on Joe Scrivner, please see the bio posted at the bottom of this article.
Legendary Dallas Cowboys head coach, Tom Landry, once said “Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.” Obviously this is easier said than done! To accomplish this end, a leader must not only personally lead with passion, but also stir the passion within those who follow. So what comes to mind when you hear that a leader must be passionate? Do you think of heart felt speeches and emotional expression? We assure you, there is way more to Passionate Leadership than that.
The original definition of the word passion literally meant “suffering or hurt”. Specifically, passion is the willingness to suffer to accomplish a cause. Certainly you are passionate about your spouse and children and would endure excruciating circumstances to ensure their safety and provision. But what about your team? Do you lead out of a deep concern for the benefit of your team and organization? Leaders at all levels are often passionate about what they do and why they do it. But what about “who” you do it with and for? Being passionate about what your company does is important. But there is an even more critical component to your passion and your work. People.
While being passionate about your mission is critical, the people involved are the key element in the mission’s success. As a leader, you are in place to bring out the best in all of those around you. Epic leaders of passion like William Wallace or Sir Winston Churchill inspired the masses due to the synergistic power of shared suffering and deep concern. They shared blood, sweat, and tears with those who believed and served in their cause — And their men would run through a wall for them. Big question: Would your team run through a wall for you? Do they know you are in the fight with them and have their back and best interest at heart? Or do they think you are out for your own best interests? Ouch. These are challenging questions no doubt. But if you will answer them honestly and make changes a massive victory lies on the other side of them.
As a leader, your company and team, regardless of size or construct, deserves your best. In fact, your boss put you there because she believed you could bring your best. But your boss put you there not to just bring your best – but bring out the best in everyone else as well. A core element of your leadership tool bag has to be passion – for your people. Get to know your people. Ask questions. Be transparent and invest in them. Hear them. Trust them with your cause and watch them rise to new heights in performance. Pete Blaber, in his book, “The Mission, The Men, and Me” summed it up perfectly. When making decisions as a leader, regardless of context, you run the courses of action through the filter of the mission, the men, and then yourself. When you lead this way, your team will know that you are passionate about the mission and more importantly them and that in turn will motivate and inspire them to do more. When that happens the whole team, including you, wins. Mission accomplished!
About Col Alber’s co-author, Joel Scrivner: Joel is a 6th degree black belt, former six-time national and four-time world champion martial artist turned pastor/author/coach and international speaker. Combining his fighting and faith, Joel discovered the secret for translating the psyche, skill set, and disciplines of a world-class fighter into every other facet of life, a system he calls: WINology.
Called a modern-day “warrior poet” with a deep love for mankind, Joel has dedicated his life to helping others learn to do the same and, subsequently, win in life at the highest levels. Joel resides in North Texas with his wife and college sweetheart, Jennifer, and their daughters, Sydney and Blakely.