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Passionate Employees - 24 November 2009

Opera is something most people either love or hate. Those who love it are truly passionate about it. Earlier this year, a professor at the University of Connecticut released the results of an in-depth study into what drives people to be passionate opera-goers… especially when they’re from less affluent backgrounds and unlikely to have been raised with an appreciation of it.

So he spent three years interviewing the opera-lovers who sat on the cheapest seats in the house. The professor discovered there were three factors that drove people to develop their operatic passions, each of which can be used to build the passion within your employees, too.

 

First: Most of the people who were interviewed described an explosive and extraordinary reaction the first time they were at the opera house. Many of them compared this intense attraction to the overpowering feeling of ‘love at first sight’.

Within your team, the element of surprise does this - but there are good surprises and bad surprises. Bad surprises are unfortunate events for which your employees are unprepared. Good surprises include unexpected recognition; rejuvenating an employee with a new project; and suddenly removing impediments that get in the way of people doing a good job. A pleasant surprise triggers a positive reaction that sets passion in motion.

Then: A learning process began. The fans spent years discovering as much about opera as they could. They attended classes, read books, and perused magazines where they got useful information on what to look for, the features to expect, and the appropriate etiquette.

In your workplace, passion increases the more that employees become competent at their jobs. When they’re unsure of what they’re doing, their enthusiasm declines. Provide regular training, refresher courses, coaching, trade magazines, conference passes, audio programs, online learning, and anything else that enhances your employees’ development. The more confidence they have in their skills, the more passionate they'll eventually become.

Lastly: They interacted with others who were also passionate about opera. They would talk to like-minded fans and mingle during intermissions. They’d share their experiences and compare their impressions with peers who were just as passionate.

At work, it’s important to be passionate yourself. It’s contagious – so long as it's authentic. Be joyful more than serious. Be on the lookout for positives to communicate. Frequently outline reasons why people should be proud to work for your organisation. Take the time to build meaningful relationships with each staff member. Love your work.

You might hate the opera, but the lessons above will make any employee’s heart sing.

 

To download complimentary e-books on employee engagement, retention, and recruitment (valued at over $100), please click here.

 

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