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Four Steps to Building a Passionate Team

By vts | August 28, 2017
Four Steps to Building a Passionate Team

Every hire matters when building a passionate team. If you’re not vetting your prospective hires (and vetting them again) to make sure they fit into your culture, you’re setting your team up for failure.

There is no magic formula to follow when finding the right hire. Your candidates don’t necessarily need to come from a specific background, have a particular educational pedigree, or ascribe to a certain social status.

Anyone can achieve greatness. However, if you take a look at success stories across the world, across disciplines, and throughout time, you will notice one common attribute shared by all: Passion.

Passion in Business

Typically, when passion is discussed in relation to business and leadership, it is done so negatively — as in, “So and So has lost his passion.” Or “So and so lacks the passion to make that happen.”

This is not a helpful dialogue.

Below, I offer a “Passion How To” — what it is, how to build it, and how to avoid losing it. Building a passionate team is a worthwhile challenge that will pay off every time. Here are four steps to making it happen.


Passion is inherently tangible. You can feel it in a room. Customers can feel it in your products and services. It is also easy to see when it is lacking in a leader.

Passion is, in large part, about attitude. A passionate leader is:

• CONFIDENT in the skills he or she brings to the table.

• EXCITED rather than threatened by the skillset of their team members.

• COGNIZANT of the passions their team members hold.

• ADAMANT about delegating responsibilities in a way that allows employees to work how they are wired.


To instill passion in your team, you must first emulate the passion you wish to see in others. Passion must start at the top — if a team doesn’t see enthusiasm in their leader, it becomes less important to them and they will pursue their work with less urgency.

Exhibit your own desire by being solution-oriented and adopting a growth mindset. By demonstrating an intense focus on goals, you can inspire your team to think creatively — to search for paths over, under and around barriers.


A team that sees passion in their leader will “catch” the vibe, and bring a higher level of commitment and energy to work. Passion not only implies commitment, but an aura of importance — and people want to feel as if they are contributing to something bigger than themselves.

This is especially true with younger generations, who are prioritizing meaning and purpose over the typically sought-after perks like large paychecks and stock options. Building a passionate team can be an exciting exercise because of the energy, enthusiasm, and vigor that are channeled through it.


Leaders can diminish the passion of their team by micro-managing and not trusting each member to perform their role. This type of leader will continuously find himself or herself digging out of team-building challenges that can serve as distractions to the company as a whole.

It’s critical that you don’t become so focused on your “dream team” that you stifle the creativity and freedom of all of your employees. Contributors at the entry, mid- and executive level alike are best when allowed to offer their fresh perspective on operations, projects and customer success.

Maintaining Passion

Once you build a passionate team, your job is not done. I argue that it is only just beginning.

Stay focused on your team’s performance and promptly address any hiccups (safe failure is a natural part of any new team finding its operational rhythm). The best executive leaders anticipate team-wide challenges before they impact the organization. They also overlook minor mistakes that happen in the name of vibrant, energetic passion.

Because if your team isn’t passionately spreading its wings, then it’s not trying hard enough.

Kim Shreckengost is Chief Operating Officer of The John Maxwell Company, a provider of corporate leadership development training and coaching programs and workshops, as well as personal growth products. The company’s fully custom offerings are built on the timeless principles of John C. Maxwell, a #1 New York Times best-selling author, coach and speaker who has sold more than 28 million books in 50 languages.

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