Passion is a somewhat unexplainable phenomenon attributed to being all in on an idea or belief. A passionate person sees the big picture and has bought in to the importance of every step that leads to achieving a goal. Passionate people are engaging and contagious. Yet, some workers have reserved passion as merely a personal characteristic, not letting passion seep into their workspace.
In the U.S. and Canada, only 29% of employees are engaged at work, with 18% actively disengaged, according to Gallup. If engagement is tied to passion in the workplace, where are all the passionate people who are in love with their jobs? According to a recent Refresh Leadership poll, 26% of respondents said engagement and meaningful work is the number one factor contributing to job satisfaction. If the number one factor of job satisfaction is engaging or meaningful work and only about a third of the workforce is engaged in their current positions, there is a disconnect between how the majority of workers view their jobs.
Disengaged workers need motivation from their leaders, and it’s important to help your employees see how their work fits into the big picture. From manual laborers to mechanical engineers and public servants to private entrepreneurs, it’s imperative workers understand their work is necessary to meet the end goal for the company. If your team knows how much you value every aspect of their job, they will be that much more proud of what they do and passionate about their role in the company’s mission.
So, how do you inspire employees to be passionate about what they do? Simply put, it all comes down to you. You need to focus on communicating the importance of every task, living out a passionate life at work, and encouraging your team to communicate how they feel certain aspects of the job should be completed.
Communicate Job Importance
Every facet of a business is important in achieving the goals and the overall purpose of a company. It’s important to explain to your team how their day-to-day tasks affect the big picture. For example, if an employee’s job is to populate data reports, don’t just sell the importance of the task, sell the importance the numbers have on understanding how the company is helping others and if it is reaching its goal to be a positive force in the community. It’s important to know what the purpose of the company is before you can communicate to your team how they affect it. Simply saying “your work helps the company make money” isn’t enough. Explaining the “why” to your employees makes delegating the “what, when, and how” that much easier.
Your team is looking to you for inspiration. They see you on your best days when you’re a beacon of hope and insight, and they see you on your worst days when you seem bossy or disconnected. When you spend at least 40 hours a week with people, your best and worst are going to come to the surface. It’s important that, regardless of how you feel, you are perceived as passionate about the company’s vision. Renowned leader and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz once said he isn’t passionate about coffee; he’s passionate about “building a company that treats people with dignity and respect.” According to Schultz, coffee is the product they produce, but not necessarily what business they are in. Once you decide what “business” you’re in, display it passionately every day. Live it.
Encourage Open Communication
One of the best ways to develop a team that loves their work is to develop a culture of open communication in the office. Leaders who are approachable and open to others’ opinions are more likely to create an environment full of free-thinking, engaged employees. J.W. “Bill” Marriott, executive chairman and former CEO of Marriott International, explained in an article how four words spoken to him by then U.S. President Eisenhower changed his view on leadership. Bill, at the time a young student of the U.S. Navy Supply Corps School, asked the president what he wanted to do, and Ike responded, “What do you think, Bill?” According to Marriott, the phrase “What do you think?” is key to good leadership. Employees want to know they are heard and their voice has the power to affect change. Those who know they have a voice are more likely to see their work as meaningful.
Engaged employees are passionate employees, and being passionate about the work they do is key for your team to fall in love with their jobs. Having a team of professionals who love their jobs isn’t a nice-to-have—it’s a must have to achieve your company’s goals. Make passion the key to your company culture and you will breed excellence in all aspects of your service.
How do you inspire passion in your employees? What steps have you taken to ensure your team loves their jobs? Let us know in the comments section below!
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