The search for the psychological factors contributing to our success, or failure, has been a lengthy pursuit stretching from the dawn of time. We want to embrace what will help us succeed and discard the baggage impeding progress.  One of those factors maybe our passion–that strong inclination toward activities we love, find important and invest significant amounts of time, energy and resources to pursue (Lafrenière, et al., 2012).

But is passion a requirement for success or is it merely something we follow for personal satisfaction?  Is passion an essential success ingredient for leaders and organizations? A summary of research paints a performance portrait of leaders gripped by a strong passion for their organization’s success and for their roles in leading their team to higher levels of performance (Patel, et al., 2015).  Research finds a passionate leader:

  • increases their performance as they deliberately practice to master an activity
  • effectively communicates a vision and goals to team members
  • has greater energy for the tasks they undertake
  • is motivated to outperform their competitors
  • works more work hours (ok, this is not always a good thing)
  • commits to helping team members work together to reach higher performance levels
  • is diligent and persistent in pursuing project and organizational goals
  • has a low tolerance for failure (which is contagious among team members)
  • stimulates innovative and creative solutions and ideas.
  • sharpens attention to detail
  • encourages team members to explore, integrate, combine and reconfigure resources and ideas to discover ways to improve performance
  • has a positive effect on team performance

The research is clear: passionate leaders are game changers.


Lafrenière, M.-A., St-Louis, A., Vallerand, R., & Donahue, E. (2012). On the Relation between Performance and Life Satisfaction: The Moderating Role of Passion. Self & Identity11(4), 516–530.

Patel, P. C., Thorgren, S., & Wincent, J. (2015). Leadership, Passion and Performance: A Study of Job Creation Projects during the Recession. British Journal of Management26(2), 211–224.