Overcoming the Destructive Power of Passion
Passion drives all success but it also stands in the way.
The dark side of passion:
#1. Independence: Successful leaders never succeed alone, they inspire others. Passion may motivate you to focus on your actions while neglecting the power and importance of others.
You’re all jazzed about YOUR impact. Effective leaders, on the other hand, get jazzed about the impact of others. Leadership-passion doesn’t exclude it includes.
#2. Decisions: Passion drives decisions. Passion off the hook drives foolish decisions. Passionate people don’t think things through. Excitement drives short-term decisions and neglects long-term consequences.
#3. Risks: Passionate risk-takers scare people. Passion minimizes danger. Learn to focus on points of stability while stepping into the unknown.
#4. Closed: Passion closes ears and turns people into pushers.
#5. Snap: Passion motivates snap decisions.
#6. Stubborn: Passionate people have more emotion than brains. They won’t back down from foolish snap decisions.
The dangerous danger of passion is it short circuits short-term processes at the expense of long-term goals. Passion focused on noble outcomes changes the world. On the dark side, passion may destroy itself.
Isn’t it interesting that the dark side of passion reveals the power of passion?
Have you seen the dark side of passion? What happened?
Subscribe to Leadership Freak today. It’s free, practical, and brief. The subscribe button is in the upper right of the home page. I’ll never sell your email address, promise.
When emotional intelligence is high, passion driven leadership will rarely see the dark side. Yet, it’s great to see where passion can get some people into trouble as a point to grow on.
Thanks for starting off today’s conversation. I find passion moving me forward too quickly and I leave others behind.
The quickness is a great point. I, too, will get overly anxious because of passion – which easily leads to mistakes.
Keep up the great posts, Dan!
Pace and timing coupled with passion, a nice synthesis!
I agree on the dark side of passion. While passion connects person with purpose, it disconnects many things on the way. Passion has power to influence environment. It influences people, community and environment. I also believe the intention of passion decides the side. I have seen the dark side of passion when people want to achieve their goal at any cost. When people intend to affect negatively others in order to achieve their vision, then it is dangerous. Self centric passion is ego centric and anything that in ego centric has negative motivator. It creates fear and pessimism among others. Passion is good, when it creates hopes, optimism, and energy among others without harming anyone. Effective leaders have passion that affect change that has lasting and exponential impact. Poor leaders have self centric passion that harms and create negative impact.
Is it passion or something else (over-ambition, selfishness, perhaps blind ambition, etc.) that is the issue? You could substitute any of these traits for the word “passion” in the statements above and it would ring more true to me. Passion can be energizing and compelling, but a passionate leader with weak emotional intelligence will take everyone with them to the dark side!
Thank you for letting me learn something new about myself. I am usually very passionate about the things I do. I never thought of passion as being two sided. I see how thin is the line between good and dark side. In my opinion the dark side has to be meticulously planned and implemented; by use of “manipulation” to fulfill it.
Reblogged this on Jots & Thoughts and commented:
The yin and yang of passion.
The passionate leader dance…. when unbridled, seen from the inside out may lose perspective, waste time, and energy but feels great while being self-perpetuating and consuming/absorbing. That loss of perspective can inflate one until implosion…such a waste.
Which is more energizing to be in the middle of? One’s own passionate solo or a charged group o’ musicians being swept along, woven as one voice.
Hmmm – closed ears, scare people. Yep, guilty! Thanks again for the wake-up Dan.
Perhaps another to add to the list…
Threat: Passionate people around other passionate people – especially in the same areas of passion, can easily and wrongly threaten each other and can be easily and wrongly threatened BY each other. Often to stifling results.
I’ve seen this a bunch. But not so much when the passions are in different and complimentary areas. Then it’s magical.
And when it’s in similar areas and there’s no threat, then it’s completely of the charts (in a good way).
The threat of passion is noooo joke! Kind of fuels jealousy, envy, and strife which does not produce a great outcome. Have learned in these situations to let others have the crown.
Wow! Great lesson and points to grow! I am a passionate person and never thought of the possible distruction behind passionate decisions.
However, I can definitely see the positives of passion when you take the time to slow the down the race and let it be guided to something more powerful and meaningful.
As some of your readers have hinted, it is perhaps not passion itself that is the problem, but rather the motivation and underlying values that drive that passion.
Egocentricity and pride expressed as passionat behaviors will reveal their “dark side”. History is replete with corporate leaders, pastors, politicians, parents, teachers who amazed others with their drive and abilities, then succumbed to their faults and fell from glory.
Focus on organizational success and personal humility expressed as passionate stewardship will result in far more lasting results, as the passionate person inspires those he/she leads to adopt similar values.
Being passionately driven to spark and stoke a fire in others, and to teach them to do likewise will always produce more effect than even the most able, passionate individual performer.
Dan, I never really thought about the dark side of passion in this way. You really made it very clear and your points are correct. When I lecture many times I talk about being passionate or having passion for what you do in your work life. Next time I will have to mention to watch for the dark side though.
Thank you and enjoy your weekend
Love Rob’s comment about passionate people can easily and wrongly threaten each other. Just in the middle of such a situation. Great reminder that it may be more important to take a step back and reflect that the goal is not actually to succeed at presenting our passionate view as the correct one. Rather the goal is to have a positive impact on people, situations, or events. If we challenge ourselves to ‘let go’ then we are free to accept the best of a variety of opinions or ideas offered. Once we find a way to effectively implement them with a view to the common good, I believe we will find that our passion has not suffered at all. It will only change and grow.
I love working with passionate people – I am one myself. I often find myself charging down one rat hole or another and having to pull on the brakes.
The beauty of passion is the great outcomes it can create if focussed, aligned with the common good, and tempered so that you don’t overshoot the mark.
A room full of passionate and creative people can build great vision and options. They are just not always the best people to deliver on the vision.