This is a guest post by Mike Myatt, author of the new book, Hacking Leadership.
Review any list of positive leadership traits and “passion” will undoubtedly rank near the top – rightly so. In most cases passion is an asset capable of carrying you through tough times, sharpening your perspective, revealing purpose, and helping you succeed in the face of overwhelming odds.
You’ll find no shortage of content describing the positive attributes of passion, but few examine the downside of passion, and trust me, there is a downside. On more than a few occasions I’ve witnessed passion run amok resulting in untold harm. Virtually any positive trait when taken to extremes, misunderstood and/or misapplied can quickly become a liability.
You’ll find no argument from me that passion can almost single-handedly propel leaders to new heights of success. History is littered with accounts of marginally talented individuals who have risen to greatness based upon little more than being passionate about the pursuit of their objective.
Passion creates a “refuse to lose” mentality which can enable the average person to move outside comfort zones, take-on greater risk, go the extra mile, and achieve phenomenal results. However it’s important to note the same trait which can propel you to the top can also send you over the edge of a cliff.
Passion is not aptitude, nor is it omnipotence, neither is it totally unique.
Just as there exists a very fine line between brilliance and insanity, there also exists a fine line between passion and many negative traits such as narrow-mindedness, narcissism, fanaticism, delusion, and even paranoia. For instance, there is a big difference in a leader who is passionate about their business, and one that is emotionally over-invested in their business.
Passion which is balanced by perspective and reason can reveal purpose, but passion absent those filters can just as easily impede purpose.
Hacking the passion gap requires a healthy passion for one’s business which actually brings focus and clarity of thought, which serve to accelerate growth and create sustainable success. However, being emotionally over-invested in one’s business can lead to irrational decision making, prideful or ego-driven actions, the use of flawed business logic, and poor execution. I explore these ideas and more in my new book Hacking Leadership and also provide some very practical ways to harness your passion to close gaps in your business.
Mike Myatt is America’s Top CEO Coach, recognized by Thinkers50 as a global authority on the topic of leadership, a Forbes leadership columnist, author of Leadership Matters, and CEO at N2growth. His new book, Hacking Leadership: The 11 Gaps Every Business Needs to Close and the Secrets to Closing Them Quickly, is available on Amazon.