ICMA Publications / PM Magazine / January/February 2017

Passion in the New Year

Celebrate It


Source: calendars.com

by Jeff Davidson

Do you remember that first day when you assumed your current position? You were a little excited, maybe a little nervous, and chock-full of energy and ideas to make things happen. Your department or your organization was going to shine! Still feel that way?

What team within the same local government is more likely to be productive than another? A growing number of human resource professionals point to the passion that prevails. In his time-tested book The Passion Plan at Work, Richard Chang cites tangible benefits that an organization can derive as a result of the passion that its managers imbue upon the staff.

Attracting the right type of employee. Chang says:"The passion-driven organization appeals to the superstars of the job market."

Direction and focus. Passion can define the direction an organization takes whether at a regional or local level. The passion of your particular organization, department, or team is the filter through which all decisions are made.

Energy. When a manager is passionate about the organization, about his or her work, and about the organization's employees, everyone benefits. Staff can become supercharged.

On a daily basis, there is an extra level of energy that can empower the organization and often make a huge difference between merely getting the job done and performing with distinction.

Loyalty. Relationships with employees that are built on passion have a higher probability of succeeding. It's been found repeatedly that money is no substitute for the connection a manager can make with the staff, more so with a younger-aged staff.

Unity. When managers, team leaders, and employees share a common passion, they stand on common ground. "They are connected on a deeper level to achieving the organization's objectives," says Chang.

Each incident and each day may not go smoothly—this is not to say there won't be some friction here and there—but, overall, passion is a unifying element for which there is little substitute.

Heightened performance. Passion helps drive improvements in both quality and quantity of work that staff will perform. "If passion is alive and well at work," says Chang, "your organization has a clear advantage over its competitors."

Keep in Touch With Your Passion

On an individual basis, many managers can muster significant levels of passion when it comes to running an organization, serving residents, reaching goals, or completing a short-term campaign. The passion discussed here, though, involves making a leap from being a reason-based manager to one who is also a passion-driven manager (not that there's anything wrong with reason).

Too often, managers lose touch with the passions that they once drew upon to energize themselves and those around them. Chang says that when you reclarify what it is you want to achieve and find that your purpose is in alignment with your core passion, such passion will become a sustaining element of your work.

Influencing With Passion

Be on the lookout for what Chang calls "purpose by default." If your purpose fails to reflect your true, underlying passion, this can lead to a lack of focus and less-than-desirable performance on the part of you and your staff.

Any changes or additions to your daily routine should be incorporated on a gradual scale. You have to be careful; the novelty you might want to introduce could confuse others. Staff might not be able to accept or benefit from this new approach if you spring it on them too quickly.

Once your passion begins to take effect, you might find it easier to influence staff who seek to be involved with the energy that derives from your passion. Go ahead, ride the wave. We all know take-charge types who, with their positive and infectious attitudes, have been able to amass support from others with seemingly little effort.

Stay close to your passion, and diligently seek to preserve it. It's a new year, and there is no better time.

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Jeff Davidson is principal, Breathing Space® Institute, Raleigh, North Carolina (http://www.BreathingSpace.com%20 or Jeff@Breathingspace.com). An author and presenter on work-life balance, he holds the world's only registered trademark from the United States Patent and Trademark Office as "The Work-Life Balance Expert."®

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