Heated passion or steady-calm

I’ve always leaned toward the passionate side of life. For example, debate energizes me. Public speaking excites me. Advocating for a compelling vision fires me up. I agree with those who say, “Passion trumps everything.”

However, many leadership functions call for steady-calm rather than heated passion. Listening, problem solving, decision making, conflict resolution, and more all require steady-calm. Furthermore, heated passion actually hinders the things just listed.

I’ve had opportunity to watch a leader who excels at steady-calm. I admire his ability to withhold judgment, explore issues, and speak with level tones. On the other hand, I have a friend on a corporate-level career path. I believe his passionate disposition may slow his progress.

The calm side of leadership coupled with competence is the stuff that builds confidence in stake-holders, customers, subordinates and colleagues. Steady-calm makes you predictable, consistent, approachable, and trustable.  However competence without a steady-calm disposition undermines the confidence of others.

How to excel at the steady-calm side of leadership?

#1. Relax! If you’re passionate, learn to chill out. Breathe deeply. Don’t let stress and pressure drive your attitude and interactions.

#2. Listen more, speak less and speak slowly. I find passion drives my mouth. The more passionate I feel the more I need to talk. The more I need to talk, the faster my words come out. It’s better to act otherwise. Use passion to quiet your spirit.

#3. Learn to delegate and trust those equipped to manage and lead. I find trusting others quiets my need for heated passion. At this point leadership is more about equipping others to act than about leading the charge.

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How do you think steady calm and heated passion relate to leadership? Do you agree with the importance of steady calm? How can passionate people learn to exhibit steady calm?

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Leadership Freak,

Dan Rockwell