Passion – it could be a most positive factor in the workplace, BUT it could also be extremely detrimental.
Passion – “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.” (Source).
Passion might be the most overused and misleading word to describes one’s professional mentality. Heck, I often describe myself as passionate, especially as I just went through a number of job interviews.
But I also want you to beware of passion. The type of passion that comes from a self-absorbed individual that is passionate about themselves. Passionate for their own advancement and individual goals. And this type of person can be found at every level in organizations.
So if we review the definition of passion above, I think the words “intense” and “driving” require further examination. When we look at the passion of a person in a professional setting, are we talking about a myopic individual that is close-minded and has an inability to a) take input and get insights for all people, and b) focuses on their own success and not the successes of the people they work with.
If you really want to add a key player to your team, find someone with passion. But most importantly find a person with the passion to make others around him or her wildly successful. This is key to developing a winning team. A championship team that drives strong profitable growth.
You might ask, how do I find passionate employees but at the same time know they are passionate team players as opposed to solo artists. I suggest you go through this line of questioning with them and ask:
- Are you passionate?
- What are you passionate about?
- Oh, and by the way, what does passion mean to you?
The first question is really a throwaway question and a setup. Would anyone actually answer that they are not passionate? The second question forces the individual to be subjective in their vision of passion. You get to find out areas of the individual’s passion and the magnitude of their passion in the fields they state. But the third question is the most important one. It feels like a casual off the cuff question to the recipient. But their answer is most telling. When they define passion, how self-focused is their answer versus team-focused?
I always believed I was a passionate person. But I have reassessed what passion really means as a result of various individuals I have worked for and with. I do believe that people automatically think passion in the workplace is a most positive attribute. But at the same time, it can be truly harmful. Make sure you understand the differences and build an awesome team.