5 Keys to Passionate Leadership

5 Keys to Passionate Leadership

Recently, I was the guest on the “Green Apple Podcast” hosted by John Garrett. John calls himself the “Recovering CPA”. John is a CPA and a comedian. He worked for several years in accounting positions while working a side hustle as a stand-up comedian. Today, John is a speaker and podcast host that focuses on helping companies improve employee engagement while still giving the occasional stand-up show.

By highlighting employees, owners and leaders who share their outside of work passions, John is delivering a great message on the importance of employee engagement in leadership. I am a big fan of John’s work. Preparing for the show and giving the interview expanded my view on employee engagement. If you ‘d like to listen to my episode, click here.

Sharing your passions outside of work can only help build better relationships in the workplace. That led me to these points that influence my view on leading and employee engagement through a passionate belief in these 5 Keys.

  1. Be Yourself Everywhere: Oscar Wilde was quoted as saying “Be Yourself, everyone else is already taken”. Be the same person at work as you are away from work. Too many times I see people attempt to act differently in front of fellow employees and clients than they do on their own time. Stop it and be yourself! How can you create a true relationship and connection if you are hiding your most comfortable self? Of course, not everyone will be interested in what you do. Most people in our company don’t share my love of backpacking in mountains for several nights. However, the knowledge I am willing to share my adventures lets others know they have the freedom to share and be themselves.
  2. Team Over Self: Get to know each team member as a whole person. That means taking the time to get to learn what they enjoy doing outside of work, learn about their families, and learn what they are most passionate about. Allow your team the flexibility and time to do what they love – this can range from providing a flexible schedule, supporting a charity they love, or asking them to use their unique skills in the workplace. Discovering who a person is can open the door to bringing alternative skills into the workplace that you might not even realize you needed.
  3. Be Honest When It’s Tough: Don’t hold back views that are critical to growth just because people disagree with you. As a leader, you must learn to share your views in a positive way, even when they are opposite of the team. Also, don’t use passive aggressive behind-the-scenes manipulation to get your way. Being upfront, communicating your thoughts, and listening to others will develop trust, respect, personal growth and forward momentum for the entire team.
  4. Be a servant leader: Leadership is about taking care of others first. As a leader, part of your job is being willing to make sacrifices of time and energy to benefit your team. This will be easier to do if you’ve taken the steps to get to know your team on a more personal level. Making decisions that care for others will give you the greatest satisfaction imaginable.
  5. Show How Much You Love What You Do: Well-known “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe advocates to not pursue your career passion above all else. I agree with Mike, be passionate about the work you are doing. The opportunity to pursue what may be more in line with your long-term desires comes when you learn to pour your effort into the job you have while learning, studying and preparing yourself for bigger and better times. As a college student, my passion was to become a CEO of a company and not work in an accounting and consulting firm. As an accounting major, I felt the education I was obtaining gave me a strong chance to achieve my dream. Along the way, I found I had a passion helping businesses as a CPA. I became passionate about serving clients. In the end, I achieved my dream though. I became the CEO of a CPA firm.

To me, the most passionate leaders are the ones who have focused on creating relationships with their team. If you share who you are, get to know who they are, and have honest conversations, it’s easy to be a servant leader who loves what they do. Every day is another chance to practice leadership, serve others and be yourself. Get out there and go for it!


This blog was written by hb&k’s managing shareholder, Dennis Sherrin.  Dennis focuses on consulting for businesses on vision, strategy, business transition, & organizational development to effectively utilize the collective talents of its people.
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