Successful followers care passionately about their work and the people it serves. They have a sense of ownership, of stewardship. If something happens, it is happening to what they are responsible for. When followers and leaders share a passion for the work, they can be full partners in it. Unless we match a leader’s passion, it is difficult to become more than a junior partner.
We can be passionate for the overall work and also for whatever role we have within it. When the clerk in charge of a supply room or publications stock maintains a beautifully organized facility that smoothly supports the rest of the organization, professional pride shines through. Appreciating the uniqueness of a role and its impact permits us to imbue the role with the energy needed to multiply our contribution.
Passion cannot be manufactured or faked. It springs from genuine connection to the common purpose. It may be clouded by setbacks to that purpose, but is always available to be retapped. Courageous followers are not content to accept a loss of passion as “normal.” They ask themselves and others tough questions that can reignite passion:
Does the organization’s sense of purpose need renewing?
Have we personally lost touch with the shared purpose and vision of the organization?
What is our own vision of fulfillment?
How does our current role allow us to achieve this?
How does our current role position us to achieve even greater fulfillment in the future?
Are frustrations in accomplishing our current role blocking our passion?
Are relationship issues with the leader or other group members blocking our passion?
Are we ready for more responsibility and do we need to make this readiness known?
Restoring passion reconnects us with our power. Without passion we cannot excel. By excelling we fulfill ourselves and earn the right to help shape the organization’s future. Armchair critics have little influence with the leader and group whereas team members passionately fulfilling their role can weigh in heavily.