The Thing About Passion

It’s so fun and intriguing to see illustrations of leadership, good or bad, happen around us everyday! I don’t look for them, but I seem to laser in on a leadership moment when I see it in the making.

Friday night my daughter’s 8th grade basketball team played the only team in the county that’s beaten them in the past two years. You can imagine the anxiety, nerves, passion, and spirit in that gym!

Both teams were very skilled, so we knew it would come down to the wire. Whenever that happens, it’s a game of true grit and passion! Who believes in themselves more? Who wants it more? Passionate, competitive teams are on a mission. They’re hungry for the win, and that’s what drives them to put everything they’ve got on the court.

In Friday’s game our girls wanted to earn back their only loss in two years, and they did! The win earned them the County Championship (go Panthers!), and what they had planned following that win reinforced their passion and determination.

After telling their opponents “good game,” these girls lined up to face the parents and fans and showed us what they had written on their stomachs: PAYBACK. To a competitor like me, it was awe inspiring! I love this kind of passion, and it was their hunger for a payback on the court that gave these girls the heart to win a very tight game!

Passion isn’t Prim and Proper

Of course, there were a few who questioned the appropriateness of the girls’ gesture. I understand that. Passion can sometimes seem out of control to the uptight administrative leader. Uptight leaders want everything prim and proper, buttoned up and tidy. And now you’ll have to excuse me as I step onto my passionate soapbox…

But the problem is that passion isn’t always tidy and it definitely isn’t buttoned up. It’s emotional and spirited!

It’s the leader’s job to create passion when it’s needed and to lead it when the team has it. The most difficult team to play against and the most difficult company to compete with is the one with a high-spirited and passionate team.

Will the team get out of control every once in a while? Probably. When that happens, reinforce their passion, then realign their actions. But whatever you do, don’t throw a wet towel on their zeal. Use it for your winning advantage!

The Lady Panthers graduate from middle school with a 26-1 record. You can bet the high school basketball coach knows what he’s getting next year, and he is drooling about the attitude and passion these girls have toward the game.


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