Working with Passion
Back when I was studying for my Pharmacy degree, as part of the course, we had to undertake extra studying to achieve our course credits. The options were limited, and like sheep, we all enrolled on to a course that on the face of it, had nothing to do with Pharmacy, healthcare or anything remotely related.
The lectures regarding this course were all to be held in another block, away from the main campus. This summed everything up about the situation. The course was a complete detachment from what we were there to achieve, we were ticking boxes and everyone in the class knew it. I remember as we sat there in the lecture theatre on the first day of the course, something strange occurred; this very excited and bright-eyed professor walked into the room and began talking. There’s nothing stranger about that, as that’s what Professors do. The element of strangeness related to what happened to us. To say that we were annoyed at having to take this subject was an understatement. Initially, it felt quite comical as this professor looked so delighted to have so many students signing up to his classes – clearly no one had informed him about the way the credit system worked!
How do you go about turning someone’s mood around? Imagine being upset, fed-up, even frustrated. What would others have to do and what lengths would they have to go to, to help you ‘snap-out’ of that mindset? Would they even bother and what would be the point for them? This Professor who started the lecture with enthusiasm and energy had a very rare gift. He loved what he did – I mean really loved what he did! This shone through, through his eyes, his smile, his mannerisms – everything! He was like a fizzy-drink bottle that had been shaken vigorously and was waiting to burst. Within minutes he had what he believed he had when he walked in - a lecture room full of students, fascinated with his subject, and pleased they were there.
Within organisations, not everything we need to achieve is glamorous or exciting. Not everything makes sense and not everything goes as planned. The role of leaders is to excite, to engage, clarify and translate. ‘Oh, but wait’, I hear you cry – ‘is there no responsibility upon colleagues to be engaged?’. Of course there is, but just like my final year of my Pharmacy degree, we were not engaged, we didn’t want to be there, and it was, as far as we were concerned, a complete waste of time, because we couldn’t see the point, other than to get our credits. This Professor showed us the value, the importance and the fascination with a subject that he loved dearly.
Passion isn’t a word often used at work – how can we get passionate about work? We usually save our passion for our ‘real’ lives, the lives we live when we get out of work. As leaders, if we have no passion for our own work, how are we going to get others to be passionate about it? So, ask yourself, what would need to happen for you to develop a mindset to be passionate about your work, and excite others too? Imagine what work would be like if we could unlock everyone’s passion…
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