Passionate leaders are committed to things that are meaningful or important. Followers are attracted to passionate leaders because they believe leaders who are passionate will see things through to completion. Passion by itself can be dangerous, however, and it must be balanced with wisdom or trustworthiness.
Passionate leaders commit honestly to what they believe in and inspire followers to commit as well. However, they are not dogmatic; they must be able to explain what they believe without making followers feel they are wrong to have different positions on the subject. In fact, leaders should encourage people to share opposing points of view and willingly listen to those views. The more passionate leaders are, the more important it is that they seek feedback and input from others who might disagree to be sure they are not carried away with their passions.
Leaders must do more than talk about their passions, however. They also need to act on their convictions. Leaders who say they believe one thing and act in a different manner are likely to lose followers. Passionate leaders also must remain committed to their beliefs despite setbacks. Andersen’s example of remaining committed to a passion involves an entertainment executive who was helping the organizers of a fundraiser for Rwanda. When organizers told her they were concerned they would not get the turnout they had hoped for, the executive personally emailed all her contacts to express her support for the event and to urge them to attend and donate. Thanks to her outreach, the event attracted an overflow crowd.