Lead with Passion


September 2, 2011

Nashville Business Journal 


Passion is magnetic. Employees and customers gravitate to enthusiastic leaders who are genuinely excited about their job and their mission. Leaders who can show emotion become more real and human in everyone’s eyes. You earn the admiration of others when you show passion—whether that’s through a smile, a laugh, or even a cry. My advice is to find a variety of simple, sustainable ways to lead—and live—with passion.


Take an interest.

Lead in way that will make your employees look forward to seeing you. Start by carving out a little time to show a sincere interest in your employees by asking questions about family and interests. For example, follow up on a sick relative, a child’s ball game or a mother-in-law’s visit. Or get more actively involved with the work your team is doing—without becoming a micro-manager. Connect meaningfully with others by being genuine and always wearing a big smile. 


Engage with enthusiasm.

Engage equally enthusiastically with people outside your organization: customers, business partners and prospects. Whenever you can, try visiting a customer in-person—at their place of business—and inquiring about different aspects of their company. Most people are thrilled when others show interest in their organizations. 


Celebrate success. 

Be passionate about recognizing achievement. When an employee does something good, make a big deal of it. When a team achieves a milestone, celebrate in a creative way. The more unpredictable your celebration the more people will remember the event. Likewise, when you observe or hear about a customers’ success, find some way to show your admiration—call, write, or send a pizza, cake or flowers. Demonstrate your passion for the achievement of others, showing a deep sense of sincere appreciation for valuable accomplishments. 


Solve problems passionately. 

Passion works just as well in challenging times. When something goes wrong, focus on positive ways to rally others to solve the problem. Think of the dilemma as an opportunity to build an individual’s confidence as well as the camaraderie of the team. Passionately committed leaders do not place blame; they seek solutions.


People take notice when you demonstrate everyday passion in your role. When you are seen as a passionate, committed leader respect will quickly flow your way. 



Joe Scarlett, joe@joescarlett.com

Retired Chairman of Tractor Supply Company

Founder of the Scarlett Leadership Institute 

Comments and Discussion:

Barabara's comment

Posted Sep 11, 2011 at 4:07 PM by Joe Scarlett
Barabra -- Call me or attend one of our exec. ed programs. See Scarlettleadership.com


Posted Sep 11, 2011 at 2:23 PM by barbara
How do you instill the Passion, interest or enthusiasm to bring success to a manager that does not have any of these?


Posted Sep 7, 2011 at 8:51 AM by John Cerasuolo
Well said, Joe! Passion and optimism are definitely underappreciated aspects of a great leader. Ask anyone who works for a deadbeat!

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