Since the Great Recession, every company in America has been trying to figure out how to do more with less resources and fewer employees. As a result, there has been a great deal of focus on building an efficient workforce. As leaders, we know that passionate teams are the most productive. We also know, however, that most of our employees are not truly excited about what they do each day. They may be good at their jobs, but without that inner spark that says, “I truly love what I do and where I do it,” their performance level will remain stagnant.

While engagement is crucial, as leaders, we should not settle for engaged employees. Instead, we should strive to move a step beyond engagement and into passion, developing employees who are energized and enthusiastic – and who energize and excite those around them. This is hardly a new or novel concept, but anyone in a leadership position knows that igniting employee passion isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
In order to find the right recipe for inspiring passion, it can be helpful to pool together advice and perspectives from different sources. Here are three compelling articles from leadership experts on what it takes to inspire passion:

Is Passion a Reasonable Performance Expectation?

In this short, but compelling article on the Great Leadership blog, Dan McCarthy poses an important question: as leaders, we are often passionate about what we do (at least we should be), but is it reasonable to expect that same level of passion from our team members?

Dan writes, “It’s that enthusiasm for the job that separates most ‘A’ players from the rest of the pack. Those kinds of employees raise the spirit and performance of those around them.” Passion is contagious. If you’re able to ignite the fire in a few employees, it will have a ripple effect on your entire team.

You can follow Dan McCarthy on Twitter @greatleadership

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How to Inspire an Ownership Spirit Among Employees

In this piece for Entrepreneur, Marcus Erb, Director of Client Insights at Great Place To Work, outlines the positive effect that passion has on successful businesses. According to the article, “94 percent of employees report a willingness to give more than is expected of them and 93 percent say they can count on each other to cooperate.” Using case studies from Radio Flyer, Badger Mining Corp., and Bridgeway Capital management, Marcus illustrates how passion can be inspired from within. The article also includes a short video on how to find dedicated employees.

You can follow Great Place To Work on Twitter @GPTW_US

Three Secrets to Heartfelt Engagement

In his Leadership Freak blog, Dan Rockwell reminds us that we cannot force our employees to conform to our vision. Instead, we must get to know them on a personal level to discover their vision. According to Dan, “The best way to get where you want to go is figure out where they want to go.”

Success isn’t about us, as leaders, nor is it about our company. It’s about the success of our team members. When we take the time to identify our employees’ visions and goals, it will go a long way towards inspiring passion.

You can Follow Dan Rockwell on Twitter @Leadershipfreak