How to Build a Passionate Team

I believe that passion underpins success in business. You can have the best product or service in the market, but without a passionate team of individuals driving its success, things are likely to flop.

You can’t teach passion. You can’t teach people to care. As a boss or entrepreneur, it’s easy to jump out of bed every morning excited to do great work – because you believe in what you’re doing and you want your organisation to be the best. But coaching your staff to share that level of conviction is the challenge. Surrounding yourself with employees who are fanatical about what you do is a true stepping stone to success.

Leading with passion

Building a business that’s driven by passion happens from the top down. It’s key that leaders within the organisation talk the talk and walk the walk. Passion is like a light switch – flick it on and you suddenly illuminate everything in its path. From company culture to bottom line success, strong leadership spearheads success. As CEO of realestate.co.nz, it’s my job to be the most passionate member of the team and the biggest believer in what we do. As leaders, we must be willing to set big goals, overcome bigger challenges and take risks. If you don’t set the bar, how are your staff supposed to know where to aim for?

Surrounding yourself with passionate people

I believe in hiring the right people for the right job, with the right attitude. That means that sometimes, attitude trumps experience. Last year, we were recruiting a fairly junior role in our advertising operations team. We had experienced applicants who, on paper, ticked all the boxes. Then we had a 22-year-old with no relevant experience, but a superstar attitude. He was the most prepared at every interview. He did the most research. He asked the best questions. He had ideas to bring to the table and an eagerness to learn everything we were willing to teach him. With the role requirements in mind, I knew that we could fill the gaps in his experience – but we couldn’t ‘teach’ the other applicants to have his level of passion for our business. Guess who got hired?

Turning passion into success

I’m lucky to have a strong management team who will bend over backwards to do the right thing for our business. The key is getting your team engaged with the decisions that you make. That means being open and honest with your staff. That means inviting both suggestions and criticism. That means having a ‘best idea wins’ policy – which requires you to sometimes throw the hierarchy out the window. Once the big decisions have been made and the strategy has been planned out, leading with passion requires you to let go. Empower your staff to do their bit and do it well. Trust your team to do what’s best for the business and give them the space to get the job done. If you’ve succeeded in hiring passionate people who care about what they do, this should be the easy part.

brendon-skipper customer
Brendon Skipper is CEO of realestate.co.nz

Read more of Brendon’s columns here.

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