Leadership e-Tip 5: What Is Passion in the Workplace?

As an associate with Integro Leadership Institute I would like to share these thoughts about leadership by all employees.

What is passion in the workplace? It is employees who are focused, committed, and willing to go to extreme lengths to fulfill their responsibilities every day! People don’t become passionate without reason. They become passionate about doing things that are both emotionally satisfying and that they see as significant, worthwhile or meaningful. In other words, there are some basic human needs that, when satisfied, will bring out the passion in any individual.

That is the foundation of the Passion Pyramid. The pyramid identifies these five human needs, the leadership skills needed to create the conditions to satisfy each need, and then describes the outcome or payoff to the organization for satisfying the need.


Level 1 – The Need for Respect

It is almost as basic a human need as oxygen – everyone needs respect. And yet so many leaders unintentionally treat their team members with disrespect. People don’t feel respected if they are not listened to; when decisions that affect them are made without their input; when they are not compensated fairly; or when their need for a career/family balance is dismissed. The leadership skills required here are basic People Skills: building trust, solving problems, facilitating change and satisfying needs.

Level 2 – The Need to Learn and Grow

This need is as natural as it is for a baby to need to get up and walk. We are born with an innate curiosity that drives the desire to learn, unless that desire has been extinguished by life experiences. Even then, the thirst for knowledge and new experiences can be reignited by a leader who is skillful at Coaching, Counseling and Mentoring. These skills bring a significant return to the organization as employees become more talented and productive.

Level 3 – The Need to be an “Insider”

Insiders have a strong emotional connection to the organization. They know they’re part of the team; they feel valued and involved. Exceptional Leaders value the unique differences each team member brings to the team, encourage their participation in problem solving and decision-making, and involve them in looking for ways to improve performance.

Level 4 – The Need for Meaning

Meaning comes from knowing we are doing something worthwhile – that we are “making the world a better place” for others. When employees understand the purpose of their work and how it makes a difference to others, they reach a higher level of engagement and commitment. The leader can play an important role in satisfying this need by ensuring every team member aligns the purpose of their role with the purpose of the organization, and aligning their personal values with the organization’s core values.

Level 5 – The Need to be on a Winning Team

The term team spirit says it all. When a team works together so well they outperform even their own expectations, passion is a natural outcome. The ability to bring a group of people together and turn them into a high performance team is a skill all leaders should have. But really, that skill is the combination of all of the leadership skills described on the Passion Pyramid. It takes time to develop these skills and conscious effort to continue to use them to build that high performance team.

Underlying the successful application of these leadership skills is the leader’s ability to see their team members’ needs to be at least as important as their own needs. In fact, by putting your own needs aside and focusing on the needs of your team members, your own needs will be met to a much higher level than if you were to just focus on your own needs.

How would your organization look if all your employees were focused, committed, and willing to go to extreme lengths to fulfill their responsibilities every day?

Your passion will be highest when the needs that are most important to you are being fully satisfied by your organization, manager, or team.

Please feel free to send this information and Passion Index link to a friend / coworker.